Intel Continues to Invest in WiMax, Buys Swedish 4G License

For the second day running Intel has made an investment to ensure the success of WiMax.

Intel Capital is one of the winners in the Swedish 4G auction, which concluded on Thursday after 16 days of bidding. Intel will pay about 159 million krona (US$26.4 million) for 50MHz of TDD (Time Division Duplex) spectrum in the 2.6GHz band.

"We saw the chance to acquire frequency spectrum to ensure WiMax as an alternative in Sweden," said Carl-Daniel Norenberg, business development manager for public sector and infrastructure at Intel Nordic.

On Wednesday Intel was a part of the Sprint-Clearwire deal.

"It's no secret Intel is willing to invest in the proliferation of WiMax, buying a frequency makes it possible for Intel to dictate how it's used," said Richard Webb, directing analyst for WiMax, Wi-Fi and Mobile Devices at Infonetics Research.

The Swedish market is a tough market to crack because of a high penetration of mobile broadband, according to Webb.

But at the same time he thinks there is a pent-up demand for higher speeds and other kinds of devices besides mobile phones.

"It gives Intel the opportunity to experiment with WiMax outside of the U.S., without paying a lot of money," said Webb.

The rest of the winners in the auction are HI3G Access AB (which sells mobile services under the 3 brand), Tele2, Telenor and TeliaSonera, all four currently offer mobile broadband services in Sweden using HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access).

TeliaSonera paid the most for its license, 562 million krona (US$93.4 million) for two 20MHz channels of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) spectrum. It will launch commercial services, offering speeds at more 100M bps, in 2010, using WiMax competitor LTE (Long Term Evolution), according to a statement.

In total, the Swedish public purse is set to make 2.1 billion krona (US$350 million) from the auction.

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