According to Ashish Sharma, Alvarion vice president for corporate market development (and apparently handler of all late-night phone calls), the deal could eventually be in excess of the stated $100 million total over its planned five-year length — but even at the stated $100 million, it’s a big win for Alvarion, which just posted $68 million in revenues for its latest quarter. Though Open Range was all over government funding before anyone even dreamed of big telecom stimulus bucks, there are still a lot of questions in the industry whether Open Range is all hat, no cattle as they sometimes say out West.
While Open Range’s promises and strange makeup — government funding and a non-standard deal to obtain spectrum — have made for a lot of industry head-scratching, the Alvarion deal (which calls for radio equipment, customer premise gear and systems integration) seems to put some meat on the Open Range skeleton, so to speak.
As we said earlier, any $100 million deal is a good one for the WiMax industry, no matter which provider is paying the bills. But until and unless Open Range actually starts delivering on its rural broadband promise (Sharma said services are supposed to be available before the end of the year) this one is still probably better marked as incomplete.