According to Telecompaper, Iliad’s wireless in the local loop (WiLL) subsidiary IFW is to offer WiMAX services to over 1.6 million broadband customers currently signed up to Iliad’s ADSL service provider Free. The trial WiMAX service will be based on Alvarion 802.16d infrastructure and will enable Free broadband subscribers to gain wireless internet access in the majority of France’s metropolitan areas, once they have installed IFW-compatible software and equipment.
In a separate development, Telecompaper says that IFW is fighting a legal challenge from neuf Cegetel for its WiMAX licence, acquired from Altitude Telecom in 2005. neuf Cegetel has filed a case with the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest administrative court. neuf held a WiMAX licence until 2003, when it was forced to relinquish the concession due to a lack of use. Amid minimal interest for the licences Arcep awarded only one permit in 2003, to Altitude, but since then interest in WiMAX has increased and Arcep is now planning a new auction of the frequencies. According to neuf, which is reportedly supported by France Télécom in the action, the change in circumstances requires the regulator to revoke IFW’s licence. Arcep has reportedly rejected the claim.