FRANKFURT -(Dow Jones)- O2 PLC (OOM.LN) and Internet service provider Deutsche Breitband Dienste GmbH, or DBD, Wednesday said that they are offering a high-speed Internet service based on the so-called WiMAX technology, one of the first such offering in Europe.
The O2 service, dubbed SmartDuo, targets German rural areas, and DBD said it will allow consumers high-speed Internet access without them having to rent a fixed-line connection from Deutsche Telekom AG (DT).
WiMAX, which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, offers high-speed Internet access over a wireless connection.
In its offering, DBD will provide high-speed Internet access in combination with O2's Genion service, which charges mobile users at the much cheaper fixed-line rates when they call from within their homes.
DBD and O2 are launching their product as telecommunications operators try to exploit new technologies to offer a broader array of services.
Fixed-line company BT Group PLC (BT) last week launched its combined fixed and mobile phone service - the phone switches to cheaper fixed-line rates when the customer is home and works as a mobile phone the rest of the time.
Vodafone Group PLC's (VOD) German unit has said it will launch this summer a service that lets consumers make calls, receive faxes and surf the Internet through its wireless network, allowing consumers to cancel their fixed-line phones.
O2 already successfully completed a test of a WiMAX-based Internet service in Ireland, with its technology partners Alvarion Ltd. (ALVR) from Israel and Germany's Siemens AG (SI), earlier in 2005.
Among others that are considering rolling out WiMAX-based Internet services are Arcor, Vodafone's German fixed-line unit, which is still testing the technology, and Dutch Versatel Telecom International NV (39126.AE).
The SmartDuo service, which costs EUR26.98 per month, is currently available in 16 German rural areas. Further expansion is planned, with an estimated coverage of 300,000 German households by September 2005.
Company Web site: http://www.dslonair.de
-By Joon Knapen, Dow Jones Newswires; +49-69-29725509; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires"
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