Unwired approves Intel's cash, plans expansion

Unwired's shareholders approved an AU$37 million investment from Intel on Thursday, which will allow the company to expand its wireless broadband Internet service to more Australian cities.Intel's capital group announced in August that the company was hoping to pump money into the wireless telco to help it expand its services outside of Sydney.

Unwired's shareholders approved an AU$37 million investment from Intel on Thursday, which will allow the company to expand its wireless broadband Internet service to more Australian cities.

Intel's capital group announced in August that the company was hoping to pump money into the wireless telco to help it expand its services outside of Sydney. The investment would also mean Unwired was committed to using Intel's WiMax hardware for the rollout.

An Unwired spokesperson told ZDNet Australia  that although the company would soon break even in Sydney, it did not have enough money to start operations on Australia's other major cities on its own.

"Our initial focus has been on Sydney. We have built the network here and are building up the customer numbers. If we decide to expand to other areas, which we would like to do, we would need additional funding," the spokesperson said.

Unwired holds licences for the 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz spectrum in most Australian cities. That part of the spectrum is required for WiMax, which is also known as 802.16 and is a high-speed wireless metropolitan area network (Wireless MAN) technology that provides broadband connectivity to fixed, portable and nomadic users.

Intel's investment could mean Unwired will start rolling out wireless broadband services in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth or Canberra some time next year, according to the company's chief executive David Spence.

"We will now proceed to implement our plans for network expansion to other centres and we look forward to offering our wireless broadband service to even more Australians in 2006," said Spence in a statement.