Florida communications startup xG Technology announced the deployment of the first xMAX base station and antennas in Daytona Beach, Fla., the location of the first commercial market for its mobile voice-over-IP (VoIP) service.

With the deployment, xG met its commitment to launch its first commercial network in November, as company officials had promised. However, the launch was a limited “soft” launch, meaning the only users on the network will have ties to xG Technology or the carrier, such as employees and their families.

“It's not as far as we wanted to be,” said Rick Mooers, chairman and CEO of XG Technology.

Multiple users had been scheduled to be on the xMAX network in December, Mooers said. But with xG Technology engineers focused on voice quality, the retail commercial launch of the mobile VoIP service now is scheduled for the first quarter of 2008.

During the past several months, xG Technology has been in discussions with several potential partners, including global telecom carrier Telefonica, which is exploring the possibility of using xMAX to launch a competitive wireless network in Mexico.

Officials for xG Technology have described xMAX as an extremely power-efficient wireless protocol, enabling it to be used in the limited power environments of unlicensed spectrum. While xMAX is not as spectrally efficient — in terms of bits per hertz — as some existing technologies, the fact that xMAX would allow carriers to deploy cellular-like networks without having to buy spectrum is expected to be attractive to service providers that would rather spend capital building networks than purchasing spectrum at auction.