xG Technology goes public
Florida-based wireless startup xG Technology on Monday became a publicly traded company on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.
Although technically an IPO, xG Technology’s introduction to public markets was not designed to raise money, CEO Rick Mooers said in an interview with MRT yesterday. Traded under the symbol XGT, 630,000 shares of the stock were traded on Monday, with the price increasing from $4.50 per share at the opening and ending at $5.05.
Mooers said six providers already have agreed to utilize the company’s xMAX technology to provide mobile voice-over-IP (VoIP) services on unlicensed 900 MHz spectrum to populations totaling more than 57 million people in the U.S., in deployments that will be online by the second quarter of 2007. With xMAX’s low-cost, low-power, long-range characteristics, providers will be able to offer affordable, unlimited calling plans to customers while still realizing a healthy profit, he said.
One of these providers, Florida-based Far Reach Technologies, has announced plans to launch its first network during March in Volusia County, Fla. The company will offer unlimited domestic mobile VoIP calling for a monthly flat rate of $39.99.
“xG’s technology is the greatest technical advance in RF communications in 100 years,” Far Reach Technologies President Russ White said in a statement announcing the company’s plans last month.
Far Reach plans to offer Internet-access and data services in November 2007, when Mooers said xG will have a Blackberry-like device. In 2008, the service offerings will expand to IP television. Industry experts have been critical of xMAX’s technical claims, including a recent test in which the company transmitted streaming video three miles using just 3 milliwatts of power to an off-the-shelf laptop computer.
Given these doubts, xG Technology has had difficulty negotiating partner deals with high-profile carriers and vendors, Mooers said. As a public company with working networks next year, the company’s efforts in this area should be vastly improved, he said.
“We thought that, if we could go public before we put up our first network, then, when those big companies come back, we’ve leveled the playing field a lot,” Mooers said. “The network’s up, we said we were going to do it and we did it, and we’ve got the profile that comes with a public offering. … “It put us in a lot better strategic and tactical position to deal with those big guys when they come back.”
Meanwhile, Mooers said he will not be surprised if incumbent carriers attempt to thwart xG Technology’s rollout in one way or another.
“When people see that this is going to work in February, the big guys are going to try to figure out how to squash us,” he said.