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[April 22, 2006]
GlobeTel postpones network construction in Russia
(Interfax News Agency Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)MOSCOW. April 21 (Interfax) - GlobeTel Communications Corp. of the United States has postponed the launch of a major project to build a wireless Internet access network in 30 Russian cities from April to May, a source close to the company told Interfax.
The cause of the delay is that GlobeTel's Russian partner - Internafta, has not provided the money necessary to fund the first stage of construction, he said.
The project to set up DECT high-speed Internet and mobile telecommunications access requires $600 million. The first $150 million tranche should have been received in January 2006. The company announced a delay in payment several times, after which agreement terms were changed. The companies decided to break up the payment into several smaller tranches, but none of these has been made yet.
GlobeTel has received every guarantee that the money will be paid soon, the source said.
"We are sure that everything is in order. Banks have provided every guarantee that the money will be paid. GlobTel expects this to happen within two to three weeks," he said.
Interfax was unable to contact any Internafta representatives.
GlobeTel announced at the end of December 2005 its plans to
WiMAX, WiFi and DECT services in Russia, using base
stations inaerostats. Construction was to get underway in April.
The company applied to the Russian Telecommunications Ministry to have its equipment certified in Russia, but applications for a telecom services license and the necessary frequencies have not yet been submitted.
A source in the company told Interfax that GlobeTel
assurances from Telecom Ministry officials that there would
be noproblem with the frequencies.
Representatives from Russian companies implementing similar projects to build WiMax networks in Russia have talked about the expense of such a project and unsubstantiated difficulty. Enforta, which is building a WiMax network in 28 Russian cities, estimates its spending at just over $54 million.
"Covering the planned number of subscribers using aerostats located 22-25km above ground, requires large frequency resources, which just do not exist," Enforta Marketing Director Oleg Tainov said. "The problem of aerostat stabilization for antenna systems to work from them has not yet been resolved. Using traditional technology with base stations for WiMax in towers enables such a project to be implemented for 10 times less investment," he said.
Following the announcement of its construction plans, the company's shares, quoted on AMEX, almost doubled to $3.68 from $2.03. Quotes jumped to $4 during trading and more than 23 million shares were traded, which is considerably higher than the company's usual indicator
GlobeTel capitalization at close of trade on Thursday was about $176 million. Shares cost $1.72. The company posted net losses of $31.9 million in 2005, against $13 million the previous year. Revenue almost tripled to over $81 million in 2005 from $29 million. me
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