WISP News Briefs

By ISP-Planet Staff

August 01, 2002

GRIC and WaveRider report results, and WCW is using the 1.9 GHz (PCS) spectrum.

GRIC Narrows Q2 Net Loss

GRIC Communications, Inc. reports on a pro forma basis that revenues increased 61 percent to $8.2 million, as compared to $5.1 million in the same quarter of last year. Overall gross margin was 55 percent in the second quarter of 2002, as compared to 45 percent gross margin reported in the second quarter of 2001. These results exclude a non-cash dividend worth $11.8 million relating to the company's April 2002 financing, along with charges associated with GRIC's restructuring plan announced in June.

On a GAAP basis (generally accepted accounting principles), GRIC's second quarter revenues increased 57 percent to $8.2 million, as compared to $5.2 million in the same quarter last year. The company's net loss for the period is $14.8 million, or $0.74 per share, as compared to $6.0 million, or $0.30 per share, for the same quarter last year. At the end of the previous quarter, GRIC reported cash of $3.998 million, plus short-term investments worth $6.054 million.

Kim Silverman, GRIC vice president and chief financial officer, said following its recent restructuring, the company is well positioned to achieve its goal of profitability in the fourth quarter of 2002.

"Our cash balance at June 30 was almost $23 million, compared with approximately $10 million at the end of March," Silverman said. "Combined with our reduced cash burn rate, this cash position provides the flexibility to help us meet our operating objectives."

Bharat Dave, GRIC president and chief operating officer, is also optimistic about the company's operations, especially its mobile Internet services.

"Our GRIC Mobile Office solution is already helping us to plant the seeds for future revenue growth," Dave said. "Although 2002 revenue will be driven principally by our core Internet remote access service, we expect our future growth to benefit increasingly from customer adoption of this new bundled service offering,"

Dave supported his optimistic outlook for the company, based on research about growing remote access connectivity needs from IDC.

"According to IDC, the number of remote workers worldwide is forecast to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 28 percent and reach 162 million by 2006," Dave said. "Analysts and customers are telling us that our new mobile office offering is uniquely positioned to address this growing market opportunity."

Indeed, things are looking up for the beleaguered global service provider. Company statistics indicate that the minutes of Internet roaming traffic carried over the GRIC TierOne Network during the second quarter of this year more than doubled, when compared to the same quarter last year. GRIC carried 224 million minutes of Internet remote access traffic during the second quarter of 2002, compared with 111 million minutes during the second quarter of 2001.

GRIC has also picked up its fair share of new customers over the past three months, having signed agreements with organizations like including semiconductor manufacturer Atmel Corp., The Los Angeles Times, and Marathon Oil Corp.

The company's customers also include many of the world's top-tier ISPs and telecommunications companies, such as America Online, AT&T and France Telecom.

Hong Chen, GRIC chairman and chief executive officer said the company is well positioned to ride out the financial storm sweeping through the telecom industry.

"The recent volatility and uncertainty in the telecom sector leave GRIC as one of the few global players positioned to deliver all the elements necessary for the mobile officemultiple access technologies, reliable security, global network and productivity enhancing applications," Chen said.

The GRIC TierOne Network, formerly known as the GRIC Alliance, is one of the world's largest remote access networks connecting more than 300 wired and wireless service providers throughout more than 150 countries. Of GRIC's 19,000 access points worldwide, more than 400 include public hotspots, wireless connectivity provided to users at airports, convention centers, hotels, and other locations in Asia, Europe and North America. Wireless network providers include Wayport and NetNearU in North America, China Netcom in China, and Skynet Global in Australia.

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WaveRider's U.S. Sales Drives Q2 Growth

Toronto-based fixed wireless Internet equipment maker WaveRider Communications, Inc. reported second quarter revenue of (U.S.) $2.345 million. Sales reflect and increase of 45 percent over first quarter revenues of $1.613 million.

Net loss for the quarter totaled $1.4 million, or $0.01 per share compared to a loss of $2.9 million, or $0.04 per share for Q1 2002. WaveRider completed the quarter with $2.95 million in cash and $8.56 million in net assets compared to $2.24 million and $7.60 million respectively at year-end 2001. The company finished the quarter with $2.955 million cash on hand, up from $2.245 million at the start of the year.

Bruce Sinclair, WaveRider president and chief executive officer, cited operation improvements the part of the key to the company's second quarter success.

"We believe the productivity improvements we have made in our operations and our sales and marketing strategies are reflected in our performance this quarter," Sinclair said. "Compared to Q2 of last year, we have succeeded in sustaining our revenues, while significantly reducing our expenses from $6.1 million in Q2 last year to $2.1 million for Q2 this year."

The Canadian company has American fixed-wireless service provider build outs to thank for the quarterly sales milestone. Revenue generated from the U.S. increased 81 percent over the previous quarter. Sinclair said the number of Last Mile Solution wireless system deployments across the U.S. has grown significantly this year, as has the scope of its customers' network deployments.

"We believe there is significant opportunity to increase the number and size of deployments in this market, help our customers deliver much-needed wireless broadband services to their subscribers, and to meet our objectives," Sinclair said.

WaveRider's products use direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) technology and operate in the license-free 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequency bands. WaveRider's LMSshort for last-mile solutionproduct family connects wireless modems that offer high-speed connections to the Internet for business and residential customers.

In June, the company announced that its LMS wireless system was being deployed in 27 states across the U.S. This is no small feat, given the current financial outlook for equipment makers in the telecommunications arena. Sinclair said challenges remain, but that future demand would grow out of wireless Internet service providers' (WISPs') future growth.

"With the ongoing difficulties in the financial markets, it may remain a challenge for many operators to access the capital necessary for large system deployments and expansions," Sinclair said. "We expect our strategy of offering highly-scalable and entry-level systems will help WaveRider to continue to increase our customer base, and will enable our customers to quickly and easily expand their networks."

Sinclair said WaveRider plans to continue supporting the ISP business model through its LMS gear, enabling WISPs to grow over time.

"The number of Last Mile Solution wireless system deployments across the United States has grown significantly this year, as has the scope of our customers' network deployments," added Sinclair, "We believe there is significant opportunity to increase the number and size of deployments in this market, help our customers deliver much-needed wireless broadband services to their subscribers, and to meet our objectives."

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WCW Taps Airspan to Expand Services

Based in San Angelo, Texas, West Central Wireless (WCW) is a different type of WISP offering cellular service in addition to high-speed Internet service and broadband data services. It's different because WCW is using personal communications service (PCS) 1.9 GHz licenses to offer high-speed wireless Internet services to small business and residential customers in the area.

Currently, WCW uses equipment from Airspan Networks, Inc. to deliver what it calls wireless DSL services. WCW recently announced it would expand its high-speed Internet service offering in the area by deploying additional Airspan radio base sites. Bill Woods, WCW Internet business manager said Airspan's wireless DSL product has really proven itself to be an attractive last-mile solution.

"We've really been pleased with the reliability of Airspan technology and its ability to position us as the Internet service provider of choice in our market," Woods said. "While traditional copper DSL is deployed in San Angelo, it can only reach about 50 percent of the population. With our wireless DSL network, we are able to reach a large market which is hungry for high-speed access."

WCW is one of more than 15 new Airspan customers in the U.S. during the last year that have opted to utilize PCS spectrum licenses in the 1.9 GHz frequency to offer broadband fixed wireless access services. While the Federal Communications Commission mandated usage rule deadlines initially impacted PCS spectrum owners to consider wireless DSL technology as an alternative to providing mobile services in a crowded marketplace, now operators are exploring ways to initiate and expand broadband fixed wireless services.

Dave Reeder, Airspan vice president of sales for North America, said the key to successful U.S. deployment is its ability to provide a fast fix for wireless broadband ventures.

"WCW's expansion plans mirror what we've been saying all along: that Airspan's value proposition offers high revenue potential for PCS license holders because our technology maximizes spectrum efficiency," Reeder said. "The added benefit is that licensees have the ability to deploy our solutions quickly."

AS4000 is Airspan Networks' flagship wireless DSL platform offering point-to-multipoint delivery of a wide range of telecommunication services, utilizing CDMA air interface technology. This includes IP solutions for Internet connectivity, high-speed packet, leased line data, premium telephony and ISDN links. Airspan provides wireless DSL systems and solutions to operators around the world with licenses in frequency bands between 900 MHz to 4 GHz, including PCS.

Since adding PacketDrive to its AS4000 solution in April, Airspan has generated significant interest in its products and services throughout the U.S. The PacketDrive complements the AS4000 system with high-speed, always on Internet access capability.

Reprinted from ISP-Planet.

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