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Ex-Orange chief targets emerging markets with WiMAX

Augere promises to bring wireless broadband to emerging markets

Sanjiv Ahuja, the onetime head of France Teleom’s Orange mobile operation, has lifted the veil on his forthcoming emerging markets project, dubbed Augere.

Ahuja quit his role as head of Orange in early 2007 to establish a new venture targeting emerging markets, in which France Telecom is a partner.

With funding from France Telecom, New Silk Route and Vedanta Capital, as well as substantial backing from Ahuja himself, Augere said it is targeting the 80 per cent of the world’s population that is currently out of the reach of broadband internet connectivity.

Initially, Augere will focus on countries in Africa and Asia where consumers have limited access to fixed line telephones and virtually no access to broadband. The company will work with local partners to will bring wireless broadband to these areas, and it is understood that WiMAX will be the technology of choice for these deployments.

Ahuja has collected a number of industry veterans to run the company, most of which seem to come from Orange or France Telecom. Paul Franklin, ex-Virgin Media and Orange is director of spectrum and regulation; Martin Harriman, ex-Ericsson, is director of commercial and business development; Damian Reid, another Orange employee is finance director; and Orange’s designer of 2G and 3G networks, Martin Swinburne, is Augere’s director of networks.


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