Waverider finally riding the broadband wave

Toronto-based fixed wireless broadband developer WaveRider Communications Inc. is finally starting to see some light at the end of its tunnel.

The firm in the past 18-months has had to cut 50 per cent of its staff, refocus its business direction toward the U.S. market, make major improvements

to its Last Mile Solution products, and roll out it out.

Since the start of the year, Waverider has managed to accomplish all that by launching its 900 MHz system and reporting a 33 per cent growth in revenue from its third quarter to its fourth quarter.

The revenue growth, according to Charles Brown executive vice president of Waverider can be linked to improvements to the company’s Last Mile Solution. Waverider added functionality that make it easier to integrated into existing networks, a dynamic tolling mac, which allows users to have more subscribers on the base station and more utilities to make it easier to manage.

However, Waverider’s turnaround isn’t just about improved technology.

“”I do not want to be cruel,”” Brown said, “”but, letting the people go enabled us to get our burn rate or our cash position in better shape to keep the company floating.””

With the reduction in operating expenses, Brown said the company was able to finally launch its products.

The results have been a record sales quarter with $2.8 million.

With that Brown anticipates Waverider to return to profitability in the first quarter of 2003.

Most of Waverider’s current success Brown said has occurred in the U.S. market.

“”We have focused on the U.S. market and the reason for that is Canada from a level of penetration from the availability of high speed access there is a much higher rate in Canada than there is in the U.S., he said.

There are other reasons Brown stated such as cheaper broadband access in Canada. Americans typically pay between US$39.95 to US$49.95 a month for DSL. Canadians pay as low as $12.95 a month.

“”It is easier to make strong business case with our equipment in U.S. because they have a higher revenue than in the Canadian market,”” Brown added.

Waverider will still maintain its Canadian base of operations, Brown said even thought the majority of its revenue comes stateside.

“”There are no plans to move from the Canadian market. The executive team at Waverider are all Canadian. Our plan is to keep the company and the jobs in Canada and grow from there,”” he said.

Brown anticipates more business going through the channel in 2003.

“”About 18 months ago there wasn’t a sales volume enough to attracted channels. Now the volume is growing and we will start to see these products distributed a lot more through channel than on the direct model we used in the past. We have hit a critical mass where channels will be a lot more active in this market place,”” he said.

Also, Brown believes there will be growth beyond North American. There seems to be growing penetration of license systems in markets like China, he said. “”What looks to be happening is the license exempt products like ours and products in the 5GHz band, which are also license exempt are big movers driving the industry,”” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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