Carriers Can Squeeze More From Aging Networks Using French App

Older mobile-phone networks still have plenty of uses. At least according to the founder of Be-Bound, whose application lets smartphone users access everything but video with wireless technology that’s more than 20 years old.

French entrepreneur Albert Szulman said he’s signed a distribution deal with Algerian operator Djezzy and is in talks with more carriers in North Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. He’s meeting investors to raise as much as 10 million euros ($11.3 million) this year.

“Everyone’s racing for quicker Internet with new technology, but older technology can still be useful,” Szulman said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “90 percent of what we do online we can do with little bandwidth -- Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, geolocalization, or searching the web.”

Carriers in Europe and the U.S., forced to dish out billions to upgrade their mobile networks to ultra-high-speed connections, have been adopting mixed strategies to cope. While some have sought mergers to bulk up and cut competitive pressure, others are selling assets to refocus business and raise cash.

VimpelCom Ltd. today completed the $2.6 billion sale of its stake in Djezzy. The company had agreed in April to sell 51 percent of the Algerian unit, while retaining operating control, releasing cash it can use to cut debt.

In emerging regions, Szulman isn’t alone in offering better Internet access. Google Inc. has unveiled Project Loon, a network of high-altitude balloons designed to connect people to the Web in hard-to-reach areas of the world -- and has teamed up with the experts of France’s space research center CNES.

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