StarNet Aims High with IPO

By Tim Kridel  |  Posted 2001-12-10 Print this article Print

Does an IPO from an ISP stand a chance? We'll find out in spring 2002, when StarNet goes public in what could wind up as an investor referendum on the future of fixed broadband wireless.

Does an IPO from an ISP stand a chance? Well find out in spring 2002, when StarNet goes public in what could wind up as an investor referendum on the future of fixed broadband wireless. The seven-year-old company provides broadband wireless and wholesale dial-up services in its home base of suburban Chicago, and by the end of this month, it will have launched broadband wireless in Las Vegas. StarNet CEO Russ Intravartolo says Miami, Dallas, Phoenix and Sacramento also could be up and running by the time of the IPO.
Unlike rivals AT&T Wireless and Sprint, which recently shut down or mothballed fixed broadband wireless, StarNet uses technology that doesnt require a license and has far lower infrastructure costs. That means a faster return on investment: Intravartolo says that StarNet starts turning a profit on a customer inside of four months, while rival broadband wireless services usually take at least a year.
Despite its wireless success, StarNets bread and butter will continue to be wired dial-up, where the company has managed to outlast competitors and add enough customers to hit No. 232 on Inc. magazines 2001 list of fastest-growing companies. "Were not trying to monopolize the market," says Intravartolo, a former Motorola exec. "Were very good at sharing." The IPO will be the first time that StarNet has sought outside investment. Why now? Intravartolo points to a recent pick-up in IPO activity and his companys success thus far. "We expect to be north of $60 million in revenue by the time were positioned for our IPO."
Tim Kridel Before joining The Net Economy in August 2000, Tim Kridel was a staff writer at Wireless Review from May 1998 to October 1999. He wrote extensively about RF and SS7 engineering and wireless data, and his cover stories include interviews with Omnipoint president George Schmitt, SBC Wireless president Stan Sigman and FCC commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth. In October 1999, he was named technology editor, where he assigned and edited articles for five sections, including news. His last article was a cover-story interview with NTT DoCoMo president Keiji Tachikawa. He also moderated and spoke on panels at the PCIA and Wireless I.T. shows.

From 1994 to 1997, Kridel was contributing editor of Popular Communications, where he covered AM/FM radio. He also worked as a business reporter for the Columbia Missourian and the Mid-Missouri Business Journal. He has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri and attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he wrote his master's thesis on how the talk format saved AM radio. His hobbies include ham radio, which gave him an understanding of electronics and RF engineering that eventually led to a career writing about wireless technology. Tim covers the technology and business strategy behind wireless, including cellular, PCS, wireless data, wireless local loop, LMDS, MMDS and lasers.


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