BSNL goes live with India's first mobile Wimax network
The two 4G technologies continue to fight it out for the end-of-year headlines, and this week sees Wimax scoring in two of the markets that are likely to make its fortunes in the coming decade, India and Indonesia, while the mobile heartland of western Europe continues to add to its LTE trials.
Despite spectrum auction delays and other bureaucracy, India is set to be the biggest base on earth for Wimax by 2012, and state-owned carrier BSNL - which has pre-auction access to spectrum - has gone live with the country's first Mobile Wimax network.
The company already has deployments using fixed Wimax but now plans a major national rollout based on 802.16e, and the first services were launched by the state minister for communications and IT in Rajasthan, Shri Sachin Pilot.
BSNL has two parallel projects, one for rural areas - which was being kicked off by Pilot - and one for metro networks.
Initially, access will be delivered to Common Service Centers since few people in rural districts will have personal computers or even power supply.
As well as bringing basic access to underserved communities - and helping to meet the Indian government's targets to lift the country's woeful levels of broadband penetration - the operator plans to work with partners to enable several key applications.
These include utility bill payments, issue of official documents like land or vehicle registrations or birth certificates, state e-government processes and inter-village communications. It also aims to harness video to support telemedicine and remote education. Broadband tariffs will be very low, starting at INR140 ($3) a month.
In the first phase, BSNL is covering 1,000 rural districts, 32 in Rajasthan, which will involve 11,500 Common Service Centers. Phase two will take the system across the nation, covering 50,000 CSCs. As well as government support, BSNL is drawing on financial and technical backing from other partners within the Wimax community, notably Intel, which is providing chip technology for devices that will enable affordable services and accelerate uptake.
Another Asian market with huge population and low broadband penetration (under 1%), is Indonesia. The Wimax Forum has its sights set on making its technology the key to rapid internet growth. The body has launched its Indonesian chapter to get close to the government's goal of connecting 100m users to broadband by 2015.
The new chapter will promote Wimax to government officials, regulators, operators and customers, in the wake of recent 2.3GHz spectrum auctions (there is already 3.3GHz spectrum allocated for Wimax).
The Wimax Forum Indonesia (WFID) chapter's membership represents global players, and local ones - notably Mastel and Indonesia Wireless Broadband (ID-WiBB). The signing of an MoU between the Forum and Mastel, the country's non-profit telecoms organization, in September sparked off the new activities.
Over with the newer 4G technology, LTE, the early interest has been firmly focused on mature mobile markets, especially Europe. Huawei has added yet another trial to its growing list in the region, carrying out a live test with Telefonica O2 UK.
The companies achieved a peak downlink of 150Mbps in a trial in the Slough area west of London, as part of the broader six-country LTE tests being conducted by Telefonica, with most of the active vendors, across Europe and Latin America.
In Stockholm, Huawei has an early deployment with TeliaSonera, but the operator has gone live in the downtown area of the Swedish capital with its other - and more established - vendor, Ericsson. TeliaSonera customers are being issued with Samsung LTE dongles to test the network. Kenneth Karlberg, president and head of mobility services at Telia, said: “Thanks to the successful cooperation with Ericsson we can offer 4G to our customers in Stockholm earlier than originally planned.”
[Source: Rethink Wireless]