WiMAX to remain a niche technology in India

While the Indian government might be promoting the deployment of WiMAX to provide broadband connectivity in rural areas, several important factors will restrict the technology from wide-scale uptake.

According to the research firm Gartner, low PC penetration, lack of available frequencies and the failure by the government to motivate telecoms operators are the primary reasons behind the number of WiMAX users--forecast to be less than seven million by 2011. "In the near term WiMAX is still a niche technology and limited to enterprise and high-end residential users in urban India," said Gartner.

However, operators in India could use unlicensed spectrum for WiMAX services instead of waiting for the policy to be announced, as has happened in parts of Eastern Europe, France, Vietnam, Thailand and some other countries, said Sujai Karampuri, CEO WiMAX equipment company, Sloka Telecom. "The rollout of mobile WiMAX in India is not clear, and service providers appear to be taking 3G more seriously than WiMAX at the moment."

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