India's BSNL chooses WiMAX with LTE backup plan

BSNL, the only operator so far in India that has committed to using WiMAX for its wireless broadband services, is requiring its franchises to roll out WiMAX and possibly LTE down the line if the platform takes hold in India, reported The Economic Times, which cited a company executive.

BSNL recently awarded contracts to four companies--Teracom, Take Solutions, Adishwar India and Ampoules--to roll out WiMAX, and their contracts stipulate that if LTE becomes successful in India they would be required to shift to LTE along with BSNL. The franchise firms, which were selected through a bidding process, will share between 10 percent and 32 percent of their annual revenues with BSNL.

Five of the six private players that won spectrum for wireless broadband, except for Qualcomm, have yet to decide whether they will deploy WiMAX or LTE. Qualcomm plans to roll out LTE in the four circles where it won licenses.

Reliance Industries, India's industrial conglomerate that snatched up startup ISP Infotel Broadband Services after it won the lone nationwide broadband wireless license for $2.74 billion, now plans to deploy WiMAX in the 2.3 GHz band instead of TD-LTE technology, according to reports. But it has yet to formally announce its technology plans.

Thanks to the timing of the auction, India's newly licensed operators have a dilemma. Do they deploy WiMAX now to tap into the high demand for broadband or wait for TD-LTE, which will have a higher price tag but will conform to what the world's largest mobile operators are deploying, eventually giving these operators huge economies of scale?

For more:
- read this Economic Times article

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