India's wireless broadband auction ends; LTE coming to India

India's Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum raked in $8.22 billion after 16 days of bidding, with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM)winning spectrum in four service areas.

The BWA and the 3G spectrum auction, which ended last month and raised $14.5 billion, brought in $22.67 billion combined to the Indian government. Two slots of 20-megahertz capacity in the 2.3 GHz band were up for auction in each of India's 22 service areas.

Newcomer and startup ISP Infotel Broadband Services won the sole nationwide BWA license for $2.74 billion. Infotel is being acquired for about $1 billion by Reliance Industries, an industrial conglomerate in India. Following the auction, Reliance Industries announced that following an issue of new equity worth $1.03 billion, it will own 95 percent of Infotel, which will become a subsidiary of the company.

What doesn't spell good news for the WiMAX camp is Infotel's declaration that it will use TD-LTE, not WiMAX. Qualcomm has already announced its intention to use TD-LTE in the markets it has won licenses. Under government rules, Qualcomm has to sign on an Indian partner, which the chip vendor hasn't announced yet.

Other winners include: Aircel, Tikona Digital Networks, Bharti Airtel and Augere. The state operators BSNL and MTNL have already been given spectrum ahead of the winners and will have to pay the equivalent of the winning bid in each service area.

A number of entities walked away from the auction without licenses. Reliance Communications' WiMAX dvision, Idea Cellular, Vodafone Essar, ISP Spice Internet and Tata Communications, a staunch WiMAX supporter, failed to win licenses.

For more:
- see this Light Reading article

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