WiMAX is coming to India big time, and Motorola has a lot to do with it. The company rolled out the first Made-in-India mobile, and now shows every intention of benefiting from the growing demand for wireless broadband on the subcontinent. Analysts estimate the annual broadband wireless equipment market opportunity in India at around $4.5 billion by 2012. Amit Sharma, vice president, strategy and business development, Motorola Asia Pacific, says that "Motorola will design networks and provide customer premises equipment (CPEs) and handhelds. Our end-to-end solutions will be deployed by operators beginning next October."
There are about 2 million broadband users in India today, and analysts say that the number will grow to 30 million users by 2010. Since the most vexing problem of providing broadband access is the last mile, WiMAX is seen as crucial in reaching these numbers. Samsung and Alcatel are other vendors eyeing the Indian wireless broadband market, and Motorola has already launched WiMAX pilots in several areas. "It's much easier to deploy WiMAX access points and power requirements are also less (compared to wireline networks). We don't think this is a replacement for mobiles. WiMAX will be used for data applications while cellular networks will continue to be used for voice services," said Sharma.
India is not exempt from WiMAX spectrum woes. In most of the world, the 2.5-2.69 Ghz band is used for WiMAX services. In India, this band is used by the Department of Space for satellite-based mobile and broadcast applications. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended 100 Mhz of spectrum in 3.3-3.4 Ghz for WiMAX.
For more on WiMAX in India:
- see this Economic Times report