Qualcomm asks India for OK on wireless broadband investments

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) must overcome another obstacle before it can fulfill its goal of building a TD-LTE network in India: The company, along with its Indian partners, is seeking approval from the Indian government for its investments in three companies that plan to offer wireless broadband services in different parts of India.

Earlier this month Qualcomm formed a joint venture with India's Global Holding Corp. and Tulip Telecom. Qualcomm owns the majority of the venture, with the Indian firms each holding 13 percent. The JV has invested in three local firms: Wireless Broadband Services (Haryana) Pvt. Ltd., Wireless Broadband Services (Delhi) Pvt. Ltd., and Wireless Broadband Services (Kerala) Pvt. Ltd. These companies will operate as local partners offering TD-LTE services using spectrum licenses acquired by Qualcomm in the country's recent BWA spectrum auction.

Although the Indian government allowed foreign companies to bid on spectrum, those companies can only offer services through Indian-registered firms, and the foreign company can't own more than 74 percent of the venture. Any foreign company that owns more than 49 percent in a venture must get separate approval from India's foreign investment promotion board. Qualcomm has said it plans to invest $164.3 million in its venture, with the Indian companies investing $28.86 million each.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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