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BSNL Plans To Roll Out WiMax Services…But Will They Follow Through?

BSNLs announcement of plans for WiMax reminds me of a comment made during the TiE-ISB Connect: that broadband in India was suffering because BSNL got the mandate for a broadband rollout, made announcements, brought down rates, but did not follow through on its rollout plans. Perhaps a similar situation might occur in WiMax: ET reports that BSNL has announced that it intends to roll out WiMax services in two months. A tender of Rs. 2000 crores for launching WiMax in rural India will be floated next week. The rural service will cover 25,000 villages and be funded out of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund. BSNL will also set up 50,000 WiMax kiosks. For urban India, another tender for Rs. 2000 crores will be floated within two months. That will cover 70 cities, and services will be launched by the end of 2008. BSNL also plans to take fibre to premises, and offer speeds of 100mbs within two and a half years.

A big announcement indeed, but I won’t be surprised if it goes the broadband way. The government really needs to unbundle the last mile for broadband to take root in this country.

Meanwhile, Tata Communications Limited (formerly VSNL), also plans to roll out WiMax by the end of this year, including Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai, with a capital expenditure of Rs. 2250 crores.

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  2. Tata Communications to invest $500 Million in WiMAX
    Tata Communications, one of the largest telecommunications companies in India has announced its intention to invest $500 million in WiMAX technologies. Tata communications has recently been in news for the erstwhile international long distance and Internet company VSNL ( also a Tata company) being merged in the Tata communications. The new Avtar of Tata communications is India’s largest local, broadband, long distance and VPN company. The investments will be made progressively by 2010 and the number of cities and towns where it is provided be over 300.

    Tata communications will initially provide broadband services based on the WiMAX technology in a number of major metros including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Cochin, Chandigarh, Kolkatta and Hyderabad amongst others. These will be progressively expanded to other cities. For enterprise customers it has a more aggressive plan of faster rollout ahead of the retail rollout. This could position Tata Communications as one of the most important WiMAX last mile based VPN providers in the country.

    Tata Communications has selected technology from Telsima for its WiMAX rollout.
    The other major players of WiMAX in India are Bharti Airtel, Sify, Aircel and BSNL.

    Comments on Tata’s Plan to invest $500 Million in WiMAX
    March 05,2009
    If you are about to dismiss this merely as a regional development in a far off world, don’t! Tata Communications has always been a global player, with global presence, acquisition of companies such as Teleglobe, Tyco global and largest investments in undersea cable systems such as Sea-Me-We 4 and Flag. Tata group itself has always been global with acquisitions such as Corus.
    Tata's investment of $500 million in WiMAX is one of the most important developments in Asia. While not at the level of XOHM at $4 billion , the impact on the broadband wireless scene in India will be immense and signify a paradigm change in the manner in which services are used across vast traits in the country where even 3G is a year away if not more.
    We expect that like M-Taiwan initiative , it will be a major determinant of e-governance and online applications. India has one of the most vibrant stocks and commodity markets, highest per month growth of mobiles in the world and the largest entertainment industry in the world in terms of volume. We expect a large number of WiMAX enabled devices to emerge on the scene with this new initiative.
    It will also be a clear signal to rest of Asia, where WiMAX is well used that this is the technology to use despite some dobuts being expressed by competing camps. Like Taiwan, we expect India to be the home ground for many of the new devices which natively support WiMAX.
    The next step i.e. the auction of mobile WiMAX spectrum in India is sorely needed to be an enabler of further growth of these technologies.