Roumers about Google and Intel could both bid for Indian WiMAX spectrum
Never far from a big opportunity to spread affordable internet access far and wide, Intel and Google are once again rumored to be about to embark on spectrum ventures, to win influence in the vast Indian market.Both are reported to be looking to partner with operators to bid for WiMAX spectrum, with a view to creating a well financed network that could expand quickly and support new approaches to mobile services, such as multiple MVNOs, open access, and free ad-supported offerings for poorer communities.
Department of Telecom plans to auction two blocks of 2.3 GHz spectrum in January. About 28 companies - including Intel Technology India, Google, Alcatel-Lucent India, Motorola, Huawei, HCL Infosystems and TCIL - have bought tender documents.
The search giant Google may gain short term profile by working closely with carriers, but its bigger vision rests on a fully open mobile web, where its services and revenue streams hold pole position. The search giant has consistently invested in initiatives that should increase availability of cheap, ubiquitous internet access, supporting Wi-Fi metrozones, Clearwire’s WiMAX build-out and emerging technology start-ups like femtocell specialist Ubiquisys.WiMAX is expected to be highly disruptive in India, attracting new carriers and revenue models, and supporting expansion of broadband access in a desperately underserved nation. With very limited fixed access, mobile platforms are likely to lead web uptake and Google aims to be in the forefront of this wave in one of the world’s biggest growth markets for its services.
Google could either bid for a national license with an Indian firm or be a technology partner in a joint venture. Under revised Indian rules, a foreign firm can only hold 74% of a license acquirer. Google would not comment. The WiMAX auction will be held shortly after the close of the 3G sale