Friday, May 21, 2010

Indian WiMAX Auction: Surprising Bidders List

The list of bidders for WiMAX bands in India of 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz is now out. The list of bidders appears to be surprising... It is Qualcomm, Bharti, Idea, Vodafone, Spice and Tata Telecommunication amongst others.

This might look surprising considering the present businesses these companies are in. But if you don 3D glasses which enable you to look deep behind the scene, the

business models become quite clear. It is well known that none of these companies( including Qualcomm) have any major experience in WiMAX and definitely no love for it.

The strategy would be good as the BWA spectrum is not so keenly contested as the 3G spectrum and provides much wider bandwidths of 2x10 MHz against 2x5 MHz in 3G. Working off one slot in 3G will be like doing a tightrope walk particularly in crowded markets which are the only places where these will get to be used. It is also common knowledge that with users shifting away from CDMA 2000 networks, the bandwidth has been already deployed as EV-DO which is a 3G technology. Hence nothing revolutionary will happen just with someone winning a 3G auction- something which cannot be done today.

On the other hand, the BWA spectrum is much more promising in terms of delivering applications with high bandwidth requirements and that is its key advantage. Using it for LTE or 3G is a non brainer in the present scenario. But looks like that the wait for WiMAX may turn out to be a mirage of the hot Indian summers when the services are expected to be launched.

Thanks to the author

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