Tuesday, July 27, 2010
In the past these scenarios were pure fantasy. While there are many businesses which offer WiFi, there are also many businesses which do not. Even when downtown in a city like San Francisco or Miami you'll have difficulty finding a WiFi signal which is usable. And even if you do find a usable signal you have to worry about security. Logging into your online bank account over public WiFi is a great way to have your identity stolen.
However, there is now a way to make these fantasies a reality. A new technology known as 4G WiMAX promises to bring WiFi to entire cities, letting you access wireless Internet from anywhere.
4G WiMAX Compared to DSL and Cable
Current 4G WiMAX implementations are capable of average download speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps. Peak download speeds may be as high as 10 Mbps depending on the service being used.
This is competitive with more traditional broadband services, such as DSL and Cable. Basic DSL plans usually start at a speed of 1.5 Mbps through companies such as Qwest and Earthlink, while cable Internet providers such as Comcast offer cable broadband with speeds starting at 1 to 3 Mbps, depending on your location.
Current WiMAX technology can't match the highest possible DSL and Cable speeds, which usually peak at around 20Mbps on the most expensive service plans. Of course, DSL and Cable can't offer the ability to use wireless Internet anywhere in your city. The hardware required to make use of 4G WiMAX is also often less expensive. Laptops which are already WiMAX enabled will not require additional hardware, and all other computers can use a WiMAX USB adapter to access the Internet. Purchasing this adapter is usually less expensive than purchasing the modem and router which would be required to enable wireless Internet in your home.
Note that some residential implementations in rural areas are an exception to this, as the long distances involved require that a large direction dish be mounted outside the home.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
It’s been a dream run for voice in India. India positions itself as number two nation in new world order. However the broadband leadership is dominated by Southkorea, Japan, Hongkong, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, Singapore, Luxemburg, Denmark and Norway.
India ranked 62 in global broadband leadership scale, with average download and upload speeds recorded way below than the needs of current internet applications. The current internet visual applications require consistent 2Mbps downlink and 1 Mbps uplink data rates.
In our analysis we found that the average broadband speed in country is below 600 kbps in downlink and 300 kbps in uplink. The leading broadband nations were found above 8 Mbps in downlink and 2.5 Mbps in uplink and the access latencies were found below 80 milliseconds
Broadband penetration by number of households was estimated between 5 to 6 %. The availability of broadband networks has especially improved after beginning of Ev-Do services in country. The mobile broadband networks were deployed in top 100 cities by four wireless operators i.e. Reliance, TATA, BSNL and MTS.
The data collected from Ev-Do Networks in five metro cities imply average delivery of 300 kbps in downlink and 150 kbps in uplink. On average, Hyderabad performed best with 250-350 kbps average download speed and 100-125 kbps average upload speed and New Delhi was at the bottom with 240 kbps for download and 130 kbps for upload.
The number of broadband connections in country is less than 10 Million, which is fewer than 2 % of the total number of voice subscriptions in India. Total internet connection in India is about 15 Million as per statistics released by regulatory of India, representing less than 1% of total population.
The principal challenges in delivering broadband to masses are excessively high right way charges, fragmented cable operators, non cooperation in last mile copper unbundling and low data ARPU. The total amount of spectrum allocated by regulators for broadband application in country was too little to support proliferation of broadband services.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Taiwan based telecommunications Device maker Gemtek has announced that it has a new and cost-effective Mobile WiMAX CPE to be deployed by India’s state-owned telecom Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s on its WiMAX network in India. Gemtek’s Mobile WiMAX CPE is based on Sequans’ WiMAX chip. BSNL’s WiMAX network is slated to be the most extensive in the world, comprising 7000 base stations and covering several states across India.
Gemtek’s WIXS-181 outdoor CP delivers high speed internet access and operates at 2.5 GHz and gives users best-in-class coverage and throughput in a sleek form factor. It will be exhibited at WiMAX Taipei 2010, June 1-5, at the Taipei World Trade Center, Taiwan in Gemtek’s booth, A523, and Sequans’ booth, A418A.
Sequans’ new generation Mobile WiMAX semiconductor solutions deliver baseband and triple band RF in a single, 65 nm die ensuring low power consumption and high performance. The chips also deliver two transmit channels and adaptive closed loop diversity (2T-CLD) on the uplink, technology pioneered by Sequans that can nearly double cell coverage.
“Gemtek’s new CPE is a powerful solution that will eventually serve millions in India with Mobile WiMAX service,” said Georges Karam (, Sequans CEO. “Our technology contributes to the high performance of the device and the efficiency of the entire BSNL network, and we are pleased to collaborate with Gemtek on this important project.”
Paris based WiMAX chipmaker Sequans Communications is a 4G chipmaker supplying WiMAX and LTE ( chips to equipment manufacturers and mobile operators worldwide.
In another article, TMCnet reported that Gemtek has announced the launch of Gemtek's new CPE and USB WiMAX modem product line powered by Beceem 's BCSx350 4G-WiMAX chip.source
Of course, no conversation about emerging technology is complete without the question, “What can I do with it?” At the very basic level, WiMAX will offer the capacity for service providers to deploy next generation broadband service more cost effectively than today, to a wider customer base, while adding a mobility aspect to those services.
More specifically, however, WiMAX will provide a means for service providers to offer Quadruple Play services (voice, video, data, mobile), or Triple Play plus Mobile. Certainly, there are alternatives, as the market has already witnesses with providers partnering with and reselling other providers’ offerings. But, those arrangements afford neither the profit margins from nor optimal control over those services. Service providers that are able to, on their own, deliver all these services, will have a distinct advantage.
So, with WiMAX, providers have the bandwidth and speed to provide VoIP, IPTV (including video on demand), and Internet access. The key, then, lies in its wireless access means, which allows is to provide each of these services on a fixed and mobile basis — turning it into Quad Play.
The benefits of fixed WiMAX are evident enough, simply based on potential cost savings and service efficiency, but to be able to provide mobile voice, video, and data, with the speed to allow VoIP calling, video on mobile devices, and high-speed data transfers brings a new element to today’s growing mobile community.
In addition to simple business and consumer connectivity and backhaul applications, WiMAX also brings real enhancements to communications capabilities available to emergency personnel and first responders, which will be able to benefit from not only voice communications, but also video and data transmissions to more effectively respond to situations and coordinate responses.
WiMAX also speeds deployment of temporary communications facilities, for sporting events and other occasions, for instance, which require temporary access for visitors, media, and personnel. With WiMAX towers already in range, all that needs to be added are the appropriate on-premises equipment to create easy access for such events.
And of course, in rural areas, where broadband service has until now been limited or impossible, WiMAX makes high-speed access a reality. Eliminating the need for running fiber across rough terrain, or through sparsely populated areas — both costly endeavors — WiMAX base stations can be built to service the local areas wirelessly, creating a new revenue source with a considerably lower investment.
So, in a fixed environment, such as the home, WiMAX has the ability to provide similar services to what are already enjoyed today — with the exception that it makes possible the inclusion of a new set of potential subscribers that have relied on PSTN and dial-up service. Add to that the mobile aspect of WiMAX, and consumers, businesses, and government agencies alike will discover a whole new broadband paradigm, which will significantly enhance their ability to conduct their business — simply by not being tied down by wires.
After a brief consultation process which began in previous years , the TRAI has given its recommendations to the government on the spectrum allocation or auction Policies in the 3G bands as well as 2.3GHz, 2.5-2.69Ghz and 3.3-3.4 Ghz bands.
If any of the potential WiMAX operators or wireless ISP were expecting sunny days ahead with potential licensing of hundreds of megahertz of spectrum in bands which form the prime ones for mobile WiMAX, they were sorely disappointed by the recommendations. This is not funny for a country where the broadband penetration has stagnated at 10 million after over a decade since when internet was available. With the incumbent BSNL and MTNL having control of over 80% of the fixed lines, the new operators were banking on wireless or WiMAX technologies to take them ahead.
The regulator has relied on the WRC-07 recommendations on adopting the OFDMA-TDD as one of the approved air interfaces under the IMT2000 to bring in the mobile operators amongst the select set of operators which can bid for such spectrum.
The following are the key features of the recommended policy:
(i) Vacation of the 2.5-2.69 GHz spectrum Slot: As a first step in the process of raking in the proceeds of the potential auction of this band the existing licensees have been recommended to vacate this band and be relocated in the 3.3-3.4 GHz band.
(ii) A Hold on allocation of the 3.4-3.6 GHz band till the potential interference with lower extended C-Band satellite communications can be decided upon.
(iii) Auction of the 2.1 GHz, 2.3 Ghz and 2.5-2.69 Ghz bands. The later two bands to be also opened for UASL operators and ISPs while the 2.1 Ghz is exclusively for 3G operators.
(iv) No eligibility for broadcasters or cable operators for any of the bands of spectrum
A very low reserve price for spectrum: While opening up the new bands for UASL and cellular mobile operators the reserve pricing of spectrum has been kept well below the global levels for unspecified reasons.
The reserve price of 15 MHz of spectrum for Category A, B and C Circles has been kept at $15 Million,$7.5 Million and $2.5 Million respectively for category A, B and C circles. Hence for a countrywide footprint with all circles, the reserve price does not exceed $ 100 million, which is well below even that used for GSM.
Indian Policies now recognize Mobile WiMAX as an alternative technology to 3G
The newly announced changes to the 3G auction Policy and the WiMAX spectrum auctions now contains elements of recognition that WiMAX is not simply a way to extend wireless but an entirely viable and complete technology in itself. The recognition of the importance of WiMAX to be able to operate as an independent network providing voice, video and data services came in the form of doubling of the minimum reserve price for WiMAX auctions from Rs. 50.5 Billion ( $1.2Billion) to Rs 100.10 Billion ( $2.4 Billion).
Considering the runaway growth of mobile subscribers at over 10 million a month and the consequent shortage of spectrum has led to a wake up call to the government. The 3G, which at one stage was being intended to be given away to existing players at throwaway prices will now be auctioned to all players including foreign bidders, thus breaking a cozy club which had kept the prices artificially high for roaming and any form of value added services.
The government and the regulator have also recognized the value of the WiMAX spectrum in the prime mobile WiMAX bands of 2.1, 2.3 and 2.5 GHz bands which is slated for auction in the near future. The new revised price is a reflection of the recognition of these bands for providing a range of mobile WiMAX based services including VoIP, broadband internet and video. It may be recalled that earlier in Aug 2008, the regulator had already recommended opening up of VoIP services, previously limited to only fixed line or mobile service licenses to ISPs as well. WiMAX, then had become a natural candidate for the ISPs to potentially provide all services including Mobile Voice using the WiMAX technologies. The new spectrum policy also opens up the 700 MHz band for WiMAX auctions, denying the plea of industry players to keep this band reserved for Terrestrial Digital TV. However, once auctioned the new WiMAX players are more than likely to use this band for WiMAX TV services. With capabilities of indoor reception and long cell sizes the band is ideally suited for WiMAX TV.
WiMAX bands of 2.3 and 2.5 GHz are the ones where certified WiMAX devices are already available or will be available by end of the year making these the prime bands for inexpensive deployment of mobile WiMAX networks with ready availability of user devices.
The importance of Mobile WiMAX spectrum and in particular the 2.5 GHz band has increased after the WRC’07 had adopted OFDMA-TDD as one of the approved air interfaces under the IMT2000 implying that the band can be used under the 3GPP architectures. However the initial deployments are likely to use WiMAX networks along with the IP Multimedia system (IMS) as defined under the 3GPP.
While the reserve prices are still a reasonable $2.4 Billion for the whole country, it is expected that the auction process will lead to a price discovery which is at least double of these prices, probably more. This also impacts the state run companies BSNL and MTNL as they need to pay for spectrum at the same rates as the highest bids received. This is likely to impact their cash flows in the absence of sale of equity unlike the private players. It also has the potential to bring new aggressive players who have started their life as ISPs to enter the lucrative mobile services market.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Reliance's new WiMAX-based broadband plans Tariff Speed
Max Download: 18.75KB/sec
Cost: Rs. 843 (Rs. 750 + 12.36% ST and EC)
Max Download: 37.5KB/sec
Cost: Rs. 1123 (Rs. 999 + 12.36% ST and EC)
Plan 3: (I'm quite interested in this one!)
Max Download: 75KB/sec
Cost: Rs. 2022 (Rs. 1799 + 12.36% ST and EC)
There is a Rs. 500 one-time installation charge. There's probably also a 12.36% service tax on that, bringing the actual figure up to Rs. 562, but the info sheet doesn't say so.
All these abovementioned home plans are UNLIMITED all day/night!
The connection is available all over Mumbai right now, no matter if you're in the suburbs or town or somewhere in the middle of the sea, so long as you're still in territorial waters!
There is also a higher speed, though limited bandwidth plan:
Speed: Upto 2Mbps
Max Download: 256KB/sec
Bandwidth: 4GB per month, additional at 90 paise per MB
Cost: Rs. 843 (Rs. 750 + 12.36% ST and EC)
This works like a Tata Sky connection of sorts. They install a WiMAX receiver either outside your balcony, window or on you terrace, depending on where the signal is the strongest, and lay a cable that connects the receiver to your PC or router at your place. asked them about a completely wire-free WiMAX card or receiver that can be plugged into your PC or laptop and they said they're working on that, but that will take at least six months for the licensing issues to be sorted out.
Gaurav from mumbai:"Nothing is resolved and Reliance is pathetic, they are putting up with their trend (seen in Reliance Mobile).
Their very design has many flaws, DHCP (a never ending story), ip conflicts, packet drops, average speed, auto disconnection, windows based(fucking unreliable) servers
Max attainable speed is never more than 50% of the plan (if you go with upto 2 mbps plans). I gaurantee nobody can ever show (any time of the day) a speed of more than 1 mpbs or a little more in reliance plans where they say upto 2 mbps.
Try BSNL it will always be more than 2 mbps even if they say upto 2 mbps
I am sure its just the choice of those who have no other option.
Trust me, BSNL inspite of being governemt’s is far more reliable and works twice as fast as any wimax connection.
Wimax will never be there when you urgently need internet or atleast you can’t be sure it is there and how long it will be there.
The customer care is just sitting their to fool around people and listen to our abuses.
The only thing they do well and in time is disconnect the service asap after due date, because most of the customers don’t pay, coz theservice is not OK.
If you have an option like AIRTEL or BSNL in your area never ever go with reliance.
Summarising its just for those who seldom use net and who have no other option (like BSNL and AIRTEL). Never go for it if you intend to work using the connection, it will never be there when you need it. Morever they will never be able to fix the problems nor even for 1 year or so to come."
Thursday, July 15, 2010
WiMAX will take supreme power in India over 3G
With the Department of Telecommunications gearing up for simultaneous release of 3G and WiMax spectrum, analysts expect the two emerging wireless technologies to battle it out for supremacy.
WiMax or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is a telecom technology that enables wireless transmission of data. The technology is available as IEEE 802.16D (fixed) and IEEE 802.16E (mobile). It offers downloads of up to 70 Mbps as compared to the 15 Mbps that 3G provides. Mobile WiMax offers download speeds of around 20 Mbps.
In India, companies like Tata Communications Internet Services, Intel, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications are the proponents of WiMax. Most of the companies have had beta-runs of the technology.
According to a top official with a service provider, telecom service providers are in various stages of WiMax implementation. Some companies have commercially launched fixed WiMax services in certain cities.
Another reason for the industry pinning its hopes on WiMax is its ability to increase the broadband penetration.
Braham Singh, CEO of wireless broadband service provider, YouSnapper, says: “WiMax makes huge sense for companies as it enables them to provide cheaper mobile internet and broadband services, in turn, increasing the internet penetration.
However, this will adversely impact services like GPRS and e-mail on mobile as users might move over to WiMax-enabled devices for data, even though they might stick with 3G or 2G spectrum for voice.”
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has set a target of 20 million broadband connections by 2010 from the current 4.3 million. The industry expects WiMax to bridge the gap. Manesh Patel, partner (Risk Advisory Services), Ernst & Young said service providers would mainly use the technology for gaining traction with the customers, as providing the last mile over the conventional digital subscriber lines would be time-consuming and costly.The technology would be mainly adopted by internet service providers, while some mobile companies were also expected to bid for the spectrum, he added.
Operators will have to use 3G spectrum to revive voice services that are being choked by a dearth of 2G spectrum, Patel added. The WiMax customer premise equipment (CPE) is priced at Rs 5,000-10,000, while the CPEs for 3G would be cost Rs 10,000 and above.
SO 3G scores for voice; Wimax may lead to increased broadband penetration.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The greatest impact the mobile WiMAX technology will have is on delivering Web 2.0 services, the mobile internet, social networking and multicast media to a very wide range of mobile devices. Mobile WiMAX is not just a radio technology but a complete network architecture and ecosystem which makes it possible to have devices continuously connected to information and entertainment sources, location information and travel assistance, gaming and much more. Today's internet with video rich websites has gone too far to be delivered by the current mobile technologies. WiMAX, the 4G broadband wireless is here.
Mobile broadcasting with WiMAX
A no nonsense book about WiMAX technologies, how these can be applied for practical applications, thir usage environment and business models.The major topics covered relate to mobile WiMAX technologies.
Exclusively dedicated to Mobile TV, the book is not only about the different ways to deliver mobile TV but also the handset requirements, software architectures and the content strategies which drive the new world of Mobile multimedia and TV.
The acquisition by RCom of controlling interest in eWave World and its intention of investing $ 500 million in rolling out WiMAX networks is an endorsement by one of the largest companies in India in the field of providing mobile and wireless solutions. Coming as it does on the heels of an announcement by Tata communications of investing $500 million in rolling out WiMAX networks in India, over $ 2 billion is now planned to be spent by the WiMAX companies for networks in India and other regions of the world ( Latin America, Middle east, Africa and Asia).
A series of Mobile network launches in the recent past ( Bulgaria( Max), Canada ( Inukshuk), USA( Craig wireless), Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, India and others) is now set to repeat a “GSM” in creating compatible wireless broadband networks which will soon have roaming arrangements as well.
Increasing availability of mobile WiMAX wave 2 devices with MIMO ( pre-certification as well as certified) and the quickening pace of certification by the WiMAX forum is increasing the mobile WiMAX ecosystem very sharply. The pace of developments in this field is very rapid after the operators are satisfied on the performance which can be achieved and the services which can be delivered over the WiMAX networks.
With Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint agressively defending the the doubts on rollout of XOHM, the scene for WiMAX is not so bleak. After over 350 trials around the globe commercial networks are being added one a week signifying a new trajectory for Mobile WiMAX in the world.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Qualcomm has started providing wireless chipsets that combine 3G and 4G wireless technology.
The cunning plan is to help carriers transition to the next generation of wireless technology. While many carriers around the world plan to upgrade their networks to 4G using LTE, 4G signals will not be available everywhere and punters will need to roam on 3G networks.
Huawei Technologies, LG Electronics Novatel Wireless, Sierra Wireless, and ZTE have been named as testing the new chips, which will be in the shops in the second half of 2010.
Each chip allows wireless phones and other portable devices to switch between a 4G wireless network using LTE and HSPA Plus, a 3G wireless technology.
Meanwhile Qualcomm is providing a new set of mobile-device chips to manufacturers for testing that will add more multimedia features to new smartphones.
This chipset family supports high-definition video recording and playback, enhanced graphics, and an overall chip design that is optimised for the web.
Qualcomm expects phone makers to have devices that use the MSM7x30 family of chipsets commercially available by the end of 2010.
The chipsets will allow phones to operate on the most advanced 3G wireless networks, such as those running the latest generation of HSPA and EV-DO .
They have been adapted for use on Android, Brew, Symbian, and Windows Mobile operating systems. The company says that applications the chips could enable include a 12-megapixel camera, 720p video recording, and 3D gaming.
Meanwhile Qualcomm has been telling the world plus dog that its 1Ghz Snapdragon ARM chip will ship in an upcoming Lenovo smartbook.
AT&T will be flogging the ARM powered Lenovo smartbook and there is some talk that ARM is also into the small form-factor laptop market and could give Intel's Atom some serious competition.
The ARM Cortex-A8 core has 1GHz of processing power and is already being seen in a few smartphones.
Together they hope to make it easier for firms offering Wimax services to keep up demand for feature-rich multimedia applications on high speed networks. Wimax 2, they said, meets the ITU requirements for 4G services and allows for peak rates of more than 300 Mbps.
Wimax vendors including Alvarion, Beceem, GCT Semiconductor, Intel, Motorola, Samsung, Sequans, XRONet and ZTE today launched the Wimax 2 Collaboration Initiative (WCI), and as a group will work with the Wimax forum to accelerate adoption and implementation of Wimax 2 kit.
"Intel is pleased to see strong ecosystem support emerging to accelerate Wimax 2 capabilities," said Pouya Taaghol, chief technology officer at Intel's Mobile Wireless Group. "Intel has been a leader in driving the IEEE 802.16m standard and will work closely with this group and the Wimax Forum to ensure Wimax 2 meets the needs of operators facing explosive demand for mobile data and services."
The WCI will work to increase collaboration and performance benchmarking, testing of 4G applications, interoperability testing, and services to help developers prepare for Wimax forum certification.
MTNL has announced that it will soon invite bids from private players for deployment of WiMAX services in Delhi and Mumbai.
MTNL plans to allow one successful bidder each in its licensed area of Delhi and Mumbai for deployment and operation of their WiMax system conforming to IEEE 802.16e standard, on an exclusive, revenue sharing basis.
State owned MTNL and BSNL were allotted spectrum long ago for BWA roll-out but failed to utilise the opportunity of being the first-mover. MTNL now faces competition from Qualcomm and Infotel, both of whom have expressed interest in using TD-LTE for roll-out.source
Sunday, July 4, 2010
"The company is in discussion with the operators for deploying the network infrastructure as we have global experience and are looking at leveraging that to the Indian market," Samsung Corporate Vice President (Networks Business) I D Hwang told PTI.
WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless technology that enables faster data-transfer over a wider area than Wi-Fi.
Talking about the opportunities in India, Samsung Corporate Vice President (Networks Business - Marketing) Hung Song said, "Last year, about USD 720 million was contributed to our revenues by Wimax and it is expected to double this year without India in the picture. If India gets added, business will grow manifold."
According to analysts, after the Wimax services rollout, India would have about 5 lakh subscribers. This is expected to grow to 50 million by 2015, driven by the huge demand for data services like e-mail and social networking.
A recent study by McKinsey projected that a country's GDP improves by 0.6 per cent for every 10 per cent increase in penetration of broadband.
"Studies globally have proved that higher broadband penetration has helped the economies move up. Broadband will create new segments of industry and jobs in the country and a majority of the new subscribers would come through wireless technologies," Hwang said.
The auction of spectrum for mobile broadband is slated later this month and the government has received applications from 11 companies, including Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Aircel.
The government has kept the reserve price at Rs 1,750 crore (Rs 17.5 billion) for pan-India spectrum. Two blocks of 2.3 MHz spectrum in each circle will be put up for the auction.
Asked if the fourth generation of mobile technology Wimax would be successful in India, Hwang said, "A lot would depend on the timely deployment and the pricing and marketing strategy adopted by the players."
"The prices should be at par with the current broadband offers, otherwise the acceptance might be low for Wimax," he added.
Intel and AT&T were among the major foreign companies that attended a pre-bidding conference held by the Indian government, ahead of the 3G and WiMAX auctions planned to start in January. And the Department of Telecom indicated that it would look to open up several new bands, including 700 MHz for WiMAX and broadband wireless, soon after the end of the 3G sale.
One of the constant sources of speculation, throughout the tortuous process of getting the Indian spectrum auctions on track, has been whether foreign operators would look to gain a foothold - as some, such as Vodafone, DoCoMo and Telenor already have - or even whether vendors would want to participate in joint ventures or franchise agreements. In franchises, suppliers and carriers share risk and reward and they can give a vendor a chance to push its preferred technology.
At the conference, according to Indian newspaper Business Standard, a clearer idea could be gained of which firms are likely to bid for the new licenses. The established cellcos were prominent, notably Vodafone Essar, Bharti Airtel and Reliance, as well as some of the new entrant carriers which gained 2G spectrum last year, such as Uninor, STel and Datacom. Most of the foreign telcos that have been linked with Indian auctions, such as SKT and Telstra, did not show up, however. According to Economic Times, France Telecom and Cable & Wireless have confirmed that they will not take part in the sales.
The pre-bid conference was organised by the Department of Telecom to address concerns and queries of any interested players, but did not entirely fulfil its mission - there is still no decision on the important issue of whether the auction will be conducted for all four slots in each telecoms ‘circle’ or region, or just in those slots where spectrum is already available (some has not yet been vacated by incumbents such as the Departments of Space and Defense, a critical risk factor for the progress of 3G and WiMAX in India). The DoT said it would announce its finalized policy on December 8, the day it will also invite formal applications. “If the defense forces are able to vacate the spectrum by then, we would go ahead with the auction of all the four slots. Otherwise, only available spectrum would be auctioned,” said DoT joint secretary JS Deepak.
After the 3G and WiMAX auctions, further spectrum bands are expected to come up for sale “quickly”, said the DoT, though judging by the 3G experience this could mean several years of rulemaking and debate. The next bands are likely to be 800MHz to add more spectrum for CDMA players (but, unlike in GSM/W-CDMA and WiMAX, state-owned BSNL and MTNL will not have early access); 2.1 GHz and 2.3 GHz for WiMAX, once the latter has been vacated by space agencies; and then 700 MHz for WiMAX and other broadband wireless technologies.
Once the spectrum is actually freed up, India is expected to be the world’s largest market for WiMAX vendors, and all the majors are already conducting trials with different operators there, while BSNL and MTNL have deployed some networks and are working on their franchise relationships with suppliers like Telsima/Harris Stratex and SOMA. The big WiMAX vendors - Motorola, Alvarion, Samsung and Huawei - will all be looking for rich pickings from 2010 onwards, and the technology is perhaps particularly important to Samsung and Alvarion, which have little or no presence in 3G and LTE.
There is no logical need for vendors to choose between WiMAX and LTE, just as many sold both GSM and CDMA systems. But despite the two-pronged strategy of Motorola, Huawei and others, there is an increasing tendency for suppliers to major on one 4G platform or the other, the choice partly driven by the kind of operators they aim to sell to. Samsung, while not writing off its chances in LTE, clearly sees WiMAX as its best market, and as it makes steady progress across the world, its chief wireless marketing executive said it could be a bigger revenue source for the Korean firm than CDMA had been.
Telecom agencies in India and Canada are working together on a cognitive radio-based broadband wireless technology: The networks would operate in the 5 GHz spectrum (or possibly the licensed MMDS bands) and transmit as far as 1 kilometer to 2 kilometers. The base station would use as many as 48 antenna beams. The system would use cognitive radio technology to identify interference and poor links and then change its own signal transmission to improve the weak links. Ultimately the agencies hope to develop this as a low-costs system that can be used in underdeveloped regions or areas with aging telecom infrastructure.
It’s interesting to see that an Indian government body is involved in such research which appears to be primarily targeted at unlicensed bands, given that India only very recently de-licensed the 2.4 GHz band for Wi-Fi. The 5.1 GHz band is still only available for unlicensed use indoors.
There was a time when a few startup companies were trying to sell broadband wireless systems that used a handful of narrow antennas that could adapt to the environment to deliver the best signal. None of them used as many as 48 beams and they wouldn’t have been as sophisticated as cognitive radio. The only name I remember is BeamReach Networks, though I’m not totally convinced they’re still in business—the most recent press release listed is from early 2004. There were others too but I can’t recall their names.
Om Malik has more detail from another article on the subject, too: eight cities will have service with 60 days, and it will cost about US$7 per month for basic service. Speeds will range from 128 Kbps to 1 Mbps. The Hindu newspaper notes that a test installation with five WiMax (misnomer) nodes served 150 people during a trial period. Om also points out that Alcatel will be developing WiMax in an Indian facility that one article estimates will employ 1,000 people.