50K WiMAX Subscribers in India Before the Spectrum Auction- Number to Exceed 13 Million by 2013

The Economic Times of India reports that Tata Communications (TCL) has signed up 50,000 subscribers for its fixed WiMAX service. TCL, earlier known as VSNL, had received WiMax spectrum in the 3.3 GHz band under its Internet Service Provider (ISP) licence with the Indian government.   Other Indian network operators- Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Sify and Reliance Communications – also own spectrum in this band.

Tata Communications Internet Services (TCISL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TCL, is investing substantially for its WiMAX rollout to ensure that it gets a headstart in the acquisition of subscribers. The company, with a WiMAX capex outlay of $500 million for three years ending FY12, has put in place around 1,400 base stations across 140 cities. This makes it the largest WiMax network in the world, according to TCISL COO Prateek Pashine.   TCISL has procured its WiMax equipment from Telsima Corp, a company recently acquired by Harris Stratex Networks. TCISL is obtaining customer premise equipment (CPE) from Taiwan-based networking and communications equipment firm Universal Scientific Industrial (USI).

On the much-delayed spectrum auctions, Mr Pashine said the industry was eagerly looking forward to offering services in the 2.2-to-2.3 Ghz band, which will be auctioned later this year (if you believe the Indian IT Ministry). “The postponement has delayed customer acquisition and rollout of services and revenues associated with that,” he said.   For our posts on the often delayed India spectrum auctions, please see:

Will it Ever Happen? India May Delay 3G Auction, Raise Prices

The follow on comments imply that the auction will not be held till 2010! That is great cause for concern for the broadband wireless industry in India, in our opinion.

 

For further details on TCL’s WiMAX network, please see: TCL ropes in 50k for WiMax broadband

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Infotech/TCL-ropes-in-50k-for-WiMax-broadband/articleshow/4461142.cms


 

Separately, market research firms Maravedis and Tonse predict WiMAX Subscribers in India will Exceed 13 Million by 2013. A new report concludes that deployment of 3G and WiMAX will generate a reasonable user base over the next 5 year period, before noticeable LTE deployments begin to make an impact in India. Maravedis, in partnership with leading Indian telecom market research and analysis firm Tonse Telecom, just released the 3rd Edition of “India Wireless Broadband and WiMAX Market Analysis and Forecasts, 2009-2013.”

“Despite delayed spectrum auctions that are impeding a tremendous economic driver, 3G/BWA/WiMAX network activity is already on a roll,” said Sridhar Pai, co-author of the report and Tonse Telecom CEO. “For the severely underserved Indian broadband market, demand for wireless broadband connectivity continues across all sectors: retail, SOHO, SMEs and large enterprises alike,” he continued.

According to the report, the big push will be seen post-spectrum auctions. “However, aided by pre-allocation in the 2.5GHz band, incumbents are already developing massive national rollout plans for both 3G and WiMAX. Expect significant pan-India deployments from other successful auction bidders,” said Maravedis CEO Adlane Fellah.

While the global economy is lying dormant, demand for telecommunications services in India continues to fuel significant growth in the sector. “We estimate that in 2008, approximately 10,000 BWA/WiMAX base station sectors were deployed in total. Currently there are about 300,000 BWA/WiMAX subscribers already using these services,” Pai noted.

“Wireless CAPEX has already reached US$ sub-100 levels per line, thereby confirming the primary transport technology will be wireless,” added Fellah.

Key Findings of the report:

  • Internet access is still the big broadband driver in India, with wireless broadband becoming the clear option owing to economics and ease of deployment.
  • BWA operators have yet to resolve many service quality issues.
  • India is expected to see the world’s lowest end-to-end cost for WiMAX services, with costs driven down faster than in any other market.
  •  Computer penetration is still very low and the Indian telecom sector operates in a volume-driven market.
  •  Innovative business models such as public-private partnerships will emerge, together with low cost devices and a vibrant ecosystem.

Here is a relevent quote from the report:

“While there has been some talk about delayed auctions for BWA/WIMAX, potentially leading to a closing of the window for WiMAX and thereby operators having to wait for LTE, we think this is unlikely. The broadband market is far underserved and has already been delayed. There is a sizeable market opportunity now that needs to be met and BWA/WiMAX is capable of doing so. It will take some time before LTE stabilizes and the device economics play out to deliver mass-market volumes. We believe that the 3G/WiMAX streams will be deployed and generate a reasonable user base over the next 5 year period before noticeable LTE deployments begin to make an impact in these emerging markets.

Meanwhile, for those operators who seized the day with whatever slim bands were available in 3.3GHz, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Reliance and Tata Communications, who launched their BWA/WiMAX services in multiple locations, showed what could be done with innovation and radio optimization, combined with passive infrastructure sharing and aggressive marketing in a market where latent demand stifled expansion and traditional wire-line data was just not delivering.  The entire 3.3GHz experience reaffirmed that the fundamental business case for fixed wireless in India is real and immediate.”

For more information, please visit: http://www.maravedis-bwa.com/

0 thoughts on “50K WiMAX Subscribers in India Before the Spectrum Auction- Number to Exceed 13 Million by 2013

  1. Is India the key to WiMAX Commercial Success?

    For a long time, I’ve believed that there is a tremendous untapped market for broadband wireless in India. If fixed and mobile WiMAX succeed and capture as many subscribers as Maravedis predicts, critical mass would be established and WiMAX would be on a very successful growth trajectory.

    However, we are quite concerned that bureaucratic bungling by the Indian government will continue to delay deployements. Not only have the 3G and WiMAX spectrum auctions been repeatedly delayed, but the subscription terms and conditions of each operator must be approved by the Indian government. Will that be a show stopper for WiMAX or ANY new wireless broadband technology to be deployed in India?

  2. Excerpt from Maravedis report:

    “While there has been some talk about delayed auctions for BWA/WIMAX, potentially leading to a closing of the window for WiMAX and thereby operators having to wait for LTE, we think this is unlikely. The broadband market is far underserved and has already been delayed. There is a sizeable market opportunity now that needs to be met and BWA/WiMAX is capable of doing so. It will take some time before LTE stabilizes and the device economics play out to deliver mass-market volumes. We believe that the 3G/WiMAX streams will be deployed and generate a reasonable user base over the next 5 year period before noticeable LTE deployments begin to make an impact in these emerging markets. Meanwhile, for those operators who seized the day with whatever slim bands were available in 3.3GHz, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Reliance and Tata Communications, who launched their BWA/WiMAX services in multiple locations, showed what could be done with innovation and radio optimization, combined with passive infrastructure sharing and aggressive marketing in a market where latent demand stifled expansion and traditional wire-line data was just not delivering.

    The entire 3.3GHz experience reaffirmed that the fundamental business case for fixed wireless in India is real and immediate.”

    https://www.vtrenz.net/imaeds/ownerassets/328/Brochure_India_Report_3rd_edition.pdf

  3. Rethink Wireless believes WiMAX has great promise and potential in India:

    “The other big opportunity for WiMAX is in underserved, but high growth, markets, most notably India. One of the most significant development efforts geared to India has been Alcatel-Lucent’s collaboration with the country’s C-DOT technology research center, a venture set up over four years ago and geared to creating entirely new formats for WiMAX devices, to support low cost, low power roll-outs and new applications. This week, the C-DOT Alcatel-Lucent Research Centre (CARC) received WiMAX Forum certification for the 2.5GHz version of its 500 Series family of indoor CPE reference designs. “This cements CARC’s ongoing efforts towards bringing in open standard low cost CPE designs to the Mobile WiMAX ecosystem,” said CARC’s CEO Sridhar Venkatesh.”

    http://www.rethink-wireless.com/?article_id=1323

  4. India WiMAX Update: Will WiMAX End up as Enterprise Last Mile?

    While we surely need to wait for the spectrum auction to happen and some more development of on the WiMAX technology front to see how the market shapes up, in the interim it looks like the leading Indian telcos – Bharti Airtel, Reliance and Tatas – have been using WiMAX to gain foothold in the lucrative enterprise market.

    Article is at: http://www.secondrepublic.in/StoryDescription.aspx?mainid=2&storyid=354

  5. Economic Times:
    Dual mode devices to drive growth of WiMax in India

    Mobile handsets offering both 3G (for voice) and WiMax (for high speed wireless broadband access) are likely to gain popularity with the Indian telecom operators and give a fillip to WiMax services in the country.

    The dual mode devices which combine both the technology – 3G and WiMax – would help the operators in the country to offer the services in a cost effective manner once the spectrum for the services is auctioned by the government post the elections, WiMax Forum Chairman (India chapter) C S Rao said.

    “In India once the spectrum is auctioned, the operators are likely to go for 3G spectrum for voice services as the existing spectrum is saturated and to support the next 200 million subscribers they have to use the third generation spectrum,” he said.

    However, for data services like video streaming and downloading WiMax could be used, as the technology is more efficient for data download and other applications, he said. Globally, Samsung has already started manufacturing such devices.

    More at: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Infotech/Dual-mode-sets-to-drive-WiMax-growth/articleshow/4478386.cms

  6. Cisco quoted on 3G and WiMax being complementary technologies for India:

    CIOL: How would you rate the threat of WiMAX to 3G in Indian context.

    Iyer: Cisco believes that 3G and WiMax are complementary technologies. For personal broadband on the move, 3G would be ideal since it provides greater bandwidth over a larger area, whereas for a primary broadband connection WiMax would be more suitable since it delivers better speed.

    India has only 5 million broadband subscribers till date, so it is clear that the country needs both these technologies to be able to grow its subscriber numbers. Moreover WiMax has advantages in terms of spectrum availability and cost, hence will be vital from a market penetration perspective.

    More at:

    http://www.ciol.com/Technology/Networking/Interviews/3G,-WiMax-are-complementary-technologies/11309117070/0/

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