Sunday 25 November 2007

India to be WiMAX-ed

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (known as BSNL), a public sector communications company in India, announced its Calcutta Telephones plans to launch WiMax in 40,000 villages and 70 cities, in India.

India has chosen the IEEE 802.16e version of WiMax. It is expected to bridge the rural-urban digital divide by taking Internet and telephony to remote areas of the country.

Dr SK Chakravarty, chief general manager, Calcutta Telephones, said the tender for the 40,000 villages would be floated within 10 days and the one for the 70 cities would be launched within two months.

India’s Department of Telecom (DoT), has given the go-ahead to the public sector telecom operator to launch WiMax. Dr Chakravarty said: “Even before spectrum is released, DoT has given the 2.5 gigahertz frequency to BSNL for its WiMax operations.”

Initially, WiMax would be only for fixed-line applications. Chakravarty said that WiMax was already operational on an experimental basis in the city, at the Kalyani exchange.

According to Senza Fili Newsletter new technologies like WiMAX are typically successful first in developed markets where disposable incomes are higher and new devices and services are adopted earlier.

However, we expect WiMAX will initially be better suited to emerging markets. We predict in 'WiMAX: Ambitions and Reality' that emerging markets will account for 55 per cent of WiMAX subscribers by 2012.

Emerging countries may take the lead in mobile WiMAX growth due to two trends:

  • Demand for affordable, flexible broadband, coupled with the lack of wired broadband.
  • Widespread 3G, lack of spectrum, and non-committal operators will delay mobile WiMAX in many developed markets.

    The value of mobile WiMAX is not mobility per se. Up to half of mobile phone calls are placed from the home or office. The percentage should be even higher for data-centric devices and applications. Operators estimate that up to 80 per cent of WiMAX access will be from indoors, where subscribers are stationary.

    The true appeal of mobile broadband in developed and developing countries is ubiquitous high-bandwidth network access.

    In developing countries, however, mobile WiMAX will be positioned differently.
    Rather than targeting high-ARPU business users, early adopters or tech-savvy teens, mobile WiMAX services will attract first-time broadband users without a fixed line data connection who are nevertheless accustomed to mobile phones.

    These subscribers cannot afford both fixed and mobile subscriptions. Mobile WiMAX offers them both on a single contract and a single device. Operators can offer mobile broadband ahead of fixed broadband, adding value by combining fixed and mobile access.

    For instance, a retailer may need broadband in his shop, using both data and VoIP applications. After work he may take his WiMAX device home where he and his family can make VoIP calls or access personal email.
    WiMAX operators, both greenfield and established players, have been very active in markets such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and India.

    In most cases the initial focus is on fixed broadband access, where demand is known and devices, albeit expensive, are available. Most operators, however, see the potential for mobile access and want to enhance their networks when devices become available.

    Device availability is key. Operators are still dependent on a limited selection of form factors: desktop modems, PCMCIA cards and, soon, a few PDAs.

    Vendors need to offer new form factors, new functionality, and new price points, based on the specific requirements of emerging markets. The traditional model of marketing of low-cost, entry-level devices to emerging countries is no longer sufficient.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    what will be the success of a new entrant like a software services company that wants to provide metros with WiFi or WiMax in a retail mode?