Infotel Broadband Services Ltd, winner of Pan India BWA Spectrum is now 95% owned by Reliance Industries Ltd led by Mukesh Ambani. Reliance told us that,

A single 20 MHz TDD spectrum when used with LTE (Long Term Evolution) has the potential of providing greater capacity when compared to existing communication infrastructure in the country.

This means that Reliance will take the LTE route which is a severe blow to the WiMax Lobby.

As regards BWA auctions, there is not yet a supportive eco-system for WiMAX services in India in the form of devices and network equipment and support. Also, voice services over mobile WiMAX are not yet proven and this technology currently supports data services more than voice. WiMAX is an emerging technology and globally, operators appear to have a more favourable view on Long Term Evolution (LTE), the major competing 4G technology for WiMAX. LTE itself is evolving and so far, only one operator – TeliaSonera – has commercially launched LTE services in Oslo (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden), even though in terms of major operator commitments, telcos like Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo and AT&T among many others are expected to commercially launch LTE services, with data from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) suggesting that upto 19 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end-2010.

2 thoughts on “Reliance Wireless Broadband likely over LTE”
  1. As regards BWA auctions, there is not yet a supportive eco-system for WiMAX services in India in the form of devices and network equipment and support. Also, voice services over mobile WiMAX are not yet proven and this technology currently supports data services more than voice. WiMAX is an emerging technology and globally, operators appear to have a more favourable view on Long Term Evolution (LTE), the major competing 4G technology for WiMAX. LTE itself is evolving and so far, only one operator – TeliaSonera – has commercially launched LTE services in Oslo (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden), even though in terms of major operator commitments, telcos like Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo and AT&T among many others are expected to commercially launch LTE services, with data from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) suggesting that upto 19 LTE networks will be in commercial service by end-2010.

    Your article provides a good example of the misinformation being used to shape industry views on the broadband wireless market in India. Reliance has yet to announce its technology choice for its BWA spectrum, and this quote from the original press release is no indicator of that decision.

    The market reality is quite different from the way you have portrayed it. More than 100 operators with 2.3 or 2.5 GHz spectrum have chosen to implement mobile WiMAX networks worldwide using 802.16e equipment from Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, ZTE and Alvarion. This vendor ecosystem for network, CPE and devices is quite robust, and includes hundreds of cost-effective mobile WiMAX USB dongles and embeded netbooks. In the US and Russia, Clearwire/Sprint and Yota/Scartel have successfully deployed WiMAX-based mobile broadband services to more than a million customers and have introduced 4G smartphones from HTC and Samsung. Mobile WiMAX is the mature and proven technology that is available now from multiple vendors to deliver the immediate need for mobile broadband services in a wide range of fast growing emerging markets such as India, Malaysia and Indonesia. There are even local vendors, such as PointRed Communications, that have become leaders in delivering cost-effective advanced mobile WiMAX networks in india and other emerging markets.

    For mobile operators with new 3G licenses, the use of WiMAX technology using BWA spectrum now is a potential threat to the growth of their 3G-based mobile data services. For them, BWA is an additional 20 MHz. of spectrum that could be used in the future to deploy LTE route and future-proof 3G networks. It would be a severe blow to the 3G mobile lobby if mobile WiMAX technology was properly used address the pent-up demand for true broadband services in India and help meet the goal of 100 million broadband subscribers in the next three years.

    You are correct that mobile operators worldwide have a more favourable view on Long Term Evolution (LTE), the major competing 4G technology for WiMAX. BUT India cannot afford to wait for LTE technology to be perfected in TDD spectrum and cost effective for to deliver broadband to 100 million subscribers in this market known for low ARPU and PC penetration.

    LTE itself is evolving and so far, only one operator – TeliaSonera – has commercially launched LTE services using FDD spectrum in Oslo (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden). Although major operators like Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo and many others are expected to commercially launch LTE services by end-2010, these will all use FDD spectrum in developed markets where 3G is well established.

    The 2.3 GHz. BWA TDD spectrum licensed in India currently supports 802.16e mobile WiMAX networks and devices, and in the future will be served by TD-LTE. In reality, there is not yet a supportive eco-system for TD-LTE services in India or anywhere in the world in the form of devices and network equipment and support. There are a few TD-LTE trials, demonstrations and pilot projects being conducted by China Mobile and many of the same vendors also leading in mobile WiMAX tecnology – such as Huawei, Motorola, ZTE and Ericsson. Voice services over TD-LTE are also being tested by these and other vendors, but are not proven.

    As a leading industry analyst in this field, I believe that TD-LTE technology will be available, cost effective and mature enought for deployment in India beginning in 2013. At that point, BWA operators lead by Reliance Infotel will have the option to upgrade their networks to true 4G using 802.16m or TD-LTE, with minimal cost and service disruption. The list goes on from RIL to BSNL, Aircel, Tikona Digital and Bharti Airtel. At this point, the industry would be better served by critical objective research, accurate and insightful analysis and answers to difficult questions. Rather than continued mis-information, operators need tools and experience to develop technology roadmaps and business plans, market and competitive analysis.

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