Tata Communications / Indicom currently offers WiMax based broadband services in the 3.3GHz unlicensed band and targets a presence in 40 cities and 300 towns across India. It has over 5,000 enterprise and retail customers across 10 key cities. Gaining BWA licence, at least in Metro and Category A circles, will be key for TCOM’s business sustenance. Competition is expected to be keen with 11 bidders in the fray.

We expect Tata to bid selectively, with a focus on Metro and Category A circles. We expect pan-India Broadband Wireless Access – BWA to cost US$750m-US$1bn. The spectrum auction for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) is to be held two days after the close of the currently ongoing 3G auction. The government intends to allocate two blocks of unpaired 20MHz spectrum in the 2.3GHz in each of the 22 circles. One block will be reserved for MTNL (in Delhi and Mumbai) and BSNL (in all other service areas) and the remaining two blocks will be put up for auction.

Others who will bid aggressively are Qualcomm from the US and incumbent Telecom operators from India.