Wireless broadband is the way forward in India which lacks Wired Infrastructure and where it exists, it is in the hands of State Owned Monopoly – BSNL. We’d like to enlighten on the current situation of the underlying infrastructure that powers Broadband in India.

RIL with 20MHz of BWA spectrum, RCOM with 5MHz of pan-India CDMA spectrum (which can answer high speed data needs as well as 3G can) + 3G spectrum, Tata (similar to RCOM), BSNL-MTNL (CDMA, 3G, BWA all pan-India), and MTS (2.5MHz of CDMA spectrum, which may go upto 3.75 based on TRAI recommendations) all have substantial and substantially unutilized data capacity relative toBharti. Till now, they have not tasted spectacular success, but over time, as broadband penetration increases (we don’t doubt that this will happen) those with more spectrum will be at an advantage.

3G Spectrum for Incumbents will be Exhausted – 3G (2100MHz) spectrum GSM incumbents have will get exhausted over time by increasingly heavy duty data applications, at which time, we would have a repeat of the spectrum scarcity situation that we face today on voice.

Can a Non Reliance Coalition Happen ? The current hope of incumbent GSM players who have won 3G is that through the formation of a BWA national coalition, they would be able to compete on a pan-India basis with RIL. But this arrangement is likely to be complicated, because the coalition will have several players (Qualcomm, Bharti, Aircel, Tikona, Augere).

BSNL so far has an edge with Highest 2G GSM + CDMA, 3G Spectrum as well as BWA Spectrum allocated to it. But in the hands of the Government, the company is unlikely to make any major turn around in the near future.