Their have been numerous reports about broadband over WiMax. BSNL still has it in its test labs for over 6 months now. Sify announced Mobility solutions over WiMax and when I called their office they told it may not be available for next few months in Bangalore and was meant for corporates.

In my research, I find that WiMax is still in very nascent stage and not many telcos who have the reach have considered the proposal seriously, except BSNL. Reliance has no broadband plans for consumers in the near future as IAMAI projects broadband subscribers are likely to be mere 20 Million by end of 2010. Reliance gets into serious business only when the service is affordable by masses so that it can operate on economies of scale.

WiMax is a disruptive technology to offer last mile wireless connectivity at higher bandwidths. It is so essential in a country like India where literally their is no city and municipal planning on how fibres and copper pipes are laid. C-Dot and Alcatel have a initiated a joint research program to commercialize Wimax deployment in India, with a focus on reaching rural India. Prof Arogyaswami Paulraj, CTO & co-founder, Beceem Communications says that this is just the beginning and India can easily have 1,000 startups catering to WiMax technology.

According to Dr. Paulraj ideal band for rural and fixed network 700 MHz is ok for voice. For converged operations, mobile band is best ie 2.3–2.5 GHz. In the urban environment, it is either mobile or fixed so it is 2.3–2.5 GHz.

Cost and IP of WiMax:
WiMax is at a lower cost in terms of core network as it is a Unix server and all interfaces are open, and IP is as per GSM. Cost of baseband is 30% and cost of CPE is also lower.Even on the IP (intellectual property) part, the WiMax cost structure is much lower than CDMA (which is weighted in favor of Qualcomm) and is almost similar to GSM.

Dr. Paulraj said,

In 1992, Europe was going ahead in wireless and in order to promote wireless, the US government gave free spectrum to companies innovating wireless technologies. So, the Indian government has to take a lead and create initiatives for the private sector to enter. India can create 1,000 companies in the WiMax space right from network management, connectivity, application and billing. And this speed will bring new things as mobile broadband is a revolution that one can’t imagine.

So it will take at least few more years for WiMax to be commercially viable for consumers, until then break your head with Airtel and BSNL.

7 thoughts on “The State of Wimax in India”
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