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India allots 3G, WiMAX spectrum

Posted: 11 Aug 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:3G  WiMAX  telecommunications 

India's Ministry for Communications and Information Technology has approved the release of 3G and WiMAX spectrum to two state-owned telecommunications service providers, within a week of announcing the delayed rollout plans.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Ltd (MTNL) each received single blocks of 3G spectrum, giving both a head start over private telecom firms lining up to offer 3G services. BSNL and MTNL currently offer wireline, GSM, CDMA and broadband services in various parts of India.

The designated spectrum blocks are in the 2.1GHz band. MTNL will provide services in New Delhi and Mumbai while BSNL gets a block in other service areas. The two cities are considered prime markets, and are expected to draw the highest bids during future auctions. New Delhi is India's capital while Mumbai is the leading financial centre.

Both carriers are expected to begin offering 3G services by the end of the year. Private companies who win spectrum auctions are expected to rollout new services beginning in mid-2009. Auctions are expected to begin in the next several weeks.

BSNL and MTNL, which do not have to participate in spectrum auctions, also each received one block of 20MHz spectrum for WiMAX services in the 2.5GHz band. For both 3G and WiMAX spectrum, they must pay the government an amount equal to the highest bid during the auctions.

Market researcher Gartner said it expects 3G and WiMAX services to fuel India's telecom growth in 2009, and predicts wireless industry consolidation as 3G and WiMAX services are rolled out in India.

In praising the Indian government's plan, the WiMAX Forum said it plans to add an Indian certification laboratory to its existing network by the end of 2008.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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