BSNL wants to hang up on Wimax

Dylan Bushell-Embling
Indian state-owned operator BSNL wants out of its mandate to deploy Wimax in a market set to be dominated by TD-LTE.
The operator had been labored with unappealing 2.4GHz spectrum during last year's BWA allocation. Both BSNL and fellow PSU MTNL received spectrum in advance of the auction for private operators, but private operators convinced the government to auction 2.3GHz spectrum.
Now, BSNL wants to return this spectrum in 17 of the 20 circles for which it received licenses, India Today reported.
The band it received may not be suitable for Wimax services and does not match much of the equipment available on the market, a telecom industry source quoted by the news site stated.
In any event, the operator would not want to become the only Indian operator to deploy Wimax, as it would lead to isolation in terms of interoperability and roaming.
But because it has already paid, it seems unlikely the money will be returned.
The source added that it is possible BSNL was made to adopt Wimax as a result of lobbying by the Wimax camp.
BSNL is still willing to utilize Wimax for rural areas, according to the company.
BSNL had been forced to abandon plans to adopt a franchise model to fulfil its Wimax plans after controversy erupted over the ownership of the favored franchisees.
While some observers had expected India to be a major market for Wimax, operators have progressively shifted their plans towards deploying LTE.

This month, Augere Networks has awarded a TD-LTE rollout contract covering parts of India to Ericsson, while incumbent Bharti Airtel has been reported to be close to handing out its own TD-LTE deals to ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson and NSN.


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