Qualcomm finally gets India 4G licenses

Dylan Bushell-Embling
19 Mar 2012

Qualcomm has finally received its 4G ISP license in India, nearly two years after winning spectrum in the nation's BWA auction.

Both Qualcomm and India's Department of Telecom (DoT) have confirmed that the Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) licenses have now been allocated, India's Business Standardreported.

The Qualcomm-led consortium which owns the entity that holds the licenses is now expected to launch TD-LTE services in India by the end of the year.

Qualcomm won spectrum in four telecom circles during India's BWA auctions in June 2010, after bidding around 49 billion rupees ($977.5 million.)

But in September last year, the DoT rejected Qualcomm's application for the licenses, after finding that the chipmaker had violated the terms.

The DoT took issue with the fact that Qualcomm had applied for the licenses through four nominee companies. The auction terms had stipulated that only one nominee per winning bidder could receive a license.

The government later backtracked on its decision after Qualcomm agreed to merge the nominees into a single entity, but the process stalled again after the government demanded dues from Qualcomm's Indian partner, Tulip Telecom.

After taking the dispute to India's telecom appeals tribunal, TDSAT, Qualcomm agreed to pay Tulip's dues of around 41 billion rupees. TDSAT meanwhile ordered the DoT to allocate the licenses within one week of Qualcomm paying the dues.

When Qualcomm won the spectrum, the company made it clear that it participated in the auction to promote TD-LTE adoption in India and worldwide. The company has previously floated plans to sell the nominee company, but only if the buyer agrees to choose the 4G standard.

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