& cplSiteName &

Indian Telcos See Red Over Microsoft's White Spaces Plan

Gagandeep Kaur
10/16/2015
50%
50%

During the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced plans to offer broadband services to 500,000 Indian villages by taking advantage of "white spaces" technology.

White spaces refers to spectrum that was originally awarded to broadcasters but is not in commercial use, typically because it has been freed up in the transition from analog to digital broadcasting. Currently, there is a lot of white space in India that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) could use to support the rollout of low-cost broadband services in the country's vast hinterland.

Predictably enough, the Indian service providers have expressed outrage at the prospect of an IT behemoth using free spectrum to provide Internet access at extremely competitive prices. According to local media reports, the Cellular Operators Association of India is planning to raise the issue with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). It is demanding the government carry out an auction of this spectrum, since it will be used for commercial purposes. Microsoft, in the meantime, is conducting white spaces trials that involve the DoT.

But Microsoft is not the only company to see potential in white spaces technology. An organization called Whitespace Alliance, which has been collaborating with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Tata Teleservices Ltd. , is also working on a pilot in Palghar district, in the state of Maharashtra.


For all the latest news from the wireless networking and services sector, check out our dedicated mobile content channel here on Light Reading.


Having spent heavily to acquire spectrum, operators are understandably upset about these schemes. Moreover, signals are believed to travel further over white space airwaves -- which generally sit within the 450-700MHz range -- than cellular spectrum, making them better suited to rural deployment.

Indeed, India's mobile operators have largely ignored the rural segment of the market. At the end of June, the penetration of services in rural communities had risen to just 49%, while that in urban areas stood at 149%, according to data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) .

But service providers are undoubtedly planning on turning their attention to the hinterland in future, as income levels rise and growth opportunities in the cities dry up.

If Microsoft is allowed to proceed with its plan, they may have to enter these areas much sooner than originally planned or risk missing out entirely.

— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/21/2015 | 8:27:37 PM
Re: White Space Wars
Korr What are the global examples of using whitespaces for broadband access?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
10/16/2015 | 12:05:15 PM
Re: White Space Wars
But service providers are undoubtedly planning on turning their attention to the hinterland in future, as income levels rise and growth opportunities in the cities dry up.

If Microsoft is allowed to proceed with its plan, they may have to enter these areas much sooner than originally planned or risk missing out entirely.

Not seeing a downside for India here.
smkinoshita
50%
50%
smkinoshita,
User Rank: Light Sabre
10/16/2015 | 11:31:41 AM
White Space Wars
This is an extremely complicated situation without a clear moral or tactical stance.  I don't envy Indian Telcos -- Microsoft can afford to play a waiting game in terms of profits from white space that they can't, but at the same time the need is now.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Here's Pai in Your Eye
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 12/11/2017
Ericsson & Samsung to Supply Verizon With Fixed 5G Gear
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/11/2017
The Anatomy of Automation: Q&A With Cisco's Roland Acra
Steve Saunders, Founder, Light Reading, 12/7/2017
You Can't Fix OTT Streaming Problems If You Can't See Them
Mike Hollyman, Head of Consulting Engineering, Nokia Deepfield, 12/8/2017
Eurobites: Ericsson Restates Its Financials, Warns of Impairment Charges
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 12/8/2017
Animals with Phones
Don't Fall Asleep on the Job! Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed