Light Reading

Reliance Plans $7B GSM Build-Out

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
12/6/2006
50%
50%

India's Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) is inviting bids for GSM equipment contracts in a massive $7 billion-plus network expansion that will see the CDMA-based operator running two mobile networks.

The country’s largest CDMA (code-division multiple access) carrier, Reliance has made the strategic decision to switch to GSM (global system for mobile) for the purpose of expanding its network coverage and capacity. Its CDMA network will remain in operation, for the time being at least -- a decision the operator says will allow it to roll out the new network more quickly and cheaply by using its existing passive infrastructure to add capacity. (See Reliance Dabbling With Dual Networks.)

Reliance's CDMA network has capacity for 30 million subscribers, and if its customer base continues to expand by more than one million users every month, it will run out of capacity by mid-2007.

According to local press reports, Reliance is looking at awarding three or four contracts for around 70 million to 75 million GSM lines and 20 million to 25 million wideband CDMA (3G) lines.

By leveraging the CDMA network, it will be able to cut the cost of 30 million lines, and assuming it pays the going rate of around $100 per line for the rest, the carrier could spend around $7 billion or $8 billion on the network. The evaluation process could take up to five months.

The project dwarfs Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) 's 60 million line tender as the largest ever wireless request for proposals. (BSNL's RFP is often called a monster; this must be Godzilla.) It's sure to attract the likes of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) -- which are set to gain from the state-run carrier’s expansion. BSNL’s contracts are being delayed in court over a dispute with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). (See Ericsson, Nokia Bid Low for BSNL and Moto Stalls BSNL's Wireless Tender.)

In addition to its nationwide CDMA network, which operates in 21 of India’s 23 telecom “circles,” or regions with 24 million customers, Reliance already runs a small GSM network in eight regions with around 3 million customers through its Reliance Telecom subsidiary.

But while Reliance moves ahead with its plans to build out the GSM network, it remains to be seen whether the government will actually allocate any more GSM spectrum to the carrier. (See Reliance Squeezed by Spectrum Crunch.)

India’s mobile operators are all in need of spectrum to accommodate rapid subscriber growth. In October alone, they added a combined 6.7 million new subscribers -- bringing the total to 136.22 million. The Indian Department of Telecom is still working to release additional spectrum it promised by the end of the year, and says it will finalize a comprehensive spectrum allocation policy by the end of 2007.

Reliance has applied for GSM spectrum in 21 of the 23 circles under a unified service access license, but it’s at the back of the queue. And in the most sought-after circles, which incorporate cities like Mumbai and New Delhi, there won’t be enough spectrum to go around. Priority will go to the national GSM operators such as BSNL and Bharti and regional carriers like Hutchison Essar and Idea Cellular Ltd. , which have recently been awarded new licenses to expand. (See Indian Mobile Set to Spread.)

Since it first revealed its dual-network strategy, Reliance has been butting heads with the Indian government, which has said it will need to give up some of its CDMA spectrum in exchange for GSM spectrum. Reliance argues that it needs both to accommodate subscriber growth.

So why would Reliance go to the trouble of inserting itself into the GSM market? Part of the answer is, in fact, spectrum. In the less sought-after regions, there is spectrum still available, and while CDMA operators are allocated spectrum in blocks of 2.5 MHz, GSM carriers are allocated 5 MHz.

The shift in focus is also part of the larger move away from CDMA in the mobile industry. GSM now caters to 70 percent of global mobile subscribers, making handsets and equipment cheaper to source. It also provides a migration path to wideband CDMA for 3G, which is expected to reach India early next year. (See India Prepares for 3G Rollout.)

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
materialgirl
50%
50%
materialgirl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:33:01 AM
re: Reliance Plans $7B GSM Build-Out
With this slow-moving government and growing demand for low-end services, India seems a perfect spot to introduce WiFi services. Is WiFi an unsung hero here already?
standardsarefun
50%
50%
standardsarefun,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:32:57 AM
re: Reliance Plans $7B GSM Build-Out
Get serious! WiFi can barely go a few 100m and mesh would never scale to cover this sort of traffic load and nor would you be sure of the powering for the boxes.

India has a massive telecom capacity expansion in front of it and the only real choices are 2G/3G or WiMAX. WiFi is a fun idea for some urban cases but not for something as serious as the future of Indian telecom infrastructure!
From The Founder
Against the odds, Huawei is growing its telecoms networking equipment business in the US -- that should be ringing some alarm bells for domestic vendors.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum on Leveraging the Power of DNS to Deliver Superior Subscriber Experiences

9|2|15   |   07:13   |   (0) comments


Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Jeff Miller, ActiveVideo

8|28|15   |   19:05   |   (0) comments


Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Vodafone: Mobile Money Is About Customer Trust

8|27|15   |   06.36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading spoke with Vodafone's Ian Ravenscroft about the unique responsibilities and opportunities facing operators handling customers' financial transactions over the network.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Palo Alto Networks on Expanding in the Carrier/Service Provider Market

8|26|15   |   07:54   |   (0) comments


Alfred Lee from Palo Alto Networks tells Steve Saunders about their new chassis-based system, the PA-7080, and how it can benefit service providers compared to legacy firewalls.
LRTV Custom TV
Global Services Forum Preview

8|25|15   |   02:36   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's CEO and Founder Steve Saunders talks about Huawei's upcoming Global Services Forum with the help of Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan and Teresa Mastrangelo.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Infoblox on DNS Threat Index

8|19|15   |   04:39   |   (0) comments


Dilip Pillaipakam from Infoblox talks to Steve Saunders about his company's core network services.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Ihab Tarazi, Equinix

8|14|15   |   20:18   |   (1) comment


Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
The Netformx Ecosystem

8|14|15   |   09:39   |   (1) comment


Ittai Bareket, CEO of Netformx, talks with Steve Saunders about the Netformx Ecosystem, which employs cutting-edge prescriptive analytics to help solution providers maximize profits.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Versa Networks on Leveraging VNFs

8|12|15   |   07:37   |   (0) comments


Kumar Mehta, founder and CEO of stealth mode startup Versa Networks, talks with Steve Saunders about how providers can best leverage virtualized network functions (VNFs).
LRTV Custom TV
Transforming the Network Through OPNFV

8|5|15   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Sandra Rivera, VP Data Center Group; GM Network Platforms Group, Intel Corporation, on OPNFV Arno and how the industry is coming together to accelerate the deployment of NFV and transform the network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei ONS Product Demo

8|3|15   |   6:01   |   (0) comments


Huawei shows at Open Networking Summit 2015 in Santa Clara how its SDN and NFV solutions embrace openness.
LRTV Custom TV
End-User or Enterprise Benefits to the New IP

7|30|15   |   04:27   |   (1) comment


Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Cisco's cloud and virtualization portfolio can increase business agility and innovation by building a more flexible network architecture.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile CEO Plays Data Traffic Cop
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/31/2015
CEO Chat With Bill Gates
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 8/31/2015
Verizon Hums a Driving Tune
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 8/26/2015
Time to Monetize Cable WiFi
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 8/31/2015
New Apple TV: More $$, Not Content – Report
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/31/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 16, 2015
Wi-Fi First or Second?
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
The scene: Last Saturday, lunchtime, the interior of a shi-shi-foo-foo eatery in Manhattan's SoHo district.
Jeff Miller, President and CEO of ActiveVideo, talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the impact of virtualization on the TV and video distribution market.
Cats with Phones
Tastes Like Fish Click Here
Please hold while I lick the phone.