AlcaLu's India Alternative

2:50 PM -- With almost all of the initial 3G infrastructure and managed services contracts in India handed out, it's clear that Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has either not even bothered to compete, or it had a real problem connecting with the 3G license-holders, as it hasn't featured in any deals at all. (See Ericsson's India Crown Under Threat and 3G Heralds Managed Services Shift in India.)

But 3G is only one part of India's wireless broadband story. Shortly after 3G spectrum was auctioned off earlier this year, the Indian government also held a Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum auction that saw six companies awarded licenses for capacity in the 2.3GHz band, most often used to offer WiMax services. (See India's BWA Auction Ends in $8.2B Drama.)

But there's another technology that can be deployed to offer services across 2.3GHz spectrum -- TD-LTE. That's due to become a significant technology in India, as at least two of the main BWA license-holders -- Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) -- have committed to use it. (See BWA Auction Is Bad News for WiMax's Future and Qualcomm Unveils LTE Plans for India.)

And it's possible that some of the other BWA spectrum license holders will also go down the TD-LTE route.

And this is where AlcaLu could look to make a play. According to a report from Reuters, the vendor's Asia/Pacific president Rajeev Singh-Molares says the vendor is in aggressive pursuit of conversations with India's LTE hopefuls.

AlcaLu has been positioning itself as a TD-LTE player for a while now, running trials in China. (See AlcaLu Sets TD-LTE Record, AlcaLu Joins China Mobile LTE Trial, and AlcaLu Tests TDD LTE.)

But, as ever, it faces stiff competition in India from its usual rivals. (See NSN Ups TD-LTE Ante in India, Moto Gives NSN a WiMax Option in India, and Ericsson Shows Off TD LTE in India.)

It's worth noting at this point that Singh-Molares, in talking to Reuters, refers to TD-LTE as 4G (in the same way that many WiMax supporters refer to that technology as 4G), which isn't helpful.

Apart from the fact that LTE is not a 4G technology -- as my colleague Dan Jones pointed out this week -- it will only confuse matters in India, which is only just getting competitive 3G services. (See The Battle of FauxG and India's Tata Ready for 3G Launch.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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