All WiMax Eggs in Reliance Basket
There have been reports in the Indian media that the Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) subsidiary has decided to deploy TD-LTE. However, there is no confirmation from Reliance Infotel. (See Ambani Faces Broadband Challenges.)
Reliance Infotel is especially critical to the WiMax camp, because TD-LTE has generated strong momentum with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) opting for it. And Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), a prominent operator deploying WiMax, has indicated that it will be testing TD-LTE soon. (See India's Still Hot for WiMax, Says Forum , India's Billion-Dollar LTE Question, and Clearwire Is a WiMax Company (For Now).)
The criticality of Reliance Infotel’s decision is apparent when Declan Byrne, director of marketing for WiMAX Forum , says that it is going to be a big disappointment if the service provider doesn’t opt for WiMax.
"It would be a big disappointment if Reliance Infotel opts for TD-LTE and not WiMax. We have invited senior officials from Reliance to visit Japan and experience for themselves the KDDI network there," Byrne tells Light Reading Asia (KDDI Corp. deploys WiMax.) "They are likely to visit Japan soon." Reliance Infotel is the only pan-India operator with BWA spectrum, and it's currently testing WiMax with two prominent vendors.
Initially, when the BWA auctions were being planned in the country, it was assumed that the spectrum would be used for WiMax. However, this changed with the entry of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), which is committed to TD-LTE. (See Billions Bid for India's Broadband Spectrum, Bids Flood In for India's Spectrum Auctions, India's WiMax Camp Wants Intel's Support, and India's BWA Auction Ends in $8.2B Drama.)
Both the WiMax and TD-LTE supporters are trying to get the support of the BWA auction winners. However, none of the winners has given open support for either of the two technologies. India’s service operators spent more than US$8 billion in procuring the spectrum.
Tikona Digital Networks Pvt. Ltd. , the spectrum winner in five circles, has indicated that it will follow Reliance Infotel’s technology path. In this scenario, it is obvious that Reliance Infotel has an ability to set the pace for broadband penetration in the country.
"They [Reliance Infotel] are struggling: Should they wait for the LTE marketplace to develop or should they go with what is available in the marketplace?," says Byrne. "We have been trying to make them understand that WiMax is ready for India, and now, with auctions concluded, India is ready for WiMax."
WiMax is also getting ready with its next version, WiMax 2.0, which is likely to be commercially available by 2012.
— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading