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India's WiMax Camp Wants Intel's Support

There's one thing that everyone agrees on, concerning Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)'s plans to bid for BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum in India: It's not good news for the WiMax camp. (See Qualcomm Unveils LTE Plans for India and So Who's Pals With Qualcomm?)

In fact, the chairman of WiMAX Forum India, CS Rao, is so concerned that Qualcomm might procure the 2.3GHz spectrum and introduce TD-LTE technology, that he wants the WiMax world's chip giant, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), to participate in the auction, too.

"Intel should come forward, as it has done in other countries," states Rao.

Speculation is already rife in the Indian communications market that Intel, which is well known for supporting WiMax developments worldwide, might consider an application to participate in the auction before the deadline at the end of this week, but the company had not responded to our request for comment as this article was published.

Rao, though, is confident that India's service providers won't want to wait for TD-LTE to develop when they could use a tried and tested technology instead. "WiMax is already a mature technology with 500 networks in 140 countries. I believe that Indian operators are smart enough and will go for a better technology," Rao tells Light Reading Asia.

And he didn't stop there. Rao noted that "TD-LTE is not a mature technology," and expressed concern that any venture looking to deploy TD-LTE technology in the 2.3GHz band in India would have to wait for years before being able to offer commercial services and provide affordable devices. Such a move would "deprive about 15 million subscribers from using broadband, and that would be a major loss."

Fixed WiMax technology is already deployed in India, with around 50,000 users. Tata Communications Ltd. is promoting WiMax services, and has committed to spend around US$500 million rolling out Wimax capabilities during the next few years. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) is also already promoting WiMax, and is currently considering technology bids for a rollout of the technology in rural areas, according to The Economic Times.

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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