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WiMax Startup Telsima Pockets $50M

Indian WiMax startup Telsima Corp. has pocketed $50 million in a Series D round of funding as it ships gear to its first two customers in India and engages in field trials in Europe. (See Telsima Gets $50M.)

The new backing, which brings the company's WiMax-related funding to $70 million, comes from its previous investors, including NewPath Ventures LLC , New Enterprise Associates (NEA) , CMEA Ventures , and Jafco Asia . (See Indian WiMax Firm Gets $20M.)

The vendor, which has a software development and test center in Bangalore and a sales operation in New Delhi, has developed a number of WiMax base station and customer premises products, and a range of supporting subscriber management and OSS systems. (See Telsima Launches Gear, Telsima WiMax Gear Certified, and Telsima Launches StarMAX.)

Telsima claims to have two customers, both Tier 1 carriers in India that it says it can't yet name, and a number of trials in Central and Eastern Europe, where it has a local presence in the form of development and marketing operations based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

"This is a very interesting company that's worth watching," says Gabriel Brown, chief analyst at Unstrung Insider. "It's been built up to target the Indian market, which is set to be the single biggest WiMax market in the world. Telsima has the cost structure, and the local manufacturing and support, that's needed to meet the demands of Indian carriers, though it will probably have a harder time breaking into the emerging markets outside India."

The potential for WiMax in India is strong, given the general lack of fixed access alternatives in the country, the ongoing 3G spectrum hiatus, and the desire of the Indian government to broadband-enable rural as well as urban markets. As a result, WiMax was one of the most prominent technologies on display at the recent Convergence India event in New Delhi. (See India Looks to WiMax for Broadband , Convergence India: In Pictures, and India on Edge Over 3G.)

The technology is already being deployed by one of India's fixed-line incumbent carriers Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) , and trialed by Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) , the country's other fixed-line incumbent. Other carriers with WiMax ambitions include Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) and Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd. , while Sify Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: SIFY) is deploying "WiMax-capable" technology. (See BSNL Deploys Aperto, BSNL Trials Cambridge Broadband, and Sify Deploys Proxim Gear.)

And that level of interest has led to a number of investments in wireless broadband technology firms that have operations in India, the most recent other example being WiMax chipset vendor Beceem Communications Inc. (See Beceem Gets $40M.)

But it also means there is strong competition from major international infrastructure players and other WiMax specialists, such as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Aperto Networks Inc. (See AlcaLu Completes WiMax Trial and Alcatel, C-DOT Team Up .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

wonderfull 12/5/2012 | 3:10:36 PM
re: WiMax Startup Telsima Pockets $50M Who are the Tier-1 carrier customers in India?

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