End Near for Indian WiMAX?

Momentum behind TD-LTE technology in India has grown, says Mobile Business Brief. Reliance Industries – previously a proponent of WiMAX – has successfully trialed TD-LTE services and plans to launch TD-LTE service throughout India.

Reliance has until now been linked to use of WiMAX. They are the only firm to hold a nationwide 20 MHz BWA license, having acquired a 95 percent stake in startup Infotel Broadband, which originally won the license.

The TD-LTE trial claimed to achieve peak rates of 80 Mb/s in the downlink and 20 Mb/s in the uplink using ST-Ericsson dongles and network kit from Ericsson.

It follows a move by Qualcomm to buy a BWA license and promote the use of TD-LTE. Qualcomm says it plans to sell its Indian TD-LTE business to a major mobile operator, with the provision that TD-LTE technology is used rather than WiMAX.

Qualcomm and Ericsson have demonstrated LTE Time Division Duplex (TDD) in India, including the ability to hand off calls between basestations. Qualcomm and Ericsson say dualmode 3G/TD-LTE infrastructure and chipsets should be available in 2011.

Qualcomm could exit its Indian broadband wireless operation by as soon as the second half of 2011, by which time it expects its TD-LTE network to be ready to launch, reports Light Reading. Qualcomm has already held talks with some of India’s major mobile operators about selling their assets with the provision that the operator uses TD-LTE technology.

India’s top mobile firm, Bharti Airtel, No. 2 Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices, and Idea Cellular spent a combined $23 billion for licenses in recent 3G and 4G spectrum auctions (auction results) in the world’s fastest-growing cellular market.

Big winners in the 2.3 GHz (4G) auction earlier this year included Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone Essar, and Tikona Digital Networks. The decision by Reliance and Qualcomm to back LTE TDD, may result in an unstoppable LTE wave in India.

Alcatel-Lucent believes that India could begin migration to LTE as early as next year.

Huawei has deployed more than 70 LTE experimental networks and won 18 LTE commercial contracts worldwide, and runs a close second to Ericsson as a global telecom supplier. So far, Huawei has received big orders in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In Europe, it overtakes Ericsson in terms of delivery to major carriers.

The cost/effectivenes of TD-LTE has yet to be proven. Could you, for example, build a solar-powered base station in a remote village that serves 500-1000 people (using O3B for backhaul) and bring it in for under $20K? It might be possible with WiMAX.

India’s economy grew 8.9 percent in its second quarter, the Central Statistical Organization said Tuesday, as farm output and manufacturing expanded.

The Indian telecommunications industry includes some 706 Million telephone (landlines and mobile) subscribers with 670 Million mobile phone connections as of Aug 2010. Virtually none are yet 3G. According to Informa Telecoms latest forecast, the number of active mobile subscriptions in India will rise to 1.159 billion by the end of 2013, making it the world’s largest mobile market.

Only nine million of India’s 1 billion people have access to broadband. India’s Department of Telecoms hopes the country will have about 48 million broadband users by 2012, and 100 million by 2014.

ABI Research says more than two billion of the world’s population is now being covered by high-speed data networks, with more than 500 3G networks, and over 300 WiMAX and LTE announcements to date. World-wide, mobile devices with integrated wireless broadband are expected to top 2 billion by 2014, according to research firm In-Stat.

Related Dailywireless articles include; 3G Launches in India, Qualcomm India: For Sale?, Qualcomm Gets Indian Partners, Vendors Scramble for Indian Backhaul, India’s Broadband Auction: It’s Done, WiMAX & LTE: Policy Vs Pragmatism, WiMAX: Good News, Bad News, Yota: Planetary LTE Swap, Yota Dumps WiMAX, WiMAX Forum: Not Dead Yet, WiMAX Forum: In Trouble?, Russian WiMAX, Battle for Britain, European 2.5 GHz Auctions & the Global Market, BT’s European WiMAX Plan, WiMAX Roundup, Australia Unwired, India 2nd Largest Mobile Market, Intel: $500M for M-Taiwan, AT&T: More Transpacific Cable, Satphones: Merger Ahead?, Malaysian WiMAX: Now or Never, WiMAX Auctions: NZ & Hong Kong, and Cellular Penetration: Half the World.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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