WiMax Coming to India

Following up on Spektor’s post on EduSat in India (below) comes more news on how new technologies are bridging the communications gap in India’s rural areas. The Economic Times reports on how Motorola plans to cash in on the demand for wireless broadband:

The world’s second largest maker of mobiles is in discussions with telecom operators to provide network and equipment for offering Wimax (highspeed Internet access over a wireless connection).

The annual broadband wireless equipment market opportunity in India is pegged at around $4.5 billion by ’12 and Motorola is keen to bite into this pie. "Motorola will design networks and provide customer premises equipment (CPEs) and handhelds . Our end-to-end solutions will be deployed by operators beginning next October," Mr Amit Sharma, vice-president , strategy and business development, Motorola Asia Pacific, told ET.

India is targeting 30 million broadband (high speed Internet) users by 2010 while the current base is just 2 million. The most difficult part of providing broadband access is last mile, the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider to a customer , as it requires fanning out of wires and cable. Wimax is an easy solution as it doesn’t require a direct line of sight between the source and endpoint. With a service range of 50 km, Wimax supports peak data rates of 23 Mbps. Samsung and Alcatel are other vendors eyeing the Indian wireless broadband market. 

SDAIndia has more projections of WiMax growth in India and Asia; also be sure to check out this article in CIOL from several months ago, outlining why WiMax is emerging as a popular technology for providing rural connectivity:

With common service centers dotting India’s rural map, WiMax can play a major role in delivering various applications. These include online bill payment, processing and submission of government documents, delivery of agriculture, healthcare and entertainment services, in education, research and information sharing and for e-commerce activities including commodity price information, online trading and banking transactions.

The government of India is already working on programs in order to develop simple, low-cost messaging terminals that could extend wireless communications to poorer communities; an operating system for smart cards; and various building blocks for an available mobile communications infrastructure, with Wi-Fi and WiMax key elements.

“WiMax can play a major role towards providing wireless broadband connectivity for the rural masses in India. We have already seen some pilot deployments going on at various locations in India. Moving forward, we are pretty positive about the potential of this technology and how it can deliver more for less for a country like India,” said Karthik Rangarajan, Product Manager, Navini Networks, a broadband wireless access solution provider.