US-based telecom equipment maker Motorola is in talks with top cellular service providers here for deployment of WiMax, a technology that has potential to offer data downloads at speed twice as fast as 3G.
Telecom firms, including Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, RCom and the Tatas, along with other new players have put in applications to acquire spectrum (air waves) for WiMax (known as Broadband Wireless Access), which will be auctioned next month.
The government is auctioning just two slots of 20 MHz spectrum each and an aggressive bidding is expected, as 11 players would be up against each other to grab a slot.
WiMax allow subscribers to experience data download speed up to 30 Mbps - given the 20 Mhz spectrum offered to each player - while in 3G (third generation) mobile technology, the maximum speed is about 14 Mbps.
“We have come back very strongly. Our focus is on 4G technology and the WiMax network has an in-built advantage that will allow operators to upgrade this to 4G once the government allows it,” Subhendu Mohanty, Motorola India Country Head, Network Business, said.
Trials of WiMax is already running across locations in the country.
The US company could not make much impact in the mobile market in India in the last decade owing to the domination of two European firms - Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens Network. But in WiMax, Motorola is leading the race with deployment of over 38 networks worldwide.
Motorola, being the pioneer in WiMax technology, claims that it can offer end-to-end solutions in the active infrastructure that constitutes 30 - 40 per cent of the cost.
Asked about the investment involved in deploying pan- India network, Mohanty declined to comment, saying no such estimates are available for India and the same cannot be compared with global costing structure as Indian operations are largely driven by volumes.
Since only two operators would be offering WiMax services, Mohanty said, “We are in talks with most of the operators and are hopeful of long term partnerships with them.”
Telecom regulator TRAI has already begun the process of introducing 4G or long term evolution (LTE) in India and the WiMax networks offered by Motorola, according to the company, are compatible and can be upgraded at nominal cost.
Motorola also offers WiMax devices, Mohanty said, adding that the company has already shipped 2-2.5 million devices worldwide.