Nokia Siemens Networks is in talks with Indian wireless broadband players to set up the back-end infrastructure to help them provide broadband wireless access (BWA) services in the country.
Five companies—Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Tikona and Qualcomm—had won BWA licences and spectrum in the auctions by the government last year. Of these, Reliance Industries and Aircel are known to be conducting vendor valuations.
Nokia Siemens Networks is also looking to sell devices it has designed for the TD-LTE, a version of the long-term evolution (LTE) technology, for BWA services. The devices include dongles and modems, which would be sold by Nokia Siemens Networks to operators, who would then bundle them in offers to consumers.
Nokia Siemens Networks, which recently acquired the devices business of Motorola, is strengthening its devices portfolio with specialised, next-generation TD-LTE devices. The company sees an opportunity in India, where companies have already spoken of their allegiance to technology, which is favouring the system to provide high-speed broadband (as high as 30 mbps) using BWA spectrum.
"We have already seen demand for the devices in Saudi Arabia and Brazil. We are betting big on Asia, especially China and India," said Mark Atkinson, head (TD-LTE sales), Nokia Siemens Networks.
The company also has USB-LTE 7210, a wireless modem, or a dongle, that comes in two versions. One is a multi-modal dongle that supports both 3G and TD-LTE networks and the other is a single-mode dongle only for TD-LTE. This device can be connected directly to a laptop, a netbook or a tablet computer for a plug-and-play experience, with no end-user installation. The company also has the CPEi-LTE 7212 and the CPEo-7210.
While the prices of these devices would be extremely high, Atkinson said in bulk orders, they might fall under the sub-100 Euro range. "I see a situation where the device cost would be around $100 a piece. The cost to the consumer, however, may be lower, since we sell to operators and they might market them differently," he said.
Operators that have launched these services around the world have subsidised devices by bundling them with data plans, or charged the device cost upfront, offering free data along with it.
Nokia Siemens Networks, which also has a device manufacturing centre in Chennai, plans to remain cost-competitive. The facility already manufactures network equipment, as well as devices, for all technologies, including 2G and 3G. The facility exports only 40 per cent of the equipment, and the rest is for the domestic sector.
Most operators that have acquired BWA licences are known to be testing the technology. Many expect these companies may start launching their services in the May-June quarter of the next financial year, and this could stretch to the July-September quarter.