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India to have 6.9 mn WiMax connections by 2011: Gartner

BS Reporter  |  Mumbai 

India is expected to rope in over 6.9 million WiMax connections "" both mobile and fixed "" by the end of 2011, even though the country will remain a niche market for this technology until 2009.
Although the Indian government is strongly promoting WiMax as a technology to connect the country with broadband services, the country-specific mobile broadband framework makes a nationwide rollout of WiMax cost prohibitive, according to a study by global research agency Gartner.
WiMAX or the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless data over long distances.
The study also mentions that although the technology is presented as an important driver for broadband policy in India, the Indian government has failed to effectively motivate operators to roll out countrywide mobile broadband.
WiMax has been selected by the Indian government to connect rural areas to the Internet. However, low personal computer penetration will lead to limited demand.
"By January 2008, India had only 3.4 million broadband subscribers, far short of the target of 9 million by 2007 set by the broadband policy. Given the low levels of PC penetration in India, there will be a limited demand for WiMax and the country-specific mobile broadband framework makes a nationwide rollout of WiMax cost prohibitive. Hence, in the near term," Gartner principal research analyst Naresh Singh said.
As mobile frequencies will not be available in the short-term, Gartner does not expect mobile WiMax rollouts to be available at larger scales before 2009, at the earliest.
Therefore, most WiMax connections in the short- and mid-term will be for nomadic or fixed wireless applications.

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First Published: Thu, March 27 2008. 00:00 IST
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