The issue of which technology to use in wireless broadband services, TD-LTE or WiMax, is becoming keener.
After Reliance Industries did so, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) plans to launch LTE-based services. “We will have to continue offering broadband services through WiMax in rural areas because of various government schemes. But LTE-based services are being looked at for urban areas,” chairman and managing director R K Upadhyay told Business Standard.
Both TD-LTE (time division-long term evolution) and WiMax (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) are 4G (fourth-generation) technology, which offer wireless broadband at high speeds. In TD-LTE, subscribers can get data speed in the range of 60-100 mega bits per second (mbps). In WiMax, data speed is around 40 mbps. Apart from the higher speed, an LTE-based service scores over WiMax because of its compatibility with both 2G and 3G networks.
Asked when these services would be launched, Upadhyay said it would take some time. Apart from Reliance Industries, which acquired majority stake in Infotel Broadband, which had won pan-India broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in last year’s auction, another private company, Aircel, has recently concluded trials for TD-LTE with Huawei.
BSNL’s sister concern, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, is also contemplating TD-LTE services. MTNL had first called for bids to look for a franchisee for its WiMax business, but this did not materialise. It plans a new tender now, to be technology-neutral and has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers as the agency to look for a franchisee and prepare an Expression of Interest for this.
Both BSNL and MTNL were awarded BWA spectrum in 2009, a year ahead of the auction for private companies. It is expected that the latter would commercially launch their services in the first quarter of next year.