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Intel in talks with ITI for WiMAX joint venture

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

Huawei, Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Hitachi may also bid.

The world's largest chip maker Intel is preparing to participate in bids recently invited by ailing state-run equipment manufacturer Indian Industries (ITI) to set up joint ventures based on various technologies including Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), according to sources close to this development.

ITI, according to the bid proposals, intends to be a minority partner in the proposed JVs with a 26 per cent stake. The JV partner should be able to invest at least Rs 60 crore to be able to qualify. Though interested parties have been asked to participate before January 29, 2010, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is holding a pre-bid conference in Delhi before selecting them.

Intel, according to the sources, is interested in manufacturing the hardware and consumer premise equipment around WiMAX which provides for wireless transmission of data and up to 75 Mb/second.

Asked about the development, an Intel India spokesperson declined to comment. However, a highly-placed source within the company confirmed the company was holding a "series of discussions with the extended ecosystem in terms of driving WiMAX technology".

An Intel delegation recently visited the proposed sites for which ITI announced JVs. ITI has invited bids for JVs on WiMAX at Rae Bareli, and Gigabit Passive Optical Network (G-PON), Gigabit Ether Passive Optical Network (GE-PON) and optical transmission equipment at Naini. The company has also sought bids for a JV on IT core systems in Bangalore, where the company employs about 2,200 people.

Other than Intel, other global players including Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung and Hitachi have also shown interest in participating in the JV.

While Huawei and Alcatel Lucent are already working with ITI to cater to state-run BSNL, Samsung and Hitachi — which have significant interest in the segment — are basically keen to have a JV in Rae Bareli. It is also understood that a team of representatives from both the companies recently visited ITI's Rae Bareli plants, before participating in the bid proposals.

In June this year, the government had even announced its intention to write off the Rs 2,820-crore accumulated losses by ITI. DoT had earlier proposed to identify new areas of growth including foraying into new areas, to get the PSU up and running.

First Published: Fri, November 06 2009. 00:11 IST