BSNL WiMAX was launched in India’s Ajmer district in Rajasthan today. This is the first step in BSNL’s plan to network the entire country with WiMAX technology in a matter of few years.
BSNL WiMAX is not for mobile phones, just in case you are wondering. BSNL is using its WiMAX technology to network block headquarters for state governments’ e-governance networks. BSNL will make WiMAX available for Common Service Centres in states. BSNL WiMAX will be used for issuing vehicle registration, tele-medicine, videoconferencing, payment of bills, issue of birth certificates etc. The monthly tariff for BSNL WiMAX is Rs 140.
BSNL said about its WiMAX launch: “Through this, BSNL will usher in a new era of growth in rural areas. This technology offers broadband speed of 7Mbps at a distance of 15 kilometers. Also, it offers mobility in wireless broadband.”
BSNL already has a WiMAX service, which is operational in some cities. It plans to launch WiMAX services in more towns and villages in India. BSNL has tied up with SOMA technologies of US to launch WiMAX in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa. The focus is on smaller cities and towns, and not so much on metros – so whether BSNL WiMAX will be available in metros like Mumbai or Delhi is unclear.
WiMAX is a fourth generation technology, designed to carry large amounts of data over a wireless network. BSNL’s WiMAX will be able to download data at the rate of 7.1 MBPS. The WiMAX signal will reach a distance of 10 km from the base station. The WiMAX wireless data service is made available on the 2.5 GHz band. BSNL plans to spend a total of Rs 12,500 crore on WiMAX technology.
BSNL has kicked off the process of building its WiMAX network across India. An earlier tender issued by BSNL to set up and run WiMAX networks was cancelled, after it found irregularities in the bids. BSNL reissued the WiMAX tender, and has received bids from five companies. The successful auction winner will build and operate the WiMAX network across India as a franchisee.
Intel, the worldwide leader in WiMAX technology is gung-ho on the future of WiMAX in India. The company sees WiMAX adoption the highest in India. However, for the WiMAX ecosystem to develop, the WiMAX spectrum need to be allocated first, followed by setting up of networks and introduction of WiMAX capable computers, handheld devices and mobile phones. Intel is already designing a version of its popular Atom processor for handheld WiMAX devices. It is expected that the cost of WiMAX devices will be lower than that of mobile phones.