BSNLís WiMAX march heads southward

Kochi region gets India’s first ‘commercial urban mobile network: 250,000 customers, nationwide,  expected by year-end.

State-owned Indian telecom provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is exploiting its head start over private players in WiMAX technology: Last week its steady if somewhat slow progress across the country took it to central Kerala, where it launched what it calls launched India's first 'Commercial Urban Mobile Network'. The technology whose theoretical top speed is 37 MBPS ( though something like 7 MBPS tops is currently on offer) is immediately available in the Kochi region – encompassing Ernakulam city, Tripunithura, Kalamassery, Aluva and Angamally municipalities – through 25 Base Transmitting Stations. Another 59 are being commissioned soon. BSNL has partnered with AVIAT, formerly Harris Stratex, for its Kerala WiMAX deployment. The statewide coverage depends on the commissioning of another 900 BTSs.

BSNL has already launched WiMAX services in pockets in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. On Feb 4 it extended its WiMAX service to the north-east: to the Kamrup district of Assam, providing rural areas with broadband speeds of 7 MBPS. Later this month, BSNL will take WiMAX to Punjab where it is partnered by Huwei and is setting up 700 base stations in the state. Dhankor in  National Capital region will also get WiMAX  by end  March, with  other NCR areas  including Jehandirpuri, Jewar and Dadri added this year, Minister of State for ICT, Sachin Pilot has said.

Speaking recently at the Korea-India Communications Convergence Forum, Pradeep Nagpal, General Manager, BSNL national network planning, CDMA and WiMax, said "We want to provide broadband services in rural areas using WiMax technology. We currently have 4.6 million broadband subscribers, which is 55.5 per cent of the market. We believe that WiMax is going to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas." The company plans to have a user base of 250,000 WiMax customers by the end of 2010. In rural areas BSNL has pegged tariffs at an affordable Rs 140 - Rs 150 per month, while rates in metros start at Rs 999. The WiMAX services include high speed broadband connectivity, national roaming, web-based commerce, telemedicine, distance learning and low cost connectivity to bank ATMs and railway reservation centres

Link to BSNL WiMAX tariff  

Technote from Wikipedia: WiMAX, meaning Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes, from point-to-multipoint links to portable and fully mobile internet access. The technology provides up to 10 MBPS[ broadband speed without the need for cables. The technology is based on the IEEE 802.16 standard (also called Broadband Wireless Access). The name "WiMAX" was created by the WiMAX Forum, which was formed in June 2001 to promote conformity and interoperability of the standard. The forum describes WiMAX as "a standards-based technology enabling the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and DSL".

The goal for the long-term evolution of WiMAX is to achieve 100 Mbit/s mobile and 1 Gbit/s fixed-nomadic bandwidth as set by ITU for 4G NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Network). 

March 1 2010