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Renesas Mobile inaugurates R&D centre in Bangalore

May 11, 2011 Comments off

Renesas Mobile Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corp., announced the inauguration of its research and development (R&D) centre in Bangalore, India which develops 2G, 3G and 4G modem technologies.

(L-R): Heikki Tenhunen, senior VP, Alan Frederiksen, MD, Renesas Mobile India,  Shinichi Yoshioka, senior executive VP and COO, and Jean-Marie Rolland, CTO and executive VP, Sales and Marketing.

(L-R): Heikki Tenhunen, senior VP, Alan Frederiksen, MD, Renesas Mobile India, Shinichi Yoshioka, senior executive VP and COO, and Jean-Marie Rolland, CTO and executive VP, Sales and Marketing.

Renesas Mobile was established on December 1, 2010 as a 100 percent subsidiary company of Renesas Electronics. As part of the Renesas group, it has the support of the world’s largest embedded microcontroller player in the semiconductor world. Renesas Mobile focuses on platforms for smart phones, feature phones, car infotainment and embedded connected devices enabling people to stay connected in the cloud computing era.

The company integrates the former Mobile Multimedia Business Unit of Renesas with the former Nokia Wireless Modem Business Unit. The Nokia Wireless Modem Business Unit has been acquired by Renesas Electronics as announced on July 1st, 2010.

Introducing Renesas Mobile Corp., Heikki Tenhunen, senior VP, said that Renesas Mobile offers advanced and innovative products and services for mobile phones, car infotainment solutions, consumer electronics and industrial applications.

The company’s mission is to develop, productize and deliver advanced triple- and dual-mode communication centric semicon chipsets and platforms based on chipsets to provide innovative solutions and drive mew oppurtunities for customers. Renesas Mobile aims to be a world leader in mobile platforms by evolving its proven modem, application processor and SoCs, and associated services via its global business channel.

The Renesas-Nokia combine has since gone on to make unrivalled connected experiences a reality — by way of powerful multi-tasking, rich multimedia, newly emerging technologies — such as cloud computing, 3D, augmented reality, etc., PC like Internet experience, smaller form factor and longer battery life, and remain always connected!

Renesas’ mobile expertise includes the following:
* Excellent device experience, supporting over 400 mobile handsets to date;
* Key components verified at ‘system‘ level quality for platform release;
* Complete reference design easy to start application development;
* Market proven multimedia software package and multiple OpenOS integration support;
* Competitive SoC implementation performance; over 470 mn transistors in mobile LSI (G4);
* Leading-edge process (45nm, 28nm, 22nm) balancing own fab and partners (TSMC, etc.). Read more…

Tejas celebrates 10 years with new products for 3G/BWA backhaul


First, I must thank my friend, Arnob Roy, president-engineering, Tejas Networks, for sharing the details of Tejas celebrating 10 years of telecom product innovation in India. Tejas has been leading the Indian high-tech industry evolution for the last decade. It has played a significant role as bandwidth creators for telecom services in India.

I still remember feeling quite thrilled — back in early 2001 — when I first passed by Tejas’ office in Bangalore, even more so as I’d just met Sycamore Networks at the ITU Telecom Asia 2000 (in early December) in Hong Kong, when I was Editor, Global Sources Telecom Products.

Last week, Tejas completed a decade of telecom product innovation, and celebrated the event by announcing new products for 3G/BWA backhaul, besides having its chairman, Dr. Gururaj (Desh) Deshpande, here for the event.

In case you are unaware, last month, Dr. Deshpande was appointed as the co-chairman of US President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He will support President Obama’s innovation strategy by helping to develop policies that foster entrepreneurship, create jobs, and drive economic growth.  He is a serial entrepreneur, and founder or mentor to many for-profit companies, such as Cascade, Sycamore, Tejas, Airvana, and so on.

Tejas in India

Sanjay Nayak, CEO & MD, Tejas.

Sanjay Nayak, CEO & MD, Tejas.

Outlining Tejas’ success in India, Sanjay Nayak, CEO and MD, said the company had reached the top-10 spot in its segment globally, besides being a leader in India-bandwidth enablers across all operators. Tejas has also achieved global success — it is used by operators in networks in over 50 countries, besides being the OEM product provider to many global equipment majors.

Tejas has also been developing technology leading products such as those enabling 3G/BWA transition. For those interested, the company has launched 10+ products from India over last five years. Also, 192,000 Tejas’ systems are lighting over 5 million km of optical fiber. The company has also seen profitable growth, wtih five-year CAGR of >65 percent (revenues of  Rs. 620 crore). It has 730 employees (in seven countries) with over 450 in R&D. Read more…

Context-aware traffic mediation software could help telcos manage data tsunami: Openwave


Given the rising (and no end in sight) surge  in demand for mobile content and data services, mobile network service providers are facing the challenge of effectively managing exponential growth in data traffic. Service providers must also find ways to maximize bandwidth without sacrificing end user experience.

Anand Chandrasekaran, director of Product Management, Openwave.

Anand Chandrasekaran, director of Product Management, Openwave.

In conjunction with the Mobile Marketing Association Forum (MMA Forum) APAC event held this April 13-15, I had the opportunity to interact with Anand Chandrasekaran, director of Product Management, Openwave Systems Inc., which also did a global launch of it product — the Analytics Express at the event.

Managing data traffic challenges
Despite claims of vendors to have solved growing data traffic challenges, those still remain. How can Openwave really help manage this?

According to Anand Chandrasekaran, a fundamental shift has occurred in the industry. He said: “The demand for mobile data that we planned for years ago is finally here – only it’s bigger than everyone predicted. The proliferation of new devices like the iPhone and HTC Incredible, along with vastly improved user experiences and unlimited data plans (to date), has caused a tremendous and unprecedented surge in mobile data demand – AT&T disclosed this year that 3 percent of its users consume 40 percent of its bandwidth resources. This increase in traffic and the competitive pressure to keep data plans flat are squeezing service providers’ margins.”

Now let us look at how service providers can tackle the bandwith issue. As per Chandrasekharan, until now, one approach has been to add network capacity through additional equipment CAPEX. Unfortunately, this strategy is expensive and provides only a short-term solution.

Not all service providers have the financial strength to simply throw money at the problem, nor does that guarantee a sustainable solution. Service providers need to take a more holistic approach in developing solutions that will maximize available bandwidth while being able to monetize this surge of mobile data traffic.

An effective way for mobile service providers to handle the approaching data tsunami is to deploy context-aware traffic mediation software that sits in the data path, empowering them with a full view of their network, their subscribers’ profiles and the mobile devices in use. Context-aware traffic mediation enables service providers to monitor, manage and monetize traffic by creating and delivering smart policy-driven services.

According to him, Openwave’s Traffic Mediation solution runs on an open, IP-access platform that acts as a single control point for traffic management and provides services such as content adaptation, web and media optimization, network security, smart policy control and dynamic charging and campaigning. Read more…

Four key drivers for Agilent!

December 1, 2008 Comments off

Agilent has been a leader in T&M for quite some time, and India remains a key market for the company.

According to Venkatesh Valluri, President and Country General Manager, Agilent Technologies India, the global market size for T&M in electronics and life sciences is $43 billion. This includes $18 billion in electronics and $25 billion in life sciences. From the India side, the size is about $1 billion.

He says: “Testing is becoming a more integral part of the product development process, especially in general electronics. It is now coming of age. As for the rate of expansion, it is approximately 15-20 percent YoY, and it is higher in India than in other parts of the world.”

Drivers for T&M
Telecom has been the leading driver. However, telecom growth may not be sustained YoY, for say, the next 10 years. “You can’t get 100 million subscribers each year! The difference would be more in the quality of service (QoS). This automatically drives testing and measurement,” he adds.

The second driver is the aerospace industry. The difference is through high-end technology. Agilent’s ADC conversion technology is one of the best in the world. In the next few years, new programs will make this segment even more stronger.

The third driver is manufacturing electronics. In India, it is definitely not as aggressive as China, but it is coming up. Even most of the EMS players are present here. Therefore, some ecosystem is building up.

The fourth driver is the design validation process. As the global R&D centers start coming into India, the companies are also starting to do product design.

Agilent in solar
Hold it guys! Agilent is all set to play a big role in the emerging solar/PV segment as well. According to Valluri, in India, solar/PV is getting into a manufacturing transition.

He notes “Agilent plays strongly in the nanomeasurement area. As solar emerges in India, nanomeasurement technology will become important. Agilent has the AFM (atomic force microscopy), which is a leading product line.”

Semicon in India
All of the large semiconductor companies are based in India. Also, a lot of high-end work is also happening here. The design validation market is slowly coming up.

Agilent feels that the semiconductor companies would need products with the right price points. There will be a need to build the right value at the right price points, says Valluri.

On the gloomy economic climate, he agrees that while the economic climate will not be so robust in 2009, Agilent operate in markets that are considered steady. “We believe that it will be reasonably okay to remain committed to such markets,” he says.

China, India largest growth markets
Ron Nersesian, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business Unit, Electronic Measurements Group, Agilent, points out that it is good to see growth that has been happening.

He says: “Growth in our business has been exceptional. It is an opportunity to work with the local companies as well as the Nokias of the world. We also see opportunities in aerospace and defence, wireless R&D, and installation and maintenance areas. China and India are the largest growth markets.”

Agilent’s strategic intent is to become the leading test and measurement company.

“If you look at the new wireless standards, we would like to provide solutions for all of these standards. We are working on both WiMAX and LTE. We are working with the top wireless vendors as well, says Nersesian.

In aerospace, Agilent work on signal analyzers, signal sources, etc. It also makes network analyzers and component test products, as well as non-linear vector analyzers.

Agilent has also invested in the network surveillance area. “We are focusing on RF surveillance and solutions as well, which can be of great interest to the Indian government,” adds Nersesian.

CDG sees great opportunity for CDMA in India

August 26, 2008 Comments off

Some time early this month, a very interesting development took place in Korea’s telecom market. The CDMA Development Group (CDG) reported that LG Telecom’s new CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Revision A (Rev. A) data service is flourishing in the Korean wireless services market, adding about 100,000 new data subscribers per month to its 3G data service, “OZ” (“Open Zone”).

The OZ service has already resulted in a 14 percent increase in data average revenue per user (ARPU) from the previous quarter and a total of 287,000 OZ subscribers at the end of July.

Launched in April 2008, OZ gained market momentum by offering Korean consumers full-featured handsets with the compelling benefits of wireless broadband data services. The OZ service includes full browsing on the open Internet and unlimited fast data downloads, all at a flat-rate price. LG Telecom will expand its OZ service offering with 10 or more OZ-capable mobile handsets before the year end.

I caught up with Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG, to find out a bit about the success of Rev A, and a little bit more about the global CDMA scenario, ARPUs, and his views on India, invariably!

Giving his overview of the global CDMA market, he said that globally, CDMA is growing rapidly and the ecosystem is strong. We’re in the process of updating our numbers, but at the end of Q2 there were over 451 million CDMA subscribers worldwide, including 438 million CDMA2000 subscribers.

The EV-DO subscriber base grew from 65 million to 91 million over the past year, achieving a CAGR of 40 percent. Since the beginning of 2007, the number of commercial EV-DO Rev. A networks has also grown from three to 43, with another 35 being deployed.

CDMA continues to be the dominant technology in North America, while subscribership is growing fastest in Asian countries such as India and Indonesia. Additionally, the recently-restructured Chinese telecommunications sector has created a tremendous opportunity for CDMA with China Telecom.

Let’s see what kind of services does Rev. A bring to Korea and globally. LaForge added: “LG Telecom launched its flat-rate “OZ” mobile broadband service, which is enabled by Rev. A and has been immensely popular, bringing in more than 100,000 subscribers per month since April 2008.

“The connectivity enabled by Rev. A is opening up a whole new level of wireless services to operators around the world, including user-generated content/social networking, broadcast TV/multicasting, mobile commerce, push-to-X, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, enterprise productivity applications and public safety initiatives.”

So, how does the CDG foresee CDMA’s growth in India?

Certainly, CDG sees an incredible opportunity for CDMA growth in India, especially when mobile broadband EV-DO services become widely available. Commenting on the new 3G spectrum policy, LaForge said it allows CDMA operators to gain access to 2×1.25MHz 3G spectrum in the 800MHz frequency band is a welcome first step towards that goal.

He added: “We welcome the DoT’s announcement of the spectrum guidelines for 3G services and congratulate the DoT for opening up the IMT-2000 recognized bands of 450MHz and 1900MHz bands for 3G services, in addition to the 2100MHz band.

“Although no spectrum is currently available in the 450MHz and 1900MHz bands, we trust that they will soon be made available for bidding to maintain a level playing field with GSM operators.

“Just as the competitive forces of CDMA2000 1X stimulated the rapid growth of telephony penetration in India, we expect EV-DO will add the necessary impetus to take the growth of Internet penetration in the country to the next level.

“The CDG agrees with the recommended principles of using spectrum efficiently, ensuring technology and service neutrality, and establishing a level playing field through auctioning with a reserve price for allocation of 3G spectrum.”

Part two follows in the next blog.

India announces 3G spectrum, MNP guidelines

August 1, 2008 Comments off

Finally, the wait’s over! The Indian government today announced the guidelines for 3G (third-generation mobile communications) spectrum as well as mobile number portability (MNP).

First, all players — Indian and global — have been invited to bid for 3G spectrum, making it a truly level-playing field. The condition for a foreign player or telecom operator is that it should have some experience in running 3G telecom services.

Those interested to know more about the guidelines for auction and allottment of spectrum for 3G telecom services, can download the documents from DoT’s site.

Apparently, the 3G guidelines allow 10 players in the Indian 3G space, including both Indian and foreign players.

Spectrum in the 2.1GHz band would be available for the 3G telecom services through bidding/auction. Spectrum shall be auctioned in blocks of 2x5MHz in the 2.1GHz band. As per the DoT guidelines, the number of blocks to be auctioned may vary from five to 10, subject to the availability in different telecom service areas. Should there be non-availability, the number of blocks may be less than five in a telecom service area.

The MNP allows mobile phone users/subscribers to change their operators, while retaining their mobile phone numbers.

As per the DoT guidelines, a customer can approach a ‘recipient operator’ to port his or her number. The ‘donor operator’ cannot re-use that customer’s ported number till such time the ported number is in use. The donor operator can only have the ported number once it has been surrendered by the ported customer.

Well, both of these announcements are going to add to India’s brilliant telecom success story.

As for the foreign players coming into the country, quite a few are already present. It would be great to see the likes of NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom, China Telecom, China Mobile, Telefonica, etc., enter the 3G space in India. As for 3G technology itself, TD-SCDMA, HSPA, etc., should be considered as well.

Oh yes, there’s some good news for those itching to use the Apple iPhone 3G. Once, the 3G networks are in place, there’s nothing that can stop this from happening.

On the MNP front, a good majority of Indian subscribers are on prepaid. So, there may be quite a few changeovers happening! It could well prove to be a nightmare for the operators, but then, that’s the fun of having a level-playing field and the challenge of playing in the booming Indian telecom market.

Postscrpt: A reader, Abhshek, left a very interesting and relevant comment regarding 3G services that users could be charged heftily. I quite agree with him! The 3G operators would need to price their services right. It should be win-win for both operators and users.

To start off, service charges could possibly be on the higher side, as the 3G licenses won’t come cheap, and operators would also look at the revenue angle. However, over time, service charges are quite likely to come down, if the pattern of the Indian telecom history is repeated. Many thanks for your comment, Abhishek.

Kodiak brings PTT conferencing, group SMS to India

December 16, 2007 Comments off

US-based Kodiak Networks is in the business of voice-based VAS for mobile networks. It has a large presence in Bangalore ~200 full-time employees, with a total global workforce of 260. All R&D, testing and customer support are handled out of India.

Kodiak’s worldwide growth and application adoption puts a spotlight on this region for innovation and business success. The demand for wireless voice services continues to grow globally, but especially in this region.

According to Dr. Giridhar Boray, Country Manager – India, Kodiak Networks, three major operators have deployed the Kodiak Connected Portfolio [Idea, Airtel and Tata], and that Kodiak will continue to announce new applications geared toward business users and consumers.

He said that operators faced a common trend worldwide — increasing subscriber growth and declining revenues. Hence, the operators are now looking at VAS. Push-to-talk (PTT), as a solution, is becoming popular in the USA. An example is Nextel, which grew out of Fleetcall, has evolved into cellular.

Dr. Boray said: “Initially, all operators were waiting for 3G, but they could not wait. They wanted PTT in 2G, with migration into 3G.” Delving into history, he pointed out that AllTell, a CDMA operator and Kodiak’s first customer, agreed to trial PTT product in 2002. Kodiak’s customer base has swelled to 16 globally, since!

Dr Boray said: “In PTT, you need to have a dedicated button and a speaker. Our solution goes into the voice channel.” He explained that for 2G PTT, the industry adopted two approaches — PTT on the voice channel or PTT on the data channel.

Some of Kodiak’s competitors reportedly introduced PTT on data channel. India’s Tata Teleservices was the first to use PTT, but the service was discontinued after some time. Dr. Boray also added that for using PTT, the US government mandates that any service that is put on to the network can be legally intercepted or tapped as a matter of national security.

Kodiak’s next big customer was AT&T Wireless, which tested its PTT solutions. A lot of its customers in the US are regional operators, who have roaming agreements with the bigger operators, which also helped Kodiak.

AT&T Wireless was also able to drive handset vendors to use PTT via Kodiak’s solutions. “Right now, 45+ handset models carry our solutions,” added Dr. Boray. “These include Blackberry, LG, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, ZTE, etc.”

Conferencing, group SMS trials in India
India hosts Kodiak’s development center. He mentioned TRAI’s statement on PTT that, PTT is legal as operators are able to meet the ADC requirements, plus all regulatory requirements related to voice, such as lawful interception. “They did not say that PTT on data channel was incorrect. To do that, you would need to first build the infrastructure,” he added. Kodiak’s solutions work on both GSM and CDMA standards.

Kodiak has now evolved PTT into two-way conferencing. As an example, on the Airtel Blackberry, users can select up to six people and do conferencing. Dr. Boray said: “We also have the application on the SIM card as AVS (advanced voice services). From our side, you can conference with up to 30 users, but operators generally allow the selection of up to five to six users from your contacts list.”

Kodiak will be offering conferencing as well as group SMS with Airtel. “Only one SMS goes to the server, which distributes it,” he said. “Group SMS, conferencing, etc., should be helpful during emergencies.”

Touching on Kodiak’s partnership with Airtel, Dr. Boray said: “Airtel started over six months back as a market trial. It is offering the services to some corporates, but only on postpaid. We will be extending it over prepaid as well over the next few months.” As for the charges, he said that the customers would probably get deducted as per the existing and applicable NLD and ILD call charges.

Kodiak is also trialing the service with Idea in New Delhi. The next trial is with Tata Teleservices over BREW-enabled handsets. Kodiak offers applications for BREW.

Dr. Boray added: “We also want to enter into the prepaid coverage. Prepaid is widely used in enterprises as well.” Besides these three — Airtel, Idea and Tata — Kodiak is in discussions with some other operators as well. Kodiak also offers voice SMS, which it is not pushing hard enough for the moment. Kodiak’s India chief said that the enterprises may find value in this application.

PTT rollout with JMCC in China in Q1-08
Kodiak has also announced the first commercial PTT deployment in China for China Mobile’s Jiangsu Mobile Communications Co. (JMCC). Its target are corporate users with an emphasis on transportation, municipalities, and retail segments. The PTT subscribers will be billed a monthly service charge (bundled service offering).

The initial launch will include Nokia Symbian GSM handsets. According to Dr. Boray, the roll-out is scheduled for Q1-2008. “JMCC is a big operator. This win will also help us get into the other provinces of China as well,” he added.

The Kodiak PTT voice-based solution provides superior mobile coverage compared to previously trialed data/GPRS solutions. It is the only solution with QoS resulting in best-in-class reliability and speed for JMCC customers. Also, Kodiak PTT provides users with a convenient alternative to trunked radio (one handset provides function of both a radio and a mobile phone).

Some of Kodiak PTT’s unique features include: real-time presence and availability indicators; quick group calling up to 10 group members; convert to cellular (upgrade a one-way PTT call to a two-way cellular call); PTT/GSM call waiting; permission-based contact management; and contact alerts.

Dr. Boray added: “Lot of IM features are also making their way into PTT. Our focus is on group communications.”

Continued growth in 2008
To add to Kodiak’s PTT success in 2008, eight new PTT handsets are likely to be announced in the first half of the year. Significant PTT customers in three regions are likely to be announced as well. Finally, 2008 will also see two Open OS, downloadable PTT client versions announcements with commercial customers.

Research firm In-Stat believes that the number of PTT global subscribers will grow to 67.8 million by the end of 2009. PTT/PoC has an opportunity to reach non-traditional business and consumer (especially youth) markets. One-third of In-Stat respondents would consider switching carriers in order to be able to use PTT/PoC.

According to a Wintergreen Research report from September 2007, there were 45.6mn PTT subscribers in 2006 and 64mn in mid 2007. This is likely to reach 340mn by 2013. The PTT subscriber revenue of $1.2bn in 2006 is also likely to reach $16.7 billion in 2013.

Multi-generation platform support
Kodiak’s solutions are built on the Kodiak RTX platform, which will support the converged IMS network architecture with a software upgrade.

Kodiak RTX is a multi-generation platform that spans 2G and 3G network technologies, and extends services to social networks and IM communities. Kodiak IMS applications also leverage the Kodiak IMS Client framework.

Convergence driving technology trends, says Sasken chief

November 15, 2007 Comments off

Sasken Technolgies was earlier known as SAS and it was focusing on product development. Later, it moved on to services. Speaking about this shift, Rajiv C. Mody, chairman and CEO, said that Sasken has always been, from day one, working on both simultaneously.

Sasken initially started out in the EDA space and had one product in the simulation space. It was writing a simulator, addressing large complex designs and methods to simplify the designs. Simultaneously, Sasken was also doing a lot of services for large telecom companies in the areas of designing. This was continued and eventually, Sasken expanded in the area of telecommunications.

Subsequently, Sasken started building products in the telecom space. However, one significant difference is that anything that it does, it impacts Sasken’s customers’ top line as Sasken address the R&D side of the business.

Not so long back, Sasken were also a VLSI player. It decided to disband the design tool part of the business and focus completely on communications. Now, Sasken does a lot of business in chip design, which is part of VLSI. Today, it is among the leading providers of semiconductor design, working on all kinds of complex system-on-chip (SoC), as well as 65nm design.

Sasken has filed for 39 patents so far, of which 16 have been granted. Those remaining are in the process, and typically, once a patent has been applied for, it takes four years before being granted.

It has invested close to Rs 40 crore in R&D in 2007. In the first two quarters of this financial year, it has invested about Rs 15 corers in R&D. Sasken focuses on next-generation technologies, which would shape up the way things are to come in this new, converged world.

Mody said: “The fundamental thing driving this entire change is convergence — essentially entertainment, media, news, information — all of it being available at push medium as well as pull medium. Wireless is also playing a very significant role.”

All of these combinations are creating newer opportunities – starting with, say, for example, in the service provider-side, new billing methods have to be put in place because it’s going to be triple- and quad-play kinds of situations.

Simultaneously, on the handset side, with more and more computing power being made available, newer kinds of applications have started playing significant role. As a result, Sasken is now scanning the entire gamut to position itself and take advantage.

Sasken will continue to invest in products in the mobile handset space. It also has a significant role to play on the multimedia and the application frameworks. Mody added: “To give you an idea, for the mobile handset, direct broadcast is going to play a significant role. People are already talking about high definition (HD) on mobile. You will see all those kinds of interesting things coming about, and we will participate.”

Sasken had also acquired a Finnish firm. This acquisition has worked extremely well and its full integration has been done. Mody said: “We have significant engagements because of our presence in Finland and the capabilities that they bring, not only with the existing, but also with the new costumer base. We are thriving and this has given us the capability to do full end-to-end handset design and testing.”

Speculating on Indian 3G spectrum specter

October 25, 2007 Comments off

The ongoing saga regarding spectrum for 3G services, use of dual technologies, etc., reminds me of 2002, the MII, TD-SCDMA and 155MHz! Read on…

Anything on the spectrum spectacle in India makes very interesting reading! It’s as though two sides fighting over a valuable possession. Worth a click!!

We have been following how the two GSM and CDMA lobbies -– COAI and AUSPI -– have been in the news over the use of mixed bands. GSM operators have constantly warned that any move to allocate spectrum in the 1900MHz band to CDMA players would adversely impact their services in the 2100MHz band. We’ve been following what the TRAI, the DoT and others have to say on all of this.

Then AUSPI informed this week that field trials conducted in Hyderabad last week had proved successful. The trial conducted by AUSPI on behalf of the Department of Telecom (DoT) claims that the co-existence of 1900 MHz and 2100 MHz is possible.

Now, we are told that defence would be vacating spectrum by end of this year and India would have 3G services by next year. Hope all disputes are settled amicably and India finally gets to see what 3G services would have to offer.

I am reminded of two things – one, the 3G license auctions in Europe, which nearly brought the wireless house down in the early 2000s, and two, an interesting development in China. I’ll dwell on the second one.

Nearly seven years ago, I happened to break the news on TD-SCDMA (Time Division-Synchronous Code-Division Multiple Access), a 3G technology being developed at that point of time by Datang Telecom and Siemens. That story link no longer exists, so I’m providing a link to another story, mentioned below.

About two and a half years later, around October 2002, the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) in China allocated a total frequency of 155MHz for TD-SCDMA! This, for an untested, untried 3G technology, in a country much larger than India, was and is still unheard of!

Makes me wonder, why did the MII give away so much of spectrum so long back to an untested 3G technology, when in India, we keep hearing reports about spectrum issues, use of dual technologies, etc. Are there lessons to be learnt from the Chinese example?

On TD-SCDMA, much later, in 2002, I also discovered not many had even heard of it in India. However, around the time I reported this 155MHz spectrum story, STING’s Robin Grewal contacted me in Delhi to find out more about this 3G technology! That was the level of interest in 3G and TD-SCDMA, and spectrum in India, at least, at that time. Things have changed since! Hopefully!!

Broadband hasn’t grown as expected in India

September 17, 2007 Comments off

Yes, I believe so! The numbers, if one were to contend with those alone, DO NOT meet the expectations. Broadband was and is considered to be the new paradigm of India. However, are we anywhere near whatever growth we have been expecting? Let’s see the stats for the various telecom segments.

According to the statistics made available by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the total number of telephone subscribers was 232.87 million at the end of July 2007, and the overall teledensity had increased to 20.52!

In the wireless segment, 8.06 million subscribers were added in July 2007 and the total wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA and WLL (F)) base was 192.98 million. The wireline segment subscriber base stood at 39.89 million, with a decline of 0.20 million in July 2007.

And what about broadband? For broadband (≥256Kbps downloads), the total broadband connections in the country had reached only 2.47 million by the end of July 2007. In fact, during July 2007 there was an addition of 0.05 million connections!

Let’s go back a few months! Venkat Kedalya of Convergent Communications had pointed out in an article to CIOL that India was nowhere on course to reach a target of 9 million broadband subscribers by this year! India has a target of achieving 20 million broadband subscribers by 2010, which now seems to be highly ambitious and well, unachievable!

Allocation of frequencies for BWA (broadband wireless access) is the immediate need of the moment. There is a need to look at WiMax and broadband over powerline (BPL) as far as technology is concerned. Some folks have entered the IPTV domain, so hopefully, we will get to see some content over broadband.

Even TRAI has urged the government to boost broadband growth. One of its suggestions has been to ask BSNL and MTNL to adopt a franchisee model so that local players may use their copper cables and offer high-speed Internet services. Decisions need to be taken for allocating spectrum for WiMax as well as making the National Internet Exchange of India more effective.

TRAI said: “Only 0.47 million broadband subscribers have been added in first six months of 2007, which is far below the growth trend required to achieve broadband policy targets. This necessitated an analysis of regulatory and policy frameworks, and to formulate new approach necessary for rapid roll-out of broadband in the country.”

TRAI also accepts that while the growth of Internet subscribers was satisfactory, we are seriously lagging behind as far as broadband is concerned. It adds: “The government should ensure availability of more number of Ku-band transponders to roll out broadband services through DTH platform and utilize Universal Service Obligation (USO) fund to provide subsidy for providing broadband services through satellite in remote and hilly areas.”

I’m not really sure how all of this will help. You do need at least a PC to access the Internet services. Am not sure how many folks are still willing to invest in home PCs and broadband, given that watching TV is a favorite pastime. Broadband over cable TV has not been a success either. What are we doing about this?

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