BSNL eyes 50,000 WiMax users

Ahmedabad becomes the first WiMax city in the country

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has finally launched WiMax technology in Ahmedabad, which enables users a much faster downloading on internet. With launch of this advanced technology, the city has become the first WiMax city in the country. The telco targets around 50,000 WiMax connection in a year.

DNA Money was first to report that Ahmedabad will become the first WiMax city in the country by the end of February. While launching the service, chief general manager (CGM), Gujarat circle, BSNL, Satya Pal said, "WiMax is a faster service for downloading of data. Moreover, landline connection is not required for the service. We expect to get around 50,000 connections within a year in Gujarat and in five years, the subscriber base is expected to increase to around 10 lakh." BSNL, in association with US based firm, Soma Networks, will provide high-speed wireless broadband service in Gujarat. "We have expertise in WiMax technology and we will deploy base station on the cell sites of BSNL to provide the technology in the state. We are providing this service since 10 years in around 12 countries. With launch in Ahmedabad, we have entered in Indian market for the first time," said founder and CEO of Soma Networks, Yatish Pathak.

Being a government-owned company, BSNL was first to get the license and spectrum for rolling out WiMax service in the country. "In broadband services, BSNL has 56% market share in the country and it is a public sector undertaking. So we decided to join hand with BSNL. After Gujarat, we are going to launch the service in Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh," Pathak said.

Apart from these four states, Soma Networks had also submitted EOI to BSNL for launching the service in other states. "Of the 400 members of WiMax Forum in the world, around 15 companies have shown interest for offering the service. We are happy to get the opportunity to provide service in four states and now we are keen to get approval for other states too," said MD of Soma Networks, Jitendra Ahuja. He further said that in Gujarat, BSNL would provide broadband service and Soma Networks would provide the technology.

…will provide service in 12 more cities

In the initial stage, WiMax service from BSNL will be available in Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Vapi, Ankleshwar, Pandesara and Chota Udepur. So far, company has erected around 25 towers, covering six locations in Gujarat. "Within a year, we want to erect 80 more towers, which will cover another big 12 cities of Gujarat. And in coming years, we want to set up 300 towers so that whole state will become a WiMax state," said VP, sales and marketing, Soma Networks, Mayur Tanna. By expanding its WiMax network, both the companies want their customer base to increase from 50,000 to 10 lakh in next five years. "In five years, we will be covering the whole state. Initially, we want to cover the cities and towns between Ahmedabad and Mumbai," said Tanna.

Himansh Dhomse/ DNA-Daily News & Analysis Source: 3D Syndication