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Wimax: A Key Driver for Development

Arogyaswami Paulraj
Monday, January 5, 2009
 Arogyaswami Paulraj
As far as telecommunications is concerned, fundamentally there are no much differences in the Indian ecosystem and of the U.S, as it involves sending the signals in the air. However, there are some drivers, which are unique for emerging economies like India, which need not necessarily be a major driver for the U.S. For instance, let's take Wi-max base terminals. In the U.S. Wi-max is aimed at heavy data transfers including video streaming, entertainment, multimedia and so on and price points also can be bit higher, around $100-150.

However, India being a mass market and low Internet penetration and with price points much lower, measly at $10 or so, I think, challenge is to design Wi max base terminals as per the needs of Indian market, which poses the huge research opportunity. In India, one can build the Wimax base stations at much lower cost compared to the U.S. In the U.S most of the cost doesn't go for electronics part of the infrastructure but to get the access for the land to build the same. But it is vice versa in India, as there is no much rules and regulations to acquire a site for such purposes.

Therefore, I think for India, WiMAX is a powerful technology that is available today to provide Indian-society centric applications like telemedicine, distance education, e-governance for urban, suburban, and rural development. By 2012 the Indian market is expected to support 27.5 million WiMAX users representing approximately 20 per cent of the global WiMAX user base. Also, Broadband penetration being low, the opportunity for operators to gain large numbers of subscribers through WiMAX is incredible.
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