Wimax looks to breakout big in India

The Wimax communication technology could be making a breakout in India as reported by Businessweek.

Sprint will be rolling out a WiMax network in Washington next month (April 2008), and in other U.S. cities next year {2009). Until now the most advanced use of WiMax has been in Japan and Korea, where Japanese carrier KDDI and Korea Telecom offer extensive WiMax networks. However the Japanese and Korean services are not available nationwide—KDDI will have its major rollout only in 2009—and most people use them as supplements to the wired services.

Tata Communications has been working on setting this up for a couple of years, and successfully completed field trials last December. It has used the technology from Telsima, a Sunnyvale (Calif.) maker of WiMax base-stations and the leading WiMax tech provider in the world. For now, the technology will be restricted to fixed wireless, but Tata plans to make it mobile by midyear. The company has invested about $100 million in the project, which will increase to $500 million over the next four years as it begins to near its goal of having 50 million subscribers in India.

The total Indian subscriber base [of fixed line communication] is just 3.2 million and there is no clear market leader. But with the WiMax rollout Tata can gain a leadership position and add “a few thousand subscribers a day,” says Alok Sharma, chief executive of Telsima.