India Broadband Spectrum Bids

Mobile phone evolutionImage via Wikipedia
The beauty of the mobile space is best felt in markets like India where people's first introduction to any form of telecommunication comes in the form of a simple mobile phone in their hands that they use for something basic like making phone calls. This reminds me of the early days of the PC revolution in the US when software people wrote code for chips that were, well, not powerful at all. You ran simple programs. But they were novel and mesmerizing. You felt like you were at the forefront.

To make voice calls, no literacy is required. That is a revolutionary concept.

There is ample demand in India for the kind of broadband services that the average user in the US takes for granted. After all India boasts of the largest middle class in the world. And it has plenty of the super rich, the dollar millionaires and billionaires.

But for me the most fascinating aspect of the unfolding story is the way it impacts people who Bill Gates calls "the bottom two billion." Fully one fourth of those might be right there in India. And they aspire to make phone calls. Many of them aspire to make phone calls before they even own phones. An entrepreneur in a small village will purchase a phone. Next thing you know he/she is in business. Relatives far away will call up. They will be asked to call back again in an hour. In the mean time someone will go fetch the person in the village who will come wait by the phone. And they get to talk, for a small fee. That is revolutionary. It does not require literacy. It is real time. It is cheap. People don't just call in emergencies. They call to say hello, they call to make small talk. Why? Because it is possible, and they can afford it. If they can afford a cup of tea, they can afford a phone call. Suddenly a family member going to a far away city to work, or even to another country, is not that scary a proposition. Go do that, just make sure you stay in touch.

Between that and the FM radio, you got people who are super connected. And they are all ears. They are learning. The world is changing at a rapid clip.

That is the low end of the market. At the high end you have people who compete globally and often win. They  operate at global speeds, on global standards.

India Broadband Spectrum Bids Reach $1.13 Billion on Fourth Day BusinessWeek India’s government got bids totaling 52.45 billion rupees ($1.13 billion) on the fourth day of an auction for licenses to offer faster wireless broadband for computers nationwide .... Qualcomm Inc., the world’s biggest maker of mobile-phone chips, and Vodafone Group Plc, the largest mobile carrier by sales ..... 22 regional zones in the world’s second-largest wireless market by subscribers ...... Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s biggest wireless operator
Broadband spectrum price touches Rs 5245 cr Hindu Business Line Value of pan India broadband spectrum has reached Rs 5,245.1 crore at the end of the fourth day of bidding. The auction picked up more intensity on Friday with eight rounds of bidding.
India broadband spectrum bidding hots up Economic Times Bids for one set of all-India wireless broadband spectrum licences reached 31.98 billion rupees ($670 million), or about 83 percent higher than the base price, on the second day of an auction ...... Eleven firms including India's top three telecoms firms -- Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar -- and US chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, are bidding for broadband spectrum....... bidding for third-generation (3G) spectrum that ended last Wednesday after 34 days and 183 rounds. The sale fetched the Indian government 677 billion rupees in revenue, nearly double the total estimated from both 3G and wireless broadband spectrum auctions. .......
Bid to start discussion on 4G tech Calcutta Telegraph Auction of 3G spectrum raked in over Rs 67,000 crore for the government, while wireless broadband spectrum is expected to fetch around Rs 20,000 crore. Long term evolution (LTE) technology, or 4G, allows more data to be transferred over the same bandwidth used by 3G but at higher speeds....... Dual mobile service provider Tata Teleservices ..... Qualcomm has also sought large chunks of radio waves for advanced technologies like LTE. ..... Around 59 operators have committed to LTE launches in 28 countries with up to 22 LTE networks in service by 2010 and 37 LTE networks in service by 2011.
India's 3G spectrum auction raises $14.6 billion BusinessWeek The government had expected to get less than 350 billion rupees ($7.5 billion) ....... Two state owned companies, which were given advance spectrum, must also match the winning bid prices, making the total government take 677 billion rupees ($14.6 billion). ....... None of the seven winning operators will have a nationwide presence. Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Aircel each won bids in 13 of 22 areas, more than any other company. Vodafone bought into nine areas. ........ Market leaders Bharti, Vodafone and Reliance Communications paid dearly for spectrum in the key markets of Mumbai and New Delhi, but will need to tie up with smaller players to provide nationwide coverage for their 3G customers. ........ The three winning bidders for New Delhi spectrum each paid 33.2 billion rupees ($715.5 million), while Mumbai's three winners paid 32.5 billion rupees ($700.4 million). ........ The auction hit in the middle of a brutal cellular price war in India, and paying for spectrum will hit already eroding margins. ...... India's mobile market is far from mature, adding 20 million users a month, many of them in rural villages ....... what many operators really wanted was not the 3G license, but the additional spectrum to serve India's fast-growing customer base. ...... My interest is in providing basic services, like voice ...... it could take five years before operators recoup their bids.
Spectrum fear fuels 3G craze Calcutta Telegraph Fears over the availability of 2G spectrum in the future, which could jack up its cost, have led telecom operators to bid over Rs 70,000 crore for third-generation (3G) spectrum in the ongoing auction. ..... Though the spectrum payout may put a significant strain on their resources, most operators are willing to take on “additional debt or dilution of stake” for assets, which will provide “long-term returns” ...... The telecom ministry has banned the allocation of 2G spectrum, or radio waves through which voice and data travel, till it finalises a mechanism for pricing the resource. ...... A single provisional bid for pan-India 3G spectrum today touched Rs 16,531 crore, beating all analyst estimates. So far, the government has earned Rs 66,802 crore, around 91 per cent more than the Rs 35,000 crore it had hoped to garner by auctioning 3G and broadband wireless spectrum. The Delhi circle received the highest bid of Rs 3,284 crore followed by Mumbai at Rs 3,183 crore. ....... operators with a 12-15 per cent 2G and 3G combined market share will have an internal rate of return of 15 per cent over 10 years.
Qualcomm Eyes Expansion with India LTE Bid Wireless Week Qualcomm is an enabler – a technology enabler, that is. The company has used its considerable financial resources to accelerate the development and deployment of technologies ranging from its core CDMA business to its mobile television subsidiary FLO TV. Yesterday, Qualcomm put this strategy into play in India, the world’s second-largest CDMA market. ...... It might seem a little odd for a chipmaker to want to get into the network infrastructure space, but it’s not out of character for Qualcomm. The company’s $18.2 billion cash stash can be leveraged to invest in areas that will accelerate business for Qualcomm’s cash cow – its chip making business. ...... CDMA technology will eventually stop being a growth generator for Qualcomm. ..... “They’ve really been pushing into LTE because they need that to keep growing their company… ....... if you look at the horizon in a lot of developed areas there isn’t a whole lot more coming. ........ Qualcomm also wants to prevent WiMAX from being deployed in India’s 2.3 GHz band ....... “Qualcomm wants to promote TD-LTE over WiMAX in India and they’re willing to put up big money for the auction” ...... India’s total mobile subscriber base is more than 580 million and the country is still working to deploy third generation wireless services on its recently-auctioned 3G spectrum licenses. ...... Qualcomm is taking a similarly proactive approach in China, which is using TD-SCDMA for 3G and TD-LTE for 4G. Qualcomm recently opened its second research and development center in China to help expand its presence in what it called an “increasingly important” wireless market...... China’s wireless market dwarfs that of the U.S. The country’s top operator, China Mobile, has 544.2 million subscribers. The country’s second-largest operator, China Unicom, has 544 million subscribers. By comparison, Verizon and AT&T have wireless subscriber bases of 92 million and 86 million, respectively..... What separates Qualcomm’s strategy from other players in the wireless industry is how proactive it is

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