BSNL stalls on naming WiMAX franchisee

Despite announcing more than three months ago it was on the verge of naming another WiMAX rollout partner, BSNL, a state-owned fixed and mobile operator in India, appears to be no nearer to making a decision.

According to local press reports, Kuldeep Goyal, CMD of BSNL, said: “The WiMAX franchisee tender is still under evaluation under the designated panel. There is therefore no question of any allocation to any franchisee yet. The panel will examine all aspects before selecting the franchisees and if there is found to be any discrepancy it will be taken care of. We will maintain [the] highest standard of transparency.”

There has been some controversy in India surrounding BSNL’s WIMAX franchise model with fears expressed in some quarters that the state-owned operator would be giving too much service revenue away. Rumours are swirling in the local media that BSNL is contemplating awarding 75 per cent of revenue to its franchisee partner and keeping only 25 per cent.

BSNL is already using Soma Networks as a mobile WiMAX franchisee in the three ‘circles’ (regions) of Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Under the franchise arrangement, Soma pays for the WiMAX kit in exchange for access to BSNL infrastructure (such as tower sites and backhaul facilities) and a revenue-sharing deal on WiMAX services. Soma struck a 70-30 revenue sharing deal with BSNL in the kit-maker’s favour.

In March 2009, BSNL said it had drawn up a shortlist of three suppliers for mobile WiMAX rollout beyond the three circles where Soma is active: Huawei, Telsima and Alvarion.

Shortly after that announcement, backhaul specialist Harris Stratex Networks acquired Telsima in a $12m deal.

Hear from all of the key Indian WiMAX players at WiMAX Forum Global Congress – dont miss this Panel Discussion on 1st June – visit to register today and start networking with attendees prior to the event !

12.00 PANEL DISCUSSION India’s Broadband Ambitions: Plans and Present Status of WiMAX Deployment


·         WiMAX deployment plans and expectations

·         Expanding existing network infrastructure to deliver real improvements to India’s enterprises and consumers  

·         Outlining the Indian Government’s initiatives in the broadband spectre

·         How many of India’s population have access to broadband now? How could WiMAX help improve broadband penetration?


Pradeep Kumar Yadav, National Head of IT, Sistema Shyam TeleServices (India)

Naresh Ajwani, President Consumer Infrastructure and Operations, Sify (India)

Sandeep Keshkar, Deputy General Manager NSS, MTNL (India)

Vivek Dua, DGM IT & Regulatory Affairs, BSNL/Ministry of Communications (India)

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