India’s spectrum auction delays cost country dear

Amid concerns that India’ auction of 3G spectrum may be delayed yet again, the WiMAX Forum has said that every six months of delay in the process results in $1bn in lost revenues for the country.

The latest official date given for the auction is January 2010, but after numerous delays this may be postponed yet again.

But industry body the WiMAX Forum is also calling for the government to separately release spectrum for WiMAX deployments in the 2.3/2.5 GHz frequency bands in a bid to stimulate broadband growth and economic development immediately.

”WiMAX auctions should be done well ahead by de-linking the auction from the 3G auction process as the country needs broadband growth and wireless high speed Internet access now for the economic development of the Indian society,” said Ron Resnick, president and chairman of the WiMAX Forum. “India needs immediate and affordable broadband access to meet the aspirations and expectations of the younger generation who constitute 56 per cent of the population.”

Today, there are 500 million mobile phone subscribers in India, but only 7.4 million have access to broadband connections. According to the Forum, WiMAX represents the only viable option to achieve faster roll out of broadband services in order to meet the government’s targeted 100 million broadband users by 2014.

The Forum predicts that the Indian WiMAX market including devices will be worth $13bn by 2012, taking into account 27.5 million WiMAX users in 2012.

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