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BSNL links up with Intel - to competitors' disadvantage?

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) believes it has gained a major advantage over its rivals by collaborating with Intel to create India's first wireless broadband system.

WiMAX is seen by BSNL as providing a clear advantage over Tata, Airtel and Reliance. Intel in turn is investing US$1 billion to build up its Indian presence over the next four years, a programme including investment in local enterprises.

The debate as to whether 3G can meet the challenge of 4G in terms of download capacity has been discussed in the Developing Telecoms review of 4G/WiMAX, as indeed have the tactics of certain companies in moving forward one generation by adopting 4G. If the agreement in question goes ahead, BSNL will be able to learn from the experiences of 200 trials across the world, including some very remote areas (the Amazon Basin, for example).

The very fact that WiMAX can operate over areas 35 miles (56 km) across makes it a suitable candidate for bringing communication to remote part of India (3G is considerably less flexible in its requirement for masts and towers). Trials which are bringing faster speeds to existing BSNL Internet and mobile customers are now underway. BSNL is confident that it can build substantially on its current customer base of 850,000 broadband subscribers.

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