Mumbai: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, the country's largest landline network and the biggest telecom company by revenue, plans to invest around Rs5,000 crore in its WiMAX project.
BSNL will roll out wireless broadband connectivity through WiMAX technology commercially this year, mostly in urban areas, BSNL director (finance) S D Saxena said.
Initially, it will start WiMAX operations in three states - Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai), Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
The public sector telecom major also plans to set up 50,000 IT-enabled kiosks called Common Service Centers (CSC) running on WiMAX technology, across the country.
BSNL is waiting for required spectrum for rolling out the WiMAX services. Once the department of telecommunications details the 3G and WiMAX policy, both state-run operators BSNL and MTNL will get automatic spectrum allocation. Private telecom companies, however, will have to bid for the radio frequencies.
"A lot depends on the government's announcement on 3G and WiMAX and the allocation of spectrum," Saxena added.
BSNL had partnered with Soma Networks of the US for WiMAX solution deployment, earlier this year. The US company will also invest in technology for WiMAX roll-out on a revenue-sharing basis. The complete deployment will take three years.
India is considered to be the largest market for WiMAX with an estimated market share of 35.7 per cent in terms of revenue in the Asia-Pacific region and with 15.8 million subscribers by 2012.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), meanwhile, has come down heavily against DoT for allegedly keeping it in the dark over the policy matters pertaining to WIMAX services.
Trai said it was not even aware that the government had asked agencies, including the Department of Space, to vacate the spectrum falling under WiMAX services.
''The results of the efforts made by the Wireless Planning & Coordination to get the required spectrum bands vacated/re-farmed from the incumbents are not available in the public domain. The authority has time and again emphasised that in the times to come, the spectrum will become the most valuable and scarce resource as with the advent of new data centric applications, its demand will increase and there will be competitive users for the same band of spectrum," Trai told DoT.
The regulator also called for implementation of a more transparent and efficient spectrum management regime.