Is the world’s largest Internet brand and the globe’s favourite search engine is looking to make its presence felt in India through the lucrative wireless broadband Internet market?
According to sources talking to Business Standard, Google is looking at broadband wireless access (BWA) in the country and may participate in the upcoming 3G/WiMAX auction with an Indian partner. BWA is also known as Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, or WiMAX.
The search giant would probably enter into the foray with an Indian telecom partner. Foreign companies are allowed to have up to 74 per cent of the share in such joint ventures.
The auction, scheduled for January, could be a great opportunity for Google to spread itself in the Indian market, where only 14.05 million people of the over 1 billion population are active Internet subscribers.
Pluggd.in explains why WiMAX makes more sense for Google: “By 2014, there will be 20 million 3G-based broadband subscribers by 2014 as opposed to 60 million WiMax users (the rationale behind these numbers is the availability of 20 MHz spectrum per operator and the expected lower price of WiMAX based devices).”
Spectrum allocation is India’s largest scam: BJP
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Arun Jaitley – leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha –deemed the alleged irregularities in allocating 3G spectrum as the “largest scam in independent India.”
In a detailed report, the Economic Times quotes Jaitley demanding the sacking of telecom minister A. Raja, saying that he changed the rules of the game for “friendly” applicants.
“Applications for telecom licences were invited setting Oct 1, 2007, as the deadline. An artificial cut-off date, Sep 25, 2007, was created and applications received between Sep 25 and Oct 1 were summarily rejected. Rules of the game were changed after the game had begun,” he said. “All friendly applicants, mostly real estate companies, had been advised to put in their applications before Sep 25.”
He further alleged that the license and spectrum allocation was then appropriated based on prices from a market survey in 2001, and not the real prices of 2007.
The entire report at ET is quite illuminating, and simultaneously disappointing. With leaders like these, it’s no wonder that India does not even figure on this chart of Internet speeds and costs around the world: