Qualcomm to bid for broadband spectrum

Qualcomm to bid for broadband spectrum

New Delhi: The world’s largest maker of mobile-phone chips, Qualcomm Inc., said on Wednesday it had applied to bid for radio waves in India’s broadband wireless access (BWA) auction to help launch next-generation technologies.

India, the world’s fastest-growing mobile services market, plans to conduct auctions of 3G and BWA spectrum in April that is expected to fetch the government a combined $7.7 billion (Rs34,958 crore).

While 3G systems allow high-speed Internet access and data transfer on mobile phones, BWA technologies enable high-speed data communication over wireless links and provide better coverage than fixed-line broadband systems.

The 3G spectrum auction starts from 9 April and two days after it closes, the BWA auction will kick off, the government has said.

Global firms such as Vodafone Group Plc and Telenor ASA are also expected to participate in the 3G auction, while media reports have said Google Inc. could be interested in the BWA auction.

The last day for applications for both is on Friday.

New Delhi has set a base price of Rs1,750 crore for the BWA spectrum in all of India, but bids are expected to come at higher levels.

“Qualcomm has a history of participating in spectrum auctions to expedite the commercialization of new wireless technologies," the company said in a statement.

“By participating in India’s BWA spectrum auction, Qualcomm can foster the accelerated deployment of TD-LTE," it said, referring to the fourth-generation (4G) long-term evolution technology.

India restricts foreign direct investment at 74% in telecoms service providers, and Qualcomm said it would have Indian partners if successful in winning spectrum.