Why Qualcomm is bidding for a BWA license?

17 Mar

Earlier today, we reported that Qualcomm has put in a bid to acquire a Pan-India license to TD LTE in the 2.3 GHz Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) band. Qualcomm also held a press briefing in the afternoon today to explain what it means.

At the outset, if the bid is successful, Qualcomm will tie-up with an operator partner (or partners) to conform with India’s FDI norms that allow a foreign entity to hold up to 74 per cent in a telecom carrier. Qualcomm, Then at an “appropriate time” Qualcomm will exit the venture.

While it might sound odd for Qualcomm to announce that it aims to eventually exit a venture that hasn’t even taken shape, it is clear that the chip maker doesn’t want to be a wireless carrier. Instead, Qualcomm wants to ensure that TD LTE scores over WiMAX when Indian carriers look out for the next stage after 3G.

“It is not 3G or BWA, we are talking about 3G and BWA. Unlike WiMAX, which is not interoperable with 3G, TD LTE will be the right technology for successful 3G bidders. Qualcomm is here to ensure that operator investments are futureproof,” said Kanwalinder Singh, president, Qualcomm India and South Asia and senior vice president, Qualcomm Inc.

Qualcomm, with its Pan-India license (provided it gets one), will build an TD LTE network and a complete ecosystem (devices) over a period of five years and demonstrate to carriers with 3G spectrum why they should go for TD LTE, a technology developed by Qualcomm.  It has developed a chipset for mobile devices that is compatible with both 3G and LTE. The chip maker will make money by earning royalties for every device sold that has its chip. 

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