Qualcomm granted internet licence in India

US vendor Qualcomm has been granted an internet licence by the Indian government, which will enable it to launch broadband services across the country.

According to local reports, the company was initially rejected a licence after India’s Department of Telecommunications (DOT) deemed its application late, and the company had also applied for four licences, whereas it should have applied for just one.

Last year, Qualcomm acquired mobile spectrum in four of India’s 22 telecoms ‘circles’, including Mumbai and Delhi, after paying approximately $1 billion at a state auction.

The licence will enable the company to push ahead with plans to roll-out an LTE broadband network. In order to comply with foreign ownership regulations in India, Qualcomm last year sold a 26% stake in its Indian broadband venture to local infrastructure firm Global Holdings and local data services provider Tulip Telecom. The company is said to be searching for more Indian partners.

According to TeleGeography, India’s total number of broadband subscribers reached approximately 11.5 million in March 2011, experiencing a year on year growth of 31.2%. The country’s telecoms regulatory framework has consistently proven a challenge for domestic and foreign operators alike, with the Indian government now seeking to address some of the issues in a new telecoms act.

To learn more about some of the regulatory challenges facing the Indian market, keep an eye out for our ‘Indian Summer’ feature in the forthcoming November edition of Capacity magazine.

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