Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Big Win for Soma

Soma Network, a company virtually unknown outside of the broadband wireless industry, won big yesterday. BSNL, India's largest state-owned telecommunications company, plans to deploy a Mobile WiMAX network, with Soma being the sole equipment vendor. The deployment will be the largest Mobile WiMAX network in the world, covering three of India’s fastest-growing telecom circles: Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, and Andhra Pradesh. This new network will provide broadband data and voice services to a service area reaching over 200 million people. With WiMAX prospects uncertain in China, this is as big as it goes. To put it in perspective, Sprint's planned deployment will cover 100 million people and the contract is split among several large vendors including Moto, Nokia, Samsung, etc.

I think one important for Soma's victory over other larger vendors is that its technology is built to support data, voice, and multimedia services. Most of its deployments so far are in developing countries in Asia, including Malaysia. Motorola must be very disappointed since the company has won several contracts in Asia, including one with Wateen in Pakistan, India's neighbour. The Indian government is sold on WiMAX and the technology is an important part of its “Vision 2010” mandate to make broadband services ubiquitous. At the end of 2007, there were only less than 3 million broadband subscribers in India. We anticipate that number to explode to moer than 20 million by 2011.

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