Qualcomm signs up Indian TD-LTE partners
Qualcomm has sold a 26 percent stake in its Indian wireless broadband venture to local firms
Global Holdings and Tulip Telecom for a reported US$58 million, as the US chipmaker aims to push the launch of TD-LTE services in the country. Global Holdings - which owns telecoms infrastructure firms GTL Ltd and GTL Infra - and communications services provider Tulip Telecom will buy 13 percent each in the unit, whilst Qualcomm’s equity investment for a 74 percent stake (the most a foreign firm can own in India) in the broadband unit will be US$164.3 million. The India-registered venture will have an enterprise value of US$1.11 billion, with US$222 million as equity and US$888 million as debt, after the deal is closed. In June it was announced that Qualcomm won one slot of 20MHz TDD broadband wireless
access spectrum in the 2.3GHz band covering the key telecom circles of Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala. The company spent over US$1 billion on the airwaves. The vendor had previously said it plans to use the spectrum for deployment of TD-LTE technology, a move that was perceived as an attempt to derail the mobile WiMAX community (the technology
normally associated with the spectrum). Indeed, a statement from Qualcomm today notes that the deal will “facilitate [the] accelerated deployment of LTE in India, complementing 3G
HSPA and EV-DO networks.” Qualcomm expects to get the broadband spectrum in two to three months time and aims to launch broadband services in 2011. Qualcomm said it will apply for an Internet service provider license after getting approvals for the deal and will create four companies as part of the venture for the four service areas. Significantly, it added that it “expects to attract one or more experienced 3G HSPA and/or EV-DO operators into the
venture for construction of an LTE network in compliance with the Indian government’s roll-out requirements for the BWA spectrum and then to exit the venture."