We earlier covered Google’s plans to bid for WiMAX spectrum and it seems Google is in talks with MTNL to jointly bid for the spectrum. Google will hold 50% stake in the venture (foreign companies can buy up to 74% equity in such a venture).
The BWA/WiMAX auction bid starts at Rs. 1,750 Crores and government will auction two blocks in BWA spectrum and reserve one for state-owned MTNL Mumbai and Delhi and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd elsewhere.
India is the largest single-country WiMAX opportunity in the world (read: WiMAX Opportunities in India), with most of the major operators actively pursuing WiMAX (BSNL, Tata, Bharti Airtel, etc). By 2014, there will be 20 million 3G-based broadband subscribers by 2014 as opposed to 60 million WiMax users (the rationale behind these numbers is the availability of 20 MHz spectrum per operator and the expected lower price of WiMAX based devices (WiMAX data card is expected to be available for as little as $40, compared to $80 for 3G).
On a side note, compare this with Yahoo’s ‘offer’ to ‘help’ Indian govt with UID project and you will see so much of stark difference in the approach of two companies – one is looking at a long term play with defined goals (and returns), and the other is still vaporware.