Those companies that successfully bid to run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL’s) WiMAX operations on a revenue-share franchise basis will be required to pay the spectrum fee set in the forthcoming auctions, according to the Economic Times. BSNL managing director Kuldeep Goyal clarified: ‘Once the price for WiMAX frequencies are determined this will be deducted from the revenues of the franchisee which runs these operations for us.’ State-owned BSNL has already been allocated WiMAX spectrum, despite the auction not having taken place, and any company wishing to partner with the telco to offer WiMAX services will therefore face a fee of around INR20.2 billion (USD412.1 million) for its franchise. BSNL issued fresh tenders for possible WiMAX franchisees last month after previous attempts were reportedly aborted following questions over the quality of those companies that made the final shortlist.
In Gujarat, Maharashtra (including Goa) and Andhra Pradesh BSNL has already signed a deal with US-based Soma Networks in January 2008, and it announced the launch of commercial service in Gujarat in February 2009. It followed this with a launch in Goa at the beginning of July, and claims it has invested around USD200 million on network expansion across the three circles which Soma is responsible for.