Qualcomm is selling about a quarter of its stake for its India LTE venture to two Indian telecommunications companies and expects to launch commercial 4G services in 2011, the company announced today.
Enterprise communications company Tulip Telecom and network services firm Global Holding Corporation will each hold 13 percent of the venture while Qualcomm retains a 74 percent stake.
The sale brings Qualcomm in line with India’s direct foreign investment regulations, which prohibit foreign companies from owning more than 74 percent of certain telecommunications companies.
Kanwalinder Singh, president of Qualcomm India and South Asia, said in a statement that Qualcomm sought out Global Holding and Tulip because they were operator neutral but had strong telecom and broadband experience.
“With our initial shareholders, and operators we intend to bring into the venture in the future, Qualcomm will facilitate accelerated deployment of LTE in concert with 3G HSPA and EV-DO networks, which protects and enhances the significant investment made by Indian operators in securing 3G and BWA spectrum,” Singh said.
A Qualcomm spokeswoman said the company planned to launch commercial TD-LTE services next year, an ambitious goal given the relatively nascent stage of the TD-LTE ecosystem.
Qualcomm announced its plan to participate in India’s BWA auction in March. The company’s $1.04 billion bid won it one slot of 20 MHz TDD spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala.
Qualcomm decided to participate in the India spectrum auction to keep LTE on the table in an important market that looked like it would go with WiMAX, company CEO Paul Jacobs said at a recent conference.
The company plans to attract HSPA or EV-DO operators into the venture to help construct its 4G network in compliance with the Indian government’s roll-out requirements for the BWA spectrum. Once the network deployment is complete, Qualcomm plans to exit the venture.
Filed Under: Infrastructure