BENGALURU, India -- Software radio solutions provider Vanu, Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.), has partnered with Indian network services provider GTL Ltd. for a field trial of active/passive wireless infrastructure that allows carriers to serve new markets without the time and expense required by a traditional network builds.
Because active sharing is not currently allowed by Indian laws governing wireless services, the results of the field trial will be submitted to regulatory authorities in India for evaluation.
This is of special interest in India, where two powerful lobbies, GSM-based and CDMA-based service providers, are at odds with each other, each accusing the other of trying to influence policies and of grabbing precious spectra. Transparency and clarity sometimes appear lacking in the manner in which licenses are granted, but successful field trials have the potential to completely change the rules of the game in the country's booming market for wireless services.
Separate licenses for offering GSM and CDMA services are required in India, where recently dozens of companies involved in other businesses, as well as some currently offering wireless services, have bid for licenses to operate in more regions (a recent trend is CDMA-based operators asking for GSM licenses).
The Indian government has recently approved usage of dual-technology spectra for eight companies, but this has been challenged by the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), and the matter is now pending before the courts.
Unlike many other countries, India was not technology-neutral when it started allowing wireless phone services in-country. GSM had a clear head start of a few years on CDMA-based services. Not surprisingly, GSM subscribers numbered 186 million of the 246 million Indian subscribers at the end of February.
Late last year, the Association of Unified Service Providers of India, the CDMA lobby, conducted field trials to prove that PCS 1900 MHz (CDMA) and UMTS 2100 MHz could coexist. A report from government experts involved in the demonstration is expected. Though the GSM lobby, the Cellular Operators Association of India, was invited to the trials, the experiment is not likely to be well received, having been conducted by CDMA operators and equipment providers.
It is in this context that the Vanu/GTL field trials, which will pair Vanu's Anywave MultiRAN system (a multi-operator radio access network based on the company's software radio technology) with GTL's towers and system integration services, will be watched with keen interest. It might even change the country's wireless services licensing policy, which has been bitterly attacked by both sides as unfair.
The core of the Vanu MultiRAN is the Vanu Anywave software radio platform, which performs all signal-processing for each wireless standard entirely in software. The Vanu Anywave MultiRAN cellular system currently supports standards at the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz bands, as well as supporting both CDMA and GSM operations.
"Global wireless operators face the prospect of deploying new wireless standards, the opening of new spectrum bands, managing large legacy subscriber bases and integrating wireless acquisitions into their service portfolio, forcing them into faster upgrade cycles requiring support for multiple standards in their network," said Vanu Bose, CEO of Vanu, Inc.
The Vanu solution is of particular interest to GTL, which is engineering a pan-Indian network of over 25,000 towers and which plans, by 2010, to have erected and be managing 100,000 cell sites across 150 networks, connecting over 100 million subscribers in 50 countries.