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The Aptilo WiMax Connector dynamically maps the subscriber services for BSNL: Aptilo Networks

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VoicenData Bureau
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What was behind the partnership with BSNL for the WiMax Connector and when was the partnership sealed?

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Aptilo Networks was selected by Aviat Networks, the solution provider for the BSNL WiMax project starting in Kerala, to provide the AAA server, policy control and service management solution as part of the Aviat total WiMax network offering-including base station and network infrastructure. The idea of using the Aptilo WiMax Connector for BSNL was in response to a specific request from BSNL, who wanted to use their existing LDAP database holding subscriber credentials-a solution that had no WiMax capabilities. In response, Aptilo supplied the Aptilo WiMax Connector, which provided a unique plug-and-play solution that allowed BSNL to deploy WiMax using their existing non-WiMax capable OSS/BSS infrastructure. The solution is exceptionally cost-effective for BSNL and allows them to deploy WiMax quickly, efficiently and with a very fast RoI.

What role will Aptilo be playing in the partnership, and what would be the role of BSNL?

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Aptilo is providing Aviat Networks with our world-class solution for AAA, policy control and service management for BSNL's Kerala WiMax network. We have also assisted in the integration with BSNL's existing OSS/BSS systems and have provided our expertise and advice in this area. BSNL will be the service provider offering the service to end users.

Please provide some background information on this new product and when was it launched in the Indian market?

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The Aptilo WiMax Connector was launched in late April 2010, with BSNL as the first customer through Aviat Networks. The Aptilo WiMax Connector-working hand-in-hand with Aptilo's award winning WiMax AAA+ Server-is a plug-and-play solution that allows operators to deploy WiMax while utilizing existing broadband OSS/BSS infrastructure that does not natively handle WiMax.

For BSNL, the Aptilo WiMax Connector dynamically maps the subscriber services described in the existing OSS/BSS into WiMax 16e service flows required by the ASN gateway. It also allows BSNL to use their existing subscriber sign-up, provisioning, billing and other processes with the new WiMax service, minimizing capital/operating expenses on new processes, training staff, and maintaining and operating new OSS/BSS equipments.

What is the revenue sharing agreement amount for this deal?

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Aptilo Networks is working through Aviat Networks, who is handling the commercial terms with BSNL.

With BWA spectrum auctions round the corner, what do you foresee as some of the WiMax trends in India and the market opportunities, from a compared global perspective?

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One trend is that the key driving force behind WiMax in India is to provide cost-effective broadband to rural communities, companies and families. What's very exciting is that in this region, the focus is more on providing a cost-effective broadband connectivity to certain venues rather than the mobile aspect of WiMax, which may be the main priority in countries where a well-developed fixed broadband infrastructure is already in place. This means that for India, which currently has only about 6% broadband penetration, WiMax is likely to have an enormous impact on economic development. WiMax will make a tremendous difference to the society as a whole, whereas in other parts of the world with 60% penetration or more, WiMax represents simply another alternative to gain Internet access.

All these factors and the pure size of potential subscriber base makes the Indian market one of the most interesting in the world.

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Are there any future investments being planned for the India market by Aptilo?

As BSNL is a very important customer to us as well as the Indian market as a whole, we are currently looking at increasing our local presence here.

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Please provide your perspective on the WiMax vs LTE (and Wi-Fi) debate. Which would be better for the Indian market to deploy first?

Let's focus on the WiMax vs LTE debate as both these technologies need licensed spectrum while Wi-Fi does not.

I think that the LTE side has done their best to make the battle with WiMax look like a race which can only result in a single winner; some have even compared it to the VHS-BETAMAX story.

However, we believe the opposite to be true. Both WiMax and LTE are likely to co-exist just like xDSL and fiber does in the wired broadband world.

Some argue that WiMax will be a niche market. If they mean that WiMax will be niche based on size, then that is based on the notion of counting users of that technology. While it is likely that there will be more LTE users than WiMax users, this is due to the fact that LTE is a mobile telephony standard, which means that many handsets will contain LTE technology, and since there are so many handsets than Internet modems, the actual number will be higher.

While WiMax is built with full mobility, there is generally no aspiration to provide a mass of handsets for normal mobile phone services. The WiMax aspiration is instead to make sure that as many devices as possible will get a wireless Internet connection. Hence, WiMax will be a main reason for people to be able to get an Internet connection.

Yet the WiMax market does not have the ambition to be a new mobile phone system. In terms of pure mobile data technologies for portable laptops and mobile Internet devices (not counting the countless smartphones of course), the two markets will be more equal, and in fact with regard to the wireless DSL or CPE market WiMax will probably be larger.

At Aptilo, we strive to maintain a continued focus on our customers and meeting their needs, which can evolve (as this is a rapidly evolving market). As such, we pay little attention to this 'LTE vs WiMax' battle, as we currently support WiMax and have plans to support LTE in 2011.

In a market like India where there is an immediate need to increase the number of broadband Internet users, WiMax is better suited since it is available to be deployed today, and this time advantage is important for India to take benefit of. It is well known that new technologies take time to reach volumes for device costs to come down, and WiMax devices have already reached the same levels as mobile devices.

berylm@cybermedia.co.in

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