Augere Wireless firms up broadband plans

Written by Nikita Upadhyay | Nikita Upadhyay | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 2 2011, 10:25am hrs
Of all the winners of the broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum, a lesser known company Augere Wireless Broadband India has already chalked out launch plans ahead of the others. The company, which paid R124.66 crore as licence fee, will be investing another $50-60 million (about R270 crore) in the country for providing these services. Augere will be promoting its services under the Zoosh brand name.

We will do pilot runs in September and be doing soft launches by February and a full-fledged launch in the first half of next year, said Lars Stork, CEO, Augere Wireless Broadband India.

In the BWA auctions held June last year, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Infotel had won the bid for all the 22 circles on offer, while Aircel won eight, Bharti Airtel and Qualcomm won in four circles and Tikona in five circles. BWA spectrum winners will be launching broadband services on 4G technology by the first half of next year, which is expected to provide faster access to the internet for consumers.

Augere, the UK-headquartered company, last month received FIPB approval to increase foreign equity from 49% to 74%, to offer broadband wireless, internet and other related services by allowing a fresh FDI inflow of R54 crore in the company. Investors in the company include Harbinger Capital, France Telecom, New Silk Route and Vedanta Opportunity Fund as well as its founder, Sanjiv Ahuja, former CEO of Orange.

Stork acknowledged the fact that it will take time for the uptake of these services, mainly due to the underdeveloped handset ecosystem. Initially, we will be trying up with five top quality operators and thus these operators will be using Augeres spectrum to provide data services within Madhya Pradesh. We will directly sell to consumers but will be wholesaling data services to telecom operators via roaming agreements, he added.

Augere currently has access to BWA spectrum in many emerging economies of the world in Asia and Africa where the services are being offered under the Qubee Brand.