Rupert Baines of picoChippicoChip is India this week: as part of the British government's major trade mission. We announced a partnership with a local firm (Entuple) which will help with our sales and support out there. And rather more importantly, we announced a major design win with Rancore for a 4G basestation design.

The Indian mobile market is witnessing significant growth, with analyst firm Gartner estimating 55.9 percent growth in mobile penetration in India in 2010, and double-digit growth rates till the end of 2012. The market is also insanely cost-competitive, with some of the rates in the world: as is so often the way, that intensity of competition and price-pressure is driving innovation, some of which will no doubt be launched in western markets.

There are a growing number of firms developing 3G services, which are expected to launch over the next 18 months across the country, and the country just completed its 4G auctions. Indeed, it is not impossible that India might leap-frog a lot of western nations by being earlier into 4G.

I've written before about how the cellular phone is revolutionizing developing countries, and massively accelerating growth / reducing poverty.

All of that is true in India, and very important, but there is another factor. By comparison with some countries, India has very low broadband penetration: only 6% compared to China's 31%. But if 3G and 4G wireless can rollout quickly & efficiently, that will be a very powerful way of addressing this urgent need.

The cliche of India is as a home for software IT outsourcing, but there are a number of telecoms hardware developers too: Rancore, Shyam, VNL etc.

And they are all hoping to address this opportunity, from 2G to 3G and now 4G.