By Shailendra Bhatnagar/Bloomberg
New Delhi: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, India’s largest telephone operator, may place its $5 billion (Rs211,32 crore) equipment contract in two weeks, following the withdrawal of a petition by Motorola Inc. to be reinstated in the bidding process.
“We are almost ready with the paperwork and can place the order in a maximum of two weeks to the two short-listed bidders,” SD Saxena, director of finance at Bharat Sanchar, said in a phone interview from New Delhi. “We are desperate for new equipment and it will help in expanding our telecom services in rural areas.”
Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola said on 16 April that it withdrew a legal petition seeking to be reinstated as one of the bidders for Bharat Sanchar’s mobile-phone equipment order. The petition halted Bharat Sanchar’s expansion plan in the world’s fastest-growing major wireless market.
Motorola was disqualified from bidding in October on grounds it didn’t meet technical qualifications. Bharat Sanchar hasn’t disclosed the names of the winning bidders.
Ericsson AB, the world’s largest maker of wireless phone- services equipment, had submitted the lowest bid, P. Balaji, vice president of marketing for the Swedish company’s Indian unit, said on 9 October after Bharat Sanchar completed the award.
Ericsson and Nokia Oyj, the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker are among the bidders. Motorola stood to gain as much as 60% of the contract if it had won the case.
India added nearly 7 million wireless users in March. The market has been boosted by local mobile call rates that are as low as 2 U.S. cents a minute.