Six firms bid for BSNL’s 93 mn GSM lines tender

Six firms bid for BSNL’s 93 mn GSM lines tender
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First Published: Thu, Sep 11 2008. 12 50 AM IST

Expansion move: Union communications and IT minister A. Raja. Vijay Kumar Joshi / PTI
Expansion move: Union communications and IT minister A. Raja. Vijay Kumar Joshi / PTI
Updated: Thu, Sep 11 2008. 12 50 AM IST
New Delhi: Six global telecom equipment suppliers, including Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, have bid in a tender for 93 million GSM lines floated by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), India’s biggest phone firm by revenues.
Expansion move: Union communications and IT minister A. Raja. Vijay Kumar Joshi / PTI
BSNL hopes to place orders for the first phase of the 93 million lines by early 2009, the state-owned firm’s chairman, Kuldeep Goyal, told reporters on Wednesday after bids were submitted. Goyal said Huawei Technologies Co., ZTE Corp., Alcatel-Lucent SA and Nortel Networks Corp. had also bid for some or all of the tender for GSM lines.
“Only Motorola is not there, other major vendors are there,” Goyal said.
The bids will first be evaluated on technical parameters and only those shortlisted will be passed on to the second round where the prices quoted by each firm will be compared.
When asked if the winning bid would be below $100 (Rs4,500) a line, Goyal said: “Yes, that’s what we think.”
BSNL last year ordered around 13 million lines from Ericsson at about $91 a line, part of a tender for 23 million lines. Both Ericsson and second lowest bidder Nokia Siemens declined to meet the rest of the tender at that price. Lack of infrastructure has hampered BSNL’s efforts to add wireless subscribers. It has fewer mobile subscribers than rivals Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance Communications Ltd and Vodafone Essar Ltd.
Union communications and IT minister A Raja on Wednesday said through this expansion BSNL will also introduce value-added services such as mobile TV, mobile broadband, MMS and location-based services. Raja was addressing members of the consultative committee of Parliament attached to his ministry in New Delhi.
BSNL also plans to launch mobile banking, mobile advertisement, tele-education and lost mobile tracking system during the current year, Raja added.
(PTI contributed to this story.)
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First Published: Thu, Sep 11 2008. 12 50 AM IST