New Delhi: Concerned over delays in enhancing GSM capacity due to tender controversy last year, state-owned BSNL has placed an order with the existing vendors Nortel and Motorola for adding five million lines in the Southern region.
“We have decided to place the order with the existing vendors for immediate requirement. Meanwhile, we are coming out with a tender for the Southern zone for adding 25 million GSM lines,” said Kuldeep Goyal, chairman and managing director of BSNL.
The value of immediate order for the Southern zone is close to Rs800 crore and the quantity to be supplied by the two American vendors would be in equal ratio.
Last year’s controversy over mega tender of 45 million GSM lines, which was later reduced to half, resulted in BSNL slipping to fourth position after Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone.
Ericsson, which has emerged as the lowest bidder, will supply about 13 million lines For the Northern and Eastern region, Goyal said, adding that the Swedish telecom vendor has already started placing the equipments and hoped that the PSU would get additional capacity soon.
As of 31 January, BSNL had a total GSM subscriber base of 33.8 million, representing a market share of 17% and a 25% share in total, which includes landline and limited mobility subscribers.
BSNL is aiming a subscriber base of 100 million by 2010 with a market share of 33%. The PSU currently has a total subscriber base of 33 million.
It has been adding seven million GSM connections every month, but losing 2 million connections in landline segment. With this, the net monthly addition still stands at seven million, Goyal said.
BSNL is reviewing the progress of the order which it had placed with ITI for the western region, Goyal said.
He said some of the capacity has been added in that region, but the project is running slightly behind schedule.