BSNL to float 5.5 mn GSM line tender in Nov

BSNL to float 5.5 mn GSM line tender in Nov

New Delhi:State-owned BSNL is likely to invite bids from telecom vendors, including the Chinese firms, in November for its proposed 5.5-million GSM lines tender with an estimated investment of Rs2,000 crore.

“GSM tender of 5.5 million line is under evaluation... hopefully by first week of early next month we will float it," BSNL CMD Gopal Das told PTI.

In June this year, BSNL had invited bids for the tender from vendors barring the Chinese due to security concerns. But with the change in policy the Chinese vendors are now allowed to participate in the tenders.

The tender is estimated to be around Rs2,000 crore. BSNL has plans to add 3.37 million GSM lines in the north region and 2.13 million in the east.

BSNL is also expanding its mobile network by a capacity of 20 million lines each in 2011-12 and 2012-13. This will be in addition to the 5.5 million lines and would be decided soon.

Asking about the mobile number portability which is due to start partially from this month, Das said, “Its a challenge for every operator. Its not only for BSNL, whosoever is able to provide good services, customers will stick to it. The challenge is for every operator."

“Yes we are ready for it. We are not afraid of this competition we are ready for this competition," he added. Further, on the 3G services which BSNL has already launched and the response it is getting, Das said, “Response of 3G services is very good but its success depends on many factors like 3G enabled hand sets and its prices."

3G handset are not more than 10% of the total numbers. As the prices of the handsets will come down ,3G services will become more successful.

BSNL claimed to have over 1.75 million 3G customers. “We hope that with more and more operators coming in, the volumes will increase. Also the number of 3G enabled handsets will become affordable. It is a volume game," he added.