Is BSNL heading towards announcing a fresh tender to lay out GSM lines?
That is the question after Nokia Siemens Networks refused to accept an order to set up about 9 million GSM lines at $80 to $90 per line. The contract was initially awarded to Nokia Siemens and Ericsson at $107 per GSM line.
Nokia Siemens had bagged the contract to roll out 40 per cent of the 22.5 million GSM lines for BSNL.
Ericsson confirmed to
that it has received an offer from BSNL to lay the remaining GSM lines but declined to comment anything more, though sources close to Ericsson say that Ericsson may also not be able to take up the order due to the sheer volume of the work.
"The current order (of 14 million lines) itself is very large. And to add up on the existing order by almost 70 per cent would not be easy. The order can be taken, but whether it will be delivered on time, will have to be seen," a source said.
Talking to reporters after a press conference in Delhi, the Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL, Kuldeep Goyal said that the company will be discussing it with Ericsson which already has been awarded 60 per cent of the contract, or to give it to the existing vendors, or float a new tender.
Alcatel-Lucent is the only other GSM vendor which along with Indian telecom equipment manufacturer ITI is laying down 2 million GSM lines for BSNL in rural areas. Alcatel-Lucent also bagged a large contract from Reliance Communications worth around US$400 million. This involves both GSM and CDMA lines, and Alcatel-Lucent may also not be able to take up the rest of the contract from BSNL.
BSNL had originally announced a tender for 45.5 million GSM lines in March 2006. The process for announcing the contract was delayed due to a court battle involving BSNL and Motorola, which had participated in the bid but was ousted on technical grounds.