The signing of contracts for the world’s largest ever GSM network tender, worth between USD4 billion and USD5 billion, has been delayed until at least 15 January 2007. In June this year India’s state-run operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) launched a so-called ‘mega tender’ for 45.5 million new mobile lines. Equipment vendors Alcatel, Ericsson and Nokia were short listed for the contracts, after rivals ZTE and Motorola were disqualified for failing to meet ‘stringent technical criteria stipulated’. The lowest bidder, reported to be Ericsson, will get contracts to deploy 60% of the lines while second lowest, Nokia, will get the remaining 40%. However, last month Motorola appealed against its disqualification and the Delhi High Court ruled that the contract be delayed until 30 November, when the US vendor had its appeal hearing. Later the court extended the stay on the award of contracts until 14 December as legal arguments between BSNL and Motorola dragged on, and this has now been further put back until 15 January, when the matter would be taken up for final hearing. The delays are expected to cost BSNL as much as INR3 billion (USD67 million) in lost revenues.