MTNL announces 3G franchisee tender

16 Jul 2009

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), one of India’s two state-owned telcos, has invited bids from international operators to run its 3G services, The Economic Times reports. Having only managed to sign up around just 1,000 3G subscribers in its first six months of operation, it is thought that MTNL believes the involvement of an experienced 3G operator could help encourage uptake of the service. MTNL has invited bids only from operators with prior experience of running 3G services, stating that companies must have overseen a subscriber base of at least one million 3G subscribers in two different countries. Interested companies are also required to have generated revenue in excess of INR1.5 billion (USD30.8 million) for the past two years. Additionally, the tender documentation reveals that any successful bidder must not obtain telecoms licences in the Delhi and Mumbai circles for the duration of the contract with MTNL. The successful bidder will agree to generate 3G revenues of INR300 million in the first year of operation, rising to INR1.2 billion and INR2.4 billion in the following two years, and operations must begin within three months of entering into the deal. For its part, MTNL has said it will ensure its 3G networks in both metros have capacity to support 100,000 subscribers within the first twelve months of signing any deal; capacity will be increased to 300,000 and 500,000 in the second and third year of the deal respectively. Interested parties are expected to submit bids by 9 September.