Five companies have placed bids to act as franchisees in the rollout of state-owned Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL’s) WiMAX services, the Hindu Business Line reports. Of the five bids submitted only one has come from a major international player, with that being Teracom, a turnkey solutions provider and one of India’s India’s leading manufacturers of power cables, conductors and fibre-optic cables. Despite the fact that BSNL has stipulated that all bidders must have a turnover of at least INR1 billion (USD21.5 million) in the last two financial years, the four other bidders were the relatively unknown quartet of E-Mall, Adishwar, Ampouls and Tech Solutions. In order to boost the chance of their bids being accepted, these entities have partnered with global WiMAX equipment vendors for added credibility to their bids; E-Mall, for example, has struck a deal with China’s ZTE to bid for Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
In separate news, it is also being reported that BSNL has signed an agreement with the SmarTV Group for the launch of pan-India IPTV services, following a test launch of the service in a handful of major cities. No financial details of the deal have been disclosed. BSNL has said that it hopes to increase its IPTV subscriber base by as much as 100,000 by March 2010.