BSNL ‘mega-tender’ falters again

7 Dec 2009

State-owned Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has cancelled the equipment purchase order it gave to Chinese vendor Huawei, claiming that the conditions imposed by the latter were not acceptable, the Economic Times reports. Last month BSNL instructed its regional executives not to purchase any equipment as part of its 93 million line ‘mega-tender’, despite having given an advanced purchase order for eight million GSM lines to Huawei for the south region. The latest development in the saga, which has also been affected by issues of national security and legal challenges from bidders excluded from the tender process, leaves the fate of the entire tender in limbo. While Huawei has yet to comment on the matter, a BSNL spokesperson said of the development; ‘There was no scope for accepting conditions as the order was placed after detailed negotiations and as a government owned firm we do not accept conditions.’

BSNL is reportedly still in negotiations with another vendor, Ericsson of Sweden, related to the north and eastern regions, although it is understood that the state-owned telco is now considering a number of options, including calling for fresh bids for the entire 93 million line tender.