Chinese hardware vendors ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies are competing against Finland’s Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent, with all four having submitted bids to supply equipment to state-owned Indian operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). According to Dow Jones Newswires, citing unnamed sources at the PTO, technical evaluations of all four bids are underway, to be followed with financial evaluations, and a final decision is expected by the end of October. BSNL is aiming to add some 3.37 million mobile lines in the north of the country, with a further 2.13 million in the east, and initially invited NSN and Alca-Lu to bid for the contract in June 2010, before extending that invitation to the Chinese duo two months later.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in March 2010 BSNL confirmed that it was scrapping a USD10 billion mega-tender following repeated delays and disputes. The decision was thought to have been prompted by the revelation that a panel led by Sam Pitroda, an advisor to the prime minister on infrastructure and innovation, had backed a report by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) that the telco should abandon the tender. In its findings the CVC argued that the disqualification of NSN, ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent from the bidding process meant that the only two remaining vendors, Ericsson and Huawei, were guaranteed to win the tender, which in turn assured that BSNL could therefore not obtain the best price due to a lack of competition for the contract.