BSNL union points finger at western vendors for network rollout, upgrade delays

3 Nov 2010

The Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA), the worker’s union of state-owned Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), has blamed European and American hardware vendors for the operator’s delays in expanding and enhancing its mobile network. According to the Hindu Business Line, the union has sent a letter to the Indian Prime Minister, alleging that numerous complaints, legal action and investigations prompted by the vendors since 2001 have derailed BSNL’s procurement of new equipment. Further, the union has also claimed that some of the actions of the vendors may have been prompted by relationships with BSNL’s rivals. ‘It does not need a meticulous analysis to conclude that vendors like Motorola, Ericsson, Nokia, etc, have been acting in tandem with the competitors of BSNL, from time to time, depending on their hidden and sinister business interest, to completely wipe out BSNL from telecom business,’ GL Jogi, general secretary of the SNEA, noted in the letter to the head of state.

The union’s claims follow a complaint raised earlier this week by Swedish vendor Ericsson with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), which alleged that there were irregularities in BSNL’s current tender, launched in June 2010, for GSM equipment to support more than five million lines. In response to the claims made by SNEA, an Ericsson spokesperson noted: ‘The allegation that western vendors are maligning BSNL is baseless. We are trying to make sure that fair business practices prevail and national security is not compromised with.’