French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent and China’s ZTE are reportedly the leading bidders in state-owned Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL’s) tenders for GSM equipment to support 5.5 million subscribers. According to India’s Economic Times, Alca-Lu has quoted a cost of USD53 per line for providing access radio equipment, while ZTE has put forward a price of USD8 per line for core network gear. Should deals with both vendors be finalised it would bring the value of the agreements to INR1.31 billion (USD293.5 million) for Alca-Lu and INR2.02 billion for ZTE.
Huawei Technologies of China and Finnish equipment provider Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) have also submitted bids, while Sweden’s Ericsson opted not to take part due to the security requirements imposed on the process by BSNL; the telco made it mandatory to submit source code for security monitoring. Further, Ericsson has contacted the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), citing what it claims are irregularities in the tender conditions, which it argued favoured the Chinese vendors, and calling on the regulator to halt the tender.