BSNL invites bids for 5.5 mn GSM lines; excludes Chinese firms

The decision to this effect was taken at a special board meeting of the PSU today, senior officials told PTI.The three vendors are Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens Network and Alcatel-Lucent, they added.

The PSU has, however, not included Chinese equipment players like Huawei and ZTE. Huawei the winner in one of the regions in earlier 93 million line tender. Although BSNL is quite on its decision to exclude Chinese firms, sources said getting security clearances was the main reason for this.

Asked why the tender has been reduced to a small quantity, they said it was for immediate requirement.BSNL had earlier cancelled 93 million line tender amidst controversies that the process lacked competition and also the PSU did not require that kind of capacity addition at one go.

Leading vendor Nokia-Siemens, which was disqualified from participating in the financial bid, had also challenged the decision of the telecom PSU in the court.Due to cancellation of the tender the PSU has been facing severe shortage in its capacity and sources said that in some of the circles the company was unable to add new subscribers resulting in loss of market share. Sources said PSU has also decided to invite bids for smaller quantities of equipment to meet demand in the short- term instead of building up huge capacities.

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