Special Correspondent

Nokia comes next for BSNL works

NEW DELHI: The Swedish telecom major, Ericsson, has bid the lowest in one of the world's largest tenders for supplying mobile infrastructure to the state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), according to official sources.

Nokia has emerged as the second lowest bidder for a tender size estimated at Rs. 20,000 crore. In case both bids pass scrutiny, Ericsson stands to bag 60 per cent of the contract for 4.55 crore lines, while Nokia will get the balance. Besides, there is a compulsory reservation for the public sector ITI that has a technology transfer agreement with Alactel.

BSNL's Director (Finance) S. D. Saxena said that evaluation and other details would take up to three weeks. Siemens, Motorola and ZTE were the other competitors. Though Siemens has merged with Nokia, it submitted a separate bid. BSNL would implement the project over the next three years. About a quarter of the additional lines would be for 3G GSM lines and the remaining for 2.5G telephony.

BSNL is the country's second largest cellular services company though it does not run operations in the two most lucrative circles of Delhi and Mumbai telecom circles where the subscription is the highest and second highest, respectively.