BSNL picks Nortel for $500m wireless network expansion

New Delhi: India's largest telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has awarded Nortel (NYSE / TSX: NT) a $500-million contract to expand its GSM / GPRS digital wireless network in the east and south zones of India, to be completed by mid-2005.

India is among the fastest growing telecommunications markets in the world, with an approximately eight per cent market share. This figure is expected to grow to 15 per cent by 2010, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

"Nortel's wireless technology will play an important role in making BSNL the leading telecom company in India. We want to bring advanced communications services to millions across India," said BSNL CMD A K Sinha.

Nortel will deploy an end-to-end GSM (global system for mobile communications) and GPRS (general packet radio service) solution — including GSM radio base stations, mobile switching centres (MSCs), intelligent networks (IN) and other related equipment — to provide wireless voice and data services with carrier-grade network reliability. The network will have high security, exceptional radio performance and advanced wireless voice and data features.

"This is the largest tender in the world for the expansion of cellular services in India," said BSNL Director (Finance) S D Saxena. Nortel has designed, installed and launched more than 300 wireless networks in more than 50 countries worldwide. Its infrastructure is designed to provide future-proof platforms for seamless migration to third-generation (3G) mobile services. Nortel was the industry's first supplier with wireless data networks operating in all advanced radio technologies; GSM, GPRS, EDGE, CDMA2000, 1X and 1xEV-DO, UMTS and WLAN. It is the only end-to-end provider of all next generation wireless solutions.