Swedish telecom major Ericsson claims to have submitted the lowest bid for public sector Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's mega GSM tender for adding 45.5 million lines at an estimated investment of over Rs 22,000 crore.
However, the bids are under evaluation and a final decision is still awaited.
Of the tender for around 62 million lines, the ITI-Alcatel joint venture has been allotted an order for 18 million lines in the reserved quota for public sector units.
Five top telecom equipment suppliers that also included Ericsson, had submitted financial bids for the BSNL tender, out of the 18 which had shown an interest. The others four were Nokia, Motorola, Siemens and ZTE Corp.
The technical evaluation of all the five bidders had been completed last week. Of these five only three -Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens qualified for meeting the criteria.
About a third of the equipment sought in the tender has to be made locally as a part of a government policy to boost manufacturing in Asia's fourth-largest economy.
As this is said to be the biggest ever tender floated by any telecom company, the stakes are high for all contenders as India has a user base in excess of 120 million. According to tender conditions, two bidders would be selected. The lowest bidder gets 60 per cent of the contract while second lowest would get the remaining 40 per cent.
BSNL has been facing an acute shortage of GSM equipment that has resulted in its losing its market share in the world's fastest growing wireless sevices market to private sector giants Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Reliance Communications Ltd.