labels: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Ericsson, Telecom
Ericsson or Nortel may win BSNL order for 10 million GSM lines news
Our Corporate Bureau
24 November 2007

Mumbai: Ericsson or Nortel Networks Corp. is likely to win an order for 10 million mobile phone lines, worth about $910 million, from state-run telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).

Ericsson offered the lowest bid of about $91 a line and accepted an order for 13.1 million lines worth about $1.3 billion in September.

Nokia Siemens, which bid $171 a line, missed a deadline to respond to the order, BSNL said.

Nokia Siemens Networks was the second-lowest bidder in a tender for 23 million GSM lines by BSNL earlier this year but it is yet to accept the tender offer.

Rules say BSNL must order 40 per cent of the tender, or 10 million lines, from the second-lowest bidder if it is willing to match the lowest bidder's price.

"Nokia Siemens has not given an unconditional acceptance," BSNL's chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal said.

If Nokia Siemens does not take up the order, BSNL would consider awarding it to other companies like Ericsson and Nortel, Goyal said.

Nokia Siemens is negotiating with BSNL, but the lower cost is the sticking point, he said.

"They are keen to supply part at Ericsson's price," Goyal said.

BSNL is also set to place another order for 9 million lines with a consortium of Alcatel-Lucent and state-run telecom equipment maker Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) by the month-end, he said.

BSNL, the country's largest telecoms firm, is lagging in mobile services where private companies like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar hold sway.

As of end-October, BSNL had 34.9 million mobile subscribers, compared with Bharti's 50.9 million, Reliance's 37.8 million and Vodafone Essar's 37.2 million.

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Ericsson or Nortel may win BSNL order for 10 million GSM lines