and Communications Minister A Raja today said he has advised state-run BSNL to
drop the 3G component from its 45.5 million line GSM tender, citing the lack of
a policy for implementing third generation network.
BSNL were to take the minister''s advice, the public sector company may have to
reconsider disqualification of US equipment supplier Motorola and its Chinese
partner ZTE from the tender - a quarter of which was for rolling out 3G lines.
said it was for BSNL''s board to decide whether or not to go with the suggestion.
BSNL had selected
Sweden''s Ericsson and Finland''s Nokia for executing the contracts, while disqualifying
Motorola on the ground that it did not have any expertise in 3G networks.
department of telecom is believed to have questioned BSNL''s decision to disqualify
US telecom company Motorola from participating in the financial bid.
minister A Raja, who replaced Dayanidhi Maran, is said to have written to BSNL
seeking the reasons for Motorola''s disqualification. The US-based telecom equipment
firm had also challenged its disqualification in the Delhi High Court, which it
which faces an acute shortage of GSM equipment that resulted in it losing market
share to private sector rivals, had floated the biggest ever tender by any telecom
company for 45.5-million lines, creating a high-stake opportunity for all contenders.
to the tender conditions, two bidders would be selected. The lowest bidder would
get 60 per cent of the contract while second lowest would get the remaining 40
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.
technical evaluation of all the five bidders had been completed at the end of
Ocitober 2006. Of these five only three -Nokia, Ericsson and Siemens qualified
for meeting the criteria.
had emerged the lowest bidder quoting about $107 per line followed by Nokia quoting
a price of $160 a line.
financial bid was not considered, as it did not have experience in third generation
(3G) telephony even as policy for 3G licensing as well spectrum is still not in
Motorola had offered a price of about $70 a line to MTNL for the mobile telecom
services (not 3G) and taking the same benchmark BSNL, had it allowed Motorola
to participate, would have saved a large sum of money.
said some of the private players in the telecom equipment industry including MNCs
were in touch with the BSNL employees unions to ensure that orders were placed
with the two successful bidders. BSNL employees union has given a strike call
on July 11 to implement the tender.
gross subscriber base (wired and wireless) has eventually crossed the 200 million
mark - much earlier than what may analysts had expected.