Vendors refuse to supply gear to BSNL at ZTE's prices
New Delhi: Leading telecom equipment companies have refused to supply gear to BSNL at the price quoted by the lowest bidder, China's ZTE, in the 14.37 million line network expansion tender floated by the PSU.
After a gap of around 5 years, BSNL selected equipment vendor ZTE, Huawei, Alcatel Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) for its expansion plan.
BSNL had issued them advance purchase order in which they were offered a chance to supply equipment at the price quoted by ZTE.
A senior BSNL official on Monday said Huawei, Alcatel Lucent, NSN and Ericsson have refused to match price quoted by ZTE, but added that the expansion will continue as per the process.
"The tender has a provision to deal with such a situation and action is being taken accordingly. There is absolutely no problem in this regard," the official said.
When contacted a Huawei official confirmed that the company cannot match the price.
An NSN official said, "We don't comment on prospective business deals and their outcomes."
Ericsson and Alcatel Lucent declined to comment.
BSNL's network has been suffering due to lack of equipment to handle traffic but the official said that there are no issues at present that will affect its expansion plan.
"We have started upgradation for our systems. Recently, we upgraded billing system of landline services to real-time call data record billing system with an estimated cost of around Rs 800 crore. We are determined and this (14.37 million lines) will also continue," he said.
BSNL got permit to start mobile telephony in 2001, five years after the services started in India, and in this time has emerged as a leader in the market. However, a shortage of equipments pulled down the performance of company.
The official said BSNL will continue with its expansion plan to regain its market share.
The bids for 14.37 million lines were invited in July 2011 under phase seven of expansion.
At the end of March, 2012, BSNL had 10.72 percent market share in the mobile telephony segment with over 98.51 million customers.
BSNL's last tender was finalised in 2006 for 45 million lines, which was later reduced to 14 million lines in 2007.
After this, the company floated two more tenders for 93 million lines in 2008 and 5.5 million lines in 2010, but both the tenders were later cancelled.