ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent Reported to Have Won Indian GSM Expansion Tender
India's state-owned BSNL is reported to have awarded a long delayed network upgrade contract to ZTE and Alcatel-Lucent.
ZTE told local media that it will supply 10.15 GSM lines to the Indian mobile network operator under a turnkey agreement that also includes vendor financing agreements. The contract is for three years.
BSNL was expected to award contracts for 14.4 million lines, so the implication is that Alcatel-Lucent will be picking up the remaining 4.25 million lines.
Neither ZTE or Alcatel-Lucent have issued formal statements confirming the order at this time.
When BSNL confirmed its shortlist in May, it included Huawei, although the company was said to have dropped out of bidding after being unable to match the lower price offered by ZTE.
BSNL has seen its market share slump after the industry was opened to private companies and its own network struggled to cope with rising demand, which drove customers away.
Attempts to issue huge contracts in the past to upgrade the network ran into a mixture of legal and political problems and several tenders were issued only to be later cancelled.
The contract being offered this time is still considerably smaller than the 93 million lines that had been tendered all the way back in 2008.
This is the third attempt to secure a network expansion by the state-owned company which has seen its market share under pressure from the more nimble private networks. Even a head-start on building a 3G network failed to deliver any benefits to the company.
On the web: The Economic Times