Six bidders for BSNL's 93 mln GSM lines tender

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New Delhi, Sept 10 (UNI) Six global companies, including Ericsson and Nokia Siemens, have bid for the 93 million GSM lines tender floated by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), a deal which is expected to be worth nine to ten billion dollars.

''The bidders include Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp, Alcatel-Lucent and Nortel Networks,'' BSNL Chairman Kuldeep Goyal told reporters here after the bids were submitted.

Only Motorola is not there, other major vendors are there, he added.

The bids will first be evaluated on technical parameters and only those shortlisted will be passed on to the second round, where the prices quoted by each firm will be compared.

Mr Goyal said he expected the first orders, for 33 million lines, to be placed by the end of the year or in early 2009.

Asked if the winning bid would be below 100 dollar a line, Mr Goyal said, ''yes, that's what we think.'' BSNL, last year, had ordered around 13 million lines from Ericsson at about 91 dollars a line, which was part of a tender for 23 million lines.

Both Ericsson and second-lowest bidder Nokia-Siemens Networks declined to meet the rest of the tender at that price.

''Ninety (dollars), I would not like to say anything,'' he said when asked if the bid would be below the price charged by Ericsson last year.

In April, BSNL had used up almost all its 36 million GSM lines and most of its 5.5 million CDMA lines. It had said it would add 33.5 million lines during the year up to March 2009.

BSNL had 42.5 million mobile subscribers on its networks, compared with Bharti's 72.1 million, Reliance's 52.5 million and Vodafone Essar's 51 million by July-end.

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