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Country to have 45.5 million mobile phone lines in 3 years

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 23 (UNI) Billed as the biggest expansion moves by state owned telecom company, BSNL, the country would have in place 45.5 million GSM and 3-G enabled phone lines over the next three years at an estimated cost of five billion dollars.

Although the total expansion of network is of 60 million lines, the remaining 14.5 million lines has been reserved for public sector ITI, which has a technical tie up with French equipment giant Alcatel a top ranking BSNL official said.

BSNL has opted for two stage bidding system for the tender, which includes planning, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning of the lines.

The country's largest telecom operators called for bids for 45.5 million cellular lines the world's largest such order.

Alcatel, Nokia and Ericsson will get a shot in the arm via their local manufacturing bases and tie-ups. Other players who do not have such bases like Motorola, Nortel and Chinese companies like ZTE and Huawei will have to either set up a local manufacturing base or opt for sub-contracting from an Indian company.

According to the tender for 17.5 million lines which are to be supplied in the first phase the vendor can import the equipment. But for the, the remaining two phases of 14 million each, only locally manufactured equipment will be accepted.

Work on leasing or constructing a factory and procurement of capital goods for manufacturing has to be completed within six months of the issue of order.

The vendors will have to achieve a minimum of at least 30 per cent value addition in indigenously manufactured core equipment.

This is encourage encourage domestic manufacturing of telecom equipment, the BSNL official added.

UNI/RT ARB RS1844

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