Vendors opt out of BSNL bidding

Tower outsourcing is increasingly popular

Leading network infrastructure vendors have pulled out of negotiations with India’s state-owned telco BSNL, which is looking to expand its network.

Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks have withdrawn from the tender, saying they cannot match the proposal from Chinese vendor ZTE.

According to local reports, ZTE is offering to install around 14.4 million lines for BSNL for  just $840m, while Huawei had quoted $1.3bn, Alcatel-Lucent quoted $1.8bn, Ericsson $2.3bn and NSN $2.5bn.

BSNL network expansion plans have been hit by politically-motivated delays, security concerns around allowing Chinese vendors to install kit in border areas, and often complex demands on the suppliers.

The major hurdle now facing the telco is the fact that Indian laws require multiple suppliers for large contracts, and that the other bidders must match the lowest price awarded. Therefore, if competing vendors do not match ZTE’s bid, then the network expansion will be delayed once again.

This is the third attempt to secure a network expansion by BSNL.

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