Light Reading
BSNL's much-delayed mobile expansion is being held up again, this time by India's new communications minister

BSNL Expansion Delayed Yet Again

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
7/11/2007
50%
50%

Indian operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) 's mobile network expansion is once again mired in controversy, prompting employees to strike Wednesday in protest at further delays in awarding equipment contracts.

After multiple hiccups in the bidding process, BSNL had finally been poised to place orders worth more than $4 billion for GSM equipment with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks in May. (See BSNL to Award $4.5B Mobile Contracts.)

But India's new IT and Communications minister, Andimuthu Raja, has taken issue with the tender negotiated under predecessor Dayanidhi Maran, and is pushing the state-run operator to renegotiate the prices quoted by the vendors. (See India Roundup: Partnerships & Politics.)

A statement on the Ministry of Communications and IT's Website says that Raja "found some discrepancies in [the] processing of GSM tenders and accordingly, advised BSNL to look into those issues in the larger interest of BSNL."

Ericsson put in a bid to supply the equipment at $107 per line, and, as the lowest bidder, it would get 60 percent of the 45.5 million lines to be installed. Nokia was the second lowest bidder at $160 per line, so it would get the remaining 40 percent if it agreed to meet Ericsson’s price.

But Raja has questioned why BSNL would award the bulk of the contracts to Ericsson, when Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is supplying GSM equipment to BSNL’s sister carrier, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) , at a price of $70 per line.

Raja has also asked BSNL to clarify why it disqualified Motorola from bidding, a move that resulted in Motorola taking the operator to court. (See Moto Stalls BSNL's Wireless Tender.)

Ericsson has reportedly refused to reduce its bid further, so BSNL is now under pressure to remove an order of 3G gear that was to be included in the contracts and focus on procuring cheaper GSM equipment. Raja argues that it's unnecessary for the carrier to install 3G lines when the government is yet to agree on a 3G policy and suggests that BSNL issue a separate 3G tender at a later date. (See India on Edge Over 3G.)

BSNL could end up having to invite fresh bids from all the major vendors, including Motorola and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), which was also disqualified during the technical evaluation.

The ongoing saga led 400,000 BSNL employees to stage a one-day strike on Wednesday, demanding that the carrier award the contracts immediately. In a prepared statement V.A.N. Namboodiri, secretary general of the BSNL Employees' Union, claimed that "the intolerable delay will be the death knell of BSNL unless immediate action is taken. Not only is BSNL unable to provide new connections, but also its relevance in [the] telecom sector itself will be questionable unless immediate action is taken."

The statement notes that BSNL exhausted its capacity to provide new mobile connections in March. "BSNL was unable to provide even nominal connections during the last three months... sliding down to the fourth position" in market share, it says.

In response to the strike, the Communications and IT Ministry’s statement claims that union members are protesting "for reasons best known to them." BSNL is due to respond to Raja's queries within a week and Raja has assured the union that in making a decision on its response, "the interests of BSNL and its employees will be protected at any cost."

"During the intervening period till receipt of supplies under the tender, appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that BSNL does not suffer due to lack of network capacity," it says, without providing details.

BSNL, which has around 28 million mobile subscribers, has been attempting to kickstart this second phase of its network expansion since early 2006 as it struggled to keep pace with India's massive demand for telecom services. Carriers are now adding around 6 million new subscribers every month, prompting them to embark on massive expansion projects to increase capacity and relieve network congestion.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
readlightly
50%
50%
readlightly,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:05:26 PM
re: BSNL Expansion Delayed Yet Again
Vendors- Pay the new minister and get started. Your "investments" with the old minister have been fruitless.....woe betide the continuing saga of India's bureaucracy.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Now Google Planning Drones-to-Go
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/29/2014
Music to My Mobile
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed