BSNL's Global Ambitions

10:30 AM -- Indian state-owned carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) is setting its sights on international expansion, a tender published on the company's Website reveals.

The company is asking for sealed proposals from individuals, companies, or associations to provide consultancy services to BSNL on mergers and acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and the acquisition of telecom licenses outside of India.

The winners will form a panel to work with BSNL's management for two years, with a possibility of a third, should the telco invite them.

The closing date for proposals is June 1. Check out BSNL's Website for full details of the tender. BSNL is the latest Indian telco to show interest in mobile operations overseas. However, as yet, they have struggled to make an impact. Reliance Communications Ltd. did manage to acquire Ugandan license holder Anupam Global, early in 2008, but both Reliance and Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) failed in their bids to buy African giant MTN Group Ltd. , a move that would have further established either carrier on the global stage. (See Reliance Makes African Acquisition, Reliance Feud Kills MTN Deal, and MTN Becomes M&A Magnet).

BSNL's timing may be right, as there is an increasing number of operators looking for foreign investment, particularly to fund their 3G developments. (See Strapped Telcos Hunt Cash).

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

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