Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE Corporation has emerged as the lowest bidder for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd's wireless in local loop project, which envisages setting up 750,000 code division multiple access lines across the country.
ZTE's Rs 169.7 crore (Rs 1.697 billion) bid was submitted along with Bangalore-based United Telecom.
ZTE's second joint bid with Indian Telephone Industries emerged as the second lowest bid in the same tender at Rs 169.8 crore (Rs 1.698 billion).
Other bidders include Huawei, another Chinese manufacturer, which was the lowest bidder for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd's WLL project. Huawei in association with Himachal Futuristics Communication Ltd had quoted nearly Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.50 billion) for MTNL's 800,000 CDMA lines.
ZTE Corp was the second lowest bidder in that case. For the BSNL project, Huawei has put in two separate bids with HFCL and Hughes Escorts Ltd, both at Rs 277.8 crore (Rs 2.778 billion).
Korean manufacturer Hyundai has submitted two bids at Rs 263.2 crore (Rs 2.632 billion) and Rs 266.4 crore (Rs 2.664 billion).
Global telecom giants Motorola, Ericsson and LG have also put in their bids for BSNL's WLL project.
Analysts pointed out that the "aggressive interest" shown by Chinese and Korean manufacturers in the Indian telecom market indicated where the epicentre of telecom growth lay.
Industry sources said the bids quoted for BSNL's network included mobile switching centres, which would enable the company to offer roaming and data services to limited mobility subscribers.
This will, however, be subject to the decision by the telecom disputes tribunal on whether operators will be allowed to use mobile switches for limited mobility services. MTNL's tender did not include mobile switches.
BSNL currently has around 400,000 WLL lines across the country. But unlike private operators, it primarily uses the WLL technology in rural areas, where it is difficult and uneconomical to dig and lay cables.
- ZTE's second joint bid with Indian Telephone Industries emerged as the second lowest in the same tender at Rs 169.8 crore.
- Huawei put in two separate bids with HFCL and Hughes Escorts Ltd, both at Rs 277.8 crore.
- Hyundai has submitted two bids at Rs 263.2 crore and Rs 266.4 crore.
- Motorola, Ericsson and LG have also put in their bids.