Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited said on Wednesday it has cancelled the current tender to roll out high-speed wireless broadband in the three key circles of Gujarat, Andhra Paredesh and Maharashtra, but ruled out any impact on its expansion plans.
"We had to cancel the Wi max roll-out in three states -- Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra -- as the model to be adopted in these states were franchise-led roll-out. As we did not find any suitable applications our southern zone evaluation committe decided to seek fresh bids," BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal told PTI.
Wi Max, the higher version of 3G technology, allows users wireless access to high-speed internet and other data applications over a large area.
He said this in no way would affect the Wi-Max roll-out plans of BSNL as the PSU is directly procuring equipment for the rest of the country and rolling out under its own supervision.
"There is no impact of this cancellation. . . we have already set up 1000 BTS in our existing circles (other than these three states)," he said.
BSNL operates all over India except Delhi and Mumbai. Goyal, however, did not give any fresh dates for the new bids.
Industry sources said BSNL had to go for fresh bids as some of the franchise applicants were found to be 'front' companies of some dubious organisations.
Sources said BSNL is now looking at putting in place tougher terms and conditions for the new tender as the original tender was under controversy, with BSNL facing allegations of non-transparency in the bidding process to select its WiMax franchisee partners.
More than 20 companies made a bid earlier this year to act as a WiMax partner to BSNL in a number of circles across India. Five companies were believed to have made it to the BSNL shortlist, however, were said to be 'fake' in that they were not really individual entities at all.
BSNL is already using US-headquartered Soma Networks asa Mobile WiMax franchisee under a revenue-sharing deal on WiMax services.
BSNL has a 20 MHz chunk of pan-Indian BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum in the 2.5 GHz frequency band.
Although 20 MHz has already been put aside for state operators at 2.5 GHz, another three private operators are allowed to bid for a total of 20 MHz each in the remaining 60 MHz of BWA spectrum made available.