BSNL, India's state-run mobile operator, picked Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE to supply equipment and software technology to expand its mobile network.
"The purchase orders have already been handed out," R.K. Agarwal, director for consumer mobile phone services at BSNL, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The contract, thought to be worth around $1.09 billion (€870 million), was first tendered in July 2011. Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks withdrew from bidding in June of this year after stating they could not match the quoted price from ZTE.
While ZTE was selected for being the lowest bidder for the network equipment, Alcatel-Lucent was picked as offering the lowest price for software technology to handle BSNL's prepaid subscribers, Agarwal said. Alcatel-Lucent also withdrew from the bidding for the network infrastructure part of the deal along with the other vendors.
ZTE said the BSNL contract called for it to expand the operator's mobile network capacity to add 10.15 million new GSM users in the northern and southern parts of India, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
The Chinese company added that it would also provide BSNL with financing for the contract and will maintain the equipment for three years in what is being labelled as India's largest GSM deal, according to the Economic Times.
BSNL said that it had earlier issued "advance purchase" orders to five equipment suppliers, with the invitation to these vendors to share the equipment supply deal at the price quoted by the winner of tender. The opportunity was declined by the five companies, according to NDTV.
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