Ericsson, Huawei in running for $6b BSNL contract

Indian operator BSNL has shortlisted Ericsson and Huawei for a massive mobile network project, estimated to be worth $6 billion.

The 93-million-line GSM-3G tender is the world’s biggest telecom contract so far this year.

Ericsson is the only supplier remaining in the north zone and Huawei is the sole bidder in the west and south zones, the Hindu Business Line reported.
Both vendors are on the shortlist for the east zone.

Other bidders, including ZTE, Nokia Siemens and Alcatel Lucent, have been disqualified on technical grounds, the paper said.

But while Ericsson and Huawei are the clear winners in three of the four zones, BSNL cannot award the contracts until the Ministry of Home Affairs gives a security clearance.  The ministry has reportedly expressed concerns over the foreign bidders, and in particular Chinese-owned Huawei.

The ministry has set up a committee to vet the bidders before the contracts are awarded and is yet to submit its report.

BSNL has asked the Department of Telecom to award the contracts to Ericsson in the northern zone, where it faces a shortage of GSM capacity. It said Ericsson was already an established vendor on its network.