India's BSNL may turn to Ericsson, Nortel on GSM deal

India's state-run BSNL may order mobile phone lines worth about $910 million from Ericsson or Nortel Networks, after a rival supplier missed a deadline to accept the order, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said Nokia Siemens Networks was the second-lowest bidder in a tender for 23 million GSM lines by BSNL earlier this year.

Rules say BSNL must order 40% of the tender, or 10 million lines, from the second-lowest bidder if it is willing to match the lowest bidder's price, the Reuters report added.

Ericsson offered the lowest bid of about $91 a line and accepted an order for 13.1 million lines worth about $1.3 billion in September.

Nokia Siemens, which bid $171 a line, has missed a deadline to respond to the order, BSNL said.

The Reuters report added that if Nokia Siemens does not take up the order, the Indian telecoms firm would consider awarding it to other companies like Ericsson and Nortel, BSNL said.

An official of Nokia Siemens declined to comment on the matter.

Another order for 9 million lines will be placed by end-November with a consortium of Alcatel-Lucent and state-run telecoms equipment maker ITI.

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