India seeks bids for €4.2bn GSM deal

India's state-run telecom firm BSNL has invited bids for a contract valued at over €4.2 billion (US$6.5 billion) to supply 93 million GSM lines, a Reuters report said.

'At about US$70 [€45.33] per line, the tender could be worth over US$6.5 billion (€4.2 billion],' company director S. D. Saxena was quoted as saying.

He also said equipment makers such as LM Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Motorola, Nortel Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei Technology and ZTE are expected to participate in the bidding process, the Reuters report said.

All the bids will be opened on July 16.

'It should take six to eight months to award the tenders,' he said.

Unlisted BSNL is trying to expand its network to compete with rivals including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar.

Saxena said the 93 million GSM lines would include 3G, services, 'depending on the release of spectrum by the government,' while the remaining will be used for 2G.