BSNL could up $3 b equipment order size

By : |July 12, 2005 0

NEW DELHI: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., India’s second-largest provider of GSM-based mobile services, could increase the size of a proposed 40-million-line equipment contract by half, its chief on Wednesday.

State-run BSNL, India’s largest telecoms firm by sales, has plans to float a global tender for equipment for 40 million GSM lines, a record Indian telecoms deal worth more than $3 billion.

“If there is a need for more equipment, there is a provision for 20 million more lines,” said Chairman AK Sinha. “Everything depends on demand.”

“The tender will be floated in one or two months.”

Mobile services demand is growing in communication-starved India, where less than six in 100 people use wireless facilities compared with more than 25 in 100 in China.

New Delhi-based BSNL has about a fifth of India’s 57.87 million mobile phone users. More than three-quarters of users in the world’s fastest-growing major mobile market operate on the Global System for Mobile platform. The rest use services based on Code Division Multiple Access technology.

Unlisted BSNL competes mainly with larger GSM rival Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd. and Reliance Infocomm Ltd. — the top-ranked CDMA-based mobile services provider.

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