BSNL dumps Huawei from GSM tender

Natalie Apostolou
08 Dec 2009

State-owned Indian operator BSNL has dumped Huawei as the key supplier for its 20 million-line GSM network following claims that the conditions imposed by Huawei were unacceptable.

BSNL has confirmed the termination of the deal, The Economic Times reported Monday.

Huawei officials could not be contacted for comment.

“There was no scope for accepting conditions as the order was placed after detailed negotiations and as a government owned firm (BSNL) we do not accept conditions,” a senior BSNL official was quoted as stating.

The carrier’s comprehensive network rollout has been plagued by difficulty from the inception of the project.

Earlier in the year the carrier was forced to confront the home ministry, which had issued a directive against engaging Chinese equipment makers in building networks in sensitive border areas.

Home ministry opposition had prompted BSNL to choose Huawei for the GSM contract in southern India, a region without an international land border.

According to media reports, BSNL’s unexpected action follows on from Huawei’s conditional supply of equipment.

Earlier this year, Indian media had speculated that if complications with the Huawei tender emerged, Alcatel-Lucent may be asked to take over the contract.

BSNL has yet to detail its next move but it is understood that it is considering re-tendering the entire network deployment.

Ericsson is still in negotiations for the portion of the contract for the north and eastern regions, covering 25 million lines for the north zone and 18 million lines for the east zone. Of the total, around 21 million lines must be provisioned for 3G services as well as 2G.

There is no vendor shortlisted for the Western region.

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