BSNL may not bid for MTNL tender

New Delhi, May 17 | Updated: May 18 2006, 05:30am hrs
State-run telecom major BSNL is unlikely to participate in the tender floated by MTNL to carry its STD traffic in Delhi and Mumbai even as the NYSE-listed MTNL has agreed to pay some of the STD outstanding dues immediately.

Senior BSNL officials told PTI that the company may not participate in the tender as it does not find it lucrative enough to bid below carriage charges of 65 paise, which MTNL wants to get. The officials said it would not be beneficial for BSNL to carry STD traffic of MTNL in non-creamy areas below cost.

If BSNL does not participate, this will lead to private NLD operator(s) bagging the tender where they are expected to quote lower than the current carriage fee of 65 paise.

Wednesday is the last date for submission of bids by interested bidders for the tender. Apart from BSNL, private sector Bharti, Reliance and VSNL are the NLD players at present. MTNL, which provides services in Mumbai and Delhi, recently bagged an STD licence but it would take some time for the navratna company to start carrying its own STD traffic.

When contacted BSNL CMD A K Sinha told PTI that we have not yet decided to participate or not and are still examining it.

On the ongoing STD traffic dues discussions between both the PSUs, the CMD said MTNL has agreed to pay some amount of the total immediately. We will exchange records for the dues to decide on the disputable amount which remains after MTNL pays the immediate amount.

Mr Sinha did not disclose what amount MTNL will be paying immediately. Sources said of the Rs 1,062 crore dues for 2005-06, MTNL could pay about Rs 405 crore. Besides this, there are old dues also.