Chinese companies Huawei Technologies, China Putain and ZTE Corporation are among the seven vendors in the race to win the Rs 400 crore 7.45 lakh line code division multiple access (CDMA) 2001 1X network rollout project of BSNL in 12 states.
Apart from the three Chinese players, telecom equipment vendors from Korea, LG and Hyundai have also submitted technical bids for the project. Global vendors, Motorola and Ericsson, are also in the race to win the project.
While ZTE Corporation has already set foot in the Indian market after winning a 5 lakh line project from BSNL in southern India, Huawei and China Putain are new entrants in the CDMA game.
Although Huawei has been operating in India and has a software development center in Bangalore, its telecom equipment business was limited to GSM (global system for mobile telephony) technologies and the company has only recently entered into the CDMA technology business.
The technical bids are currently being evaluated by BSNL and the financial bids are expected to be invited from the shortlisted companies within the next couple of weeks. The network rollout will be done in 12 states including Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh (East) and West Bengal.
However, all the bidders may not reach the final round because of the conditions in the tender asking for minimum 2 lakh lines network rollout experience of the same technology.
BSNL has asked vendors to furnish documentary proof of their experience and will shortlist companies only after verifying the claims.
The condition will ensure that only experienced companies enter the financial round. We have received the documents and certificates and will be verifying their claims. Sometimes companies claim to have executed entire projects while, in reality, it turns out that they supplied only part of the equipment for projects they cite, said a senior BSNL official close to the process.
BSNL sources said the project might not go to one vendor and could be split into 2-3 parts to be executed by different vendors. It is also believed that BSNL will now prepare a panel of preferred vendors and will be inviting tenders only from the selected vendors for future projects. It will save a lot of time and effort required for validation of capability and experience of the vendors for each project. It will help in closing tenders in less time, said a BSNL official.