BSNL to float tender for 42 million lines

By agencies   |   Monday, 23 January 2006, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited today said its much awaited mega tender for expansion of nation-wide mobile operations would be for 42 million lines instead of 60 million as the 30 percent would be awarded to another PSU ITI under "Reserved Quota."

"We are working on the modalities. Since this tender is the biggest ever that is why it is taking some time," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director A K Sinha said.

Asked by when the tender would be out, Sinha said "before the month end."

Earlier, it was expected that the tender would be to add 60 million lines envisaging an investment of about $4.5 billion but taking out Reserved Quota BSNL would be inviting bids for the rest of the quantity.

The balance 42 million lines would be for three regions of North, South and East while the contract for Western region would be awarded to ITI.

For 2006-07, the BSNL would lay 20 million lines across the country of which 80 percent would be mobile. This is being done to meet immediate demand, Sinha said, adding the corporation would also aim at covering 14,000 villages with one telephone in each village over the next two years.

"These will be covered through satellite phone and HFCL will provide the phone equipments," Sinha said.
For the remaining little over two months in the current fiscal, the PSU would add eight million mobile lines with two million each in the four zones under its ongoing expansion plan of adding 14 million lines.

Of the total proposed investment of $4.5 billion, BSNL has planned to invest over Rs 19,400 crore during the next financial year.

While most part of the investment would come from internal accruals of BSNL, the corporation may resort to borrowing of Rs 5,000-6,000 crore from the market.

The investment plan has been finalized by the corporation and is yet to be ratified by the Planning Commission.

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