|Finnish communications company Nokia and Chinese telecom gear maker ZTE has bagged the Rs. 6,000-crore network expansion project of state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL).|
"We have issued the advance purchase order to Nokia and in the next 10 days it will be issued to ZTE, " said BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava.
Shrivastava said the mandate is for adding some 40,000 mobile base stations by replacing new 2G and adding 3G and 4G (by Wi-Fi network).
The execution will be over next two years.
Shrivastava, who was in Kolkata in connection with the launch of Speedpay wallet by Union Minister of State for Communications Manoj Sinha, said Nokia turned out to be the lowest bidder followed by ZTE and then Ericsson.
Nokia will execute the network expansion in the southern and western regions, while ZTE will do so in the north and the east.
ZTE has agreed to match L1 bidder (Nokia).
Presently, BSNL has 1.3 lakh BTS across the country. I In Bengal, the telecom operator has installed 1000 BTS in Kolkata and in next two years 1000 more would be added under the current expansion.
BSNL has been able to make a turnaround and will be back in net profit in 2018-19.
"With the entry of a new operator (Jio) all operators have faced a decline in revenue but we (BSNL) have been able to hold on," Sinha said.
Under the new accounting standards, the revenue was marginally higher in 2016-17 at Rs 28700 crore up from Rs 28400 crore the previous year, Shrivastava said.