An Indian court has reportedly rejected a filing by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) protesting against its exclusion in an equipment tender being floated by state-owned mobile operator, BSNL. The tender for 93 million GSM lines is estimated to be worth INR30,000 crore (US$6.3 billion), making it one of the largest contracts of its kind. According to a report in India’s Economic Times today, NSN had appealed about being disqualified from the tender process on technical grounds without explanation, and alleged that BSNL had unfairly favoured some vendors over others. “Looking at the magnitude of the bid in some zones, only single bidders qualified, which is a matter that should be examined,” an NSN spokesperson told India’s Business Standard in a separate report. NSN is also understood to have filed complaints with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Central Vigilance Commission on the same issue.
According to the Business Standard, rival vendors ZTE, Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent were also disqualified on technical grounds. The formal result of the tender has yet to be confirmed, though reports suggest that Ericsson and Huawei are likely to be among the winners. BSNL’s tender requires vendors to provide 25 million lines each in the north, west and south of the country, and 19 million lines in the east. NSN was understood to have bid for the northern, southern and western zones. In related news this week, it was reported that India’s Department of Telecoms has revived plans to sell-off 10 percent of BSNL via an IPO following the conclusion of the recent Indian general elections.