China’s ZTE has blamed the actions of a single employee for a breach of Telenor’s code of conduct that has seen the Chinese firm banned from taking part in any Telenor tenders for six months. “This situation between Telenor and ZTE has arisen because of the actions of a single employee in a ZTE subsidiary, acting on his own behalf,” ZTE said in a written response to Reuters. “The individual concerned has been disciplined and we are reviewing possible legal action.” The exact nature of the breach remains unconfirmed, though an industry source told Light Reading that ZTE representatives attempted to bribe Telenor officials during a recent tender process. ZTE has been a major supplier of GSM equipment to Telenor.
The ban will cover all of Telenor’s global operations. According to Reuters, analysts say the ban will have limited impact on ZTE’s bottom line, but warned that the firm could suffer from reputational damage. Nevertheless, ZTE continues to win key GSM contracts. Reuters reports yesterday that the firm has won a US$400 million GSM network infrastructure contract from India’s Aircel, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s Maxis and the fifth-largest operator in India.