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BSNL selects Nokia for ₹1000 crore OTN equipment contract

Published Nov 13, 2023 08:20
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In a move that has stirred debate, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has chosen Nokia (HE:NOKIA) to supply and deploy Optical Transport Network (LON:NETW) (OTN) equipment in a deal valued at ₹1,000 crore (INR100 crore = approx. USD12 million). The decision comes as part of the company's Phase-4 project, which calls for a pan-India supply, installation, and commissioning of OTN equipment. This contract also includes a three-year operational period followed by an eight-year comprehensive annual maintenance contract.

The choice of Nokia, however, has drawn criticism due to its apparent conflict with BSNL's Aatmanirbharta initiative—a push for self-reliance that involves developing indigenous 4G technology in collaboration with Tata Consultancy Services (NS:TCS), Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), and Tejas Networks.

The bidding process was called into question by Rakesh Kumar Bhatnagar after the disqualification of UTL and Tejas Networks, two domestic firms. The terms of the tender necessitated inclusion on the National Security Council Secretariat's (NSCS) Trusted Sources list. This requirement became a pivotal factor when the order value exceeded ₹200 crore, ultimately giving an advantage to Nokia.

This development aligns with New Delhi's broader strategy to strengthen ties with Washington, aiming to expand research and commercial opportunities for Indian companies. The awarding of the contract to Nokia is being managed through a local system integrator and was determined by an open financial bid.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

BSNL selects Nokia for ₹1000 crore OTN equipment contract
 

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