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BSNL purchase deals to have `local' clause — Bid to boost manufacturing

Thomas K Thomas

New Delhi , July 15

BHARAT Sanchar Nigam Ltd will procure all its telecom equipment from only those vendors who have plans to set up a manufacturing facility in India. The State-owned company will introduce this clause in all its procurement policy, including for the 60-million-line GSM tender expected to be issued shortly.

"We want to encourage local manufacturing as is being envisaged by the Government. We will buy 100 per cent of our required equipment from those vendors who either have a manufacturing facility or those who have expressed their intent to set up a facility in the country," said Mr A.K. Sinha, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL.

BSNL is one of the largest buyers of telecom equipment in the world. Last year, it had bought GSM equipment for rolling out 11 million lines for about Rs 6,000 crore, making it the single largest tender in the world for telecom.

Nortel, Nokia, Alcatel and Ericsson had bagged the contract for the different zones last year. Of these, Alcatel and Ericsson have already announced plans to manufacture mobile base stations in India. While Alcatel has entered into an agreement with Indian Telephone Industries, Ericsson has begun manufacturing at its Rajasthan plant.

BSNL has already awarded a four-million-line GSM contract to the Alcatel-ITI joint venture. Other vendors, including Motorola and Siemens, are expected to spell out their plans shortly.

Nokia is investing in setting up a handset-manufacturing unit in the country, which may be expanded to produce network equipment. BSNL may replicate the procurement policy even for non-wireless services such as broadband.

The company is undertaking a nationwide rollout of broadband services.

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