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BSNL 4G Tender Conditions May Give hHome-bred Telecom Gear Makers An Edge: Report

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As per the report, the draft is said to mandate the ownership of intellectual property right (IPR) or the license for the source code for software of the 4G core elements by an Indian company and it should also come under the jurisdiction of a court of law in India.

The 4G turnkey contract condition laid by State-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) may give domestic telecom equipment maker an edge over global players as BSNL has maintained that the bidders’ company should be registered in India to participate in the tender, as per a Business Standard report.

The bidders are additionally required to have posted a minimum average annual turnover of Rs 2,300 crore in the last three financial years (FY18-FY20) or calendar years (2017-219).

BSNL is currently in the process of finalizing a draft Expression of Interest (EOI). As per the publication, the draft is said to mandate the ownership of intellectual property right (IPR) or the license for the source code for software of the 4G core elements by an Indian company and it should also come under the jurisdiction of a court of law in India.

India’s telecom sector, in the efforts of enabling policies including more quantum of the spectrum, is set to establish new benchmarks in the next-generation network deployments and service delivery.

This may come as a setback for global vendors such as Nokia and Ericsson that may find it cumbersome to shift their IPRs to their Indian arms. In contrast, state-owned ITI Limited, will not be required to furnish its financial turnover in case it bids.

Such a move may give an edge to large Indian firms with financial muscle–especially in the IT sector, such as Tech Mahindra and TCS, among others to be the system integrators. However, smaller home-bred telecom gear vendors will have to join the bigger companies in a consortium to participate in the tender process, the report said.

The DoT-led technical committee for the 4G tender had recommended earlier that only Indian companies be able to bid but BSNL is expected to amend this clause too, paving way for global vendors to take part in the bidding process.

Under the new EoI, there are two types of bidders–system integrators or original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of 4G RAN and the core.

But if a bidder, for instance, a systems integrator isn’t in the business of RAN or core then it will be required to bid as a consortium with companies that have the hardware. In such a case, the system integrator may partner with one company each for RAN and the core in the consortium.

“Injustice is being done to BSNL. It is not fair to insist on the so-called domestic procurement of 4G when there are no manufacturers available to date. Twenty percent of the equipment can be earmarked for trials or proof of concept from domestic integrators and the rest from established vendors,” chairman of the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers’ Association N K Goyal was quoted as saying by the publication.

Furthermore, the bidders, including the consortium members are not allowed to hold equity in or have an operating partnership with any mobile company except MTNL for two years.

The ailing telco recently attracted flak from the empowered technology group (ETG) headed by principal scientific advisor (PSA) K VijayRaghavan on its reluctance to use fourth-generation (4G) core network from domestic (desi) companies.

These development are being seen as a discouragement to BSNL’s existing partners such as Finnish Nokia and Chinese ZTE who were the front runners to bid for the migration of as many as 49,300 existing 2G and 3G sites to 4G, as well as deploy 7,000 new sites for counterpart Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in Delhi and Mumbai, ETTelecom had reported.https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com

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