Saturday, November 20, 2010

BSNL invites bids for 6,800 WiMax towers

Governmet-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has invited bids to set up 6,800 WiMax towersin southern zone. The tender for setting up the WiMax base transceiver stations (BTS) is estimated at Rs 1,400 crore.

A senior official from BSNL told Financial Chronicle that the company has received bids from some of the players and is evaluating them. “We are evaluating the bids both in terms of technical and financial compliance. We will announce the successful bidder by next week. For the 6,800 towers it is estimated that the value would be around Rs 1,400 crore,” he said. This implementation for the BTS has initially been rolled out for the South zone.

At present, 1,000 towers are in the implementation stage under the first tender. The public sector undertaking (PSU) has outlined Rs 300 crore for setting up 1,000 towers.

“Once the roll-out is complete, we will start marketing the product for our customers. BSNL is the first operator in the country to offer wireless high speed broadband. We have not yet set a deadline for the launch of the service. Each signal from every tower will be available within a radius of 15 kilometres and it will be able to accommodate 1,000 customers,” he added.

Being government run operators, both BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) were the first service providers allotted WiMax spectrum. The department of telecom (DoT) has allotted WiMax spectrum in 2.5 GHz frequency band. MTNL has already invited bids from global players to set up and run its WiMax operations in Mumbai and Delhi.

WiMax or worldwide interoperability for microwave access is a wireless digital communications system for high speed broadband services.

The WiMax Forum forecasts that India will have 19 million WiMax subscribers by 2012, or 20 per cent of the world’s WiMax user base.

The government plans to auction the WiMax spectrum in January 2010, after which private telecom companies would be able to commercially roll out high-speed wireless broadband services. Last month the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) fixed Rs 1,750 crore as the reserve price for WiMax spectrum.

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