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BSNL to soon come out with 4G tender, process open for all firms including Huawei

Kiran Rathee

State-run BSNL is expected to come out with a tender inviting companies to roll out its 4G network in a couple of weeks. As per an official in the company, the tender will be open to all the companies including Chinese Huawei and ZTE, and the successful company will be chosen based on the bidding.

Finnish firm Nokia has rolled out BSNL's 3G network. As per analysts, BSNL needs to spend at least Rs 12,000 crore for rolling out a pan-India 4G network. Given the current situation in the telecom sector, it is excepted that most of the vendors will participate in the bidding. The capex cycle of private operators have saturated with most of them having rolled out 4G network.

"As 5G is still far away, the BSNL tender will be a good business opportunity for telecom network vendors," said an industry veteran.

In order to arrange for funds, BSNL has already written to the government to provide it with a sovereign guarantee of Rs 15,000 crore, which will allow it to raise money from the market. The guarantee is part of the Rs 70,000 crore revival package approved by the Cabinet for BSNL/MTNL in October last year.

The company has already secured a Rs 3,000 crore loan from SBI last month, allowing it to clear some vendor dues and pay salaries to staff.

BSNL CMD PK Purwar had recently said that the outstanding dues to creditors was around Rs 10,000 crore.