India’s BSNL plans a Rs 1000 crore deal with Nokia for OTN equipment.

India's BSNL plans a Rs 1000 crore deal with Nokia for OTN equipment.
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BSNL is set to award a Rs 1000 crore purchase order to Nokia for the supply of optical transport network (OTN) equipment and deployment. This move has been opposed by the homegrown telecom industry, which has alleged that BSNL tweaked the original terms and conditions of the tender to suit foreign vendors.

Homegrown telecom vendors United Telecoms Limited (UTL) and Tata Group company, Tejas Networks, were also in the race for the contract, but they were disqualified on shoddy grounds. The industry body Voice of Indian Communication Technology Enterprises (VOICE) has written a letter to the telecom minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, seeking his intervention in the matter.

The homegrown telecom industry has been demanding that the government give priority to Indian vendors in the procurement of telecom equipment. They argue that this will help promote the Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) initiative and boost the domestic telecom manufacturing sector.

However, BSNL has defended its decision to award the contract to Nokia, saying that the Finnish company was the lowest bidder and that it offered the best technical solution. BSNL has also said that it is committed to supporting the domestic telecom industry, but that it cannot compromise on quality and price.

It remains to be seen whether BSNL will go ahead with awarding the contract to Nokia, or whether it will reconsider its decision in the face of opposition from the homegrown telecom industry.

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