12 companies including Indian as well as global have expressed interest in rolling out 4G network of BSNL. Expression of Interest (EoI) document issued by BSNL is believed to have been purchased by the companies which include Tejas Network, ITI, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra, TCS, Sterlite Technologies and HFCL. The global ones are Ericsson, Nokia and Mavenir Systems.
Also, vying to participate in the tender are Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE. The government will hold a pre-bid meeting on Monday to clear doubts of the prospective bidders.
Last week, BSNL had issued the EoI for rolling out its 4G services, for which only Indian companies are allowed to provide the core network through a system integrator model. The EoI came more than six months after an earlier tender was cancelled because of complaints that it does not promote homegrown companies.
According to top sources in the government, the fact that even global firms have shown keen interest in rolling out 4G network for BSNL, proves that they are fine with the conditions. Earlier, the global firms had expressed their unhappiness around the condition of keeping the source code in an escrow account.
As per the EoI, the core shall be Indian and the IPR or licence/copyright for the source code of the software should be owned by an Indian company, and it must have unrestricted, irrevocable access and licence to modify the source code and provide software support for all future versions of the software.
For the radio network like base tower stations (BTS), these global firms can bid but they need to deposit their source code in an escrow account. “The escrowed version of the software shall be upgraded/updated regularly and will be the same as the version in the field,” the EoI said.