State-owned operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is set to issue a new tender for WiMAX equipment, Unstrung is reporting. Quoting an industry source, Unstrung claims that BSNL will invite bids from network vendors for equipment to cover the Punjab and Kerala circles; it is understood that the estimated value of the tender will be between USD200 million and USD500 million. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, previous reports in August 2008 also indicated BSNL was in final talks with operators regarding the rollout of WiMAX services in rural regions, as part of an agreement it has with the government. Further WiMAX expansion is also expected from the operator, as it is guaranteed spectrum for WiMAX services in every Indian circle bar Mumbai and Delhi.
In related news, Indian news source The Economic Times is reporting that BSNL will float an expression of interest (EoI) to identify possible franchisees for launching WiMAX-based services in 16 circles; BSNL already has a franchisee agreement with US-based SOMA Networks for three circles, with 70% of revenues reserved for SOMA. It is understood that new agreements will differ depending on factors including circle of operation and the franchisee itself.