State-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has again deferred its plans to issue a tender for potential WiMAX franchisees, according to the Hindu Business Line. Having been forced to abandon its initial tender after it was revealed that five of the six bidders shortlisted existed only on paper, BSNL delayed its target date for relaunching the tender to 24 June 2009. It is now understood that the date has been postponed indefinitely. BSNL has said it will reveal a new target date ‘soon’, but it first intends to settle the terms and conditions under which potential partners will operate in a bid to streamline the tender process and avoid confusion. One area that BSNL has clarified is that franchisees will not have to pay a one-time upfront fee; it is expected instead that operators rolling out WiMAX services using BSNL’s spectrum will over a period of time pay towards BSNL’s costs incurred in acquiring the frequencies.
When it does finally launch the tender, BSNL will invite bids in 16 circles, and if it retains previous conditions for bidding, only those companies with a turnover of over INR1 billion (USD20.5 million) for two consecutive financial years will be able to apply.