Costa Rica’s comptroller has officially voided a contract issued to Ericsson by telecoms monopoly ICE, due to ‘inconsistencies’ in the tender process. The tender for 600,000 GSM lines was originally announced in early 2003, but was delayed by constant budget cuts by the government – and the resultant workforce strikes. It was not until December that Ericsson was contracted to supply and install the equipment in a USD130 million deal. However, once again, the process was dogged by delays and the deal was contested by failed rival bidders Motorola and Alcatel, which claimed the tender was not transparent. Ericsson was due to begin building out the lines in July, but it was at that point that the comptroller took the contract under review. Ericsson was also chastised by the regulator for shipping USD45 million worth of network equipment whilst the deal was still under review. It is not yet known when ICE will re-open the tender.
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