Huawei, ZTE to install GSM lines at previously quoted rates
KATHMANDU, June 9: The Nepal Telecom (NT)´s ambitious project of installing 10 million new GSM lines is finally going to get implemented as vendors selected for supplying and installing the system have agreed to start the work at previously quoted rates.
The initiative of the state-owned telecom service provider to promptly implement the project had hit snag after the vendors -- China based telecom solution provider Huawei and ZTE -- selected in October 2011 for implementing the project in two phases did not sign the final project implementation agreement, seeking NT to revise the rates.
Though NT repeatedly approached them, they had not turned up for the negotiations. Following such deadlock, NT had announced it was planning to go to alternate vendor. But NT revoked its plan after Huawei and ZTE recently resumed the negotiations after a silence of three months.
"They have also agreed to work under the original terms and conditions," said an NT source. He said NT was hopeful of Huawei and ZTE signing the final memorandum of understanding (MoU) within a week for supplying, delivering and installing equipment for the GSM lines.
Huawei and ZTE were selected for implementing the project in the first and second phase respectively after they quoted the lowest rates.
Huawei selected to install 4.8 million GSM lines in the first phase had quoted the lowest price of Rs 5.7 billion to complete the task. ZTE Corporation was awarded the contract for implementing the second phase of the project as it quoted Rs 6.2 billion -- less than what Huawei quoted -- to complete the installation of remaining 5.2 million GSM lines.
NT had announced it would complete the project before 2015, but it failed to kick start the project on time as the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) amid rise in concerns over quality of Chinese vendors probed into the selection procedures in October. Though CIAA gave it a clean chit after four months of investigations, NT again faced the trouble to start the project as the vendors showed unwillingness to work in the amount they quoted in the bid.
"Together, these hindrances are expected to delay the execution of the project by eight months," said the source. "Nonetheless, we are happy because the latest commitments from the vendors have ensured that the project will now kick off soon," said the source.
Despite delayed start of the project, NT officials said they are optimistic about being able to fulfill the demand of 2G and 3G lines within the next three years.