Bidders line up for MCI GSM network rollout tender

07 August 2004
Contractors are preparing to submit offers by 23 August for the planned rollout of GSM capacity by Mobile Company of Iran (MCI). Nine companies have bought tender documents and are lining up with potential equipment vendors and investors. The result of the tender should be clear by September (MEED 14:5:04).

The project will entail a one-two-year provision of services as part of MCI's planned expansion of the state-run GSM network, which currently stands at 3.4 million subscribers. The lump-sum contract will include procurement, installation, maintenance and optimisation of parts of the mobile network for a limited period.

The three main equipment vendors in Iran - Finland's Nokia, Germany's Siemensand Sweden's Ericsson- are expected to share the work. General contractors must secure the support of at least one vendor in their bid. Nokia will support a consortium of Aryan Qeshm Investment Company (AQIC), an affiliate of the UK's Balli Group, and Iran Telecommunications Industries (ITI)with Iran Telecommunications Industry, which is partly owned by the Information Technology & Communications Ministry. Siemens is in discussions with two contractors: Novin Ertebadand the government-owned ITMC. Ericsson is also in negotiations with two contractors but is trying to secure a general contractor licence for its local affiliate to bid for the project alone.

The MCI expansion is part of Tehran's programme to significantly expand GSM capacity. A consortium led by the local Rafsanjan Industrial Complex is developing a pre-paid network on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. Signing is also pending for the second GSM licence, for which Turkcellis the preferred bidder (see page 19).

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