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New Delhi, Nov. 8

STATE-OWNED telecom corporation Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) on Tuesday said it registered profit of over Rs 10,000 crore in 2004-05, while revenues jumped about six per cent to cross Rs 36,000 crore.

The company said that it would invite bids for the largest-ever GSM tender of 60 million lines next month, in line with its expansion plans for mobile services.

"The 60 million GSM tender is going to come out next month. The details are being worked out. There will be a provision for local manufacturing in the tender," the BSNL Chairman and Managing Director, Mr A.K. Sinha, said after presenting a dividend cheque of Rs 975 crore to the Union Minister for Communications and IT, Mr Dayanidhi Maran.

The company had paid the Government Rs 200 crore as interim, taking the total dividend to Rs 1,175 crore.

"ITI would be given 25-30 per cent quota in the upcoming order as it is entitled for that being a PSU," he said.

On whether Chinese vendor Huawei would to be allowed to participate in the tender, he said, "We have given show-cause notice to them. HFCL was the front-end (of the contract). They (both the companies) have not kept the commitment and many of our plans are going to be upset over that. So we have given them the notice and their reply is awaited," he said.

On the issue of interconnection with private telecom operators, he said, "As and when there is demand for interconnection, BSNL complies with it immediately. As you add capacity, you tend to have congestion somewhere. So it is to be monitored and corrective action has to be taken."

Earlier, replying to a query on whether BSNL was justified in getting most of Universal Service Obligation (USO) funds for its unprofitable operations (in the rural areas) despite a profit of over Rs 10,000 crore, Mr Maran pointed out that USO existed for all players, and not for BSNL alone.

Meanwhile, the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India Secretary-General, Mr S.C. Khanna, said there was no case for payment of Access Deficit Charge (ADC) to BSNL by private operators as it "disturbed the level playing field".

The consolidated revenue of Bharti Tele-Ventures, the only listed integrated player, was Rs 7,875 crore and post-tax earnings Rs 1,498 crore for 2004-05.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 9, 2005)
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