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New Delhi, Nov. 24

THE world's largest telecom gear manufacturer, Nokia, has bagged a $141 million (Rs 635 crore) order from India's largest telephone operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), for the supply of cellular equipment.

The deal is an extension of a $284 million contract signed by Nokia and BSNL in 2004 for supply of GSM (Global System for Mobile) and GPRS (General Packet Radio System) equipment. Nokia will supply the equipment for BSNL's mobile roll-out in North India and will include core and radio network equipment.

"The expansion will enable BSNL to significantly increase its network coverage and capacity in Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh (both east and west circles), Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. It gives BSNL the chance to introduce the benefits of mobility to 2 million new Indian subscribers, and underscores Nokia's commitment to the dynamic Indian market," said a press release.

"This is an important network expansion to BSNL as we strive to offer the best network coverage and capacity to our subscribers," said Mr G.S. Grover, Director Commercial and Marketing, BSNL. The state-owned company is the second largest GSM mobile operator in the country with more than 12 million subscribers. The company is planning a $5 billion network expansion with 60 million new cellular lines in a bid to cover the entire country. BSNL also has 42 million fixed line users.

"We are delighted to strengthen our successful cooperation with BSNL. This expansion provides BSNL the ability to enhance its network coverage and capacity, and shows the strength of Nokia's full range of service offering," said Mr Ashish Chowdhary, Country Head, Networks, Nokia India.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 25, 2005)
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