A source at China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) said recently that the operator started a procurement tender in February for nearly 2 mln pieces of GSM network equipment, with the results to be released during Q2 of this year. As subscriber numbers continue to sharply increase, the source said, China Mobile needs to increase its GSM network capacity and replace both old and newer equipment. Chinese equipment makers like Huawei and ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ) were more competitive on price, the source said. The tender reportedly includes not only GSM base stations, but also other related equipment. Ericsson, Nokia-Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell (ASB), Huawei, and ZTE are among the main participants in the tender; manufacturers of related equipment such as power supplies are also taking part.
An industry analyst predicted that the total value of the tender would be around RMB 20 bln.