Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar are in the final race for the important bid to connect Gujarat government employees in the country’s largest closed user group (CUG) network. However, as per state government sources, Vodafone is leading the tally with overall 91 points, followed by Airtel’s 79.5 points, Tata’s 55 points, BSNL’s 50 points and Idea’s 40 points.
On Monday, the Gujarat administration department (GAD) opened a financial bid that carries 40% weight, a week after it opened the technical bids. The latest bid saw Airtel going for a kill by proposing the lowest tariff, over 40% discount to the base rates, beating Vodafone and Tata that offered 35% discount, Idea 30%, and BSNL 20%.
But, according to sources in Gandhinagar, the technical strength of the existing operator Vodafone would eventually score over the competitor’s tariff bait. The state’s oldest and largest player Vodafone enjoys an upper edge as technical bid carries higher weightage of 60%. The CUG contract generates annual revenues of US$6.78.
Vodafone has been catering to the state government’s mobile telephony requirements under the specially designed CUG plan for the past four years at a monthly rental of US$1.02, generating billing worth around US$6.78 million a year. The revised tariff offered by Vodafone is expected to be much lower than the one it is charging at the moment, thus benefiting the state.
As per GAD, it wants to take a relook at the agreement for two more years and has sought competitive tariff bids from six players â€” Vodafone, Airtel, Idea, BSNL, Tata DoCoMo and Reliance GSM. In an unexpected move, GAD revised its terms and conditions in technical and financial rounds with 60% and 40% weight.