BSNL’s NFS Tenders to be executed under India’s PMA Policy


With India’s Preferential Market Access policy already in place, the Secretary, Department of Telecom, MF Farooqui has confirmed that the set of ongoing Network for Spectrum tenders floated by BSNL will be executed under the guidelines of the PMA policy.  

“NFS is a very important tender and I can confirm that PMA policy will be applicable in this tender process for all the three set of tenders,” MF Farooqui added.

This policy was introduced by Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, government of India in the month of October, 2012 and clearly states the usage of locally made products to be preferred while establishing critical network infrastructure in the country.

While the government has now agreed to implement PMA in this tender, it becomes important to note that last month, there was little clarity on this issue and the NFS tender documents carried restrictive clauses which were not in the true spirit of implementing PMA policy and hence, it prompted industry players such as C-DOT, Bharat Electronics, Tejas Networks, TCIL, Coral Telecom and Inventum Technologies to collectively write in to various corners of the government asking the stakeholders including MF Farooqui, Secretary, Department of Telecom, J Satyanarayana, Secretary, DeitY and RK Mathur, Secretary Defense to implement the ongoing NFS tender under the announced PMA policy of the government of India.

Some of the disputed conditions mentioned in the tender documents were –

a)   Mandatory requirement of prior experience of a large deployment

b)  High financial qualification criteria for the bidder

c)   Requirements that products should be coming from same technology provider

“India is not the only country which has its own PMA policy, all the big nations in the world have this kind of policy which is very much required to create opportunities for the local players. PMA policy is a great tool to help the Indian telecom manufacturers in terms of incorporating their products and solutions in the country’s network. This NFS tender is a very critical project and that is why it was very important to involve the local manufacturers in this tender,” explained a high ranking official from TCIL on conditions of anonymity.

BSNL has recently floated three tenders for the implementation of network for spectrum (NFS) project – and according to industry sources, the total worth of these multi-year tenders is worth well over Rs 10,000 crore.

BSNL NFS Tenders


This tender is intended for the rollout of ‘Exclusive and Dedicated Nationwide DWDM based Optical Transmission Backbone Network for Armed Forces’ on Turnkey basis, whereby it should conform to all the user requirements including Delivery of Professional Services for System Integration, Project Management, Training & Maintenance Support, Project Consultancy in addition to Network Planning, Implementation and Maintenance support for this project.



This tender is intended towards creating an IP Backbone Network. The backbone network shall have a multi-tiered, dual plane, dual home architecture, built using MPLS enabled Provider and Provider Edge (PE) routers with no single point of failure. The Provider Network shall be segmented into hierarchical Super Core & Core network with Edge Routers placed at each Army Access Station. Hired Bandwidth / High speed optical gigabit connectivity over Tri-Services DWDM based Transmission Backbone shall be provided for interconnection of routers.

Army Access Network. The Army Access components to be rolled out at 219 stations shall be based over highly resilient, multiservice technology to provide traffic engineered service assurance and bandwidth guaranteed behavior for mission critical, delay sensitive and bandwidth intensive services & applications.

It shall provide Next Generation Internet Protocol based Converged Network Applications and Services such as Triple Play Services including Packet Voice, Packet Video, Telepresence, Telemedicine and Distant Learning services. The implemented solution shall also cater for integration and interoperability with existing Legacy SDH/TDM networks.

Integration of IP network with all other network layers being rolled out as part of Project NFS shall also be undertaken to provide ‘Fully Integrated Army Access’ component.

IMS based Communication System. A pan India IMS based Communication System for the Indian Army shall also be integrated as part of the turnkey solution. It shall provide a phased migration of existing analog subscribers to IP based end points and shall cater for integration with existing nationwide Army owned legacy TDM network. It should also provide seamless integration with captive mobile network at selected stations.



This tender by BSNL is directed towards procurement, supply, installation, testing and maintenance of GIS based Optical Fiber Cable Network Management System (GOFNMS) and accessories for exclusive optical NLD Backbone and Access Routes and Site Preparation Requirements on turnkey basis for Defense.

This tender is intended for establishment of multiple Fiber NOCs based on GIS based Optical Fiber Network Management System (GOFNMS). It also includes procurement of Test and Measurement (T&M) equipment for operations and monitoring of the fiber network.

The very nature of these projects, makes it important that indigenous content and expertise should be used as much as possible, in order to ensure that challenges of strategic nature are pre-empted.

And as NFS is one of the biggest and single largest telecom project that is being funded by the government and will be quite close to the heart of Indian telecom infrastructure, it becomes important that PMA is implemented in the right earnest and domestically conceived and produced telecom products are encouraged and given a fair chance.

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