State-run BSNL will install around 28,000 new mobile base stations across the country to replace all 2G sites with 3G and roll out 4G services at select locations by end 2017-18.
"Under phase-8 expansion, we are replacing all 2G base stations and old equipment with modern base stations which can provide 3G and 4G services. At select locations, we are planning to start 4G services. We expect to complete phase-8 by FY18," BSNL Chairman and MD Anupam Shrivastava told PTI.
The company plans to use part of its 3G spectrum for 4G services.
European firms Nokia and Ericsson and Chinese telecom equipment firm ZTE are in the fray for the project.
"Nokia has emerged as the lowest bidder (L1) in financial bids and ZTE is second runner up (L2). Evaluation is going in. We expect to finalise the vendor in April," Shrivastava said.
The lowest qualified bidder will get contract to replace equipment in West and South zone of the country.
"L2 bidder will be given East and North if it accepts to supply equipment at L1 rates," Shrivastava said.