Leaving behind Airtel and Vodafone, Reliance Jio Infocomm has emerged as the lowest bidder to bag Indian Railways’ telecom accounts. Airtel has been the only telecom provider for 3.78 lakh mobile phone connections for more than six years now, used by railway staff in the closed user group (CUG) across the country, for which the bill is footed by the government.

According to a report, three-year contract business’s tender saw a four-way contest between Airtel, Jio, the Vodafone-Idea JV and state-run BSNL. As per the sources quoted in the report, the national transporter is used to pay nearly Rs 100 crore towards phone bills in the existing arrangement.

Interestingly, it was also reported that the total bill amount was brought down by about 30% due to the new prices offered by Jio. This means a saving of nearly Rs 30 crore!

Earlier this month the bid for the same was opened. Sources mentioned that currently, the tender committee is reviewing the papers of the bidders at Railway telecom PSU Railtel and they further added that if no discrepancy is found, the railways will award the contract to the lowest bidder.

At present on an extended tenure, the services are being provided by Airtel, as a few months ago the three-year contract with the national transporter ended. They informed that the extension period ends this month.

In the revised tender condition this time, instead of 2G/3G, Indian Railways sought 4G/3G connections, which was met by all the bidders. Jio is the newest telecom entrant and its effect was such that the tender conditions demanded free calls, which was offered by all the players. A senior Railtel official mentioned that so it became a question of who was offering more data at low cost.

As per the sources, based on seniority the requirement was four different types of monthly plans. In Indian Railways, all the field employees along with the senior officials were involved in train operations, as well as safety performance, are also provided official mobile connection, such as drivers, station masters, guards, gangmen etc.


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