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Nortel Nears Major India Deal

Nortel has received a letter of intent from Indian telecom Bharat Sanchar Nigam for new network equipment, a source close to the process told internetnews.com.

The state-owned carrier is buying the equipment to expand its GSM network in the eastern and southern sections of the South Asian country.

Nokia is expected to get the nod for an equipment order for the northern part of Bharat Sanchar Nigam's system, while Alcatel has been awarded a contract for the western region, according to press reports from Asia.

If the deal is consummated it would be welcome news for Nortel, which has been working to get its business and reputation back on solid ground in the wake of an accounting scandal that forced out its CEO.

The pending contract is also noteworthy because of its origin. In the last year, India has grabbed headlines as an outsourcing hub, but it is also becoming an attractive market for selling IT and telecom gear.

In its earnings call this week, Cisco Systems said that business from India (as well as China and Russia) jumped 40 percent over the same period a year ago.

In separate Nortel news, the company expects to provide preliminary un-audited results for the first and second quarters of 2004 and an update on the restatement impacts on August 19, 2004.