If the highly eventful Indian telecoms space were a montage, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s (BSNL) latest shot would stand out for pulling a trick that is both staid and stupid. The state-backed telecom operator has invited bids for its Rs 8,000 crore (~$1 billion) 4G network build-out and expansion. The budget comes out of the Rs 69,000 crore (~$9 billion) revival plan the Indian government cobbled together last year after deciding to keep the telco alive for reasons of national security and self-reliance.

Many clauses in BSNL’s tender, however, reflect the opposite.