Ericsson scores trio of international deals

Telecom infrastructure giant Ericsson said it has signed a $1.3 billion contract with Indian operator Bharti Airtel to expand and upgrade the carrier’s wireless network in 15 telecom circles in India.

As part of this contract, Ericsson said it will supply its portfolio of energy efficient 2G/2.5G radio base stations, circuit and packet core, microwave transmission and Intelligent Network. Ericsson noted it will also work to ensure that Bharti Airtel's core and transport network is 3G-ready in order to reduce time to market and enable the fast rollout of 3G services at a later date. The expansion covers introduction of technologies designed to provide better quality voice to end users, support more users in using one base station, enhanced data rates using Evolved EDGE technology and other new services.

Ericsson earlier this week signed contracts with China Mobile and China Unicom to expand the carrier’s 2G and 3G networks. The China Mobile deal is valued at $1 billion, while the China Unicom deal is valued at $800 million.

Under the agreement with China Mobile, Ericsson will provide a radio access network including a multi-standard radio base station and mobile soft-switching technology designed to boost the capacity of the network and evolve it into an IP network. The equipment is set to be implemented this year.

In the agreement with China Unicom, Ericsson will provide HSPA Evolution technology to support higher network speeds. Ericsson also said it will supply IP routers, fiber access technologies and IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) in support of the carrier’s broadband plans.

"The signing of the significant frame agreements is a manifestation of our continued strong cooperation with our Chinese customers,” said Mats H Olsson, head of Ericsson Greater China. “We are confident that we will do an even better job in supplying the latest technology and best-in-class services in time to support Chinese operators in fulfilling the demand of this tremendous market growth.”

China Mobile is the world’s largest wireless operator and currently serves more than 522 million customers, while China Unicom is approaching 150 million customers on its network.

Domestically, Ericsson has been selected by both Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility to provide the country’s No. 1 and No. 2 carriers with equipment for their respective LTE deployments. Verizon Wireless is in the midst of rolling out its network with plans to cover 100 million potential customers in up to 30 markets by the end of the year. AT&T Mobility said it plans to begin rolling out LTE services beginning in 2011.