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Ericsson wins major deal from India’s Bharti

India's Bharti Airtel posts increases in revenue, but net profit was in decline

Swedish infrastructure and services firm Ericsson is raking in the cash this week, announcing its third major contract in as many days. On Wednesday, the vendor struck a $1.3bn deal with Indian operator Bharti Airtel to expand and upgrade the carrier’s 2G network over the next two years.

Under the deal, Ericsson will look to put in place a converged network and expand coverage in rural India, upgrading Airtel’s network in 15 of India’s 22 telecom circles.

As part of the contract, Ericsson will supply its energy efficient 2G/2.5G radio base stations, circuit and packet core, microwave transmission and Intelligent Network equipment. The Swedish firm will also ensure that Bharti’s core and transport network is 3G-ready.

Ericsson’s, head of region India, Gowton Achaibar, spoke to telecoms.com about the deal this morning: “Bharti still adds two million customers a month. So the deal includes new base stations, upgrades to old ones, as well as transport infrastructure, adding capacity to the network. To support this level of traffic growth and subscriber growth Bharti will have to keep adding equipment,” he said.

“Spectrum efficiency is a big challenge, especially in India, where readily available spectrum compared to the size of the market is an issue. The challenge is to achieve spectral efficiency without performance degradation,” Achaibar said. “Fortunately, a combination of network capability, software and managed services can offer efficiency in spectrum.”

The other big news in India this week is that the long awaited auction of India’s 3G spectrum has now been set as April 9. A total of nine companies have been approved to participate in the auction, with a further 11 submitting bids for the country’s BWA spectrum. Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices and Aircel have all bid for both licenses.

And Bharti is certainly spending the money at present. The firm only yesterday confirmed its $10.7bn tie up with Kuwait-based Zain, to acquire the latter’s sub-Saharan African assets.

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One comment

  1. Dennis 19/04/2010 @ 8:49 pm

    ericsson is now picking up especially in east africa

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