To offer improved voice quality and faster data access to its customers, Bharti Airtel has selected Ericsson for a $1.3 billion network upgrade.
Prior to this, in July 2007, Airtel had awarded Ericsson (News - Alert) an estimated $2 billion expansion contract, including expansion of its GSM/EDGE network and providing capacity management. With that deal, Airtel could expand its reach into rural areas.
Ericsson will supply its industry-leading portfolio of energy efficient 2G/2.5G radio base stations, circuit and packet core, microwave transmission and Intelligent Network as part of the contract. Bharti Airtel (News - Alert) can now look forward to reduce time to market and enable the fast rollout of 3G services at a later date as its core and transport network will be 3G-ready.
In a release, Hans Vestberg (News - Alert), president and CEO of Ericsson, says 'Airtel is poised to spearhead the next telecom revolution in India and take the 2G experience to greater heights. In this partnership, we will set a new benchmark for the world in terms of network size and quality, types of services and end-user experience."
The expansion, according to the agreement, will cover some of the latest technologies within the wireless world. According to Ericsson, this will bring 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. Airtel has been a major customer for Ericsson and the company buys various services such as mobile, wire line, DTH, device management.
Recently, the company signed two separate deals worth a total of $1.8 billion with two Chinese companies. Ericsson will provide new radio bases and mobile technology to China Mobile (News - Alert), the world's largest mobile carrier, to help boost the capacity of its network. That deal is worth $1 billion. A separate agreement, worth $800 million, with China Unicom (News - Alert) calls for Ericsson to build a 3G network with HSPA technology.
Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Patrick Barnard