China and India have been acknowledged the fastest growing nations of mobile phone subscribers, and hence, the announcement by French telecommunications equipment giant Alcatel-Lucent that it has signed a $1 billion agreement with China Mobile to provide mobile communication equipment and services should not come as a surprise.
Incidentally, China Mobile is the world's largest mobile phone operator ranked by number of subscribers, with over 380 million customers. In terms of revenue, it comes second only to global giant Vodafone, which owns 3.3 per cent of the former.
Under the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent will provide mobile communication equipment and services. The contract was secured through Alcatel Shanghai Bell based in China.
Alcatel-Lucent will provide China Mobile with mobile core network solutions, wireless network solutions, TD-SCDMA equipment, applications, transmission and IP router equipment and the related services.
These products and solutions are expected to enhance China Mobile's network capacity and performance to help China Mobile provide high-quality services for its end-users.
"The strategic frame agreement with China Mobile reinforces Alcatel-Lucent's position as a trusted partner, as China Mobile relies upon our network solutions and services to meet their growing demand for mobile and now fixed services and in advancing China's telecommunication industry," Alcatel Shanghai Bell president Olivia Qiu said in a statement.
Alcatel-Lucent shares were up 1.97 per cent at €4.41 in early morning trade, making the stock the top gainer on France's benchmark CAC-40 index.
Alcatel-Lucent is one of the world's biggest industry players in telecommunications that provides hardware, software, and services to service providers and enterprises all over the globe. The company is incorporated in France and has its headquarters at rue de la Boétie in Paris.
The company does business in 130 countries, with almost equal sales distribution coming from both its European and North American regions, and an additional third of its channel located elsewhere in the world. Alcatel-Lucent was formed after Alcatel merged with Lucent Technologies on 1 December 2006.
The company, with a headcount of 77,000, declared revenues of €17.8 billion last year.
China Mobile is the largest company registered in Hong Kong and it is headquartered on Queen's Road. It is also the largest market capital company listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, surpassing HSBC.
A state-owned enterprise of the People's Republic of China government, it was spun off from former monopoly China Telecom in 1997, and now has a 67.5% share of the competitive mainland Chinese mobile market. China Mobile also owns Paktel in Pakistan, and in May 2008 the company also took over China Tietong, the third largest broadband ISP in China.
The company employs more than 119,000 people and posted annual revenues of $33.6 billion last year.