Bharti Airtel has handed a $1.3 billion network expansion contract to Ericsson, further extending their exisitng strategic relationship.
Under the contract, Ericsson will expand and upgrade Airtel's network in 15 of the country's 22 telecom circles. The expansion will enable Airtel to put in place a converged network and expanded coverage in rural India, Airtel said in a release.
Ericsson will supply state-of-the-art energy-efficient 2G /2.5G radio base stations, circuit and packet core, microwave transmission and Intelligent Network. In addition, Ericsson will 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 network expansion also covers introduction of some of the latest technologies within the wireless world, which will bring better quality voice to end users, support more users in one base station, enhanced data rates using Evolved EDGE technology and other new services.
This will also help Airtel users to enjoy enhanced voice quality and faster data access, the release said.
"Our pioneering model of aligning with strategic partners who share our vision and bring in world-class experience and expertise to execute our plans has helped us focus on our customers and market place," said Sanjay Kapoor, CEO - India and South Asia, Bharti Airtel.
"The extension of our fifteen years association with Ericsson is testimony to the strength of the relationship as well as the success of the model. We continue to be delighted with Ericsson's expertise in network expansion and transformation, helping us to reduce operating expenditures and enhance network quality. This way we can continue to provide a superior customer experience," Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson, said.