India’s largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel gave Swedish telecoms equipment vendor Ericsson a much needed shot in the arm with a three-year managed services contract that covers its 2G, 3G and 4G networks across the country.
The deal, which is valued at up to $500 million, renews Airtel’s partnership with Ericsson in 15 service areas and adds six new regions, which were previously managed by Nokia, the Economic Times reported. The vendor will manage more than 150,000 sites.
Ericsson has deployed Airtel’s 4G networks in a few regions, including Delhi, while rival Nokia is building out the operator’s 4G network in nine service areas.
Ericsson also manages Reliance Communications’ nationwide network under a seven-year agreement worth $1 billion that was signed two years ago, according to the Times.
The announcement comes just a week after the country’s second largest operator Vodafone awarded a three-year managed services contract worth $180 million to $220 million to Chinese equipment vendor Huawei. The deal reportedly covers five service areas, including three regions in south India that were previously served by rival Nokia.
Last week Ericsson reported a slump in sales and profits in Q3, marking the vendor’s first loss in four years. Amongst many other issues, it suffered from a major managed services contract with Sprint being renegotiated in the US. Earlier this week it appointed a new US-based CEO, Borje Ekholm.