Chinese vendor Huawei has struck another major blow to its western rivals, with news this morning that it has won an LTE network deal at Net4Mobility, the Swedish joint venture of Tele2 and Telenor. Net4Mobility’s CEO, Karl-Johan Nybell, confirmed to Mobile Business Briefing that Huawei is the sole supplier thus far, a deal which will no doubt irk Ericsson given that deployment will be in the Swedish vendor’s home country. Net4Mobility is a joint venture established in April from Telenor and Tele2’s decision to pool resources to build a national LTE network in Sweden. The company’s mission is “to build and operate Sweden’s most extensive network for next generation mobile communications.” The new mobile network will cover 99 percent of the population and aims to enable Telenor and Tele2 to offer its customers mobile services for data communication (LTE) and voice (GSM). The network will be launched in 2010.
“We are disappointed that we did not manage to reach an agreement with Net4Mobility,” said Mikael Backstrom, head of Ericsson Nordics and Baltics, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report. “In the negotiations, we went down as far as we could in price, but it was not enough.” Ericsson, together with European peers Alcatel Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks, has faced increased pressure from Huawei in recent quarters. Last month, Telenor chose the Chinese vendor to upgrade its entire Norwegian network, replacing gear provided by Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks. Earlier this week, Swedish operator TeliaSonera launched the world’s first commercial LTE mobile services in Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden. The Stockholm network is provided by Ericsson while Huawei got the contract in Oslo. Adding further fuel to the Huawei/Ericsson rivalry, Mobile Business Briefing received a note today from Huawei’s media agency in the UK citing an interview with TeliaSonera’s CTO Lars Klasson in Ny Teknik, the largest tech and IT newspaper in Sweden. In the interview, Klasson is alleged to have said that the Oslo network (powered by Huawei) has reached peak download speeds of 96 Mb/s, whilst the Stockholm network (powered by Ericsson) reached peaks of 43-44 Mb/s. There is some good news for Ericsson today, though; Taiwan’s largest operator, Chunghwa Telecom, has reportedly contracted it for a trial LTE network in northern Taiwan.