Ericsson secures $2b network expansion deal in India

Ericsson had struck its largest deal to date, with a $2 billion network expansion contract from Bharti Airtel in India, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said under the two-year supply and services contract, Ericsson will design, plan, deploy and manage Bharti Airtel's GSM network across 15 areas of India. It will also include Bharti Airtel's pan-India prepaid platform in 23 areas.

Ericsson said it already manages more than 70% of Bharti Airtel's networks.

Over the past year, India has emerged as the world's fastest-growing mobile phone market, adding nearly 6 million new connections every month. The rapid expansion of the country's telecom sector has created new opportunities for companies with expertise in building communication equipment and infrastructure.

Last week, Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent won a contract valued at more than $400 million from Reliance Communications, Bharti Airtel's immediate rival, the report said.

The first major contract from Bharti Airtel came to Ericsson in 2004, when it won a $400 million deal to manage the communication network of the mobile phone company, India's largest in terms of subscribers, the report said.

Ties between the two companies have since become stronger, it added.