BARCELONA, Spain - E-Plus revealed at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona that Chinese vendor ZTE is now handling the deployment and operation of its network, in an extension of existing dealings between the two companies.
The KPN-owned German operator said the five-year managed services contract signed last year is the largest of its kind in Europe. ZTE has already migrated E-Plus' IT infrastructure to its data centres as part of the contract, and is now updating E-Plus' parts management and software tools.
E-Plus CTO, Andreas Pfisterer, said the companies have worked together since 2009, and that using a single infrastructure vendor offers synergies between "the supply of network technology" and the "construction and operation of the E-Plus network."
The contract is a significant win for ZTE in Europe, where domestic rival Huawei has been grabbing most of the headlines in recent months. ZTE's German division recently completed the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent's business in the country--a deal that included 750 Alcatel-Lucent staff who already have a close working relationship with E-Plus.
Betty Cui, vice president of ZTE Corporation, said Germany is a key market for the vendor. "[W]ith this investment, ZTE shows its long-term commitment to the country and to Europe," she said. The acquisition boosts ZTE's position in the region, and "is the basis to take on future managed services projects," Cui added.
A proposed acquisition of E-Plus by Telefónica Deutschland is currently considered key to consolidation in other European markets. European Commission regulators are examining the deal, which, if approved, would be considered a green light for other M&A deals.
ZTE separately announced at MWC it has developed technology to transmit HD video over TD-LTE networks in conjunction with E-Plus and technology firm CloudStreet.
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