Ericsson scores big in Brazilian LTE race

Brazilian operators are signing deals with vendors to build out their LTE networks, and Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has made significant headway in the country, being named a supplier to both Vivo Participacoes and Oi. The former operator also signed a contract with Huawei, while the latter gave contracts to Nokia Siemens Networks and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) as well.

Vivo, owned by Spain's Telefonica, is Brazil's largest mobile operator with 75.7 million mobile subscribers. It will deploy Ericsson equipment in the north and midwestern regions of Brazil, as well as the states of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia and Sergipe. Ericsson said the deployment will feature its latest RBS 6000 multi-standard radio base stations.

"This agreement strengthens Ericsson's position as primary telecom infrastructure supplier for Vivo," said the vendor, which previously supplied Vivo with GSM, WCDMA and HSPA network infrastructure.

Ericsson will supply 2,700 of Vivo's 4,700 base transceiver stations (BTS), while Huawei will supply the remainder, said Telegeography. Huawei's deployment area will include the cities of Fortaleza, Recife and Rio de Janeiro, which are also sites of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Ericsson was also named as a supplier, along with Nokia Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent, by Vivo's rival Oi, which is Brazil's largest combined telecommunications operator and fourth-largest mobile operator. Oi intends to deploy 2,300 radio base stations in time for the Confederations Cup, less than half the 4,700 radio base stations announced by Vivo, according to RCR Wireless.

Earlier this month, Ruckus Wireless announced it would supply its ZoneFlex Smart Wi-Fi platform to Oi for deployment in a nationwide Wi-Fi hotspot service.

Ericsson, which has now signed 89 LTE/evolved packet core (EPC) contracts in 38 countries on five continents, also announced it secured a loan from the European Investment Bank for 500 million euros, which is equivalent to nearly $648 million. Ericsson has an option for disbursement until April 2014, and the loan will mature seven years after disbursement.

"The loan supports Ericsson's R&D activities to further develop the next generation radio and IP technology that supports mobile broadband build-out globally. The financing is targeted for development activities at sites in Sweden and Finland. The loan will extend the debt maturity profile and will further diversify funding sources, without an increase in gross debt," said the vendor.

For more:
- see this Telegeography article
- see this RCR Wireless article
- see this article
- see this Ericsson release and this release

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