Bharti Airtel inks $ 1 billion network expansion contract with Ericsson

MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel today announced the signing of an estimated $ 1 billion network expansion contract with Swedish telecommunications equipment manufacturer Ericsson.

The contract will enable Bharti Airtel to rapidly expand its mobile services footprint further and reach out to all towns and cities in 15 telecom circles in the country. The three-year service contract with Ericsson is towards the design, planning, supply and installation commissioning of Airtel networks in these circles.

Ericsson will also upgrade the network with mobile softswitch (Media Gateway and MSC Servers), the solution that paves the way to an all-IP network. Bharti Airtel will be able to reduce the operational costs and introduce new services in a cost-efficient way.

The scope of the agreement extends to 15 Airtel circles of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, UP (West), Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, UP (East), Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and North East.

Manoj Kohli, president, Bharti Airtel said, "At Bharti, it has been our endeavor to find innovative business models to deliver better customer experience. Our partnership with Ericsson is testament to this belief as it allows us to focus on delivering better customer experience even as we leverage the world class expertise of our partners to roll out our networks across all census towns by March 2007. In addition, we are also sourcing next generation products that will allow us to deliver innovative products & services to our customers."

This partnership will enable Airtel to channel its resources and expertise to its core areas of product innovation, value added services, marketing, branding & pricing, while simultaneously providing world class mobile services by leveraging Ericsson's world class expertise in network management.

"Our partnership with Bharti Airtel resulted in the first managed services contract in the industry. Speed of roll-outs plays an extremely important role in large expansions of this nature. Ericsson has demonstrated expertise in this area. We are honoured and pleased that Bharti Airtel has chosen to partner with us to expand their footprint across India" said Mats Granryd, managing director, Ericsson India.

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