Vodafone Greece has signed contracts with Sweden’s Ericsson and Germany’s Siemens to deploy the initial phase of its 3G network. Ericsson said it would provide the Greek cellco with UMTS core network technology and provide engineering and consultancy services, while Siemens will supply and install all the infrastructure components for setting up the 3G radio network and the accompanying network management system. Although the value of the contract has not been disclosed, a spokesperson for Siemens has hinted that it has a double-digit million euro value. Vodafone Greece hopes to begin network rollout before the end of September; it plans to cover the Athens conurbation in the first phase. The operator said it expects the network to be fully operational by the end of the year.
Vodafone Greece is the country’s second largest operator, behind OTE subsidiary Cosmoté. At the end of 2002 it claimed 3.2 million subscribers and a market share of 34.6%. Its other rivals are Telecom Italia Mobile-owned STET Hellas and Q-Telecom, owned by Info-Quest. If Vodafone sticks to its schedule, it will be the first cellco in the country to launch 3G services; Cosmoté owns a 3G licence but does not plan to launch before 2004; it has also contracted Ericsson to build the network.