India’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers, Vodafone Essar, has announced that it has selected Swedish vendor Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for the rollout of its third generation network, the Indian Economic Times reports. Both vendors have signed three-year contracts with the cellco, with the combined value of both deals estimated at USD500 million. With Vodafone having bagged 3G concessions for nine circles, under the terms of the two respective agreements Ericsson will take responsibility for the network rollout in Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta, while NSN will construct the mobile operator’s infrastructure in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (East), West Bengal and Haryana. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Vodafone paid INR116.18 billion (USD2.6 billion) for its 3G licences in the government’s much-delayed auction which concluded in May 2010; the money paid for its concessions was second only to market leader Bharti Airtel, which spent INR122.95 billion on acquiring 3G licences in 13 circles.
Vodafone’s announcement is the latest in a string of 3G-related vendor deals in India, with Bharti having inked deals with Ericsson, NSN and China’s Huawei last month, while Tata Teleservices (TTSL) confirming earlier this week that it had deals in place with Huawei and NSN for 3G equipment in five and four circles respectively. Reliance Communications meanwhile has selected Chinese vendor ZTE to provide a combination of 2G and 3G equipment in eight of the country’s telecoms circles, and is understood to be in negotiations with Huawei for its 3G rollout in Delhi and Mumbai. Aircel meanwhile, as reported by CommsUpdate at end-September 2010, is hoping to have selected a vendor for its rollout soon, and Idea Cellular is believed to be in talks with a number of equipment suppliers for its eleven-circle rollout.