Vodafone Idea Awards Vendor Contract to Ericsson for Deploying 5G Ready LTE Equipment

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Swedish telecom gear provider, Ericsson has announced that it has bagged a contract from the leading telecom operator of India Vodafone Idea for radio and microwaves. The manufacturer has said that as part of its deal it is now providing its 5G ready LTE equipment in eight circles for the provider. The new deployment of the 5G ready equipment by Ericsson is expected to help Vodafone Idea in network expansion and consolidation. To recall, last, when we reported the contracts bagged by Ericsson the struggle was between Ericsson and Nokia which were fighting for more circles from the telecom operator.

Ericsson Serving Vodafone Idea in Eight Circles

Back in November, we had reported that Nokia bagged nine circles, whereas Ericsson got eight circles and will be providing equipment to the telco in these zones. On the other hand, Chinese vendors like ZTE and Huawei each could only get 5 circles, and even those were shared with other vendors. When posed with questions about the value of the contract, Ericsson refused to comment. However, as per the estimate of ET Telecom, the overall worth of the contract could run $1.3-1.4 billion (Rs 9,230-9,940 crore).

As per the terms of the new arrangement, the two European companies will take care of about 65% of Vodafone Idea’s network requirements, whereas the other two Chinese vendors will take care of about 35% of the network.

Nitin Bansal, head of Ericsson India and head of Network Solutions, South East Asia, Oceania, and India at Ericsson had previously remarked that it is working with all telecom operators on 5G technology. Although the provider had announced pacts with telecom operators like Bharti Airtel and BSNL, Bansal had said that the scope of these pacts was under discussion. "We are working on testing for one last year with all telecom operators including Jio," Bansal highlighted.

Telcos Want 5G Spectrum for At least a Year

Talking about the 5G trials in India, the executive said that three-way discussions are happening regarding the same. The talks are being held between the vendors, telecom department and the companies. Some vendors like Huawei and Samsung had previously said that they wanted to start the 5G trials in the first quarter of this year, i.e. in the January – March quarter. However, the telcos and the vendors are still in talks with the department for the allocation of the 5G spectrum since the operators want the airwaves for at least a year. Back in December 2018, Airtel with Ericsson had made a joint submission for 5G trials. Bansal also highlighted that for three straight quarters, India has been the third largest market for Ericsson.

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Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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