Ericsson lands contracts worth $1.8 bln in China

STOCKHOLM: Swedish telecom giant Ericsson said Monday it had won contracts to provide equipment to two of China's largest operators, China Mobile and China Unicom, to the tune of 1.8 billion dollars (1.3 billion euros).

"With a potential customer base of 1.3 billion, telecom operators are now taking steps to further expand and boost China's communication infrastructure and related services," Ericsson said in a statement, adding that it had signed "2G/3G frame agreements with China Mobile and China Unicom.

The Swedish company said it had won a one-billion-dollar contract with China's top operator China Mobile to this year provide it with equipment to "dramatically boost the capacity of the network and evolve it into an IP network."

Ericsson had also agreed to provide China Unicom with a faster 3G network, and to supply IP routers, fiber access and other technologies worth 800 million dollars, also by the end of this year.

"A steadily rising number of the Chinese population is going mobile.... Today, 99 percent of the population has mobile coverage, thanks to operators' recent network expansion to rural areas," Ericsson said.

In 2009, China counted 747 million mobile subscriptions, an increase of 106 million from a year earlier, Ericsson said, adding that "there is no sign of the market cooling down."

"We are confident that we will do an even better job in supplying the latest technology and best-in-class services in time to support Chinese operators in fulfilling the demand of this tremendous market growth," Mats Olsson, who heads up Ericsson's Greater China division, said in the statement.

The contracts announced Monday follow on the heals of Ericsson's similar equipment deals with the same operators last July worth 1.7 billion dollars.

Following the announcement, Ericsson saw its share price jump 1.8 percent on the Stockholm stock exchange, which as a whole was up 0.5 percent.