Huawei bags 4G roll-out deal from Vodafone India for two circles

Friday, Oct 16, 2015

Chinese equipment vendor Huawei has bagged a contract from Vodafone India for supply of base stations and other equipment for the latter's 4G networks in Karnataka and Kerala circles, where the telco is planning to launch the high-speed broadband services by December end.

Huawei is currently deploying 4G sites and expanding Vodafone's 3G network in these two circles, a person familiar with the matter, told ET, and said that Huawei is expected to get almost 60% share of 4G network deals als from Vodafone India in the country.

The person however didn't share the contract size. Apart from Kerala and Karnataka, Vodafone India also plans to roll out its 4G services starting end-December 2015 in Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata circles. The company had successfully acquired 4G spectrum in 5 circles Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Kerala and Karnataka in February 2014 auctions.

India's No. 2 carrier is currently in talks with Swedish gear maker Ericsson and Finnish Nokia Networks for equipment supply deals in the other three circles, where it has 4G bandwidth.

A Vodafone spokesperson declined to comment, while Huawei didn't revert to ET queries on the contract. Currently, Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia Networks manages Vodafone India's almost pan-India 2G network and possesses the largest share of their 3G networks in the country, another person informed.

Vodafone is planning to launch 4G high-speed data services on the 1800 MHz band using the FDD-LTE technology, and is also looking at improving the 3G experience for its customers in these circles.

Huawei, the Shenzen-headquartered telecom equipment company, has already won 4G deals from India's leading telecom service provider,Bharti Airtel, for Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu service areas.

The gear maker has also deployed a TDD-LTE based 4G network for Airtel in the Delhi circle, using the 2300 Mhz frequency, where Ericsson has also deployed FDD-LTE based network. In Delhi circle, bothHuawei and Ericsson manage 2300 4G sites each, the person said.

The first person said that Huawei is currently in talks with Idea Cellular, the country's third largest telecom operator, for upcoming 4G LTE services. Idea didn't immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Indian mobile operators are bracing for even more competition in an already cutthroat market as Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecoms unit of conglomerate Reliance IndustriesBSE 0.63 %, is getting ready to launch 4G broadband services by December.

Bharti Airtel already offers 4G across over 300 circles, and is expanding further. Idea Cellular will also start offering 4G services starting early next year. Aircel too plans to offer mass market 4G services in circles where it has licenses. Tikona, which holds 2300 MHz spectrum in five circles, has already kicked off 4G home broadband service in Varanasi, and plans to offers high speed service in 30 more cities by the first quarter of 2016.

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