Vodafone, in a move seen to counter the growing prowess of the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio, has awarded a 4G deployment contract to global giant Ericsson. The move is being seen by experts as a move to consolidate Vodafone’s own 4G LTE network. The 4G deployment contract is said to be worth$300 million or about Rs 2,040 crore. Ericsson, on the other hand, will deploy its full technological prowess to bolster 4G LTE services in the crucial states of UP (West), Rajasthan, Assam, and Odisha. The entire North East telecom circle is also on the cards as one area where the deployment will occur.
Vodafone, which has been in talks for a possible merger with the Aditya Birla-owned Idea Telecom as reported here, has been banking on its technological capabilities to capture the market. The deployment deal with Ericsson, a Swedish major, is a step in that direction. Analysts suggest that the deployment of 4G LTE network will be completed by the third quarter of this year. Ericsson is planning to deploy its full radio system portfolio which will also offer an almost 50% improvement in terms of energy efficiency, as reported by The Economic Times.
The entry of Reliance Jio in the domestic 4G market has sparked off a fresh round of telecom wars. All of the major rival telcos have complained to the TRAI about its free offers, including unlimited net usage and voice calls. Such a drastic reduction in base prices is not healthy for the telecom sector in the long run, experts warn. The customers have, however, been spoilt for choice. The merger between Vodafone and Idea Cellular will create the biggest telecom operator in the country. The details are yet to be worked out, however.
Vodafone India had last year awarded a three-year services-cum-network operations contract to Huawei. The deal was restricted to a selected circles in the domestic market and was worth a reported $180-220 million. Before the awarding of the 4G LTE deployment deal to Ericsson this year, Vodafone had also awarded a network rollout contract worth an estimated $450-500 million, approximately Rs.Nokia. The deal was agreed upon and would cover all of India’s telecom circles. A similar contract was also awarded to Huawei in the important circles of Karnataka, Kerala and Delhi. Besides these, Vodafone has also awarded a multi-year ‘managed services contract’ to Nokia for several telecom circles. That deal is worth an estimated $200 million or about Rs 1,420 crores. Vodafone India is looking to expand its 4G LTE footprint across all of the telecom circles in the country.