Ericsson and Huawei bag $256 million contract from Mobily to expand networks

Telecom Lead Middle East: Ericsson and Huawei have bagged a $256 million contract from Saudi Arabian telecom provider Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) to expand and upgrade its high-speed networks.

Mobily, the second-largest operator in the Middle East’s largest economy, aims to strengthen its data services. Mobily has accounted for 41 percent of total Saudi telecom revenue in the first nine months of 2012.

Ericsson signed a contract for 563 million Saudi riyals and Huawei signed one for 400 million riyals.

The projects will expand both the 3G network and 4G network and will be implemented within a year. All the expansion and upgrade operations would be completed in the first half of the year.

LTE is designed to carry data rather than voice and potentially offers download speeds more than double that of 3G, which it will eventually supersede, although a lack of LTE-enabled handsets means consumer adoption has been slow.

Mobily said its 3G network now covers 96 percent of populated areas in Saudi Arabia. As well as expanding its networks, the contracts will help improve efficiency.

Mobily has been expanding its network and selecting new partners.

Recently, Mobily selected Gemalto’s Machine Identification Module (MIM) for deploying machine-to-machine (M2M) services. Gemalto’s MIM addresses high durability needs of industrial environments in Saudi Arabia’s acute climates.

Recently, IBM signed a five-year contract worth $280 million with Mobily to manage its information technology operations. The contract will be self-financed and will lead to improvements in Mobily’s products as well as making the company more flexible.

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