Nokia Siemens wins $500 m deal from Idea

Updated on May 17, 2007 08:28 PM IST
Idea Cellular Ltd announces a two-year network expansion contract to Nokia Siemens Networks, reports Narayanan Madhavan.
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Hindustan Times | ByNarayanan Madhavan, New Delhi

Idea Cellular Ltd, the country’s fifth largest wireless telephone services provider, announced on Thursday that it had awarded a $500 million, two-year network expansion contract to Nokia Siemens Networks, as it reached out to customers in six circles.

This is the first major Indian network deal announced by the merged network equipment entity of Finnish Nokia and German Siemens, which took effect from April.

Nokia, thanks to its established presence in the market, is the largest managed service provider for aggressively expanding mobile phone networks. It manages eight circles for Bharti Airtel Ltd and 19 circles for Hutch, now controlled by Vodafone.

Nokia also has a global solutions centre in Chennai to help customers across the globe, including India.

For Idea Cellular, the latest deal is a strategic effort. Weeks ago, the Aditya Birla group company signed a $ 800 million contract with IBM (International Business Machines), which would provide hardware and software in addition to customer and billing support services.

The Nokia Siemens deal is the latest of big-ticket contracts under which telephone service operators focus on customer management while leaving core network functions to outside partners.

“Under the contract, Nokia Siemens Network will expand Idea Cellular’s GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks to cover population centres across six circles of Delhi, Haryana, UP East, UP West, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala,” the two companies said in a statement.

It said the contract includes supply and services of GSM equipment, Intelligent Network, Value Added Services and Circuit and Packet core equipment. Nokia Siemens Networks will deploy the state of art equipment to enable the latest network architecture.

“Idea has been at the forefront of providing innovative voice and data services to its customers by leveraging the best technologies.

This expansion is a part of our larger growth strategy to take our services to more consumers by penetrating deeper in the circles we operate,” said Sanjeev Aga, Idea Cellular’s managing director.

“This win is special since it is our first contract with Idea Cellular as the new entity, Nokia Siemens Networks,” said Ashish Chowdhary, Head of India Sub-region, Nokia Siemens Networks.

Nokia Siemens Networks brings together two major wireless and fixed technology players, Nokia’s Networks Business Group, and the carrier related businesses of Siemens Communications.

Idea is licensed to operate in 13 circles across India, and currently has a customer base of about 15 million.

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