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Aircel Seals 3G Vendor Deals

8:00 AM -- Aircel Ltd. , India's seventh-largest service provider, is set to award 3G vendor deals to three suppliers -- Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , and Nokia Networks , according to an industry source.

Ericsson and Huawei had previously been identified as likely 3G suppliers to Aircel, but NSN looks to have also been included. Of the operator's 2G suppliers, ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) appears to be the unlucky vendor that has missed out on the 3G action. (See Aircel Preps 3G Vendor News .)

Earlier this year, Aircel won 3G spectrum in 13 circles, and said it planned to spend US$500 million on its 3G rollout. (See India's 3G Auction Ends, Raises $14.6B and Aircel Earmarks $500M for 3G.)

According to the source, who requested anonymity, "Ericsson has got six out of 13 circles, followed by Huawei, which has got four circles, and NSN has got three circles." The source also mentioned that shipping of equipment has already started.

Aircel's rivals, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), Vodafone India , Reliance Communications Ltd. , and Tata Teleservices Ltd. , have already announced their suppliers. The 3G equipment market in India has been marked by cut-throat competition between the vendors, leading to razor-thin margins for the equipment firms. (See More 3G Action in India, Reliance Hands 3G Deal to ZTE, Aircel Earmarks $500M for 3G, and India's 3G Equipment Market a 'Bloodbath'.)

— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading

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