Unitech Turns to AlcaLu, Huawei

1:40 PM -- Unitech Wireless has handed out deals worth $400 million for the design, deployment, and management of the operator's new GSM mobile network in India, with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. sharing the spoils, according to this DNA India report.

Huawei is believed to have landed a slightly larger share of the business, worth $225 million, with AlcaLu bagging the rest. Unitech, one of a number of mobile service provider startups in India, recently secured significant financial backing from Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) to help fund its rollout and has just awarded a major IT outsourcing deal to Wipro Ltd. (NYSE: WIT). (See IndiaWatch: Towering Investments, Telenor Nears Unitech Stake, and Unitech Wireless Outsources IT to Wipro.)

Unitech's vendor choice follows on the heels of AlcaLu's $500 million joint venture arrangement with India's largest mobile operator, Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL), for the outsourcing of the carrier's fixed network operations. (See AlcaLu, Bharti Form Joint Venture.) Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei are also expected to provide the greatest competition to incumbent suppliers Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Nokia Networks when Airtel renews its $2 billion mobile network managed service contracts in 2010, according to this Economic Times of India report.

Ericsson is currently responsible for Airtel's network operations in 15 of India's service provider circles, while NSN covers the other seven. Bharti Airtel is looking at competitive bids, and although Ericsson and NSN remain favorites, AlcaLu's fixed-line joint venture and Huawei's managed service contract for Airtel in Sri Lanka, put them in the frame.

For more information on which telcos operate where in India, see A Guide to India's Telecom Market.

— Catherine Haslam, Asia Editor, Light Reading

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