Ericsson is to roll out a 4G network covering about 40 million subscribers for Idea Cellular, India's third-biggest mobile operator.
The Swedish equipment vendor said it would also work on upgrading 2G networks in nine of India's 22 circles (service areas), as well as 3G networks in five circles, for Idea Cellular Ltd.
Idea currently serves more than 170 million customers and is locked in a fierce battle for data subscribers with market leader Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) and number-two player Vodafone India .
Operators are currently racing to deploy 4G infrastructure before new entrant Reliance Jio launches its own 4G commercial offering later this year -- a move that could add to pricing pressure in the Indian market. (See Indian Incumbents Risk Tripping in 4G Race.)
Vendors including Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. are all angling for a slice of the 4G action as the Indian mobile market continues to grow. (See India 4G: Vendor Report Card.)
Ericsson reckons India added more mobile subscriptions than any other region in the third quarter of 2015. "These subscribers are increasingly demanding better network quality and superior services," said Paolo Colella, the head of region India for Ericsson, in a company statement.
Ericsson recently reported a 34% year-on-year increase in Indian revenues for the fourth quarter, to 3.2 billion Swedish kroner ($380 million), making India the vendor's fastest-growing geographical market.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading