Ericsson signs two new China deals

Telecom infrastructure Goliath Ericsson said Monday it had won contracts with China's two main mobile phone operators worth a total of $1.44 billion.

The Swedish company said it had signed deals with China Mobile and China Unicom, which together count some 550 million subscribers, to help expand their GSM coverage and capacities to the tune of $1.3 billion and $140 million respectively.

“The expansion projects will allow both operators to boost their network capacity and performance,” Ericsson said in a statement.

The deal with China Mobile aims to expand the company’s GSM and GPRS coverage in 19 Chinese regions, while the deal with China Unicom would broaden GSM networks in 10 regions, including Beijing, the statement said.

The expansion projects, which have already begun, are set to be completed this year, Ericsson said.

“The new framework agreements announced today further strengthen Ericsson’s position as the leading mobile communications supplier in the Chinese market,” company president and chief executive Carl-Henric Svanberg said in the statement.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt, currently on an official visit to China, were present at the signing ceremony in Beijing on Monday.