Uninor awards Rs 1,200-cr network contract to Huawei

Uninor awards Rs 1,200-cr network contract to Huawei
Uninor today awarded a Rs 1,200 crore contract to Chinese firm Huawei for modernising and managing its network in the country.

"We have extended our partnership with Huawei to modernise our network by making it future ready as well as manage it. We will be investing Rs 1,200 crore in this project," Telewings Communications Services CEO Vivek Sood said.

The contract is for a tenure of three years. Under the contract, Huawei India will modernise its entire telecom network across all six telecom circles which as of now has 24,000 base stations. The company operates in UP (West), UP (East), Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and has also bagged licenses in Assam.

The deal also involves Huawei becoming the managed services partner of Uninor. "This is the largest deal of its kind in the Indian telecom industry and also within the Telenor Group. Our managed services function will move to Huawei by the end of this year. With this initiative, Uninor prepares for future to offer advanced internet services to the mass market customers," Telewings COO Tanveer Mohammad said.

He said the project is starting this year with modernisation of 5,000 sites and the rest 19,000 mobile tower sites will be modernised in 2016.

"By 2017, we will move completely to IP network and will be ready to embrace big data era. Through our network we will be able to figure real time need of customers," Mohammad said.

Under the project, Uninor will install small mobile sites closer to customers to reduce gap in its network coverage.

When asked if the company is looking to roll out 4G services, Sood said that it is still focusing on customers who need basic network and decision to roll out 4G will be taken when need arises.

Sood said that the company is looking at expanding services in other parts of the country but the final decision will depend on spectrum price and market scenario. "As of now, we have plans for expansion within Bihar where we will increase mobile sites by 20 per cent to improve outdoor coverage," Sood added.

Uninor won spectrum in Assam in February 2014 but is yet to launch services as approval for its wireless frequencies for backend network is awaited from Department of Telecom.

"We expect regulatory approval to come for it by the end of this year after which we will launch Assam operations," Sood said.
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