Local cellular phone operator Telsim has placed a $900 million order with Nokia Networks to expand its global system for mobiles (GSM) network. The deal is the largest ever for the Finnish telecoms equipment manufacturer.

The three-year agreement covers the supply of switching equipment, base stations, radio transmission and network solutions. As part of the deal, Nokia will provide additional services including construction and civil works, network implementation, systems integration, hardware services and software maintenance.

The agreement follows the award of a three-year, $1,500 million contract to the US’ Motorola in February (MEED 18:2:00).

That order included about $100 million worth of web-enabled handsets, which allow users to access the internet from a mobile phone.

Telsim is the smaller of the two existing local GSM operators, with a 30 per cent share of the market, or 3 million subscribers. The investments come ahead of increased competition that will result from the start of operations by Turk Telekom and the Turkiye Is Bankasi and Telecom Italia group, which won a tender for a third GSM licence in April (MEED 21:4:00).