Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia, and China’s Huawei have each won multi-million-dollar contracts to upgrade the GSM networks of the kingdom’s two mobile operators, Saudi Telecom Company and Mobily.

The Ericsson and Huawei contracts were both awarded by Saudi Telecom. Ericsson’s deal involves the supply of its high-speed packet access (HPSA) network solution to improve high-speed data and multimedia services. The contract covers the deployment of the network in the central and western region, and also includes a nationwide network upgrade using Ericsson’s mobile softswitch solution.

Huawei’s contract involves the deployment of its 3G network solution. Under the terms of the deal, Huawei will supply a complete core network and new generation NodeBs to help Saudi Telecom launch 3G services nationwide.

Nokia’s contract, placed by Mobily, calls for the provision of managed services and the supply of its 3G/HPSA network solution. The deal will see Nokia provide network optimisation, operations and maintenance, hardware services and training on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. It will also install, commission and integrate its 3G radio and core network technology.

Both operators recently announced the launch of 3G services to their subscribers. With the prospect of a third licence holder entering the highly-competitive mobile market next year, the two operators are keen to consolidate their existing subscriber base and gain new users before then (see page 26).