Global telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks on Thursday said it has bagged a $700 million contract from Bharti Airtel for network expansion and upgradation.

NSN will expand and upgrade Airtel’s 2.5G network in eight circles to increase the telcos network capacity by 50 per cent, the company said in a statement.

In addition, the company will ensure that Airtel’s core network is 3G-ready and enable fast rollout of 3G services at a later date.

The contract includes network planning, implementation and project management, handling of local logistics and materials, as well as system integration for the base station sites.

This GSM network expansion will cover the eight existing circles — Mumbai, Maharashtra and Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand, Orissa, Kolkata and West Bengal. NSN has been a long standing vendor for Airtel.

Bharti Airtel has tie-ups with NSN in the circles, where the NSN provides equipment and managed services.

With close to 60 per cent of Airtel’s monthly customers coming from rural regions, this contract will enable Airtel to further aggressively expand its footprint into rural India.

“This expansion will not only expand our networks deeper into the rural hinterland but will also allow us to satisfy the increasing demand for quality services,” Bharti Airtel chief executive officer Sanjay Kapoor said.

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