Vodafone signs up Huawei for Project Spring

Pushing on with its £7bn organic investment programme, Project Spring, operator group Vodafone has signed a five-year agreement with infrastructure vendor Huawei. As the third vendor signed up for this initiative, the Chinese firm will carry out a number of network enhancement projects and provide products and services to the operator to expand its single RAN in 15 countries around the world.

The projects will use Huawei’s SingleRAN solutions and Active Antenna System to enhance Vodafone’s network coverage, customer experience and operational efficiency, according to the vendor. It will also enable Vodafone to support 2G, 3G and LTE services on a single network infrastructure. The beam-forming Active Antenna System will simplify antenna deployment for Vodafone and improve data throughput performance, said Huawei.

The deal covers Vodafone’s operations in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, DRC and Ghana.

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“Over the last few years, together with Vodafone, we have successfully demonstrated the performance, reliability and efficiency of Huawei’s SingleRAN solutions,” said Huawei rotating CEO Eric Xu.

He added that the extension of Huawei’s long-standing strategic relationship with Vodafone reflects the increasing demand for high-quality mobile broadband networks the firm is seeing globally as an increasing number of customers take to using 4G services.

In January this year, Vodafone sold off its 45 per cent stake in US operator Verizon Wireless to its JV partner Verizon Communications. While the deal was worth $130bn, the operator received less than half of that amount, $58.9bn, in cash, which it is drawing on for its Project Spring investment programme. Vodafone has already signed deals with infrastructure vendors Ericsson and Samsung for Project Spring.

“Vodafone needs to enhance its capacity and coverage to create a next generation network, and it is doing so with this investment programme,” commented Emeka Obiodu, principal analyst in research firm Ovum’s Industry, Communications & Broadband practice. “Whether this can be translated into market leadership in the markets it operates in, time will tell.”

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