movil.jpgMore on Huawei's landmark deal, flagged yesterday, to supply Vodafone Spain with 3G equipment.

According to the China Daily, Huawei beat Ericsson to win the deal, which the Chinese company describes as a “major breakthrough” in its European expansion plans.

However, Spain's Expansión says Nortel was the firm knocked out ($).

Irrespective
of who lost, the take-home here is that Vodafone has let a Chinese
upstart sit at the top table alongside a small — and diminishing —
number of traditional “Tier One” equipment suppliers that until now
where either European or North American.

Carriers are notoriously reluctant to boost the egos of suppliers even if they let them publicise these “knock out” deals.

But
it seems an open secret that this contract will open the door for
Huawei to become a strategic supplier to other major Vodafone
subsidiaries, particularly in Europe which Nokia, Ericsson and Alcatel
have jealously guarded as their home turf.

Last year Huawei won
a contract to supply Telfort, Vodafone's dutch subsidiary, with a 3G
network. It has a similar deal with Vodafone for the Czech Republic.

But
Vodafone's Spanish subsidiary is in a different league. It is one of
most important and strongest operating companies in the group and
Vodafone Spain already has 1.2m 3G users, including this EngagingChina correspondent!

To
become an approved supplier, Huawei says it went through a period of
“substantial cooperation” with Vodafone together with a “stringent
certification process” before being selected to deploy HSPDA equipment
in the radio access network of certain key Spanish cities.

HSPDA will allow Vodafone's 3G network, which is based on WCDMA technology, to run at faster speeds.

Huawei
scored a similar coup in 2005 when it was chosen as one of the eight
strategic suppliers for the launch of the next-generation network
(21CN) project of BT, the UK's dominant fixed-line operator.

The
inclusion of Chinese upstart Huawei on BT's list served a wake-up call
on European equipment suppliers, most notably UK's own Marconi, which
once got the lion's share of its business from BT but did not make the
21CN list.

The fact that Huawei could meet BT's exacting
requirements while Marconi could not showed the world just how fast
China's technology industry has advanced in recent years. It also
sealed the fate for the troubled Marconi, since renamed Telent, and
ultimately led to it being broken up.

($) In Spanish, subscription required

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