Ericsson has signed a sole-supplier agreement with Digicel Group for the nationwide deployment of a GSM/EDGE network in Panama. The strategic partnership will allow the operator to offer innovative mobile services to its subscribers and reinforces Ericsson's role as preferred supplier for Digicel's operations in the region.

Under the agreement, Ericsson will be sole supplier of a GSM/EDGE network including radio access network, Mobile Softswitch Solution, mobile backhaul solution with optical and microwave products and convergent charging and billing solution. The company will also be responsible for network deployment, systems integration and learning services, and deployment has already started. The agreement means that Ericsson is now supplying mobile systems to Digicel in 24 countries across the Caribbean and Central America.

The introduction of EDGE capability means that operators can cost effectively increase data capacity in the network and offer high-speed mobile data services over the GSM network. EDGE provides a cost-efficient way to introduce new services and boost the uptake of mobile data services.

Mario Assaad, group chief technology officer for Digicel, commented, "Through our long-term partnership with Ericsson, we are already bringing innovative services and best-quality network coverage to our customers across the Caribbean and Central America. We now look forward to delighting mobile users in Panama in the same way."

Niklas Heuveldop, head of market unit Ericsson Central America & Caribbean, added, "This contract reaffirms Ericsson's role as preferred supplier and strategic partner for Digicel's operations in the region. We are proud to provide the operator with a world-class, reliable and robust network to help bring a richer mobile communications experience to its customers in this rapidly growing market."