Ericsson and Indian operator IDEA Cellular have signed a three-year contract for GSM expansion in the Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh telecom circles (operator licensed areas). Under the contract, the company will provide radio access, microwave transmission and next generation mobile softswitch network architecture until November 2009.

As the sole supplier, Ericsson will help the operator to build a state-of-the-art EDGE enabled cellular network across the five circles, which will enable IDEA to make a smooth transition to a 3G ready network once 3G spectrum allocation is finalized.

Mats Granryd, managing director, Ericsson India, said, "IDEA's expansion in the five circles will include remote rural areas, which present unique challenges. We have been partners with IDEA since it started operations in India, and we are happy to be taking this partnership to a new level of commitment."

From the operator’s perspective, Sanjeev Aga, managing director, IDEA Cellular, commented, "We are pleased to be working with Ericsson to expand our GSM network. The expansion prepares us well for the switch to a 3G ready network when the time is right."