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Swedish telecom-equipment maker Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC ) is the first company to win an LTE network infrastructure and management deal in India. Indian telecom Augere Holdings awarded the contract to Ericsson, the first such 4G deal to be officially announced.
This agreement is for three years and will cover an area that includes 14 cities with a total population of approximately 100 million people. The plan is for the LTE service to go online in the second quarter of 2012.
There are two flavors of LTE available. The first is LTE--FDD, which stands for Long Term Evolution -- Frequency Division Duplex, which is what Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) and AT&T (NYSE: T ) use for their 4G networks.
The second flavor is what's known as LTE-TDD, or LTE -- Time Division Duplex. That's the type that Ericsson will be providing in India. LTE-TDD is the version that the world's largest wireless carrier, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL ) , is building in China. It's also the type that Clearwire Communications (Nasdaq: CLWR ) hopes to build -- if it can somehow find the necessary $600 million or so it needs to make the transition from the slower WiMAX 4G.
The two LTEs are not compatible.
The potential for equipment sales and service contracts in India is immense, and the major infrastructure names, such as Nokia Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU ) , and Samsung, are pushing hard for a piece of the India action, too.
Ericsson's entry into India first is a real coup, and the other Indian wireless carriers, as well as the equipment vendors, are going to be keeping a close eye on the outcome of this venture. I think it will be well worth the trouble for us to also keep an eye on the companies mentioned here. It's easy to do by putting them in My Watchlist.