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Ericsson inks deals with Chinese firms

STOCKHOLM, July 8 – Ericsson has signed contracts worth 1.7 billion dollars (1.2 billion euros) to provide equipment to two Chinese mobile operators, the Swedish telecoms group said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Ericsson today signed framework agreements on 2G/3G mobile communication equipment and related services for 2009 with two major Chinese telecom operators: China Mobile and China Unicom, valued at 1 billion dollars and 0.7 billion dollars respectively," the statement said.

"Together the two operators are currently serving more than 620 million mobile subscribers in China," the company added.

"3G" refers to the new third-generation mobile networks which offer high-speed access to the Internet, email and video.

Ericsson chief executive Carl-Henric Svanberg said earlier this year that China would be a key growth market for the company as it looks to ride out the impact of the global economic downturn on its business.

On July 3, the company announced it had been awarded contracts with China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom to provide fixed broadband access in provinces including Guangdong, Shanghai and Sichuan.

Ericsson, which is the world leader in mobile phone network equipment ahead of Nokia Siemens, employs more than 75,000 people worldwide.

On the Stockholm exchange at 1011 GMT on Wednesday, the price of Ericsson shares was up by 0.80 percent to 75.40 kronor in an overmall market down by 0.08 percent.

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