Nortel in $100 million 3G race

Airtel Movil SA, Spain’s second largest wireless carrier, has selected Nortel Networks to build the initial phase of its Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).

Airtel Movil SA, Spain’s second largest wireless carrier, has selected Nortel Networks to build the initial phase of its Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) to provide Wireless Internet service throughout Spain, subject to execution of a definitive agreement anticipated to be worth US$100 million over 12 months.

UMTS will use third generation (3G) wireless technology to provide unconstrained access to information, e-mail, eBusiness, real-time video and other high-performance Wireless Internet services through a variety of personal, portable devices. UMTS service is expected to be available to more than 80 percent of the European population by 2010.

‘We intend to be first to launch commercial UMTS in Europe,’ said Ignacio S. Galán, chief executive officer, Airtel, which plans to begin offering UMTS service to business and residential customers in 23 major urban areas across Spain in August 2001.

The Nortel Networks UMTS solution includes Nortel Networks e-mobility Internet Base Stations (iBTS) for wide area radio coverage; packet-based core networks featuring Nortel Networks Passport Extranet switches; Nortel Networks Preside network management; Nortel Networks Shasta services management; and network implementation services.

Spain’s second largest mobile telephone operator, Airtel began its operations in October 1995 after being awarded the country’s second GSM license in February of that year. From its formation through year-end 1999 the company invested Ptas. 380 billion in its business and has built up a 33 percent market share, and more than 6.2 million customers at the end of July this year.

Airtel are on the web at www.airtel.es.

Nortel are at www.nortelnetworks.com.