PARIS China Telecom (0728.HK) has picked Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA) to supply its next-generation 4G technology for a nationwide trial of high-speed mobile broadband, the French telecom gear maker said on Thursday.
Alcatel will supply 9,892 base stations in 12 Chinese provinces under the deal - similar to the amount needed to provide adequate coverage in a country the size of France. It will also supply "lightRadio" small-cell technology, which are akin to mini-mobile antennas for urban or indoor areas.
The Chinese market is the world's largest in terms of subscribers, mobile data services and smartphones, increasing by more than 50 percent a year, according to Alcatel. China Telecom has more than 181 million mobile customers.
The latest contract, for which no financial details were given, comes around three months after Alcatel won a share of 4G contracts worth around $3.2 billion from China Mobile Ltd (0941.HK), which has more than 750 million subscribers.
China is an increasingly important market for Alcatel-Lucent, whose biggest and most profitable country remains the United States.
Chinese firms secured more than half of the work on the nationwide roll-out of the world's biggest high-speed mobile broadband network, with Alcatel's award amounting to 11 percent.
Alcatel shares were 1 percent lower at 3.3 euros by 1544 GMT, compared with a 0.3 percent dip in the broader French market .SBF120. The European technology index .SX8P was 0.4 percent lower.
(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)