* Wind signs 5-year deal with Huawei, Sirti for 4G network
* Wind expects to invest 1 billion euros
* Huawei already supplier of T.Italia, Vodafone, 3 Italia
MILAN, April 12 Italian mobile phone operator
Wind is to spend 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) on building a
fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband network to step up
competition to rivals Telecom Italia and Vodafone
The investment will use technology from Italy's Sirti and
Huawei Technologies, the firms said in a statement on
Friday, giving a boost to the Chinese telecoms equipment maker
as it battles for work on 4G networks across Europe.
"This new considerable investment follows last year's
purchase of the LTE (Long Term Evolution) frequencies," Wind
Chief Executive Maximo Ibarra said, referring to frequencies for
delivering faster communications.
The deal will last five years, a Huawei spokesperson added.
Wind, which is owned by VimpelCom, is the
third-largest mobile telecoms operator in Italy, where it also
competes with Hutchison Whampoa's 3 Italia.
Huawei is already a supplier of the three other Italian
mobile phone companies and has won 4G contracts with EE in
Britain and Vodafone in Germany. However, it continues to be
shut out of the U.S. market over security concerns.
Ericsson remains a leader in terms of global
telecoms equipment, with Nokia Siemens Networks and
Huawei jostling for a second place while Alcatel-Lucent
, which has a focus on the United States, is losing
ground because of its traditional weakness in Europe.