Ericsson picks up NBN Co wireless and satellite management deal

Ericsson will be responsible for installing premises equipment and managing ground operations for the fixed wireless and long term satellite services for NBN Co, in a deal worth over AU$300 million.

Swedish networking company Ericsson has retained its fixed-wireless management contract with NBN Co and will now take on the installation and management of the long-term satellite services for the government-owned company.

In 2011, NBN Co signed an AU$1.1 billion deal with Ericsson to build towers, install premises equipment and manage services for the fixed-wireless LTE network for 4 of the 7 percent of the population not covered by the fixed line rollout.

In a deal today that ZDNet understands is worth at least AU$300 million, Ericsson has extended its contract for another four years out to 2018, with an option to extend the contract again out to 2020.

Håkan Eriksson, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, told ZDNet the company will now pick up the management of the long term satellite service, which will include switching out the old satellite equipment at the 42,000 interim satellite service user premises and switching them onto the long term service.

"Then we have the corresponding satellite part to run the satellite network to do the installs in the home. Everything except controlling the satellites up in the sky," he said.

The deal will employ around 800 people across Australia as NBN Co looks to ramp up the wireless network rollout to between 12,000 and 16,000 premises per month.

"[It is a] big responsibility but also very exciting," he said.

Eriksson said that the time to install the new satellites will vary depending on the one of three different dish sizes that may be required for the premises depending on its location.

Last year, there was concern that NBN Co was struggling to meet its fixed wireless rollout targets, but Eriksson said Ericsson was meeting NBN Co's timetables as they changed over time.

"We have always had a good relationship with NBN Co on this because we have always been in time with their current plans," he said.