China Mobile—the largest wireless operator in China and one of the largest cellular carriers in the world—moved to expand its GSM coverage in 19 domestic regions with the signing of a $1 billion network contract with Ericsson. The agreement, signed in Sweden on Sunday, covers core and network equipment along with related technical support and services and enables Ericsson, the world’s largest supplier of wireless network equipment, to expand its presence in the fast-growing Chinese market. Although China Mobile sits atop China’s mobile phone market with 321.3 million subscribers, the company is fending off a competitive challenge from China Netcom, which, under a state-directed realignment of China’s fixed and wireless telecom providers, is slated to assume control of 110.3 million wireless customers now served by China Unicom. Later this year, Netcom is also expected to bid for a third-generation wireless service license that could place further competitive strains on China Mobile. A spokesman for Ericsson, which has already begun to deliver equipment covered by the contract, said: “we are dedicated to supporting the development and growth of China’s telecom industry with our global expertise and proven competence.”