Updated at 10.14am: Ericsson has signed joint venture contracts worth US$120 million with eastern Chinese operator, Jiangsu Mobile, to help it expand its Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks. The joint venture, Nanjing Ericsson Panda Communications, is expected to provide Jiangsu Mobile with infrastructure, software, hardware, and related services for its GSM network. Ericsson owns 51 per cent of the company and 43 per cent is held by the Hong Kong-listed Nanjing Panda Electronics. Ericsson's Joyce Zhou confirmed that the deal had gone through but explained that it was just part of ''frame agreements'' that a provincial delegation from Jiangsu had signed in Sweden in June 2001. Those agreements were worth US$850 million and included equipment and services for GSM, Code Division Multiple Access, and Multi-Service Networks to be provided to Jiangsu Mobile, China Unicom Jiangsu Branch, and China Telecom Group Jiangsu Corporation, covering a three-year period. Shen Guanghao, a spokesman for the joint venture, said this was the first major contract to be signed as a part of those frame agreements, which were massive in scale but really needed ''to be consolidated with real contracts like this one''. Mr Shen said that his company?s sales last year had surged 32 per cent to 13.5 billion yuan thanks to big contracts with Guangdong Mobile and other telecom operators in various provinces. ''That made us Ericsson?s major supplier worldwide,'' he said.