The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) has granted two loans to Swedish and Russian telecom firms Ericsson and MegaFon for the development and upgrade of their mobile networks.

The loan agreement signed with Ericsson, to be disbursed in 2012, amounts to €150mn, divided into two equal tranches with respective maturities of seven and nine years. It will support Ericsson’s research and development (R&D) activities in Sweden and Finland, to develop the next generation of radio and internet protocol (IP) technology supporting the global expansion of mobile broadband.

Johan Wibergh, head of business unit networks at Ericsson, says: “The pace of change in the telecom industry has increased dramatically in recent years. To keep up with the increased complexity we need to maintain a high level of R&D investment. With support from the Nordic Investment Bank, we will be able to further our technology leadership in radio and IP.”

The NIB also granted an €80mn loan to Russian telecom operator MegaFon for the upgrade of its cellular network. The seven-year-maturity deal will also help MegaFon prepare for the roll-out of 4G technology.