Longtime T-Mobile partner Nokia Networks will join Ericsson in helping the operator deploy LTE-Advanced infrastructure and services, the Finnish vendor confirmed on Wednesday.
Nokia Networks 's contract extension comes just one week after Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) announced it would also be working with T-Mobile US Inc. on LTE-Advanced, voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and small cells. The two contracts are similar in scope and represent extensions as both have been supporting the carrier since 2012. (See T-Mobile Taps Ericsson for LTE Upgrades and T-Mobile Picks NSN, Ericsson for LTE.)
Nokia says it will help T-Mobile deploy LTE in the 700MHz and 1900MHz bands, take advantage of carrier aggregation, expand the reach of VoLTE and work on seamless handoff to WiFi. Like Ericsson, it will also work on updating its 2G equipment with RF sharing functionality between GSM and LTE.
T-Mobile has made a big comeback in the last year with its cost-cutting, promotion-heavy "uncarrier" moves, but it still needs work on the network front. While it's the only US operator that can claim nationwide VoLTE, it still has gaps in its coverage, especially in rural areas, that Ericsson and Nokia are helping it to address. (See T-Mobile Turns Up VoLTE-to-WiFi Handoff and T-Mobile: Going Bananas for Low-Band .)
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading