NSN, Ericsson Win T-Mobile's LTE Business

NEW ORLEANS -- International CTIA Wireless -- One week after securing Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), T-Mobile US Inc. has announced that Nokia Networks and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) will be the vendors to support its Long Term Evolution (LTE) build-out strategy. (See T-Mobile Loads Up LTE Spectrum Ammo.)

The carrier said Monday before CTIA officially got underway that the two equipment vendors will install 37,000 cell sites across its high-speed packet access-plus (HSPA+) footprint to bolster signal quality and performance this year. T-Mobile also claims it will be the first North American wireless operator to broadly deploy antenna-integrated radios, which it says will accelerate deployment and reduce site loading for its build-out.

The spectrum T-Mobile acquired last week as part of its breakup from AT&T, along with its spectrum refarming efforts, will allow it to launch LTE in 75 percent of the top 25 markets in 2013. The carrier hasn't revealed when to expect the first markets, but it has invested US$4 billion in its network modernization strategy to keep up with its rivals. (See T-Mobile Will Launch LTE in 2013 and T-Mobile Gets Spectrum in AT&T Breakup.)

In announcing its vendor selections, T-Mobile also stressed that it plans to launch HSPA+ in the 1900MHz band in a large number of its markets this year, thus opening it up to new devices like the iPhone. Its HSPA+ network now covers 229 markets and over 220 million people. (See T-Mobile Could Still Boost HSPA+ Speeds .)

Why this matters
LR Mobile suggested last week that CTIA would be the perfect stage for T-Mobile to unveil its partner choices. It is the last wireless operator in the U.S. to do so, and it doesn't have a lot of time to waste in the competitive 4G environment here.

The win is good news for Ericsson, which now plays a part in all four Tier 1 operators' LTE deployments, and for NSN, which had fallen behind Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) in winning U.S. infrastructure contracts. (See Euronews: Ericsson Pumps $4.9B Into R&D and NSN CEO: We've Got Our Mojo Back.)

For more

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

digits 12/5/2012 | 5:33:51 PM
re: NSN, Ericsson Win T-Mobile's LTE Business

So presumably there was never likely to be an opportunity for Alcatel-Lucent... ALU could do with another boost for its LTE credibility in North AMerica, methinks.

joebraue 12/5/2012 | 5:33:51 PM
re: NSN, Ericsson Win T-Mobile's LTE Business

Dave Mayo, SVP of Technology for TMobile, told me before the Raymond James Breakfast at the Tower Summit that the company chose NSN and Ericsson as they were incumbents and TMobile is focused on speed to market.  He told the audience that goal is rolling out LTE in 2013. The upgrade will use HSPA+ in the 1900 frequency spectrum to better integrate with other carriers' 4G offerings.

andyruns 12/5/2012 | 5:33:43 PM
re: NSN, Ericsson Win T-Mobile's LTE Business

Referring to T-Mobile's LTE announcement, Mayo also stated that "today's plans are for overlay - not new sites."  While siting and putting up steel don't seem to be in T-Mo's immediate future, Mayo did state that there was value in "bringing the network 'down' to reduce interference." Does this mean that there may be some small cell activity on the horizon? 

"An inadequate amount of spectrum has been made available," he added.  This isn't exactly breaking news but Mayo did go on to assert the need to leverage technology to re-use spectrum and that would include active DAS, small cells, beam-forming antennas and even Wi-Fi. 

It seems that what might not be built above the ground will likely be built along it...

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