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T-Mobile USA signs up NSN and Ericsson for LTE rollout

50 per cent of mobile broadband users will be using LTE by 2017, Ericsson claims

Having received a swathe of AWS spectrum and $3bn cash from rival AT&T following the breakdown of a proposed merger, T-Mobile USA has signed agreements with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks to support its $4bn network modernisation project, including the rollout of an LTE network.

As part of the agreements, Ericsson and NSN will provide and install their solutions to 37,000 cell sites across T-Mobile’s 4G network in an effort to increase signal quality and enhance performance. The project will begin this year, and the operator expects to launch LTE services commercially in 2013.

The network will use Ericsson’s AIR infrastrucuture, which has a similar form factor and weight of a traditional antenna but has built-in active radio units. Thomas Norén, head of product area radio at Ericsson, told Telecoms.com that the solution will enable the operator to provide both HSPA+ and LTE on a separate frequency band, via the same antenna.

He argues that Ericsson’s AIR solution is easier to install and cheaper on site rental costs than competing products, and enables operators to provide coverage to larger cell areas or improve bitrate performance

“T-Mobile has bought radio equipment, site equipment, installation services and other professional services from Ericsson,” he said. “With AIR, they are getting two technologies in the shape of one.”

NSN will also provide T-Mobile with its Evolved Packet Core platform and its Single RAN Advanced platform for its LTE deployment.

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