On Tuesday at CTIA Wireless in New Orleans, T-Mobile USA announced that it has selected telecom equipment vendors Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks for the $4 billion upgrade of its LTE network, which is due to launch in 2013. The amount that each company is to be allotted for the upgrade was not disclosed.
Both Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) and Nokia Siemens Networks (Espoo, Finland) will install telecom equipment to upgrade all 37,000 cell towers in the T-Mobile USA network.
Specifically, T-Mobile USA will deploy Ericsson's AIR technology, and the vendor will install the radio, tower and switch room equipment, as well as provide consulting and systems integration and rollout services. Ericsson will also provide turnkey services in the areas of installation, commissioning, integration and migration.
Ericsson's AIR solution is designed to closely resemble a traditional antenna although it has built-in active radio units. This technology can reduce energy consumption by up to 40-45% at typical load, compared to alternative site solutions using standard base stations combined with passive antennas, says Ericsson.
Nokia Siemens Networks will modernize T-Mobile’s GSM and HSPA+ core and radio access infrastructure. NSN will provide its Evolved Packet Core platform, including Flexi NS (Network Server) and Flexi NG (Network Gateway). The company will also provide its Single RAN Advanced platform based on its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station.
In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks will deliver a range of services, including network planning and optimization, network implementation and support, says the company.
T-Mobile USA has worked with both telecom vendors on past projects. In 2006, Ericsson expanded its existing network contract with T-Mobile USA to include a nationwide 3G network. In 2010, Ericsson worked with T-Mobile USA to deploy HSPA+ 21 technology, and again in 2011 with HSPA+ 42 technology. T-Mobile has already deployed Nokia Siemens Networks’ subscriber data management solution.
Last week, T-Mobile secured the AWS spectrum licenses from AT&T which were agreed to as part of the breakup of the proposed merger between the two companies. This new spectrum, in addition to the refarming effort, enables the launch of LTE in AWS spectrum and up to 20 MHz of LTE in 75% of the top 25 markets.
As part of the company’s network modernization effort, T-Mobile also plans to launch 4G HSPA+ service in the 1900 MHz band in a large number of markets by the end of the year. Network modernization trials have shown up to a 33% increase in HSPA+ data speeds as well as improved in-building coverage. Rolling out 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band will also provide customers with the ability to use a broader range of devices, including the iPhone, on T-Mobile’s 4G network.