It’s been a good start to 2013 for Nokia Siemens Networks. While the Finnish-German infrastructure vendor has established itself as a big-time LTE player internationally, its 4G network prospects in the U.S. had been pretty dismal until recently. But this week, it announced U.S. Cellular as a 4G customer and in the coming months it’s set to roll out its first major U.S. LTE radio network with T-Mobile.
NSN revealed today that it was the infrastructure supplier behind U.S. Cellular’s 4G service in 11 smaller cities in Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. It may not be a huge contract, but before the launch, NSN didn’t have a single commercial LTE cell in the U.S. It also managed to horn in on archrival Ericsson’s previously exclusive contract with the regional carrier.
NSN’s big moment in the sun, however, will come in the next few months when T-Mobile launches its commercial LTE network. The carrier plans to have 100 million people covered by the network by mid-year and 200 millions people covered by year-end.
NSN is splitting the $4 billion contract with Ericsson, and the two are deploying a total of 37,000 of their latest-generation base stations, which will be able to support new LTE-Advanced technologies in the future. FierceWireless reported that T-Mo’s first 4G networks may go online within the week in Las Vegas and Kansas City, Mo.