As 700-MHz Auction Nears End, Ericsson Says It Can Help Winners

Ericsson says it can offer mobile network operators a full suite of infrastructure, device platforms, applications, and services such as network design, network deployment, and systems integration.

As bidding in the FCC's auction of 700-MHz spectrum moves to a conclusion, wireless infrastructure provider Ericsson announced Wednesday that it is ready to work with license winners to set up advanced mobile networks.

Ericsson said it already has chipsets for Long Term Evolution (LTE), a high-speed wireless data transmission technology, under development and expects to make them commercially available in mid-2009.

"The Ericsson mobile broadband solution will offer a full suite of infrastructure, device platforms, applications, and services," the company said in a release. The Stockholm-based firm said it is also continuing to develop HSPA for the 700-MHz band; HSPA has already been deployed in some U.S. networks while LTE is slated for deployment later.

Both existing CDMA and GSM network service providers have said they plan to move to LTE eventually; LTE's download and upload speeds are several times faster than those of HSPA. Actual deployment of most 700-MHz networks is likely to take place after the bugs in 700-MHz networks have been ironed out.

Ericsson, which noted that its North American operations have more than 6,400 employees, said it will work with customers to provide professional services in network design, network deployment, systems integration, and interoperability expertise.

As the FCC's auction begins to wind down to a conclusion possibly later this week or next week, the cell phone industry is eagerly awaiting news on the identity of the bidders. Nearly $19.6 billion has been bid for spectrum so far, and the so-called D-Block -- which will be shared with public safety users -- is the lone spectrum band that did not reach the minimum price lever set by the commission. The D-Block is likely to be re-auctioned with a new set of regulations.

The identity of the bidders is secret and their identities won't be released until the auction is finished.

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