Nokia, Ericsson Picked By T-Mobile To Upgrade Its Cellular Network

T-Mobile is stuck in fourth place in U.S. cellular subscriber numbers, but has been posting impressive growth numbers.

T-Mobile is making good on its commitment to upgrade its U.S. network by contracting with Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB to provide $2.76 billion worth of infrastructure gear for its 3G network.

Stuck in fourth place behind Cingular Wireless, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless in U.S. cellular subscriber numbers, T-Mobile nevertheless has been posting impressive growth numbers and has been earmarked by its Deutsche Telekom parent for network enhancement. Nokia and Ericsson made the upgrade announcement Monday.

By signing up the two Scandinavian firms to build out its high-speed wireless network, T-Mobile gives the European-developed GSM architecture its second major player in the United States; Cingular also uses the GSM-based standard. T-Mobile bid nearly $4.2 billion in September for spectrum for the rollout of the 3G network. T-Mobile has said it expects the new network will be available for use by subscribers in mid-2007.

Nokia and Ericcson will provide W-CDMA infrastructure for the network. W-CDMA is generally not as robust as CDMA2000 EV-DO Rev A, an advanced high-speed mobile phone architecture being rolled out by Sprint and Verizon. W-CDMA, however, can be upgraded to powerful HSDPA architecture in the future.

The new infrastructure will help T-Mobile achieve its goal of expanding its existing customer base from 23 million subscribers to more then 35 million by 2015.

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