nTelos to launch LTE this year using Alcatel-Lucent gear

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Regional operator nTelos Wireless, which operates a CDMA network in the mid-Atlantic and southeast region of the United States, said it will use gear from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) to launch LTE service later this year in "select markets" in Virginia and West Virginia.

nTelos, which operates in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky and North Carolina, said it plans to launch LTE service before the end of 2013, but it did not give a specific timeframe. The operator did not provide details on its expected LTE network coverage, which spectrum it will use for LTE, pricing plans or devices. The carrier supports Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5, which can run on LTE. An nTelos spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The carrier counted 439,600 total subscribers, including 297,400 postpaid subscribers, at the end of 2012.

nTelos said in a statement that it will use Alcatel-Lucent's multi-technology base stations equipped with Remote Radio Head (RRH) technology, and much of Alcatel-Lucent's Evolved Packet Core infrastructure. Additionally, nTelos said that around 200 existing CDMA 3G-1X base stations will be replaced with Alcatel-Lucent's CDMA 3G and EVDO Rev. A base stations to improve data speeds.

"Our customers expect both world class service as well as market-leading value," Bobby McAvoy, nTelos' senior vice president of wireless engineering and operations, said in a statement. "By enabling the launch of 4G LTE service in select markets while upgrading the 3G CDMA experience for all of our customers, Alcatel-Lucent will allow us to fulfill those expectations both now and into the future."

The announcement is not exactly a surprise. nTelos said almost two years ago that it completed an LTE field trial near its headquarters in Waynesboro, Va., using Alcatel-Lucent base stations, IP routers and evolved packet equipment.

C Spire Wireless is another regional carrier that has launched LTE service using Alcatel-Lucent equipment. C Spire lit up its LTE network in Mississippi last fall.

For more:
- see this release

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