Verizon Wireless picks Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent for LTE buildout

Verizon Wireless today announced the vendors who will build the operator's next-generation LTE radio access network on the 700 MHz band, and Nortel isn't one of them. The company selected Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. It's a major coup for Ericsson, which has been trying for years to break further into the U.S. market, but a big blow to bankrupt Nortel, which has always been a major supplier for Verizon Wireless on the CDMA side. Alcatel-Lucent has to be breathing a sigh of relief as well, especially as Chinese vendor Huawei becomes more aggressive in North America and as Motorola has been pushing hard with its LTE story.

"We selected Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent to provide the radio access network because they have done a very good job of proving to us that they can achieve our expectations of performance and delivery date. We have worked well with them," Verizon Communications' Executive Vice President and CTO Dick Lynch said in an interview with FierceWireless. "Every one of the vendors whose equipment we tested performed well. It was a difficult selection process for me. Even of the ones that we didn't select were competent and qualified to deliver. There is an opportunity for the vendor community to see another wave of investment from us."

Lynch added he understood Verizon Wireless' decisions will have a major impact on the infrastructure vendor community: "The two vendors I selected aren't the only two that could have done the job. There is the opportunity for the entire infrastructure community to rally around this thing. Other carriers may choose someone else," he said. "This can add to the health of the supplier community. We are not saying Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, you won and the rest go away.  Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have won our business for a period of time. The rest of the vendors will have another opportunity in the future. We will go out again in mid-2010 and look for vendors for the next wave of the coverage."

Starent Networks also scored a deal with the operator to provide LTE core network solutions while Nokia Siemens and Alcatel-Lucent will be the IMS suppliers. 

To see the rest of the interview with Lynch, click here.

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