Ericsson, Alca-Lu score LTE deal with AT&T

Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent are big winners in the North American LTE race. AT&T announced this morning that the two firms will supply LTE radio access equipment for the company's LTE deployment scheduled for 2011. Financial details of the two contracts were not revealed.

This is the second big win for Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. Just a year ago Verizon Wireless announced that Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent were that company's primary LTE infrastructure vendors. Verizon is on pace to roll out commercial LTE services this year to 100 million POPs across 25-30 markets.

Competition in LTE infrastructure market has been fierce. Asian vendors such as Huawei and ZTE have been trying hard to make inroads in North America. Earlier this year Huawei said it would add 600 jobs in North America in 2010. The company also opened its own LTE development lab in Texas. So far, Huawei has landed network contracts with Cox for its CDMA network and Clearwire for its WiMAX play.

In a release, AT&T said it had tested equipment from multiple suppliers in the field and in the lab, and that it chose to extend existing relationships with Alca-Lu and Ericsson--both of which provide equipment to the operator today. Specifically, AT&T said it will take advantage of compatibility between Alca-Lu and Ericsson's 3G equipment as it moves to LTE.

AT&T has been working hard to increase the data speeds and bandwidth of its network. In 2009, the firm upgraded its 3G cell sites across the country with HSPA 7.2 software. This year the company plans to upgrade its backhaul capacity using enhanced fiber-optic connectivity. AT&T plans to spend $18 billion to $19 billion on its network this year, notably above the $17.3 billion it spent in 2009. 

For more:
- see this release

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