Innovation centers: Carriers search for solutions in the sandbox

Wireless carrier innovation centers serve to showcase the promise of developing ecosystems such as machine-to-machine communications and LTE networks. Additionally, the centers give equipment vendors like Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) and Nokia Siemens Networks the ability to demonstrate to carriers that they are willing and able to be strategic partners and not just companies that sell hardware. Operators across the country have been opening the gleaming, multimillion-dollar facilities in partnership with vendors and other third parties at a rapid clip during the past year. FierceWireless took an in-depth look at centers from AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). Special feature