MetroPCS selects Ericsson, Samsung as LTE vendors

MetroPCS has chosen Ericsson as its primary infrastructure vendor for its forthcoming LTE network, and also named Samsung as the supplier of its first LTE handset. MetroPCS becomes the second U.S. carrier after Verizon Wireless to publicly declare its LTE vendors.

The flat-rate carrier said it plans to start offering LTE services, and a dual-mode LTE/CDMA handset from Samsung, in its major metropolitan markets in late 2010. MetroPCS had previously indicated it would deploy LTE in 2010, though it had not discussed vendors.

MetroPCS' announcement gives more definition to the LTE landscape among U.S. carriers. AT&T Mobility has said it will begin LTE trials in 2010, with deployments in 2011. Verizon Wireless has already reported successful LTE trials in Seattle and Boston over its 700 MHz spectrum, and plans to have 30 commercial LTE markets up and running in 2010. Verizon said it expects its nationwide buildout to be completed in late 2013 or early 2014. A MetroPCS spokeswoman was not immediately available to answer questions about the specifics about the carrier's planned buildout, including how many markets would be covered and what spectrum would be used.

This is Ericsson's second major LTE vendor win in the U.S. market, and further evidence of the company's strengthening position in North America. Verizon selected Ericsson as one of the vendors for its radio access network (along with Alcatel-Lucent) as well as one of the vendors for its enhanced packet core.

Indeed, Ericsson may continue its dominance in LTE contract wins. In May, UBS Equity Research said that AT&T had short-listed Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei as LTE vendors. AT&T declined to comment on the report at the time.

Samsung also scored a major win with the deal. Previously, Chinese handset and infrastructure vendor ZTE had been thought to be deeply involved with MetroPCS' LTE handset plans. Samsung, along with LG, provided handsets for Verizon's recent LTE trials. 

For more:
- see this release

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