US Cellular added Nokia to its list of 5G equipment vendors less than a week after announcing a similar deal with Ericsson, as the operator gears up for a commercial launch of the technology in the back half of the year.
In a statement, Nokia said it is supplying 3GPP NR-compliant 5G technology, software and services in a five-year network modernisation programme, which will enable US Cellular to target new customer and enterprise segments with a range of “innovative services”.
US Cellular EVP and CTO Mike Irizarry said the operator would seek new revenue streams in areas including “enhanced IoT”.
Ricky Corker, president of customer operations for the Americas at Nokia, said the deployment will “deliver 5G coverage” in addition to a “multi-fold increase in capacity” for the operator.
A US Cellular representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) Nokia has already begun the modernisation programme, with initial work focused on the operator’s major markets.
The operator is the fifth-largest in the US and holds low-band spectrum in the 600MHz, 700MHz and 800MHz bands, along with mid-band PCS and AWS spectrum. Executives reportedly recently told analysts its 600MHz spectrum will spearhead the 5G campaign.
Last week, Ericsson revealed it had been selected by the operator to deliver NR-compliant hardware and software as part of the upgrade to its existing 4G LTE network.
It was in that announcement that Irizarry confirmed US Cellular was targeting a H2 2019 launch. In July 2018, the CTO told MWL it could deploy 5G within 18 months using its existing spectrum holdings, with an earlier deployment deemed senseless without compatible mobile devices available.
US Cellular’s choice of Nokia and Ericsson follows a series of separate trials with vendors over the past year.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back