NewCore Wireless, a hosted wireless service provider that is owned by and serves rural operators, has selected Ericsson as its LTE vendor.
Ericsson will supply its Evolved Packet Core LTE solution to NewCore, along with an LTE radio access network to New Core Wireless’ partner rural operators. NewCore will work with Ericsson and wireless system integrator Stutler Technologies on the deployment, which will include network design, rollout and optimization.
The LTE network and infrastructure will be launched April 1, 2013, building on NewCore Wireless’ existing end-to-end 3G network, which was implemented in 2009.
The agreement marks the beginning of a new managed services partnership between NewCore and Ericsson. After the deployment, Ericsson will assist with network monitoring, analysing, optimization and support.
NewCore was formed in August 2008 by several rural independent local exchange carriers and deployed a 2G/3G network, consisting of an Alcatel Lucent core with ALU 3G RAN and Nokia 2G RAN in May 2009. It currently provides switching services to 200 GSM sites and 100 UMTS sites in a six-state coverage area –– Minnesota, Wisconsin. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota.
Currently rural operators have agreed to build out LTE in six states with NewCore, including Montana and Colorado. NewCore hopes to expand LTE coverage to 17 states, from Ohio to Idaho.
“Ericsson was chosen because it is the only RAN vendor used by all four Tier 1 US operator,” said Cami Zimmer, business development, NewCore. “Ericsson has adopted the Nortel Tier three customer culture and has the best support for rural operators, which is important to us because that is who partner with [to provide wireless service].”
Zimmer said Ericsson’s relationships with the major carriers, along NewCore Wireless’s relationship, will aid in establishing the data roaming agreements that will be needed for LTE service.
“One of our goals is to successfully deploy 3G/4G services with access to nationwide networks,” Zimmer said.
While population density is not an issue, rural areas benefit from LTE because it provides an alternative to fiber to the home for fixed data, integrating cellular capabilities with traditional telephone service.
The Evolved Packet Core is an IP-based core network architecture that supports the next generation of mobile and fixed-mobile converged networks. Combined with LTE access networks, EPC provides users with broadband access to a variety of applications. New Core Wireless will be able provide its rural operator business partners with an enhanced fixed and mobile-broadband experience offering higher data speeds and faster access to a wide range of new innovative multimedia applications.
“The machine-to-machine communications opportunities are going to be great for rural areas,” Zimmer said. “There are lots of agricultural and telehealthcare applications, for farmers to monitor crops and for families to receive care from their doctors.”