Lucent inks another wireless deal with US Cellular
- By John K. Waters
Telecommunications equipment maker Lucent Technologies rang in the new year
with a big win, consummating a $100 million deal with US Cellular to deploy the
wireless carrier's third-generation (3G) infrastructure.
Under the five-year agreement inked last week, Lucent will upgrade US
Cellular's existing base stations (supplied by Lucent under an earlier deal),
and add new base stations to support the carrier's CDMA 1XRTT offerings, the
companies said. Lucent will also provide engineering, installation and other
professional services to US Cellular as it continues to deploy CDMA 1XRTT
technology across its wireless network.
''This agreement will enable US Cellular to provide our customers with a more
robust network and advanced wireless services,'' said US Cellular CTO Michael S.
Irizarry, contending that the Lucent CDMA technology can improve voice clarity
and offer greater service reliability.
Based in Chicago, US Cellular is the nation's eighth largest wireless service
carrier, with approximately 3.9 million customers in 26 states, Irizarry said.
Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent designs and sells the systems, software and
services for next-generation communications networks, utilizing broadband and
mobile Internet infrastructure, communications software, Web-based enterprise
solutions that link private and public networks, and professional network design
and consulting services.
The two companies disclosed their intention to sign the agreement last month,
just after Lucent signed a separate $5 billion contract to upgrade Verizon
Wireless' high-speed network.
US Cellular began its conversion to CDMA 1XRTT technology in October 2002.
Code Division Multiple Access technology is a wireless format that is becoming
increasingly popular because of the ease with which it can be upgraded to 3G,
observers say. CDMA is a wireless transmission standard that sends digitized
transmissions of encoded speech over the airwaves and then uses a unique code to
reassemble it in its original format at the receiving end. CDMA assigns a unique
electronic code to each call signal and allows many more simultaneous calls over
a service provider's network. Lucent expects to complete its conversion in 2004,
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached