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Alcatel-Lucent is to deploy a complete 4G LTE overlay network in the Midwestern U.S. states of Oklahoma and Kansas to enable Pioneer Cellular, an affiliate of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative, to offer ultra-broadband mobile access to its customers and enable higher quality service for video, gaming and Internet connectivity on smartphones and tablets.
Mobile ultra-broadband plays a critical role in today’s rural landscape as it fuels better educational opportunities, better economic activity, more entertainment choices and a better overall quality of life. The demand for mobile broadband by those in rural areas are no different than those of urban counterparts, however, scaling networks for rural areas has been a challenge. LTE enables rich communications, commerce, entertainment, productivity and educational activity virtually anywhere at any time.
Pioneer Cellular is helping bridge the mobile ultra-broadband gap by providing service primarily in unserved and underserved areas of rural Kansas and Oklahoma. The LTE deployment with Alcatel-Lucent will enable Pioneer Cellular to provide customers with ultra-broadband access and also interconnect with other carriers through roaming agreements.
With Alcatel-Lucent’s support, Pioneer will offer LTE based mobile service to its entire customer base covering 47 counties in Oklahoma and 14 counties in Kansas.
The initial 25 sites to be deployed will be completed by the end of 2014, with an eventual plan to cover all of Pioneer’s network.
Alcatel-Lucent is providing Pioneer Cellular with an end-to-end 4G LTE overlay solution including LTE Radio Access Network, IP Mobile Packet Core (MME, SGW/PGW, PCRF), Subscriber Data Manager, IP Mobile Backhaul (7705 SAR) and associated deployment and integration services.
Richard Ruhl, General Manager of Pioneer, said, “Rural operators like Pioneer face specific challenges in serving rural areas. Pioneer Cellular is a customer driven organization with a corporate mission to provide the best service possible to our wireless customers in areas where most carriers have chosen not to provide advanced services. The new 4G LTE Core Network will allow Pioneer to provide our customers with high quality mobile and fixed ultra-broadband services.”
Charles Marsh, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas region, said, “Alcatel-Lucent enjoys a strong and positive 20-year working relationship with Pioneer. This announcement extends that partnership further, demonstrating the importance of 4G LTE for Pioneer’s customers and the rural marketplace in general.”