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Upgrading and Expanding Ericsson's 4G Mobile Broadband Network

Communications | Network Infrastructure Staffing

Ericsson partners with TEKsystems to assist T-Mobile USA’s upgrade and expansion of North America’s largest 4G mobile broadband network into key regional markets.

Ericsson is a leading global provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators. Over 1,000 networks in more than 175 countries utilize Ericsson’s network equipment, and 40 percent of all mobile calls run through its systems. TEKsystems has partnered with Ericsson since 2003.
HSPA+, UMTS RAN, Ericsson GGSN with deep packet inspection
T-Mobile USA, one of North America’s largest wireless operators, was planning an aggressive rollout of High Speed Access Packet Plus (HSPA+) technology to expand the reach of its 4G mobile broadband network. Due to time constraints and intense competition for talent, T-Mobile decided to outsource significant parts of the initiative. The Los Angeles tri-market area, which includes Los Angeles, Orange County and Inland Empire, represents T-Mobile’s second largest market in the country. This is a critical region for the operator and needed to be expanded within a very tight time frame to overlap with the introduction of several new products designed to take advantage of the upgraded 4G network’s increased download speeds. This rollout would encompass the technology refresh of over 1,600 cell sites. Ericsson decided to partner with TEKsystems on this project, leveraging our ability to quickly supply highly-skilled field technicians to complement Ericsson’s large-scale rollout expertise.
After Ericsson won the contract, TEKsystems’ account team worked quickly to source the senior Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) field technicians required for this roll out, providing 10 highly-skilled resources to Ericsson within less than a week. When a materials shortage delayed the start date and 75 percent of the tenured staff earmarked for the role were placed on other timely projects during the delay, we backfilled them immediately with new, qualified talent so the project could begin when the materials arrived. Centrally managed and deployed by Ericsson’s project team, these technicians were responsible for customizing and upgrading each of the 1,600+ cell sites in the LA market, visiting each two to three times over the course of 18 months. The scope of their responsibilities consisted of two stages:

Ethernet › service stage:
This included installing necessary power supply additions to the cell site cabinets as well as installing and connecting T-Mobile’s ethernet Operations, Administration and Maintenance (E-OAM) Network Interface Devices (NIDs).

Hardware › installation stage:
This involved the physical installation of upgraded boards into each site’s Ericsson Radio Base Station (RBS) as well as cabling it to the E-OAM NIDs.

With the bulk of the cell sites upgraded, four TEKsystems consultants currently remain deployed on this project working with Ericsson to maintain and optimize the equipment.

Against ambitious timelines, Ericsson and TEKsystems upgraded all cell sites on time and under budget. Hitting these milestones meant that T-Mobile USA’s network now offers download speeds on par or faster than competing 4G technologies as well as service availability in 70+ metropolitan markets throughout the United States. T-Mobile now possesses a larger footprint for 4G service to more customers than any other wireless operator in the United States.