Sprint signs network upgrade deal with Lucent

The Sprint PCS Group division has signed a $1bn multiyear contract with Lucent Technologies for a network equipment upgrade that...

The Sprint PCS Group division has signed a $1bn multiyear contract with Lucent Technologies for a network equipment upgrade that will provide peak mobile data rates of 2.4Mbit/sec while, at the same time, supporting voice service. The equipment will also allow Sprint to broaden its network coverage and increase reliability.

Lucent will provide Sprint PCS with its Flexent CDMA Modular Cell 4.0 base stations, switching equipment and related software, which will, eventually, support the CDMA 1x EV-DV (Code Division Multiple Access 1x Evolution-Data Voice) standard approved last year.

Ichiro Kawasaki, a spokesman for Lucent, said the 1x EV-DV standard will provide Sprint with the flexibility to handle either voice or high-speed data calls over the same wireless channel. 

He added that the 1x EV-DO (Evolution-Data Only) standard, which Verizon Wireless intends to launch in the California and Washington markets this autumn, will support only data, and requires carriers to dedicate a separate channel for the service.

While both the EV-DV and EV-DO standards have the same peak throughput of 2.4Mbit/sec., EV-DV has a slightly better average data rate of between 400Kbit/sec and 1M bit/sec. The EV-DO service has an average throughput of between 400Kbit/sec. and 800Kbit/sec. 

Kathy Walker, senior vice president of network services at Sprint PCS Group, said that the contract with Lucent "will help us continue to offer our customers the most advanced and comprehensive wireless services available, while also improving the reliability, quality and performance of the Sprint network". 

Kawasaki said that it would take Lucent two to three years to develop the EV-DV hardware and software. But, he added, when the equipment is ready, all Sprint will need to do is "swap out" a channel card in its base station to implement the service. 

The technology will also help boost mobile data services on the Sprint PCS network.

Bob Brewin writes for Computerworld

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