Regional Wireless Carrier Selects Ericsson for “Rip and Replace”

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Viaero Wireless, a regional telecommunications company that serves parts of the Midwest and western U.S., has selected Ericsson for replacement and upgrade of its existing LTE equipment to end-to-end 5G-ready products and solutions. This project is one of the first projects to be announced under the Secure and Trusted Communications Network Act of 2019 (STCNA19).

STCNA19 calls for the removal of equipment on the FCC’s Covered List, as Inside Towers reported. The Covered List includes telecommunications equipment manufacturers whose products and systems are deemed a national security risk. Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE are on the Covered List despite these companies being successful in selling their products and services to the regional carriers. 

Under STCNA19, the FCC will administer a $1.9 billion budget to reimburse carriers for the cost of removing the designated equipment. The funding is intended to cover like-for-like replacements of existing wireless equipment, typically 4G LTE, and not substitutes such as fiber or 5G upgrades. Carriers taking advantage of the program have one year to complete the replacement activity. 

With this modernization, Viaero says it will be able to offer upgraded mobility and broadband services that the company expects will result in an improved customer experience for its subscribers. “We needed a partner that could step up and provide a turn-key solution,” said Frank DiRico, CEO and Founder of Viaero. “The key to our success is providing the best possible service to our customers. In addition to Ericsson’s industry-leading products and solutions, we felt that Ericsson had the best team to make this project successful when looking at different technology options.”

Headquartered in Fort Morgan, CO, Viaero is one of the largest regional carriers in the country, covering parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Kansas. Under the agreement, Ericsson will replace existing core, radio access network (RAN), microwave and router equipment across more than 900 LTE sites in Viaero’s network.

Ericsson will supply its cloud-native core along with its RAN portfolio, microwave, and transport solutions. This portfolio of products and solutions will allow Viaero to expand its connectivity footprint, reach more customers, and continue delivering high-speed internet to rural America.

“With their large footprint across the heart of the U.S., Viaero recognized the need for reliable 5G-ready networks to bring connectivity and digitization to businesses and consumers,” said Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America. “We’re proud they’ve chosen Ericsson for this important work that will help bridge the digital divide and bring fast, reliable broadband service for all.”

By John Celentano, Inside Towers Business Editor

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