The nation’s largest wireless carriers—including Verizon, Sprint and AT&T–have grabbed most of the headlines involving 4G deployments, but that’s beginning to change. Two rural carriers—Michigan-based SpeedConnect and Kansas-based United Wireless–announced yesterday that they will be deploying rural 4G networks using SingleRAN equipment from Huawei.

SpeedConnect will be deploying the Chinese based network equipment supplier’s platform that includes LTE and WiMax core technology and supports speeds up to 10 Mb/s downstream and 2 Mb/s upstream. The carrier will offer fixed and mobile service.

Huawei is playing a substantial role in the SpeedConnect deployment. “We’re working very closely with Huawei for design and spectrum planning,” said SpeedConnect Vice President and General Manager Bruce Moore in an interview. He added, however, that SpeedConnect will manage local contractors and use its own people for “physical installation in terms of co-location on . . . towers.”

And although some of the larger carriers, including Sprint and Clearwire,  have outsourced ongoing mobile network management to another wireless equipment vendor—Ericsson—Moore said that is not part of the plan for SpeedConnect. “We are going to operate it [the network] locally,” he said.

According to an announcement issued by SpeedConnect and Huawei,  however, Huawei will be involved in “maintaining the new network, including installation, integration and commissioning new equipment.”

SpeedConnect plans to offer indoor and outdoor modems, USB devices and personal MiFi routers to work with the service. The MiFi router can be connected to SpeedConnect’s 4G network and provide Internet access for up to five devices. The company also plans to support telephony services based on IP.

United Wireless, meanwhile, plans to upgrade an existing 3G system and deploy LTE using the Huawei SingleRAN platform.



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