Rural Cellular Corporation (RCC) has selected Ericsson to provide CDMA2000 1X and GSM/GPRS core and radio access infrastructure and services throughout its network in the United States. The five-year contract is Ericsson's first to include both CDMA and GSM/GPRS equipment.

Beginning immediately, Ericsson will install GSM/GPRS equipment in RCC's Northeast Region and CDMA2000 equipment in its Midwest region. By deploying both CDMA2000 and GSM/GPRS overlays, RCC will be able to offer advanced wireless services compatible with its roaming partners for both standards.

"Ericsson's strategy to use common core platforms for our different technology offerings makes sense for a number of reasons, but it is a rare distinction to provide CDMA2000 and GSM/GPRS to a single operator," said Angel Ruiz, head of Ericsson in North America. "Besides giving RCC a great deal of flexibility in meeting its customers' needs for innovative, quality services, Ericsson's common core platform protects RCC's investments in both CDMA2000 and GSM/GPRS as its network needs evolve."

"RCC has roaming agreements with both CDMA and GSM/GPRS operators, so it was important for us to select a vendor that can deliver equipment and applications for both technologies," said Rural Cellular Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Ekstrand. "Ericsson's common core platform across both standards will help us maximize our revenues and control our costs."