Ericsson has announced a multi-year partnership with Appalachian Wireless to bring 5G technologies to underserved communities in Appalachia. The multi-year Radio Access Network (RAN) modernisation project, set to take place over the next three years, will expand 5G capacity and coverage in the region and replace ageing RAN equipment with Ericsson Radio System solutions. Headquartered in Ivel KY, Appalachian Wireless operates an advanced 4G cellular telephone and data network.
The official release noted that the partnership will improve connectivity and represents a step forward in technological advancement for the mountainous region, where Appalachian Wireless is the sole network provider for many households and businesses.
Ericsson said the project will offer transformative 5G services to hundreds of communities in eastern Kentucky and bridge the rural digital divide. Ericsson will provide its Ericsson Radio System and energy efficiency software as part of the project. The majority of modernisation efforts will take place in 2023 and 2024. Ericsson will upgrade cell sites with new radios and RAN equipment, with the majority of the work completed in 2024.
First Regional Carrier to Implement 5G SA
Appalachian Wireless aims to be the first regional carrier to implement 5G standalone (SA) to bridge the digital divide in rural America. The project is expected to offer transformative 5G services to hundreds of communities in eastern Kentucky.
"For over three decades, we've been committed to bringing connectivity to customers in eastern Kentucky," said Appalachian Wireless. "No other carrier cares for Appalachia as we do, and we look forward to joining forces with Ericsson to meet the region's growing needs as we prepare to deploy 5G."
Network Modernisation Project
According to the joint statement, Appalachian Wireless selected Ericsson to modernise its network with 5G capabilities in September 2022. Under the agreement, Ericsson undertook to modernise Appalachian Wireless’ network with its cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core solution to support 5G SA rollout.
Ericsson said it has been connecting the US for nearly 120 years, and its equipment is live across all 50 states. The company has served hundreds of rural operators for over ten years.
This partnership is a significant step forward in providing connectivity and bring 5G to underserved communities in Appalachia.