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Verizon Signs Two Equipment Deals For 3G Network

Verizon Wireless on Monday said it had signed separate equipment deals with Nortel Networks and Lucent Technologies as part of the carrier's plans for a nationwide high-speed network.

Verizon, the largest U.S. cellular carrier, said it expects to invest more than $525 million in Lucent's wireless-infrastructure technology in the first two years of the three-year deal. The contract supplements current agreements between the two companies.

In the Nortel deal, Verizon plans to spend $167 million through 2005 to upgrade base stations within its 3G, or third-generation, network in San Diego, one of two cities where Verizon has launched high-speed service of up to 2 Mbps.

The other city is Washington, D.C., where Lucent is the primary supplier. The Lucent deal is for equipment to expand the service nationwide, a project Verizon hopes to complete by the end of the year.

Verizon is ahead of competitors in rolling out 3G services, Sam Bhavnani, analyst for market-researcher ARS Inc., said. AT&T Wireless, which Cingular Wireless has said it plans to acquire this year, is expected to launch trials in four cities by the end of the year. Sprint, on the other hand, isn't expected to begin rolling out a broadband network until next year.

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