Sagebrush Cellular, an affiliate of Nemont Telephone Cooperative, will partner with Ericsson to modernise its network with 5G capabilities. Based in rural Montana, Sagebrush says it is the only source of voice and broadband services for many rural Montana residents. Ericsson is slated to provide tower services and upgrade all existing RAN and core equipment. The new equipment will include a Cloud Core and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and will be deployed across 115 sites in Montana and North Dakota. TeleGeography notes that Ericsson has been the chief beneficiary of the so-called ‘rip-and-replace’ scheme, under which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has ordered regional operators to strip Chinese-built Huawei/ZTE equipment out of their networks for increased security. Last month saw Pine Cellular, Appalachian Wireless and American Samoa-based BlueSky Communications all announce Ericsson-related 5G upgrade contracts.

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