Wilkesboro-based Carolina West Wireless, the largest wireless carrier in western North Carolina, has announced deployment plans for its 4G LTE network.

LTE refers to Long Term Evolution, an improved wireless broadband technology that allows faster downloads of apps, email, videos, pictures and other data on smartphones, tablets and other mobile digital communication devices.

“The demand for smartphones and faster data speeds continues to climb,” said Slayton Stewart, Carolina West Wireless chief executive officer.

“Carolina West Wireless has been the premier wireless provider for 22 years in western North Carolina and this aggressive 4G strategy will allow us to maintain that position with advanced services at highly competitive pricing,” added Stewart.

The company’s 4G LTE buildout began this year and will continue over the next 36 months.

It includes additions and other changes in wireless communication equipment at existing Carolina West Wireless cell sites.

The buildout also includes increasing the company’s total number of cell sites by over 50 percent by adding cell towers and co-locations at existing towers. The company expects to end up with over 310 cell sites.

Most of the increase will occur in phase one of the buildout, which will be in the primary Carolina West Wireless coverage area. This includes Wilkes, Surry, Ashe, Watauga, Avery and Alleghany counties.

The second phase of the buildout will be in Alexander, Caldwell, Catawba and Burke counties.

Stewart said Carolina West Wireless chose Ericsson as its infrastructure partner for the build out. He said Ericsson is the market leader in LTE.

Ericsson networks serve about 50 percent of the world’s LTE smartphone traffic and the company has been selected by the top 10 LTE operators worldwide.

 “With the help of our owner companies, Skyline Telephone, Surry Telephone and Wilkes Communications,” Stewart continued, “the latest fiber optics technology will provide best-in-class connectivity for our high-speed wireless broadband 4G investment.”

Carolina West Wireless provides data and mobile services, the latest wireless equipment and wireless plans with national coverage.

It was formed in 1991 and is owned by a partnership consisting of Skyline Telephone, Surry Telephone and Wilkes Communications.

Carolina West Wireless employs over 130 people and contributes locally through initiatives like the Communications 4 Education program, which has resulted in the company donating over $500,000 over the past 10 years to schools in local area.

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