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VoiceStream in $500 deal with Nokia

VoiceStream (Nasdaq: VSTR) is hooking up with Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia (NYSE: NOK) in a $500 million deal for GSM handset and network expansion, the companies said Monday.

Shares in VoiceStream, closed at 128 13/16 Friday. The stock has been rising steadily. The company merged with Aerial Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: AERL) last fall. VoiceStream's recent takeover of Omnipoint (Nasdaq: OMPT) has made it one of the largest wireless carriers in the United States.

The Nokia arrangement calls for it to expand VoiceStream's GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) 1900 network, a move that will allow the operator to provide Wireless Application Protocol-based (WAP) mobile Internet services for subscribers. It will supply the entire range of GSM network equipment including Nokia's switching and radio networks that are enabled for packet data.

Nokia said it would also provide wireless handsets to VoiceStream, including the 7190 WAP phone, as part of the deal. Deliveries would start immediately, it said.

The deal was roughly two-thirds infrastructure and one-third mobile phones, Nokia said. No information on the size of the WAP phone shipment was immediately available.

The deal will increase the availability of GSM in the United States . GSM is the leading global standard, but competes with Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), which is widely used in the United States.

For Nokia, this is one of its largest deals ever; the company has also inked pacts with E-Plus (NYSE:BLS) in Germany and Omnitel in Italy. Nokia shares closed at 222 Friday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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