STOCKHOLM, (

TheStreet

) -- The race to 4G is on, and

Ericsson

(ERIC) - Get Report

continues to sweep the field with wireless upgrade contracts.

Regional telco

MetroPCS

(PCS)

said Tuesday that it picked Ericsson as its long-term evolution, or LTE, network equipment supplier. The latest Ericsson win is another setback for gear peers

Alcatel-Lucent

(ALU)

and

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

Siemens

(SI)

, which have fallen to the back of the pack.

"Ericsson's product timing and equipment pricing all went right for them," says Telecom Pragmatics analyst Sam Greenholtz.

Earlier this year, Ericsson was named the primary supplier to

Verizon's

(VZ) - Get Report

4G LTE upgrade plan, an early and large wireless overhaul that is expected to be online in some cities as early as the end of this year.

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

is already

expected to name Ericsson

as its key supplier for its planned LTE project,

Telco spending cuts amid the financial crisis have squeezed the entire tech equipment sector particularly vendors including

Juniper

(JNPR) - Get Report

,

Ciena

(CIEN) - Get Report

and even

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

.

While Ericsson, the No.1 wireless networking supplier, was among the players that felt the pinch, unlike Alcatel Lucent, its stability was never in question. Greenholtz says that helped Ericsson's chances as phone companies looked out years ahead for a reliable supply partner.

The stocks tell a similar story. Ericsson shares have now recovered to pre-Lehman collapse levels, while Alcatel Lucent is still down about 18% in the past year.

--

Written by Scott Moritz in New York

.