BEDMINSTER, N.J. (Dow Jones/AP) _ Verizon Wireless said Wednesday it awarded Nortel Networks Corp. a contract for network equipment valued at $1 billion.

Under the contract, Nortel is to expand and upgrade Verizon Wireless' voice and data network in San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, Atlanta, Cleveland and other markets.

The agreement also includes deployment of a third-generation network in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The build-out will give Verizon Wireless additional network capacity to provide digital voice and data services like Web browsing and streaming audio and video.

Nortel, which is based in Brampton, Ontario, has been providing wireless equipment to Verizon Wireless and its predecessor companies since 1996. Its shares closed Wednesday at $3.53, up 31 cents, or 9.6 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Britain's Vodafone Group PLC, is the largest wireless carrier in the United States.