Ericsson and American telco AT&T have sealed an agreement to accelerate the expansion of the latter’s 5G network. The five-year deal will support deployment of the service provider’s C-band spectrum and the launch of 5G Standalone (SA).
Ericsson will help AT&T to bring its 5G network to more consumers, businesses and first responders across key industries – including 5G use cases in sports and venues, entertainment, travel and transportation, business transformation, and public safety.
AT&T aims to provide up to 75 million people with 5G over C-band by end-2022, and plans to reach 200 million by end-2023.
Under the agreement, Ericsson will supply its Ericsson Radio System portfolio, which includes the Advanced Antenna System, Advanced Radio Access Network (RAN) Coordination, and Carrier Aggregation technologies.
These deployments will support future network enhancements like Cloud RAN, which offers communications service providers increased flexibility, faster delivery of services, and greater scalability in networks. The solution supports a centralised RAN architecture enabled by Ericsson Fronthaul Gateway, a new technology that will enable a more efficient transport of the fronthaul interface by converting it into packet (eCPRI).
Scott Mair, President, AT&T Network Engineering and Operations, commenting that Ericsson’s technology offerings and 5G expertise would support the company’s nationwide 5G network, elaborated: “This latest agreement provides the pathway for us to deploy Ericsson’s next-generation centralised RAN architecture, enabled by Fronthaul Gateway, with the ability to support future network enhancements, like the evolution to Cloud RAN.”
Ericsson Cloud RAN is a cloud-native software solution managing compute functionality in the RAN. It complements the existing technologies in the RAN domain, and allows for the adoption of practices to become a foundation of openness, enabling innovation in 5G. This technology will also enable communications service providers to evolve towards cloud-native technologies and open network architectures to meet the demand for more deployment flexibility.
Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, concluded: “5G networks will enable unprecedented, sustainable and exponential growth, accelerating the digital transformation of industries and the public sector, for the benefit of consumers, enterprises and society at large.”