AT&T hires Ericsson to deploy 5G in C-band

Ericsson has entered into a five-year agreement to help AT&T deploy 5G using its recently acquired C-band spectrum and launch standalone 5G.

Swedish publisher joins rival Nokia on AT & T’s list of top suppliers for its C-band network, as the Finnish publisher announces its participation in the project back in march. The deals mark an extension of an existing relationship with AT&T for both companies, but in fact, putting pen to paper on new mid-range deals has undoubtedly been good news.

Naturally, the companies did not disclose the value of the transactions, but AT&T having committed to spend between $ 6 billion and $ 8 billion over the three-year C-band rollout, those are probably pretty lucrative contracts. That said, for the US telephone company, this network construction budget is on top of the $ 27.4 billion it paid to acquire C-band spectrum in the first place. While this part of the equation isn’t the vendor problem as such, it has likely helped refine AT & T’s negotiating skills with their vendors.

AT&T will use Ericsson’s radio systems product portfolio, including its advanced antenna system, which it says is important for C-band deployment as it facilitates wider coverage and capacity, Advanced technologies RAN Coordination and Carrier Aggregation. The phone company is also gearing up for the introduction of cloud-based RAN technology.

“As we continue to expand our 5G network nationwide, Ericsson’s 5G technology offerings and expertise will help us evolve our network,” said Scott Mair, president, AT&T Network Engineering and Operations. “This latest agreement allows us to deploy Ericsson’s next-generation centralized RAN architecture, powered by Fronthaul Gateway, with the ability to support future network enhancements, such as the move to Cloud RAN.

The first portion of AT & T’s C-band spectrum will be released by the end of this year, but the telecommunications company expects most of its spending to come in the 2022-2024 period, at as more C-band frequencies become available.

But while network engineers at the US telecommunications company work to build this C-band infrastructure, elsewhere in the company the focus is on acquiring even more mid-band spectrum.

AT&T is expected to be one of the big spenders – although we wouldn’t expect to see a repeat of the massive sums generated by the C-Band sale – in the ongoing 3.45GHz auction that kicked off the week. last. AT&T has less midband spectrum at its disposal than Verizon and T-Mobile US, which are unlikely to rack up big 110 auction bills.

The cumulative auction total reached $ 1.57 billion after Friday’s 11th round, according to the FCC, which is still well below its reserve price of $ 14.77 billion across all spectrum blocks. .

According to Sasha Javid, COO at BitPath, the auction model in the auction suggests that a big player abandoned the auction in the 10th round. It seems unlikely that it would have been AT&T, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for answers on this. From the FCC’s perspective, it could have been a disaster if other major bidders had followed suit, but so far there is no indication that this has been the case.

The auction, with all the speculation that goes with it, resumes on Tuesday.

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