AT&T has awarded a five-year contract to Ericsson, involving an investment of nearly $14bn to expedite the commercial scale deployment of an open radio access network (Open RAN) in the US.
Through the collaboration with Ericsson, AT&T seeks to advance the efforts of the telecommunications industry and contribute to developing a stronger ecosystem of network infrastructure providers and suppliers.
Under the network transformation and digitalisation strategic agreement signed by the parties, Ericsson will deploy a broad variety of its 5G open RAN products and solutions to support AT&T’s Open RAN goals in the US.
Ericsson will also develop a 5G network platform for AT&T by leveraging cloud-native technologies built on O-RAN standardised interfaces.
To produce the related infrastructure for the contract, Ericsson will use its recently expanded 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas.
Ericsson’s open architecture is anticipated to function as a foundation and catalyst for developers propelling innovation in open and programmable networks, thereby introducing new suppliers into the industry.
Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm said: “High-performance and differentiated networks will be the foundation for the next step in digitalisation.
“I am excited about this future and happy to see our long-term customer, AT&T, choosing Ericsson for this strategic industry shift – moving to open, cloud-based and programmable networks.”
AT&T stated that by late 2026, the Open RAN strategy will facilitate the flow of 70% of its wireless network traffic across platforms with open capabilities.
The company also intends to operate fully integrated Open RAN sites operating in collaboration with Ericsson and Fujitsu, starting from next year.
Besides, AT&T plans to scale the open RAN environment across its wireless network, from 2025 onwards. This will be executed in association with multiple suppliers including Corning, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Intel.
AT&T network executive vice president Chris Sambar said: “AT&T is taking the lead in open platform sourcing in our wireless network.
“With this collaboration, we will open up radio access networks, drive innovation, spur competition and connect more Americans with 5G and fibre. We are pleased that Ericsson shares our support for Open RAN and the possibilities this creates for American digital infrastructure.”