How AT&T is managing the transition from 4G to 5G

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Leon Chang, Director, Technical Architecture, AT&T

With 5G all new service offerings will be on-demand and customisable - and that means service orchestration will have a major role to play in fulfilling complex tasks. As Leon Chang says, 5G will be heavily user-case driven and so orchestration will be key in pulling together network components that will be software-centric, highly-distributed and very flexible and AT&T's approach and emphasis to orchestration is not just that of a single carrier looking to its own interests, but also to orchestration of the entire ecosystem.

For quite some time now AT&T has been transforming itself from being a telco into much more of a software company and many of its internal processes, technologies and architectures are now heavily based on Open Source. The telco has a range of internal skills that are being applied to various aspects of 5G technology but AT&T is also proactively reaching-out to the Open Source community to tap into the entire global ecosystem.

AT&T has 260,000 employees and the carrier has an ongoing and constantly updated programme in place to both change embedded old-fashioned corporate culture, where it still exists, and to re-skill and train staff to compete in the new world of transformed virtual networks.

Leon Chang also explains that AT&T's current 4G infrastructure will co-exist alongside new 5G infrastructure many years into the future making it vitally important that standards-based interoperability between the two systems is facilitated as the operator gradually transforms from a 4G-centric network to become a 5G-enabled network and then, in due course, graduates to being a 5G-centric network. As that happens, AT&T is in the process of leveraging all technologies and standards to ensure smooth interoperability between all current and future infrastructures.

Filmed at DSP Leaders Forum 2019, Windsor, UK

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