Ericsson and AT&T strategic agreement to pioneer networks of the future

Via Ericsson

Dec 5, 2023

Ericsson and AT&T are collaborating in an industry-defining roughly USD 14 billion five-year network transformation and digitalization strategic agreement to pioneer the path to programmable and intelligent networks of the future. The deal is the largest financially in Ericsson’s history.

Ericsson will deploy a wide range of Ericsson 5G Open Radio Access Networks products and solutions to support AT&T’s nationwide Open RAN ambitions in the U.S.

The company will build a 5G network platform for AT&T, utilizing cloud-native technologies built on O-RAN standardized interfaces - with industry scale, cost efficiency, sustainability and high performance top of mind. Through time AT&T and Ericsson will transform this to a cloud-native open network.

Ericsson will utilize its recently expanded 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas, for production of related infrastructure for the deal. The factory’s products are labelled Made in USA as Ericsson’s facility complies with the Build America, Buy America infrastructure laws Act.

In line with its R&D-investment-led company strategy, Ericsson has developed a broad range of sustainability-centered technology offerings to support its belief that future networks must be increasingly resilient, open, sustainable and intelligent.

The intelligent and programmable capabilities will enable innovation such as rApps, automation and network APIs to be built and exposed and in turn realize the potential that 5G was designed for – creating new monetization opportunities in the process.

Ericsson’s open architecture will act as a springboard for developers to innovate and drive use and business cases.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “High-performance and differentiated networks will be the foundation for the next step in digitalization. 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. Through this shift, and with open interfaces and open APIs, the industry will see new performance-based business models, creating new ways for operators to optimise and monetize the network. We are truly proud to be collaborating with AT&T in the industrialization of Open RAN and help accelerate digital transformation in the U.S.”

Chris Sambar, Executive Vice President, AT&T Network, says: “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 fiber. We are pleased that Ericsson shares our support for Open RAN and the possibilities this creates for American digital infrastructure.”

TECHNOLOGY DETAILS

The strategic agreement centers on creating an open programmable network.

This will enable AT&T to accelerate the commercial introduction of Open RAN equipment and open network management solutions from multiple vendors, utilizing purpose-built hardware and virtualized commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware.

Ericsson solutions include:

  • The latest generation Ericsson Massive MIMO and remote radios that are hardware-ready for the next generation of open fronthaul technologies. These radios also lead to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) through their reduced weight, size and power consumption.
  • Next generation, Ericsson RAN Compute recently launched.
  • Ericsson Cloud RAN solutions that will introduce the shift to Open RAN architecture with open interfaces and disaggregation to enable new partnerships in new areas of the Radio Access Networks. It will also allow us to build RAN SW in a modular way truly building a horizontal connectivity platform.
  • Ericsson Intelligent Automation Platform (EIAP) will provide comprehensive multi-vendor, multi technology service management and automation for the AT&T network. AT&T and Ericsson will jointly promote and utilize the open EIAP rApp Ecosystem with its marketplace and Software Development Toolkit (SDK) to accelerate rApp development and innovation for AT&T and third party software providers globally. Ericsson will utilize its leading position in Open RAN standardization to provide comprehensive support within the AT&T network for O-RAN Alliance SMO interfaces including: O1, O2 and A1 interfaces (in the non-Real-time RIC) and encapsulates the R1 interface between the non-Real-Time RIC and the rApps.

Ericsson solutions comply with the company’s commitment to reduce both supply chain emissions and power consumption by 50 percent by 2030.

MORE ABOUT ERICSSON’S 5G SMART FACTORY

Opened in 2020, Ericsson’s USA 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas, is highly automated, efficient, and fully powered by renewable electricity.

The Smart Factory recently completed an expansion, bringing its production floor to more than 107,000 sq ft. It produces next generation 5G and Advanced Antenna System radios for Ericsson’s U.S. customers.

Ericsson recently became the first mobile infrastructure provider to achieve compliance with the infrastructure law’s Build America, Buy America provisions.

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