AT&T taps Ericsson for $14bn Open RAN deployment in US to revolutionize telecom industry

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AT&T has unveiled a major plan to spearhead the deployment of open radio access network (Open RAN) in the United States, in collaboration with Ericsson. This groundbreaking initiative represents a significant $14 billion investment over five years, poised to revolutionize the telecommunications sector and bolster the network infrastructure ecosystem.

70% Wireless Traffic on Open RAN by 2026

AT&T’s strategic move aims to have 70% of its wireless network traffic managed via open-capable platforms by late 2026. The company is set to integrate open RAN sites in partnership with Ericsson and Fujitsu from 2024, marking a shift from closed proprietary interfaces. This change will enable efficient scaling and mixed supplier hardware management at each cell site, starting 2025, with other suppliers like Corning Incorporated, Dell Technologies, and Intel joining the effort.

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Pioneering 5G and Open RAN Innovation

This multiyear commitment with Ericsson arrives at a crucial juncture in the 5G innovation cycle. AT&T’s adoption of an open, agile, and programmable wireless network will fast-track its capitalization on upcoming wireless technologies and spectrum. Ericsson’s open architecture is set to drive innovation and welcome new suppliers in the U.S. wireless equipment market.

AT&T Embarks on Major Open RAN Deployment with Ericsson: A Game-Changer in US Telecom

AT&T Embarks on Major Open RAN Deployment with Ericsson: A Game-Changer in US Telecom

Enhanced Competition and Network Efficiency

Increased competition in the U.S. RAN market is expected to spur innovation and efficiency. AT&T’s commitment includes deploying open hardware, transitioning to cloud RAN, and incorporating third-party radios, leading to equipment flexibility, reduced network costs, and operational improvements.

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Executive Insights

Chris Sambar, Executive Vice President at AT&T Network, highlighted the company’s leadership in open platform sourcing, aiming to boost innovation and connectivity in America. Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the partnership’s role in accelerating the U.S.’s digital transformation.

Ericsson’s Role and Manufacturing Capabilities

Ericsson will utilize its USA 5G Smart Factory in Texas for manufacturing 5G equipment for this contract. The factory, noted for its automation, efficiency, and renewable energy use, aligns with the Build America, Buy America Act, ensuring products are “Made in America.”

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AT&T’s Broader Infrastructure Goals

AT&T, a major infrastructure investor in the U.S., sees this initiative as integral to its strategy of delivering seamless connectivity. The company aims to lead in both wireless and fiber, enhancing its 5G network in North America and exploring opportunities to expand its fiber footprint in the coming years.

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