AT&T has unveiled plans to transition 70 percent of its wireless network traffic to open-capable platforms by late 2026.
The telecoms giant aims to fully integrate Open RAN sites in collaboration with industry leaders Ericsson and Fujitsu, starting as early as 2024. This departure from closed proprietary interfaces signifies a pivotal shift towards rapid scaling and effective management of diverse hardware suppliers at each cell site.
AT&T’s timeline includes scaling the Open RAN environment across its wireless network from 2025 onwards—partnering with key suppliers such as Corning Incorporated, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Intel.
The multiyear joint commitment with Ericsson aligns with the crucial phase of 5G innovation, positioning AT&T to leverage the benefits of an open, agile, and programmable wireless network.
Ericsson’s open architecture is anticipated to catalyse innovation by providing a foundation for developers to drive progress through open and programmable networks, fostering modernisation and competition within the US wireless equipment market.
AT&T anticipates that increased competition in the US RAN market will stimulate innovation and efficiencies. The move towards an open architecture not only enables lower-power, sustainable networks but also sets the stage for heightened performance and enhanced user experiences.
Committing to Open RAN – coupled with the deployment of open hardware, migration to cloud RAN, and the introduction of third-party radios – allows for greater flexibility in equipment selection, reduced network costs, and improved operational efficiencies.
Chris Sambar, Executive Vice President of AT&T Network, 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.”
Ericsson will leverage its USA 5G Smart Factory in Texas for the manufacture of 5G equipment under this contract, aligning with the Build America, Buy America provisions.
Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, commented:
“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 partner, 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 monetise the network. We are truly proud to be partnering with AT&T in the industrialisation of Open RAN and help accelerate digital transformation in the US.”
AT&T, as one of the largest infrastructure investors in the US, sees the commitment to Open RAN as integral to its strategy of providing seamless connectivity—aiming to become the largest, fastest-growing converged fibre company with a modern, competitive wireless network.
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