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AT&T Selects Ericsson to Build C-band Segment, Expand 5G Network

To accelerate 5G wireless communications network construction, U.S. mobile network operator AT&T and Swedish manufacturer Ericsson reached a five-year agreement under which Ericsson would support support deployment C-band spectrum the service provider acquired and the launch of 5G Standalone (SA) service, Ericsson said. SA allows independent operation of a 5G service without any interaction with an existing 4G core, according to Seshadri Sathyanarayan of Affirmed Network.

“AT&T is tapping into Ericsson’s leading network expertise as the company works toward its 5G network goals,” a statement from Ericsson reads. “Ericsson will help AT&T to bring its 5G network to more consumers, businesses and first responders across key industries, including 5G use cases in sports and venues, entertainment, travel and transportation, business transformation and public safety.”

In part, the Ericsson Radio System portfolio makes the AT&T’s network evolution possible. The radio system includes an advanced antenna system, advanced radio access network (RAN) coordination and carrier aggregation technologies, according to Ericsson.

“These deployments will support future network enhancements like Cloud RAN, which offers communications services providers increased flexibility, faster delivery of services and greater scalability in networks,” the statement reads. “The solution supports a centralized RAN architecture enabled by Ericsson Fronthaul Gateway, a new technology that will enable a more efficient transport of the fronthaul interface by converting it to packet (eCPRI).”

Cloud RAN is a cloud-native software solution handling compute functionality in the RAN, Ericssson said. The company said it complements existing technologies in the RAN domain and allows for the adoption of leading practices to become a foundation for openness, enabling innovation in 5G.

“Ericsson Cloud RAN will enable communications service providers to seamlessly evolve towards cloud-native technologies and open network architectures to meet the demand for more deployment flexibility,” the statement reads.

Scott Mair (left) and Niklas Heuveldop.

The president of AT&T Network Engineering and Operations, Scott Mair, said that as AT&T expands its 5G network, Ericsson’s technology offerings and 5G expertise would assist the operator with its network evolution.

Niklas Heuveldop, president and head of Ericsson North America, said that 5G networks would enable unprecedented, sustainable and exponential growth, accelerating the digital transformation of industries and the public sector, for the benefit of consumers, enterprises and society at large.

Ericsson provided background information to explain that 5G carrier aggregation and advanced RAN coordination form a blended solution that optimizes coverage, capacity and latency of mid-band and high-band deployments. It enables communications service providers to maximize their spectrum assets when deploying 5G, Ericsson said.

The manufacturer said that the Ericsson Advanced Antenna System (AAS) is important to C-band deployment because it enables extended coverage while providing throughput and capacity that can enable enhanced mobile broadband.

Ericsson Fronthaul Gateway is a new technology that will enable a more efficient transport of the fronthaul interface by converting it to packet-enhanced Common Public Radio Interface (eCPRI), the company said.