Ericsson wins AT&T LTE deal
Swedish kit vendor Ericsson has announced it is to be a key supplier of LTE radio access infrastructure to US carrier AT&T, with commercial deployments scheduled to take place in 2011.
Alcatel Lucent has also been named as a supplier. The two vendors were co-winners when Verizon announced its LTE contracts this time last year.
Ericsson said on Wednesday that it had extended its existing relationship with AT&T, after the carrier had tested LTE equipment from multiple suppliers. The Swedish vendor also supplies HSPA kit to AT&T.
AT&T now plans field trials of LTE technology later this year, with Ericsson delivering equipment as well as a full suite of services to design, deploy and optimize the LTE network. Commercial deployment is scheduled to begin in 2011, although AT&T has not committed itself to any more specific dates.
According to Ulf Ewaldsson, VP and head of Product Area Radio for Ericsson, AT&T will be concentrating on beefing up its existing network between now and the beginning of its LTE rollout. “We expect AT&T to have nationwide fallback onto HSPA by the time we launch LTE in 2011,” Ewaldsson told telecoms.com.
With contracts now signed with the two leading carriers in the US, Ericsson’s position in the North American market – which will be among the earliest territories to embrace LTE technology – is looking strong. “This deal is extremely important for us, and the timing just ahead of Mobile World Congress is fantastic,” Ewaldsson said. “It is important to remember the size of these operators. AT&T is an 85 million-subscriber operator. This strengthens our position in LTE because the largest operators in the world ar ethe best suited to drive the ecosystem for terminals and so on.”
On Wednesday we also heard that Alcatel-Lucent won a slice of AT&T’s LTE contract too. The vendor will supply Radio Access network (RAN) equipment alongside Ericsson when commercial deployment begins in 2011.
Alcatel-Lucent said that its 3G equipment delivered to AT&T starting this year can be upgraded to LTE without the need to install new equipment.
Field testing will include stationary and drive tests with multiple users in a variety of field conditions, including handovers and in-building testing on a dual band network using AWS and 700MHz spectrum, as well as HSPA bandwidth.