AT&T is set to spearhead the deployment of a commercial-scale open radio access network (Open RAN) in the United States, marking a significant industry move.
In collaboration with Ericsson, the telecommunications giant plans to invest approximately $14 billion over the next five years. This initiative aims to foster a more robust ecosystem of network infrastructure providers and suppliers, prioritizing open, agile, and programmable wireless networks, the company said
By late 2026, AT&T envisions 70% of its wireless network traffic flowing through open-capable platforms, with fully integrated open RAN sites operational in collaboration with Ericsson and Fujitsu starting in 2024. This shift away from closed proprietary interfaces enables efficient scaling and management of mixed supplier hardware at each cell site. The company intends to scale this Open RAN environment across its wireless network in coordination with multiple suppliers, including Corning Incorporated, Dell Technologies, Fujitsu, and Intel, beginning in 2025.
AT&T’s and Ericsson’s multiyear commitment positions AT&T to capitalize swiftly on the next generation of wireless technology and spectrum availability. The adoption of innovative technologies promises lower-power, sustainable networks with enhanced performance, contributing to improved user experiences. The emphasis on open management in building the network is anticipated to lead to increased competition in the U.S. RAN market, fostering innovation and greater efficiencies.
Ericsson’s USA 5G Smart Factory in Lewisville, Texas, will act as the hub for manufacturing 5G equipment in this collaboration. Opened in 2020, this highly efficient facility, fully powered by renewable electricity, recently expanded to over 107,000 square feet.
AT&T’s commitment to Open RAN aligns with its broader strategy to be a leading converged fiber company with a competitive wireless network, according to officials. The company sees economically attractive opportunities for expansion, considering the interdependence between fiber and wireless.