Ericsson Grabs $14 Billion Open RAN Contract with AT&T from Nokia

Ericsson Grabs $14 Billion Open RAN Contract with AT&T from Nokia

AT&T signed a five-year collaboration with Ericsson which could see the operator spend up to $14 billion. The decision appears to be a strong blow to existing network vendor Nokia.

The operator aims for 70% of its network traffic to run on open platforms by late 2026, said Igal Elbaz, AT&T SVP of technology and network services and network CTO. He noted that, while Ericsson will be the foundation of its open RAN platform, AT&T plans to include other vendors, though Nokia does not appear to be among them despite currently providing some equipment to the operator.

In a joint statement, AT&T and Ericsson explained Fujitsu would have a role to play, with the operator expecting to have fully integrated open RAN sites from the pair beginning in 2024. Corning, Dell, and Intel were also cited in the announcement, with the trio due to begin contributing to AT&T’s goals in 2025. When asked about Nokia, Elbaz explained the collaboration is with Ericsson, meaning the vendor will be AT&T’s base platform. He noted AT&T would use dual-mode Ericsson radios compatible with C-Band and 3.45GHz spectrum.

In a statement, Nokia explained the decision by the operator to go with other vendors for an open RAN project would decrease its product line revenue from the US player over the next two to three years. In its year-to-date, AT&T accounted for between 5% and 8% of net sales for Nokia’s Mobile Networks unit. Despite the blow, Nokia emphasized the quality of its products and the wide-ranging relationship with AT&T across wireless, fixed cloud, and other network technologies. The company added it remains a key partner for the operator.