AT&T has picked up telecom equipment vendors Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent as equipment suppliers for the deployment of LTE mobile broadband network.
The US wireless operator said that the selection of the two suppliers paves the way for its planned field trials of LTE technology later this year, with commercial deployment scheduled to begin in 2011.
AT&T said that the continued work with the two suppliers will enable it to incorporate high-performance LTE equipment, and also to take advantage of compatibility between the suppliers’ existing 3G equipment and forthcoming LTE upgrades.
As part of the supplier agreements, 3G equipment offered to AT&T by the suppliers starting this year will be convertible to LTE, enabling it to upgrade existing equipment and software.
AT&T has designated Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson as the domain suppliers for its Radio Access Network Domain. The multi-year agreement covers radio access network equipment needed to offer LTE service. The equipment will be deployed at cell sites across AT&T’s network to enable LTE speeds and functionality.
Earlier this year, AT&T has upgraded 3G cell sites to HSPA 7.2 technology, and plans to combine this upgrade with enhanced fiber-optic backhaul connectivity over the course of 2010 and 2011, which will support 3G speeds as well as future LTE service.
John Stankey, president and CEO of AT&T Operations, said: “The selection of Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson is an important step forward in our ongoing mobile broadband strategy, which is focused on delivering the best possible combination of speed, performance and available devices for customers at every level of technology deployment.
“As some competitors move away from their existing investment in niche 3G platforms, we are able to efficiently and quickly move toward LTE while enhancing our existing 3G performance and providing access to a strong ecosystem of customer devices.”