AT&T names Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia as 5G equipment suppliers

AT&T announced Monday morning that Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia would supply its 5G network equipment. The company also disclosed further details about its 5G build-out, including the cities where it would roll out the technology and its spectrum strategy.

As for spectrum specifically, AT&T said that it will use millimeter wave spectrum “in pockets of dense areas,” but that “in other parts of urban areas and in suburban and rural areas, we plan to deploy 5G on our mid and low-band spectrum holdings.”

The carrier did not provide further details about its spectrum plans or vendor selections, including the financial details or how much equipment it would purchase from each of the three suppliers.

Nonetheless, the announcement further signals AT&T’s push to deploy mobile 5G network technology this year, and the vendors that will aid that build-out. Indeed, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung have emerged as the leading 5G equipment vendors for all of the nation’s top wireless network operators.

Specifically, Verizon has named Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung as its suppliers, while Sprint has said its build-out will be evenly split among Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. T-Mobile, for its part, named Nokia and Ericsson as its vendors and specifically announced that its agreement with Nokia totaled $3.5 billion.

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The news also indicates that Samsung continues to make inroads into the U.S. network equipment market. According to Dell'Oro, the company is the third-largest supplier of Radio Access Network gear in the United States, behind Ericsson and Nokia.

AT&T’s 5G vendor announcement caps a busy day for the operator. The company also announced a major CBRS 3.5 GHz build-out plan leveraging equipment from CommScope and Samsung. 

As for AT&T's 5G launch markets, the company said it plans to introduce mobile 5G in parts of five additional cities—Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans and San Antonio—this year. These new cities are in addition to seven cities where it already announced plans to launch mobile 5G this year: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Raleigh and Waco.

AT&T added that early next year, it would launch mobile 5G in parts of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose.

“From these 19 cities, we’ll continue to expand,” the carrier said.

AT&T added that it also made a successful “wireless 5G data transfer over millimeter wave using standards-based, production equipment with a mobile form factor device.” The company said it used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem and Ericsson’s 5G-NR capable radios connected to AT&T’s virtual 3X standards compliant core.

That’s the same setup that Verizon recently announced it used to conduct a successful mobile 5G call.