AT&T teams with Ericsson for private wireless networks on CBRS spectrum

AT&T is teaming with Ericsson to set up private wireless networks for enterprises. The service will initially use LTE technology, but AT&T plans to offer 5G private wireless soon.

The new offering, called AT&T Private Cellular Networks, can be enabled with CBRS shared spectrum.

AT&T did not participate in the recent CBRS auction, so it does not own any priority access licenses (PALs). But AT&T, or enterprises that don’t own PALs, can still access the CBRS spectrum.

RELATED: Verizon, Dish & cable top list of CBRS auction winners

They can use the general authorized access (GAA) tier of the CBRS band for free. Or they can potentially access the other tiers of CBRS spectrum through the unique CBRS spectrum sharing model that aims to make sure none of the spectrum sits fallow with nobody using it.

All of the CBRS spectrum is managed by the spectrum access system (SAS) administrators who grant use of the spectrum and make sure users aren’t causing interference with others.

Ericsson’s role

Ericsson has been talking about private wireless networks for years because the networks have been popular in Europe. But now, with the availability of CBRS spectrum, private wireless is primed to take off in the United States.

AT&T, along with Ericsson, will target various industry verticals to build purpose-built private cellular networks for specific use cases.

The Swedish vendor will provide a localized cellular core, including hardware and software, along with private SIMs and RAN hardware and software.

In an email, an Ericsson spokesperson said that its Industry Connect solution that it's providing to AT&T "is focused on simplifying the enterprise experience through a tightly-packaged and integrated solution. The solution includes a comprehensive network management portal, a network controller package for the core, and has options for both radio dot and micro radios today, with the radio portfolio growing over time."

AT&T Business VP of Mobility Robert Boyanovsky will discuss all this in more detail at the free FierceWireless CBRS panel on Monday, October 19.

AT&T will also offer its on-premises edge technology — AT&T Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) — as part of its private wireless portfolio. AT&T considers both AT&T MEC and AT&T Private Cellular Networks as private network solutions.

It says its private networks reduce latency and increase security and control by processing local data on a business site’s premises, instead of routing it over public networks.