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Ericsson to Bring forth Private Wireless Networking Service with AT&T

February 10, 2020 / Oshine Tripura

• Ericsson plans to showcase its network connectivity capabilities with their Industry Connect product to AT&T Executive Management
• Industry Connect to enable communication service providers to offer dedicated cellular networks at factories and warehouses starting with 4G/LTE, with a clear path to 5G
• AT&T has been interested in the private wireless networking space, particularly for 5G

In a recent filing with the FCC which is the US government agency in charge of managing the nation's spectrum resources and operations, Ericsson has been working to sell its new "Industry Connect" product to AT&T. One of the company representatives explained that Ericsson's "Industry Connect" is one of the demos being showed to customers right now. The spokesperson further added that customers “probably will hear a lot about it this year…” when asked about more details.


Being one of AT&T’s three main 5G equipment suppliers along with Nokia and Samsung, Ericsson plans to showcase its network connectivity capabilities with their Industry Connect product to AT&T Executive Management at the Ericsson/ATT Tech Summit meeting to be held at the downtown Dallas Adolphus Hotel on February 11, 2020.


In its filing, Ericsson requested permission to conduct wireless operations in the 3300-3800MHz spectrum band and stated that the operation will be conducted indoor only. While announcing the “Industry Connect” a year ago, the company stated that  it “enables communication service providers to offer dedicated cellular networks at factories and warehouses starting with 4G/LTE, with a clear path to 5G”


Ericsson and AT&T’s partnership



This partnership between the two companies dates back a couple years. Since 2016, AT&T has been working with Ericsson to deploy CAT-M and NB-IoT 3GPP standards-based technologies. Ericsson was responsible for deploying these advanced network technologies for AT&T to support the millions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and services coming to market:

- CAT-M technology supports next generation devices like wearables and utility meters.
- Narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) supports next generation devices like smoke detectors, pollution monitors and industrial/agricultural sensors.
- Power-saving mode and Extended DRX extend battery life of enabled IoT devices, letting them communicate in the field for up to 10 years, or more.

AT&T’s mission for 5G

AT&T has been collaborating with Ericsson and others in the industry to test 5G and millimeter wave technologies in their labs. Millimeter wave technology presents new abilities and challenges for mobile networks. We expect it to be an essential component of our 5G plans.


The 5G demo will show the possibilities of millimeter wave radio access technology for the networks of the future.


“We’ve been working hard on this here at our lab in Austin. Now, we’re revealing our 5G progress to the public,” said Dave Wolter, assistant vice president, Radio Technology and RAN Architecture, AT&T. “Our 5G lab trials with Ericsson have shown great results. We reached speeds up to 14 gigabits per second in early tests. As we progress, we hope to continue to accelerate industry standards. ”


The demo system uses large system bandwidth, analog beam forming with ultra-fast beam selection, feedback-based hybrid precoding, 4x4 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) and dynamic beam tracking, beam acquisition and more.


Learn more:  AT&T Continues to Work with Industry Leaders to Create Future 5G Experiences Today

On September 10, 2018 AT&T announced that Ericsson is one of its technology suppliers for the operator’s nationwide 5G network. The announcement includes plans to introduce mobile 5G in five additional cities – Houston, Jacksonville, Louisville, New Orleans, and San Antonio – this year. These new cities are in addition to seven cities previously announced – Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Raleigh, and Waco.

Crucial to AT&T’s rapid deployment plans is the use of key 5G technologies using millimeter wave spectrum to serve the connectivity needs of those in dense urban environments. AT&T also announced a successful 5G data transfer in Waco, Texas over millimeter wave using standards-based, production equipment with a mobile form factor device, utilizing a Qualcomm Technologies’ smartphone form factor test device and Ericsson 5G-NR capable radios.


IoT solutions let businesses gather near real-time information on assets around the world. Working with Ericsson and our existing LTE systems, AT&T will continue to enable a wide variety of next generation IoT devices on our LTE network.

-Chris Penrose, senior vice president, Internet of Things, AT&T Mobility

Ericsson’s significant milestones with AT&T


Niklas Heuveldop, the executive in charge of Ericsson's 11,500 North American employees, has slowly been working to pivot the company from a pure equipment and technology vendor to an "enabler" of wireless network operators -- including lobbying US legislators for policies that are more wireless-friendly.


In addition to his focus on 5G boxes and software, Heuveldop is spending time on the broader political and logistical obstacles that Ericsson's 5G customers -- which in the US range from Sprint to AT&T to T-Mobile to Verizon to U.S. Cellular -- are facing.

Heuveldop and Ericsson's Global CEO Börje Ekholm have so far made two trips to Washington, DC, to meet with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and other telecom regulators and policy makers.

Heuveldop said he's pushing two topics in his DC visits: spectrum and permitting. On spectrum, he has been urging regulators to free up more spectrum for 5G, including midband spectrum like the C-Band. Of course, Heuveldop isn't alone in calling on the US government to release more spectrum for 5G -- players across the US telecom industry, from AT&T to Qualcomm to Nokia, have been similarly noisy on the topic. However, it's noteworthy that Ericsson's top brass have been making the Beltway rounds.


Learn more:  AT&T and Ericsson to deliver technologies that boost the Internet of Things

As for permitting, that's also a hot topic among wireless operators from Sprint to Verizon. Despite new FCC guidelines designed to speed up small cell deployments, and more than two dozen state legislatures passing legislation on the topic, some companies have warned that it can still take up to three years to get the necessary permits to install a new cell tower or small cell.


Most of our attention goes to keeping our customers at the forefront of the global 5G race because we think that's important for their success. And everybody's building [5G networks] and they're building as fast as they can. So really our focus now shifts to, how can we make sure that we remove obstacles for them so that they can go faster?

- Heuveldop, president and Head of Ericsson North America

Although the nature of the "Industry Connect" relationship between Ericsson and AT&T are somewhat unclear for now, it would come as no surprise that Ericsson is working to sell additional equipment and services to AT&T.

Ericsson said the Industry Connect "enables communication service providers to offer dedicated cellular networks at factories and warehouses starting with 4G/LTE, with a clear path to 5G," adding that it "strengthens Ericsson's private networks and IoT portfolios by making 4G and 5G technologies accessible to new industrial markets."


Meanwhile, AT&T's interest in the private wireless networking space, particularly for 5G, is well documented. The operator has built 5G private wireless networks for factories including Samsung's chip-making facility in Austin, Texas, and Whirlpool's manufacturing plant in Ohio.


As it turns out, AT&T and Ericsson aren't alone in chasing the opportunity to build private wireless networks -- be it 3G, 4G or 5G -- for factories and other enterprise operations. To make this competition even tougher a wide range of enterprises and other businesses are also inching toward private wireless networks in the US including shipping giant UPS, Las Vegas hotel company MGM Resorts International and automaker Ford, among others.


About AT &T

AT&T Inc. T&T is a US-based telecoms company, and the second largest provider of mobile services and the largest provider of fixed telephone services in the US. AT&T operates as a carrier of both fixed and mobile networks in the US but also offers telecoms services elsewhere. It is the largest telecoms operator in the world by revenue. AT&T also provides pay-TV services through DirecTV. AT&T also uses its network to offer peripheral services, including disaster recovery.
AT&T can chart its origins back to Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. The inventor’s company, Bell Telephone Company, was the parent company of subsidiary American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), established in 1885.


About Ericsson

Ericsson Corporation, is a leading multinational firm of telecommunications and networking equipment, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. It is founded in 1876 by Lars Magnus Ericsson. The company is a worldwide leader of delivering ICT solutions. It provides the services in mobility, broadband and other cloud applications. Ericsson is the company of more than 39,000 patents. It has a large hold on standards patents for mobile communications. Their patents portfolio covers 2G, 3G and 4G technologies. More than 40% phone calls are made through their systems and more than 2 billion people use their network worldwide. The company has customers in more than 180 countries which are provided by the services like cloud services and broadband.