LTE is the latest step in a wireless evolution that Ericsson began with AT&T over two decades ago and is part of AT&T's ongoing efforts to innovate and invest in mobile broadband.
AT&T serves more than 85.1 million customers and has seen mobile broadband growth of more than 5,000 percent over the past three years. Smartphones are just one example of innovation made possible by investment in mobile broadband.
After extensive testing of equipment from multiple suppliers in lab and field environments, AT&T chose to extend its existing relationship with Ericsson for LTE deployment. The agreement also complements AT&T's strategy to continue to boost the speed and performance of 3G mobile broadband to deliver the best, most advanced customer experience for customers throughout the evolution toward LTE.
As part of this multi-year agreement, Ericsson expands its key supplier role with AT&T by delivering LTE network equipment as well as a full suite of services to design, deploy and optimize the LTE network.
AT&T plans field trials of LTE technology later this year, and commercial deployment is scheduled to begin in 2011.
"The announcement 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," said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations. "AT&T has a key advantage in that LTE is an evolution of the existing GSM family of technologies that powers our network and the vast majority of the world's global wireless infrastructure today."
Hans Vestberg, president and CEO, Ericsson said: "Our ability to work together to meet the demands of a rapidly changing market has been a crucial element in gaining AT&T's continued confidence. We will work just as hard to secure a smooth rollout of LTE and support AT&T in introducing new consumer and business services moving forward."
AT&T previously named Ericsson as a key supplier for wireline access products and services. Ericsson can offer wireline solutions to accelerate AT&T's ability to bring new broadband-based products and services to market.
To date, Ericsson has signed commercial LTE contracts with four other major global operators, two of which are in the United States, the world's fastest growing LTE market.
LTE, the next generation of mobile communication technology, enables the fast transfer of huge amounts of data in an efficient and cost-effective way, optimizing the use of the frequency spectrum. With increased speed and decreased latency, consumers can enjoy a wide range of applications (real-time web, online gaming, social media collaboration and video conferencing) effortlessly and while on the move. LTE will meet the demands of new and enhanced mobile internet applications of the future.
Ericsson has been driving open standards and has had the highest impact on the released LTE specifications. Ericsson expects to hold 25 percent of all essential patents for LTE, making it the largest patent holder in the industry.