Ericsson disagrees with report that it's missing from AT&T’s 5G build-out

Ericsson logo
Ericsson has reportedly lost share at AT&T. (Monica Alleven / FierceWireless)

Ericsson said it disagrees with an analyst report that found that Ericsson is mostly missing from AT&T’s physical 5G build-out, having apparently lost that business to Nokia and Samsung.

"Based on our proprietary checks, we believe both Nokia and Samsung have gained significant market share at AT&T at Ericsson's expense," Michael Genovese, an analyst at MKM Partner, reportedly wrote in a recent assessment. Genovese said that Nokia accounts for around 65% of AT&T’s current 5G infrastructure and Samsung accounts for the remainder.

However, Genovese said Ericsson could supply AT&T’s operational support systems, orchestration and back-office software for 5G, just not its physical equipment.

When questioned about the report, representatives from AT&T declined to comment, but Ericsson issued a statement rejecting Genovese's conclusions.

“Ericsson has not seen the report referenced, but we disagree with the conclusions being reported," Ericsson said. "Ericsson has a long relationship with AT&T and was recently named by AT&T as one of its technology suppliers to build its nationwide 5G network.”

At least one other analyst took issue with the report. “This assertion does not make sense,” tweeted Ken Rehbehn, the founder and principal analyst of CritComm Insights. “AT&T may be using Samsung for 5G in some locations, but the scope of Ericsson's installed LTE base is enormous. With the FirstNet commitment, it is tough to imagine AT&T swapping out that gear.”

The report comes just weeks after AT&T announced 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.

Also in recent weeks Nokia's CEO acknowledged that the company lost a "small number" of Verizon's markets but argued that the company is not losing share to rivals in its critical North American market.

Moreover, for its part, Ericsson has been expanding its work in the United States. The company announced it will expand its U.S. R&D and manufacturing efforts, noting that United States is its largest market.

AT&T has promised to launch mobile 5G services in a dozen cities this year, and will expand that deployment next year.