AT&T announced that it has selected Samsung Electronics America and CommScope to supply its first 5G-ready Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) network solution.
Samsung will provide CBRS-compliant radios and base station equipment, while CommScope has been selected as the Spectrum Access System (SAS) provider.
AT&T said it plans to start testing CBRS equipment in its labs early next year and expects to roll out commercial CBRS technology in U.S. cities starting in late 2019. The company did not say how many cities or identify which ones.
The FCC set up a unique sharing paradigm for the CBRS 3.5 GHz band in the U.S. that uses a combination of licensed and General Authorized Access (GAA)-designated spectrum. The Priority Access License (PAL) part of the band has been in limbo while the FCC considers new rules but industry stakeholders have been busy getting ready to launch commercial services in the GAA portion this year.
AT&T said as part of its rollout, it will start by using LTE in CBRS spectrum and then migrate to 5G. It will primarily use the CBRS solution to deliver home and enterprise broadband services. AT&T noted that millions of U.S. households lack access to broadband service, and in many cases a fixed wireless access (FWA) architecture can cost-effectively reach homes and businesses where fiber cannot.
"When we looked at CBRS spectrum, we saw a promising opportunity to use this spectrum band to expand our fixed wireless access network to additional cities across the U.S as well as other opportunities for future use cases," said Gordon Mansfield, vice president Converged Access and Device Technology, in a press release. "With 5G on the horizon, we look forward to testing and deploying CBRS equipment to give our customers the best network experience possible."
Mansfield is one of the speakers scheduled to present during the CBRS Alliance’s “Catch the OnGo Wave” program at Mobile World Congress Americas on Wednesday. OnGo is the brand the alliance created to denote CBRS-compliant products.
AT&T’s announcement spells a big win for Samsung and CommScope as many companies are competing for CBRS business.
Companies in the first wave of the FCC’s conditional approvals for SAS administrators included CommScope as well as Google, Federated Wireless, Amdocs, Key Bridge and Sony.