AT&T’s choice of cloud stack will demonstrate its commitment to Open RAN disaggregation

10 January 2024 | Research

Caroline Chappell

Article | PDF (2 pages) | Cloud Infrastructure Strategies

"AT&T's choice of cloud stack vendor to support its Ericsson-led Open RAN will determine the fortunes of network cloud providers."


AT&T’s December 2023 announcement that it has chosen Ericsson as its partner for Open RAN triggered much industry debate. Doom-mongers predict that AT&T’s decision will cement the hegemony of incumbent RAN vendors at the expense of innovation in the RAN ecosystem. Realists point out that AT&T, like other brownfield operators, cannot move in one step towards a completely disaggregated, cloud-based RAN, as greenfield challengers have been able to do. Operators need to build a business case that justifies the cultural disruption that such a step entails and they must maintain parity between an ‘open’ and the traditional RAN while rolling out the former. In addition, many aspects of a cloud-based RAN are not yet ready for prime time.

This article assesses the implications of AT&T’s choice as the market waits to see whether the operator will embrace a horizontal cloud platform that is independent of Ericsson’s RAN functions and provided by a third-party vendor, and who that vendor will be. 


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