AT&T

Nokia and AT&T accelerate U.S C-Band rollout with first commercial equipment call

First call on C-Band spectrum milestone achieved ahead of commercial network deployment expected later this year

Nokia and AT&T have successfully completed the first call on AT&T’s network utilizing C-Band spectrum, which was awarded just three months ago. The call was made using a 5G smartphone form factor mobile test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System using the Nokia AirScale baseband and 5G massive MIMO (mMIMO) 64T64R C-Band radio.

C-Band spectrum provides a good balance of both coverage and capacity and will further enhance AT&T’s ambitions of expanding 5G coverage and performance across the nation. AT&T has announced plans to cover 200 million people with C-Band by the end of 2023.

The milestone was achieved early May in Detroit, Michigan by engineers from both AT&T and Nokia, who jointly worked quickly to demonstrate the potential of the newly available n77 spectrum (n77: 3700 – 3980Mhz). The test utilized one of Nokia’s new mMIMO antennas that is designed to operate in the n77 C-Band in conjunction with the latest Nokia 5G software. The joint team will continue to test performance ahead of commercial network deployment, which is anticipated to begin later this year.

Nokia recently signed a five-year deal with AT&T to deploy the mobile operator’s C-Band network across the U.S. It will deliver enhanced mobile broadband capabilities and increase the range of 5G applications and services to a wide range of consumers and customers. Nokia’s C-Band portfolio includes support for both 5G standalone (SA) networks and non-standalone (NSA) networks, cloud-based implementations and Open RAN products. Nokia’s C-Band 5G RAN solutions interwork with existing Nokia LTE RAN equipment deployed by AT&T, for a seamless and powerful user experience.

Nokia was the first vendor to successfully complete a 5G trial in C-Band spectrum in the U.S. in June 2020, using its commercial 5G AirScale portfolio. In anticipation of the FCC C-Band spectrum auction that concluded in January 2021, Nokia broadened its portfolio to include a range of specific products.

Kevin Hetrick, Vice President – Construction & Engineering, AT&T said:

“AT&T is committed to bringing the power of 5G to even more businesses and communities across the nation. In fact, we’ve committed to covering more people with C-band by the end of 2023 than any other carrier.

Our planned C-Band launch with Nokia will add 5G capacity and coverage where it’s needed. Nokia’s C-Band portfolio has the capabilities and performance to enable AT&T to deliver an exciting and powerful 5G experience that our subscribers have come to expect from us”

The first phase of the C-Band auction opened up 280 MHz of spectrum with 100 MHz of spectrum available for 5G deployments by the end of this year. Nokia’s C-Band portfolio includes support for both 5G standalone (SA) networks and non-standalone (NSA) networks, cloud-based implementations and Open RAN products, providing AT&T with flexibility for its 5G deployment. Nokia’s C-Band RAN technology will interwork with existing Nokia LTE RAN equipment deployed by AT&T for a powerful user experience. 

‘Mid-band’ C-Band spectrum provides a good balance of both capacity and coverage, while also allowing rapid 5G rollout and fast introduction of services which is vital in all markets.

Ed Cholerton, President of Nokia Americas, said:

“This is an important milestone and achievement as we support AT&T in its efforts to extend its commercial grade 5G services across the country utilizing C-Band spectrum.

We are proud to be a long-term partner of AT&T and to work collaboratively on this innovative project. Nokia’s flexible and comprehensive range of solutions covers all customer requirements and we look forward to continuing to work together with AT&T to help deliver incredible 5G experiences to its customers

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