AT&T announced it is adding fixed 5G wireless services to its nationwide business-focused broadband network, which already combines the carrier’s business fiber network and its AT&T Wireless Broadband services.
The existing business fiber network already connects more than 2.5 million business customers, offering them both fixed and wireless solutions. Starting next month, AT&T will offer 5G as a connectivity option by adding 5G fixed wireless routers from Sierra Wireless and Cradlepoint, according to a company statement.
As far back as 2017, AT&T had set its sights on increasing its investment in integrated business wireline and wireless solutions, announcing then that it would allocate as much as 40% of its capital expenditures for 2017 and 2018 to those businesses.
The carrier giant said that adding 5G to the mix gives business customers another option as they evolve their own network strategies. They can use 5G to replace wireline or existing wireless links as primary connections, or as a secondary or back-up connection to enhance reliability. They also can use 5G to help them create temporary work sites or set up secure connections for work-from-home employees, particularly important as many workers continue to work remotely during the pandemic.
“It is now almost a full year since the global pandemic accelerated remote work adoption by almost a decade – and throughout the rapid evolution of related business needs, AT&T has been there to enable continued success,” said Mo Katibeh, Chief Product and Platform Officer, AT&T Business, in the company statement. “And today, we’re excited to build on the first, true nationwide business-focused broadband network with fixed wireless 5G connectivity. It’s the ideal solution for businesses to continue to innovate, serve their customers and enable employees to efficiently and effectively work – even when they can’t walk down the hall to someone else’s office.”
Verizon also has begun to use 5G to target the business market in different ways. For example, it announced a relationship with WeWork last year to bring 5G to in-building deployments. Both carriers also have been circling the market opportunity for private 5G networks fand mobile edge computing deployments for corporate enterprises.