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AT&T Wants To Lay Off Employees, Is It A 5G And White Box?
Jan 12, 2019

At the end of last year, AT&T became the first operator in the US to launch a standards-based mobile 5G network and opened the network in more than a dozen markets. However, since it relies on the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum, there are some limitations in coverage.


This year, AT&T plans to expand the network nationwide early next year, using a lower frequency band to cover more coverage per cell site. Later this year, AT&T began to take advantage of these low spectrums and continued to expand its use of the millimeter-wave spectrum.


AT&T Chief Financial Officer John Stephens told the audience at the Citi 2019 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas today that by the middle of this year, the operator will launch 5G services in 20 markets. And its rival T-Mobile US said that their mobile 5G service uses 600 MHz spectrum, which has significant coverage advantages compared to the mmWave spectrum.



SDN and white box

At the same time, AT&T said that their goal of 2018 has been achieved, that is, 65% of the core network functions of virtualization and software control by the end of 2018.


"This move makes deploying technology faster and less costly, such as our ongoing mobile 5G expansion," the operator noted.


The next step is to achieve its long-term commitment to achieve 75% virtualization and software control by 2020. Amy Wheelus, vice president of operator Network Cloud, recently told SDxCentral that "the last 10% is difficult to achieve." As operators move further toward software control networks, it becomes more and more difficult to replace old equipment.


AT&T also continues to promote white-box router policies on its network and said it will install these routers on thousands of sites this year. The operator first announced the White Box program in March last year and noted that it plans to install more than 60,000 open source, software-driven white boxes in its network in the next few years to support its 5G plan.


Andre Fuetsch, AT&T's chief technology officer, said last month that the carrier's white-box strategy is conducting large-scale production testing in a real-time network. He explained that these routers will be installed on the cellular tower in the AT&T wireless network to direct data traffic between the customer and the Internet.



Traditionally, AT&T has purchased these routers from a small number of vendors that are highly specialized and equipped with specialized software. But the company decided to change the model and design its own open hardware to create a white-box router that could run open source software. .


AT&T said earlier this week that it is working with Nokia to develop a software platform for open source software that is consistent with the O-RAN target architecture. The platform code will accelerate the deployment of open source software for the 5G Access Network (RAN).



In order to promote network updates and gain more profits, AT&T had to lay off staff. According to a report from Motherboard, AT&T plans to cut parts in 10 operations centers in New York, California, Texas, New Jersey, Washington, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Washington, DC (the number is temporarily unknown) Job position.


“In order to win in this new world, we must continue to reduce costs and make the network faster, more 'skinny' and more flexible,” McElfresh told employees. “So we need to continue the layoffs for several months.”


AT&T has not responded to the SDxCentral issue in the report, but there are reports that the AT&T spokesperson has confirmed that the operator is planning to “adjust” its workforce. Currently, the total number of AT&T employees is approximately 273,000.

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