AT&T to use Frontier’s fiber infrastructure for 4G/5G backhaul in 25 states
Frontier Communications and AT&T today announced a deal that will enable AT&T cell towers to connect to Frontier’s ultra-fast fiber network. Specifically, AT&T will use Frontier’s fiber infrastructure [1.] in areas where AT&T doesn’t currently own fiber. This will improve the resiliency, reliability and speed of the wireless service that AT&T offers to its customers. AT&T is the first tenant to rent space in Frontier’s hyper-local offices and will utilize Frontier’s fiber-optic network to connect with its cell towers that are in Frontier’s network.
Note 1. Frontier’s fiber network is available in 25 states.
Frontier’s footprint is complementary to AT&T’s existing network, which will help accelerate the company’s 5G deployment. AT&T will tap into Frontier’s fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) infrastructure to connect to AT&T’s wireless cell towers. AT&T is the first tenant to rent space in Frontier’s local central office facilities, they said.
This deal is an extension of AT&T and Frontier’s 2021 agreement that brought the two complementary fiber networks together to power business customers nationwide. That multi-year agreement, focused on Frontier service territories in parts of 25 states, also mentioned support for deployment of AT&T’s 5G network.
The deal comes together as Frontier pushes ahead with a fiber upgrade and buildout plan. Frontier announced late last year that it had neared the halfway point toward a goal of reaching at least 10 million locations with fiber by the end of 2025. While a good portion of that work is focused on delivering services to Frontier’s own residential and business customers, the agreement with AT&T highlights the buildout’s wholesale opportunity.
Fiber backhaul is increasingly critical to support the data demands of wireless networks, including 5G. This agreement enables AT&T to stay ahead of those demands and build on an existing relationship between the two companies. Also, fiber backhaul could help spark a wholesale business that’s been in decline. Frontier’s overall business and wholesale revenues dropped 7.5% in Q3 2022 year-over-year, primarily due to declines in its copper footprint. Meanwhile, business and wholesale fiber revenues rose 1.1%, to $267 million, sequentially.
As illustrated in the figure below, backhaul comprises the Transport network, that connects the Tower / Access Point (mobile base station), which is part of the Radio Access Network (RAN), to the Core Network, where most computing resources are located.
“We’re excited to collaborate with AT&T in strengthening their wireless service with our fiber infrastructure,” said Vishal Dixit, Frontier’s Chief Strategy Officer & EVP Wholesale. “As one of the largest fiber builders in the country, our fiber infrastructure offers an attractive opportunity for tech companies to use this future-proof foundation for their wireless services. This is another example of how innovation is helping to transform Frontier.”
”Fiber is central to our wireless strategy and to our overall connectivity approach,” said Cheryl Choy, Senior Vice President, Network Planning & Engineering, AT&T. “This expanded collaboration with Frontier is a win for both companies, as they can fully utilize their fiber infrastructure, and we can continue to ensure our wireless services are powered by the unparalleled capacity of fiber optic networks.”
Frontier is a leading communications provider offering gigabit speeds to empower and connect millions of consumers and businesses in 25 states. It is building critical digital infrastructure across the country with its fiber-optic network and cloud-based solutions, enabling connections today and future proofing for tomorrow. Rallied around a single purpose, Building Gigabit America™, the company is focused on supporting a digital society, closing the digital divide, and working toward a more sustainable environment. Frontier is preparing today for a better tomorrow. Visit frontier.com.
We help more than 100 million U.S. families, friends and neighbors, plus nearly 2.5 million businesses, connect to greater possibility. From the first phone call 140+ years ago to our 5G wireless and multi-gig internet offerings today, we @ATT innovate to improve lives. For more information about AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), please visit us at about.att.com. Investors can learn more at investors.att.com.
VP, Corporate Communications
Director, Corporate Communications