AT&T signed an exclusive deal with Magic Leap to make it the only US operator to offer the company’s augmented reality (AR) headset upon launch.

The move comes as Magic Leap, which raised more than $2 billion in backing from the likes of Google, Alibaba and now AT&T, gears up for the release of its debut product. Described as a “lightweight, wearable computer,” Magic Leap One is expected to include a set of mixed reality goggles paired with a processing pack that can be worn at the hip.

The product will ship to designers and developers later this year, but AT&T said it will launch a hands-on experience for customers at stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco when the device becomes available to consumers.

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz said in a statement the company decided to team up with AT&T “because we believe in a combined vision of expanding high-speed networks, edge computing and deep integration with creative content”.

AR ambitions
The partnership comes on the heels of AT&T’s deal with Time Warner and as the operator looks to diversity its entertainment offerings, with a 5G launch near. AT&T said its deal with Magic Leap will help “usher in a new kind of contextually aware, intelligent, human-computer interactivity”.

In February, AT&T began trialling augmented and virtual reality (VR) projects at an edge computing test bed in Silicon Valley.

Given the industry expectations around AR and VR, AT&T could be hoping to get a leg up on the competition. The operator made a similar move in 2007, inking a five-year exclusivity deal with Apple ahead of the launch of its now-iconic iPhone.