AT&T unveiled a ten-year, $8 billion investment from the FirstNet Authority to expand and upgrade the nationwide public safety network, which includes the addition of 1,000 mobile sites and a standalone (SA) 5G core.

As part of the second phase of FirstNet, AT&T explained the new sites will be added over the next two years.

The SA 5G core will improve current functionality by adding specific public safety features to FirstNet and support the transition of public safety’s Band 14 spectrum from LTE to 5G.

Beginning in March, FirstNet will provide first responders with “always-on priority and pre-emption” across all of the operator’s commercial 5G spectrum bands.

The FirstNet Authority plans to invest $6.3 billion through its network contract with AT&T and anticipates an additional $2 billion “for ongoing investments in coverage enhancements for public safety”.

AT&T noted the transition to a full 5G network will enable FirstNet “to keep pace with current evolutions in technology and 3GPP standards-based mission critical advancements”.

It added it would keep the existing 4G network active during the transition to 5G.

AT&T stated it now has 5.5 million connections and about 27,500 public safety agencies and organisations on FirstNet.

It added there is no impact on financial guidance issued in January.