AT&T inked a five-year supply deal with Nokia for C-Band (3.7GHz to 4.2GHz) equipment, as US operators prepare to roll out mid-band spectrum won in a sale last month.

Nokia’s deal involves indoor and outdoor 5G equipment comprising massive MIMO antennas, macro remote radio heads and baseband equipment.

The Finnish vendor explained its equipment covers non-standalone and standalone variants of 5G, “cloud-based implementations and open RAN”. It is also compliant with current LTE kit deployed by AT&T.

AT&T SVP of wireless access technology Igal Elbaz said Nokia’s C-Band portfolio offers “the right capabilities” to deliver a “powerful 5G experience”.

In 2020, Nokia trials of its equipment delivered data rates of more than 1GB/s.

AT&T earmarked up to $8 billion for its C-Band deployment, which it plans to begin later this year.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live (MWL) Nokia is not its only equipment provider.

Verizon executives recently outlined plans to spend $10 billion over the next three years deploying C-Band: at an analyst event, CEO Hans Vestberg stated it had already ordered equipment to upgrade up to 8,000 sites in 2021.

Executives are yet to confirm which vendors it is working with, though filings with the Federal Communications Commission showed it conducted tests with Ericsson and Samsung during 2020.

A Verizon representative told MWL it is “selecting the best-in-class equipment”.

T-Mobile US president of technology Neville Ray recently told analysts time was on its side regarding its choice of C-Band equipment suppliers, given the blocks it purchased won’t be ready for deployment until late 2023.

Ericsson and Nokia won five-year deals covering 5G with the operator in January.