Ericsson signed a multi-year, $8.3 billion contract with Verizon expanding on a previous agreement to provide Antenna-Integrated Radio units for a C-Band deployment by the operator.

In addition to Massive MIMO radios, Verizon will use Ericsson’s Cloud RAN, network software and its Street Macro portfolio, which is designed to deliver high capacity in small form factors.

Verizon was Ericsson’s first customer for the Street Macro product.

Kyle Malady, Verizon CTO, said the latest agreement will enable it to “continue driving innovation and widespread adoption of 5G”, which the operator is deploying for mobile broadband, enterprise private networks and fixed wireless access services.

The agreement covers low- and mid-band, and mmWave spectrum.

Verizon’s contract with Ericsson is clear evidence the operator is accelerating migration of RAN compute functionality to the cloud.

In June, Ericsson revealed it added mid-band compatibility to its cloud RAN solution, working closely with Verizon to develop the technology as part of a goal of enabling customers to deploy cloud-native networks.

The vendor stated a high-performing mid-band 5G deployment requires 150-times more compute power than 4G. It partnered with Intel for hardware accelerators and Xeon processors in its Cloud RAN solution to meet the increased demand.

Verizon began deploying a virtual RAN system from Samsung in January: the pair announced a $7 billion network contract in September 2020.