Verizon tapped embattled equipment vendor Ericsson to provide networking equipment for the operator’s commercial 5G launch in 2018.

Under the contract, Ericsson will supply the 5G core, radio access network, transport and related services. The news follows Verizon announcement it plans to roll out fixed-wireless 5G service in a handful of markets starting with Sacramento, California, in the second half of 2018.

Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of business area Networks at Ericsson, said the agreement will make “US consumers and businesses among the first in the world” to benefit from next generation technology and services.

Verizon SVP of technology, strategy and planning Ed Chan added the operator’s work with Ericsson is “creating a clear roadmap and building a robust ecosystem that will enable us to maximise the potential of 5G.”

Ericsson, which debuted its 5G radio prototypes in November 2015, has a long history of working with Verizon on mmWave 5G. The pair announced an initial collaboration covering testing at Mobile World Congress in February 2016, and teamed up again in February this year for Verizon’s 5G fixed-wireless trials.

Verizon indicated these trials have been crucial in helping it understand the characteristics of mmWave spectrum and formulate a deployment plan. Chan recently said the operator now believes it can provide mmWave coverage using its densified 4G footprint in some areas.

Within the past year, two former top Ericsson executives also joined Verizon’s team in key positions: ex-CEO Hans Vestberg took up as EVP of Verizon’s Network and Technology team in March and Rima Qureshi, previously SVP and head of market area North America for the vendor, stepped into a new role at Verizon as EVP and CSO in September.