Both companies are working on an aggressive fiber network expansion.
The companies announced a multiyear network deal that lets AT&T use Frontier’s fiber-optic connectivity. The companies also said AT&T will use Frontier’s Ethernet work to connect cell towers to AT&T’s 5G core network.
The Frontier relationship will help AT&T pursue its goal of reaching 30 million locations with fiber by the end of 2025. As of Sept. 30, more than 2.5 million U.S. business customers were using AT&T’s fiber network.
On the other hand, Frontier has stated a goal of passing 10 million locations with fiber by the end of 2025. Frontier’s fiber network touches 25 states, some of which are gaps in the AT&T footprint. A cursory glance at both companies’ coverage maps shows that Frontier covers certain Southwest and Northeastern states that AT&T doesn’t touch.
“With Frontier building out its own fiber network where we are not building, we’ll be able to work together to provide large business customers with the high-speed, low-latency data connectivity they need to grow and thrive,” said Scott Mair, AT&T’s president of network engineering and operations. “As demand for broadband connectivity grows, we will be able to plug and play into Frontier’s network to support businesses and help grow our 5G mobility network for consumers.”
Mike Shippey, Frontier’s executive vice president of business and wholesale, said the business customers will benefit from the combination of “two complementary networks.”
“As part of this deal, we’ll use our expanding fiber network to provide AT&T high-speed connections for large enterprise customers and the expansion of its 5G mobile network across our markets,” Shippey said.
Both companies highly value their fiber offerings. AT&T scored first in Vertical Systems Group’s latest fiber locations leaderboard, and Frontier finished ninth.
Frontier vowed to make fiber the center of its business earlier this year.
“At this pivotal moment in the company’s evolution, we look forward to rapidly expanding our fiber footprint, delivering enhanced customer service offerings and value, and accelerating our efforts to build Gigabit America,” CEO Nick Jeffery said.
AT&T has long hailed the depth of its fiber services. Earlier this week, AT&T’s Rick Chapes labeled fiber one of the company’s key pillars in a message to partners.
“Fiber is at the forefront as a key enabler for technologies and capabilities,” Chapes told Channel Futures.
This isn’t the first wholesale relationship between AT&T and Frontier. The companies in 2011 teamed up to let Frontier resell AT&T’s wireless network.