AT&T said today that it has made a deal with Frontier that calls for Frontier to bring fiber to large enterprise customers outside AT&T’s current footprint and to support AT&T’s 5G mobility network. Spokespeople for AT&T and Frontier confirmed that the agreement applies to existing and new fiber.
“AT&T will be able to use Frontier’s fiber network to help reach enterprise customers in Frontier’s service territories reaching 25 states,” a press release states.
AT&T also said it will “tap Frontier’s Ethernet network to boost connectivity between cell towers and the core network.”
The spokespeople for the carriers confirmed that each party will manage and maintain its own services.
“Frontier will maintain and monitor the network portions it is supplying AT&T,” the spokespeople said in a joint email response to Telecompetitor. “AT&T handles all communications to the end user customer. Frontier and AT&T’s network operations centers will continue to work together to resolve issues across their respective networks.”
Asked whether AT&T will be able to resell Frontier fiber to business customers anywhere within Frontier’s local service territory where Frontier has fiber, the answer apparently is yes, although AT&T answered in an indirect manner.
“We will be able to utilize a combination of AT&T and Frontier assets,” the AT&T spokesperson answered.
Asked whether the deal precludes AT&T from deploying its own fiber within Frontier’s territory, the response was also vague. The spokespeople noted that AT&T will only use Frontier’s network in areas where it doesn’t own its own network or have “current plans” to build.
The spokespeople also avoided directly answering a question whether Frontier would be able to sell connectivity on the network that Frontier is building for AT&T’s use.
Here’s how the answer was worded: “AT&T will be able to provide services to its customers either through the AT&T network or connections leased from Frontier. The two networks are complementary to one another.”
The AT&T spokesperson declined to speculate on whether the company would be interested in future deals similar to the one with Frontier.
Frontier Pursues Fiber Pure-Play Strategy
Since emerging from bankruptcy earlier this year, Frontier has said it wants to be the largest pure-play fiber provider in the U.S. and the deal with AT&T would seem to be a good way to help Frontier achieve that goal.
“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, president of network engineering and operations for AT&T. “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 customers.”
Frontier apparently sees the plan to deploy fiber for AT&T as an incremental opportunity stemming from Frontier’s aggressive fiber deployment plans.
“We’re bringing together two complementary networks to benefit business customers that require fiber optic connectivity,” said Mike Shippey, Frontier’s executive vice president of business and wholesale, in today’s press release. “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.”
Updated to include responses from AT&T and Frontier to questions from Telecompetitor