With the current political climate leaving it well-placed to win deals that it might previously have had to battle Huawei for, Ericsson is ramping up its 5G reach and has claimed a significant milestone by securing its 100th commercial 5G agreement or contract with unique communications service providers.
The overall figure includes 58 publicly announced contracts and 56 live 5G networks, spanning five continents, since the company’s first public 5G partnership announcement in the early days of the next-generation mobile technology in 2014. Ericsson has since worked with major service provider partners on 5G research and development. Initial technology engagements and memorandum of understanding (MoU) partnerships were followed by 5G new radio (NR) technology testing and trials. The first live commercial launches were announced in 2018.
Ericsson’s 5G contracts span radio access network (RAN) and core network deployments, enabled by products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System and Ericsson Cloud Core network portfolios. Its 5G deployments include 5G Non-Standalone, 5G Standalone and Ericsson Spectrum Sharing technology. They also include cloud-native capabilities with Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core.
Since engaging with 5G, Ericsson has deployed the technology in high, mid and low bands in urban, suburban and rural environments to support enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access business cases. In some advanced 5G markets, communications service providers are offering 5G-enabled augmented reality and virtual reality services in education, entertainment and gaming.
Ericsson has also worked with service providers, universities, technology institutes and industry partners to develop and pursue 5G business and consumer use cases. These use cases include factory automation, smart offices, remote surgery and other enterprise and Industry 4.0 applications.
“Our customers’ needs have been central to the development and evolution of Ericsson’s 5G technology across our portfolio from the very beginning,” commented Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm. “We are proud that this commitment has resulted in 100 unique communications service providers globally selecting our technology to drive their 5G success ambitions. We continue to put our customers centre stage to help them deliver the benefits of 5G to their subscribers, industry, society and countries as a critical national infrastructure.”
The century milestone was reached with the announcement of a 5G deal with Telekom Slovenije on 12 August. The operator announced in July that it plans to launch its fifth-generation public mobile network in the form of campus networks, where a single physical infrastructure can host several virtual dedicated networks for various business verticals, such as energy supply, transportation, logistics, manufacturing, smart cities, healthcare, protection and rescue/public safety.
While conceding that the full potential of 5G technology will become available to users only after further frequency bands are awarded, in the first phase of development, Telekom Slovenije has so far upgraded 150 base stations, providing about 25% coverage with the 4G/5G network which, under the terms of the new 5G deal, Ericsson is supplying RAN and Packet Core solutions. By the end of the year, it expects to surpass 33% coverage. The 5G services were switched on through a software installation to existing Ericsson Radio System and Packet Core equipment which will enable spectrum sharing between 4G and 5G on the 2,600MHz frequency division duplex (FDD) spectrum – traditionally used for 4G only.