Ericsson Spectrum Sharing now commercially available globally

Swedish comms tech provider Ericsson has announced that its Ericsson Spectrum Sharing (ESS) technology is now commercially available and will be rolled out by leading service providers in Europe.

Operators Swisscom, Telstra, Ooredoo and Play have all signed up to get on board with Ericsson, which said more than four-fifths of the service providers that are testing ESS plan to deploy it over the next 12 months.

ESS is described as a unique dynamic spectrum-sharing solution that can enable communications service providers to launch 5G quickly and cost-effectively on a nationwide scale. It can already run on any of the five million 5G-ready radios delivered since 2015.

Ericsson claims its dynamic spectrum-sharing is the most economically feasible way to deploy 5G on existing bands, enabling wide 5G coverage from day one and making more efficient use of spectrum, enabling superior user performance.

“Spectrum is a scarce and costly resource that should be used efficiently,” said Julian Bright, senior analyst at Ovum/Omdia. “Ericsson Spectrum Sharing will mean that service providers can rapidly roll out 5G on their FDD bands without the need to reinvest. It means they can use both their new and existing bands for 5G high-speed, high-capacity services. Dynamically allocating spectrum between 4G and 5G will be the best way to start deploying 5G.”

One huge advantage for operators is that ESS allows both 4G and 5G to be deployed in the same band and on the same radio through a software upgrade, and dynamically allocates spectrum based on user demand on a one millisecond basis.

“For the first time, our customers do not have to re-farm spectrum before deploying a new ‘G’ and can quickly get 5G on the same footprint as they have with 4G today,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice-president and head of networks at Ericsson.

With Ericsson as its sole mobile network supplier and strategic partner, Swisscom was the first service provider in Europe to launch 5G services commercially, in April 2019, using the 3.6GHz band, and in November 2019 took a huge step towards realising its goal of reaching 5G coverage of 90% of Switzerland by upgrading its network with ESS technology.

“ESS is key for fast adoption of 5G,” said Christoph Aeschlimann, head of IT at Swisscom’s network and infrastructure group. “It’s a win-win approach for customers and operators. Customers benefit from 5G in no time and operators use their precious spectrum in a most efficient manner. We are proud of being part of the ESS journey from the very beginning.”

Telstra launched its commercial 5G network in Australia in May 2019, and has now rolled out 5G coverage in 32 metropolitan and regional cities around the country with Ericsson as a 5G network partner.

“ESS will continue to play a crucial role in helping Telstra pave the way for a faster roll-out of 5G, allowing us to serve the needs of 4G and 5G customers in the same location at the same time,” said Channa Seneviratne, network and engineering infrastructure executive at Telstra.

“These milestones are especially important for Telstra and the Australian landscape, where expanding 5G coverage over wide areas quickly and efficiently is key to providing more Australians with access to 5G services.”

In the other two deployments, after going commercially live with 5G on the 3.5GHz band in Doha, Ooredoo is taking the next step to make its Supernet fully 5G-enabled across the country with ESS, while Polish service provider Play has deployed ESS on its commercial network.

“The 5G network in Legionowo, Poland, is yet more proof of Play’s technological advancement in 5G and an important milestone in our strategy to continuously expand and modernise our network,” said Jean Marc Harion, CEO of Play.

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