No longer just ballooned hype, 5G has launched in the here and now.
That’s according to Ericsson CEO and president Börje Ekholm who declared it open for business this week during a briefing at Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona.
Ekholm highlighted the company’s concrete focus on the 5G business use cases in addition to the key technological enablers that will make 5G a commercial success, from radio access to network slicing and machine intelligence.
“We will focus not only on why and what, but also on how. This is what our customers – the service providers – want to discuss,” Ekholm says.
Ekholm says there are three crucial areas where service providers must succeed:
- efficiency – bringing the cost per gigabyte down
- digital experience – improving customer experience and cost reduction
- and creating new revenue streams based on 5G and IoT use cases.
“Customer feedback was the foundation for our focused strategy launched last year and now in how we are showcasing our products and technologies in our hall,” Ekholm says.
5G has been in development for many years working with standards and technology, but it is only now moving into the commercial phase. According to Ekholm, Ericsson has signed 38 memorandums of understanding with service provider for trials to date. The company has also signed several commercial contracts with deliveries by the end of this year.
There will be a number of uses cases supporting 5G, with Ekholm highlighting enhanced mobile broadband as the first large-scale global use case for 5G based on surging data traffic and the constant demand for better user experiences.
Ericsson says data traffic between 2017 and 2023 is forecast to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent, translating to eight times more traffic per site.
However, Ekholm asserts enhanced mobile broadband is not just about speed and user experience, as network efficiency is also important – a site fully enhanced with 4G and 5G will deliver mobile data at one tenth of the cost compared to a basic 4G site today.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn joined Ekholm on stage to stress the importance of being an early mover in 5G – in Telstra’s case, largely because of the huge opportunity it creates for enterprise segments within the Telstra business and the company’s desire to be a leader in customer experience.
Ekholm says by having a network that is ready for 5G, service providers can choose the time to turn on 5G traffic.
“Last year we broke speed records in tests, opened a 5G design center in Austin, Texas, and introduced new radio products for Massive MIMO and network services that ease the 5G journey,” Ekholm says.
“Just this year, we completed our 5G platform, which comprises the 5G core, radio and transport portfolios, together with OSS, BSS, network services and security. We added 5G commercial software for radio and core networks to enable operators to launch 5G already from Q4 2018.”