Ericsson: MOU with SK Telecom for 5G SA core network; KT commercial contract for 5G roll-out in April

SK Telecom (SKT) and Ericsson  have signed a MOU agreement to collaborate on research and development of 5G standalone (SA) core network technology and architecture.   The three year agreement focuses on potential enhancements and optimization enabled by cloud native micro-services based design principles.  The collaboration is directed at creating a more agile and programmable 5G standalone core network architecture capable of efficiently managing growth through automation and more simplified operations.

“After the successful launch of 5G [non-standalone] network, SK Telecom is preparing to migrate towards 5G [standalone – no LTE dependence] networks to provide the latest and greatest technology and services to its customers,” SK Telecom SVP and head of 5GX Labs Jong-kwan Park said.

“This joint collaboration with Ericsson on the next generation 5G Standalone Core and cloud native principles will not only enable us to introduce new services faster while at the same time improve our operational efficiency but also support higher availability through simplified operation.”

Ericsson head of packet core Peo Lehto added that cloud native micro-services architecture promises to deliver higher degrees of automation and availability, more predictable performance and more robust operations for next-generation mobile networks.

“This will relieve requirements on the infrastructure by allowing better handling of multiple failures, better infrastructure utilization with more flexible and granular scaling, as well as increased rate of innovation with independent life cycles and in-service software upgrade for each service,” he said.

“Ericsson and SKT have been cooperating closely for many years around 5G innovation. With the new MoU we can accelerate the necessary evolution of 5G core networks the profitable introduction of 5G-based services and use cases.”

Signing the 5G Cloud Core MoU between Ericsson and SKT

A three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the companies focuses on possible enhancements and optimization enabled by cloud native micro-services-based principles. The MoU comes as increasing focus is being placed on the need for more agile and programmable 5G standalone core network that efficiently manage growth with automation and simplified operations.


Separately, Ericsson  has secured a deal from South Korea’s largest telecom firm KT to implement its forthcoming 5G network as South Korea wireless network operators target 5G launch in April 2019.  In addition to 3GPP Release 15 “5G New Radio” hardware and software for KT’s 3.5 GHz Non-Standalone network, Ericsson is facilitating KT to stimulate the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 opportunities to local enterprises on a global scale. In addition to immersive media, KT’s 5G commercialization use case plans covers: smart factories; safety; drones; and connected vehicles.

Many believe that the extensive deployment of 5G networks will boost the adoption of IoT devices that require real time control and low latency.  As 5G accelerates the digital transformation in many industries, enabling new use cases in areas such as IoT, automation, transport and Big Data, Ericsson is poised to benefit from favorable growth dynamics. The company is investing heavily in its competitive 5G-ready portfolio to enable customers to seamlessly migrate to 5G.

Jinho Choi, Vice President, Access Network Design, KT, says: “Having worked successfully with Ericsson on 4G LTE, we are pleased to continue that partnership to make our 5G ambitions a reality with Ericsson’s leading 5G technology.

“Korea is one of the most competitive and technology-advanced markets in the world. By taking a global lead to enable nationwide commercial 5G services through commercially available 5G smartphones, KT is demonstrating our commitment to our customers and showing how we can drive a global 5G ecosystem where Korea plays a key role.”

Patrick Johansson, Head of Ericsson Korea, says: “We’ve worked with KT for many years to bring the very best mobile user experiences to its customers. Notably on 5G, we worked closely together to show the world what 5G could do during a major global winter sports event in 2018.

“With 5G we aim to help KT to take their customers’ experiences to new levels, whether through enhanced mobile broadband for mobile subscribers, or helping to make national and global IoT and Industry 4.0 opportunities a reality for enterprises and industries.”



9 thoughts on “Ericsson: MOU with SK Telecom for 5G SA core network; KT commercial contract for 5G roll-out in April

  1. Korean government, hardware and wireless carriers joined forces to move up the commercial launching date to April 5.

    A high-ranking government official said that South Korea’s 5G service launch will begin on April 5, 2019 as all stakeholders finally agreed on the adjusted schedule. Samsung Electronics announced on the same day it will ship 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 models to the country’s wireless carriers without pre-order sales starting April 5, while telecos are preparing to roll out their 5G service plans that cost 50,000 to 70,000 won ($62) per month, about half the price planned by Verizon. The Korean government decided to open Korea 5G Day on the same date to celebrate the launch.

  2. Within a span of 24 hours, Ericsson and Nokia both claimed to have 16 commercial 5G deals with publicly named service providers. Speaking at Ericsson’s annual shareholder meeting, CEO Borje Ekholm said Ericsson’s radios have been “5G-ready since 2015 and can be used also for 5G NR (New Radio) with a remote software installation.”

    Considering that much equipment can be remotely upgraded for standards-based 5G, Ekholm said Ericsson has “shipped more than 3 million 5G-ready radios to our customers worldwide.”

    Nokia followed up the next day to celebrate its 30th commercial deal, including 16 with named operators. A1 Telekom Austria inked a new contract with Nokia to deploy a network after relying on the Finnish equipment maker for its 3G and 4G networks.

    “With these agreements, creating new partnerships and continuing existing relationships around the world, we can see the promise of 5G becoming a reality,” Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said in a prepared statement. “Many of the commercial 5G deals we celebrate today include multiple elements from across our end-to-end portfolio as our customers turn to Nokia at each stage of their 5G investment cycle.”

    ZTE reported annual results for 2018 this week that included news that it has “collaborated with 30 global operators in 5G,” shipped 10,000 massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) base stations, and 400 NFV commercial and proof-of-concept (PoC) cases worldwide.

    Using a 5G commercial network in Seoul, Samsung and KT said they successfully achieved 1 Gb/s speed over the air using 3.5 GHz frequency. KT also announced that its 5G network will be ready for “end-user mobility service” in 85 cities by the end of this month.

    And finally, not to be overshadowed by 5G interests in business, a group of U.S. senators introduced the Secure 5G and Beyond Act. If passed, the legislation which would require the president to create an inter-agency strategy to secure 5G and future technology and infrastructure networks, designate the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to coordinate the implementation of that strategy with heads of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Justice Department, Defense Department, and the director of national intelligence. The bill would also prohibit the nationalization of a next-generation network.

  3. WSJ: China Investigates Ericsson Over Licensing as 5G Competition Heats Up
    Trump, meanwhile, lashed out at Huawei after a former Obama-era official registered as a lobbyist for the firm

    Authorities in China are investigating Swedish telecom-equipment giant Ericsson AB while the firm’s Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies Co., moves to counter a U.S. campaign to limit its business, the latest signs of global jockeying to shape next-generation 5G information networks.

    Some 20 investigators from China’s State Administration for Market Regulation raided Ericsson’s Beijing office Friday, said a person familiar with the matter. Ericsson spokesman Peter Olofsson confirmed the investigation late Sunday, and said it follows complaints from unspecified sources about the company’s intellectual property-licensing practices.

    Mr. Olofsson declined to comment further other than to say Ericsson is cooperating with the investigation. The market regulation agency didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    President Trump, meanwhile, lashed out at Huawei after a former Obama-era official registered as a lobbyist for the firm in Washington. Samir Jain, a former senior director for cybersecurity policy for the Obama White House, registered as a lobbyist for Huawei on national-security issues related to a defense-policy bill that bars federal agencies from buying equipment from the Chinese company, according to a disclosure form.

    On Twitter, Mr. Trump called Mr. Jain’s registration “not good, or acceptable!” Mr. Jain is a partner at Jones Day, the law firm Huawei has hired to sue the U.S. in a constitutional challenge to the bill, saying provisions illegally target the company. Jones Day filed the lawsuit challenging the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act last month.

    A Huawei spokesman Monday said Mr. Jain “has registered as a lobbyist on behalf of Huawei as is required of any adviser who may advocate on Huawei’s behalf under U.S. disclosure rules,” calling it “a normal practice to ensure corporate transparency.” A Jones Day spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Jain didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    A bruising fight is under way between the U.S. and China over 5G, which promises superfast data transmission that will underpin autonomous driving vehicles, robotic assembly lines, remote surgery and other emerging businesses.

    Telecommunications operators are expected to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years to build out the networks. In China, the government and major carriers have said they plan trials of 5G in 2019 and aim to roll it out on a larger scale in 2020. In the U.S., companies are expected to test pilot network installations by the end of the year and the government is preparing to auction off broad swaths of airwaves.

    The U.S. has effectively barred Huawei from domestic 5G networks and is trying to persuade allies to do likewise, saying that the Chinese company is beholden to the Communist Party and thus presents an espionage and security risk in networks that will be pervasive.

    Huawei denies the allegations. The firm is the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, a leader in superfast 5G technology and a top seller of smartphones globally.

  4. Percepto uses SK Telecom’s 5G network to fly autonomous drones

    Autonomous drones have successfully been flown by Percepto over SK Telecom’s 5G trial network.

    SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea and commercialised its 5G network in December 2018.

    Dain SNT, Percepto’s representative in Korea, has been collaborating with SK Telecom to apply Percepto’s solutions to SK Telecom’s commercial 5G network.

    Percepto is a drone-in-a-box (DIB) solution that provides a range of communications schemes to its global customers. It also offers autonomous flights over cellular networks. This milestone prepares Percepto to provide its customers with significant operational advantages including better real-time video stream quality; reduced battery consumption, which means longer mission times; and greater distances and readiness for greater data processing in real time.

    Earlier this year Percepto was recognised by Frost & Sullivan for its onboard computing processing capabilities, allowing Percepto to conduct real-time analytics. Supported by 5G networks, Percepto users are more likely to gain faster and more accurate aerial insights.

    “We are proud to have been selected by SK Telecom to demonstrate the potential of both 5G and autonomous drones,” said Percepto Chief Executive Officer Dor Abuahsira.

  5. Ericsson’s new ConsumerLab report ‘5G Consumer Potential’ debunks industry myths surrounding the value of 5G for consumers and outlines the opportunities available for communications service providers.

    The report highlights the potential of 5G benefitting consumers, uncovering certain realities about them to bust the four common myths, that are: 5G offers consumers no short-term benefits; there are no real use cases for 5G, nor is there a price premium on 5G; smartphones will be the “silver bullet” for 5G: the magical single solution to delivering fifth-generation services; current usage patterns can be used to predict future 5G demand.

    The key findings of the study include the fact that consumers expect 5G to provide relief from network congestion in the near term – mainly in the megacities, where majority of the smartphone users have reported facing network issues in crowded areas. The respondents also anticipate more home broadband choices to be available with the launch of 5G.

    The report has dismissed the ICT industry myths that consumers are unwilling to pay premium on 5G. In fact, smartphone users are willing to pay 20% more for fifth-generation services, and half of early adopters can pay as much as 32% more.

    According to the study, one in five smartphone users’ data usage could reach over 200 GB per month on 5G device by 2025.

    In February, Ericsson and Intel began a multi-year partnership to align ongoing development efforts in software-defined infrastructure (SDI), distributed cloud, and 5G. The platform will aim to deliver ‘a new level of cloudlike agility, transparency and efficiency required for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), distributed cloud, and 5G’. As part of the partnership, both the companies will bring together the Ericsson SDI Manager software and Intel RSD reference software while maintaining full backward compatibility for current customers.

  6. Sweden’s Ericsson sees Brazil switching on 5G network by early 2021

    Ericsson expects Brazil to switch on its fifth-generation (5G) network by early 2021, several months after a spectrum auction set for March next year, a top executive told Reuters.

    The company is working closely with local operators and Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel to test the technology ahead of the long-awaited auction, said Eduardo Ricotta, president of Ericsson Latam South.

    He said the pace of 5G deployment in Brazil would depend on each carrier’s strategic plan, but it could take several months to switch on the ultrafast network once they win the spectrum rights, as work to avoid interference from other services is required.

    “Cleaning up the bandwidth is necessary because some of the frequencies to be allocated to 5G might have interferences with satellites,” Ricotta said. “We are still conducting tests with Anatel to determine what has to be done, but deployment is likely between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.”

  7. Ericsson, has completed a mobile network expansion project in the South East region of Ethiopia, which it interrupted due to a disagreement with Ethio Telecom sometime ago. The mobile expansion project was supposed to be completed in December 2016. However, due to a disagreement with the former management of Ethio Telecom, Ericsson suspended the project.

    In a press conference held on Tuesday, CEO of Ethio Telecom, Frehiwot Tamru, disclosed that at the beginning of the budget year Ericsson decided to pull out of Ethiopia. Frehiwot said after a series of negotiations Ericsson agreed to resume work with Ethio Telecom.

    Accordingly, Ericsson completed the mobile network expansion project in South East region covering Bishoftu, Modjo and Adama towns. As a result we are able to accommodate additional data traffic,” Frehiwot said. We are undertaking mobile network expansion projects in Ericsson site” in Hawassa, Jimma and Adama towns where there is a traffic congestion,” she added.

    Frehiwot said that the negotiation with Ericsson took a long time. However, she said, finally the two parties have agreed to work together. Ericsson supplied all the telecom equipment required to undertake the mobile network expansion project.

    According to Ethio Telecom, the number of telephone subscribers has reached 43.6 million. The tele density stood at 44.5 percent. Of the total 43.6 million subscribers, 41.92 million are mobile voice subscribers, 22.3 million data and internet users and 1.2 million fixed line service subscribers.

    According to Frehiwot, globally the trend shows that voice traffic declined by 11 percent while data traffic increased by a whopping 130 percent in Ethiopia.

    The quality of the mobile network is shaky. To improve the quality of mobile service the new management of Ethio Telecom is undertaking mobile network expansion projects.

    According to Frehiwot, the company is currently working on 11 sites in Addis Ababa and its environs. The challenge we are facing is securing site locations on time,” she said. However, she said that the company has secured eight sites and is undertaking the civil works. These are the projects that require tower. We have completed work on expansion projects on hardware and software. As a result we are able to accommodate 30-40 percent additional traffic,” she added.

    Ethio Telecom has made a tariff discount amounting to 40-50 percent that increased the data traffic by 130 percent. Incoming international calls have also increase substantially. Ethio Telecom used to handle 200,000 incoming international calls daily this has surged to 2.2 million after Ethio Telecom introduced a significant discount on its termination fee. The state monopoly earned a profit of 24.5 billion birr in the budget year that ended in June 2019.

    Chinese telecom giants, Huawei Technologies Co LTD and ZTE Corp, are undertaking mobile network expansion project. The total cost of the mobile network expansion project is estimated at 1.6 billion dollars.

    Frehiwot said that ZTE and Huawei are Ethiopia’s strategic partners. Asked by journalists about the impacts of the US sanctions on Huawei, Frehiwot said that since Huawei has been actively engaged in telecom infrastructure development projects in Ethiopia, Ethio Telecom and Huawei are jointly studying the possible impacts of the US sanctions on the company that may have repercussions on Ethiopia’s telecom infrastructure.

    Ethio Telecom has developed a three-year telecom development strategy, which was approved by the board of directors last week. Ethio Telecom board is chaired by Temesgen Tiruneh, who was recently appointed as president of the Amhara Regional State.

    The Ethiopian government has enacted a new law that enables it to liberalize the telecom sector. The 125-year-old state monopoly, Ethio Telecom, would be partially privatized and additional two international telecom operators would join the local telecom market through a competitive bid. The government has hired international consulting firms that would undertake asset valuation of Ethio Telecom.

    Ethio telecom is an integrated telecommunications solutions provider operating the whole of Ethiopia.

  8. Ericsson and KDDI to Deploy 5G Network

    has been selected by communications service provider KDDI as the primary 5G vendor for next-generation network deployment in Japan. KDDI expects the first commercial live 5G services to be available from March 2020, with more than 93 percent coverage of 5G base station areas specified by Japan’s telecom regulation body by the end of March 2025.

    Under the agreement, Ericsson will supply KDDI with Radio Access Network equipment, including products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio. These will allow KDDI to maximize its spectrum assets and enable the service provider to roll out commercial 5G services in several parts of Japan on their sub-6GHz and 28GHz bands for 5G New Radio (NR). KDDI’s selection of Ericsson as a 5G vendor follows nearly four years of close collaboration on 5G between the companies.

    Chris Houghton, Senior Vice President, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “Having established our important partnership with KDDI in 2013, we have now expanded our collaboration efforts. We are excited about our involvement in KDDI’s 5G network buildout, which will provide a sound basis for our future collaboration as well as allowing our partner to offer users a whole new generation of mobile services.”

    Japan’s telecom regulation body, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, allocated spectrum to communication service providers KDDI, SoftBank, NTT DOCOMO, and Rakuten in April 2019 in preparation for the 2020 launch of 5G services. The government ministry expressed its hope that the telecom industry would build 5G infrastructure on a broad scale, extending well beyond major cities into rural areas. KDDI reportedly aims to achieve 93.2 percent coverage of the 5G specified base station areas in Japan by the end of March 2025.

    KDDI and Ericsson have carried out a large number of joint tests across a wide range of 5G use cases on the 4.5GHz and 28GHz frequency bands, including the interworking between 5G and LTE.

    The two companies have been collaborating on 5G since November 25, 2015, when they announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to advance the evolution of the latest mobile technology.

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