Ericsson announces 5G standalone NR software and 2 new Massive MIMO radios

Ericsson released a software update to its cellular base station hardware that the vendor says will markedly improve 5G network performance by increasing its capacity and coverage, especially indoors and in hard-to-reach areas. The upgrade will support a 3GPP Release 15 specification of Standalone 5G New Radio (NR)  which, unlike NSA (Non Stand Alone), does not need 4G LTE infrastructure such as signalling, mobile packet core and network management.

Ericsson says its 5G standalone NR software makes for a new network architecture, delivering key benefits such as ultra-low latency and even better coverage (says the company).

Ericsson also announced what it calls inter-band NR carrier aggregation, which is software that extends the coverage and capacity of NR on mid bands and high bands when combined with NR on low bands. Ericsson claims the software can help improve speeds in areas with poor coverage and in indoor environments.

Ericsson says it is evolving its cloud solution with an offering optimized for edge computing to meet user demand. This will enable service providers to offer new consumer and enterprise 5G services such as augmented reality and content distribution at low cost, low latency, and high accuracy.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “We continue to focus our efforts on helping our customers succeed with 5G. These new solutions will allow them to follow the 5G evolution path that fits their ambitions in the simplest and most efficient way.”

The new standalone 5G NR software can be installed on existing Ericsson Radio System hardware. Coupled with Ericsson’s 5G dual-mode Cloud Core solutions, the new products are aimed at opening new business opportunities for service providers – especially having established an architecture that facilitates agility, provides advanced support for network slicing and enables the speedy creation of new services.

Most pre-standard “5G” network operators have deployed NSA (Non Stand Alone) using LTE infrastructure.  Once the 5G coverage has been established, they can now also deploy standalone.

Low bands will play a key role in cost-efficiently extending the coverage provided by 5G deployments to date. Ericsson has also launched Inter-band NR Carrier Aggregation – a new software feature that extends the coverage and capacity of NR on mid- and high bands when combined with NR on low bands. This will improve speeds indoors and in areas with poor coverage.

Two new Massive MIMO radios have also been added to the Ericsson Radio System mid-band portfolio, allowing service providers to build 5G with precision: AIR 1636 for wider coverage which provides optimized performance on longer inter-site distances; and AIR 1623 for easy site build with minimal total cost of ownership.

Ericsson's 5G hardware is now being used in networks launching all over the world.Ericsson’s 5G hardware is now being used in networks all over the world.  Image courtesy of Ericsson


5G (with low latency as per 3GPP Release 16 and later- IMT 2020) will enable augmented reality, content distribution and gaming, and other applications that require low latency and high bandwidth to perform with accuracy. To help service providers meet these requirements and offer new consumer and enterprise services, Ericsson is evolving its cloud solution with the launch of Ericsson Edge NFVI (Network Functions Virtualization Infrastructure), optimized for the network edge.

A compact and highly efficient solution, Ericsson Edge NFVI is part of the end-to-end managed and orchestrated distributed cloud architecture, which makes it possible to distribute workloads, optimize the network and enable new services in the cloud.

Ericsson is also launching the Ericsson partner VNF Certification Service, a partner certification program for virtual network functions (VNF). The service is open to all VNF vendors and grants a certification on the Ericsson NFVI platform using Ericsson Labs. This will create an ecosystem with a shorter time-to-market for working with partners and applications.

Industry Analyst Hugh Ujhazy, Vice President, IOT & Telecommunications at International Data Corporation (IDC), Asia Pacific, says: “Ericsson’s latest 5G offerings equip service providers with an even broader 5G portfolio by adding the Standalone NR option.  The series of solutions being added to the Ericsson 5G platform will allow service providers to deploy 5G sensibly and address new business opportunities with full flexibility. What you get is faster, cheaper, makes better use of existing assets and with fewer truck rolls.  That’s pretty cool.”

Dana Cooperson, Research Director, Analysis Mason, says: “Improved E2E 4G/5G network architecture flexibility and new 5G use cases require distribution to the edge. To be successful in providing new services it is essential to have a cost-efficient platform for distributed workloads. Ericsson’s initiative with the Edge NFVI solution and distributed cloud architecture will contribute to service providers’ success in 5G.”




6 thoughts on “Ericsson announces 5G standalone NR software and 2 new Massive MIMO radios

  1. 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.”

  2. 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.

  3. Ericsson braced for 5G blow as it prepares for corruption penalties

    Ericsson said its 5G rollout would take a hit after booking provisions of $1.2bn ahead of the conclusion of US probes into overseas corruption allegations.

    The Swedish telecoms equipment company, which competes with Huawei and Nokia for 5G equipment contracts, has been under investigation by US authorities since 2013.

    The group said on Thursday it had identified violations of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as well as its own code of ethics in China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Indonesia, Djibouti and Vietnam. Of the total charge, $1bn relates to anticipated penalties and $230m to costs associated with the investigations.

    While Ericsson has maintained its financial targets, UBS said the provision would reduce its year-end net cash from SKr19bn to about SKr7bn ($719m).

    This will hit Ericsson’s plans as it battles with Nokia and Huawei for 5G contracts. “That is the reality,” Borje Ekholm, chief executive, said on Thursday.

    The total provision represents about 4.5 per cent of Ericsson’s market value, slightly higher than expected, according to Citi analysts. The company said it would book the charge in its third quarter and that it expected the matter to be formally resolved by the end of the year.

    The Scandinavian telecoms sector has been hit by a series of scandals in recent years. Swedish operator Telia was fined $965m in 2017 by US, Dutch and domestic authorities over claims of bribery in Uzbekistan. Corruption allegations relating to the central Asian country had hit Norway’s Telenor the previous year, with executives forced to stand down.

    Ericsson itself agreed last year to a $146,000 settlement after it was found to have breached sanctions on South Sudan.

    Mr Ekholm, who has led the company since late 2016, said the $1bn hit would prove an important step in the former industry bellwether’s turnround. “This is a sad chapter in our otherwise proud history,” he said.

    Mr Ekholm said 49 of the 65 employees scrutinised in an internal review had left Ericsson as a result. However, he said it was too early to talk about whether authorities would pursue criminal prosecution.

    He also said it was “embarrassing” that Ericsson had not taken faster action in 2013 when the US Securities and Exchange Commission launched its investigation, and that the company had missed a number “red flags”. However, he said, the company had vastly tightened its internal compliance processes in the past two years.

    “It is fair to say, and maybe it’s a bit cavalier, there are 100,000 people in the company. There were some rogue employees. We needed a system where we can identify them quickly,” he said.

    Xavier Dedullen, chief legal officer, said the company had “zero tolerance for corruption”.

  4. 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.

  5. Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei may suffer badly with Indian telcos set to curtail capex
    They added that with balance sheets of the two telcos likely to be further weakened, existing tenancies and future growth of telecom tower companies like Bharti Infratel could be at risk as well.

    Telecom gear makers such as Europe’s Ericsson and Nokia, and China’s Huawei could be staring at significant growth challenges with the Supreme Court’s ruling on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) likely to force their main clients Vodafone Idea Ltd. (VIL) and Bharti Airtel to curtail capex plans, say analysts.

    With the balance sheets of the two telcos likely to be further weakened, existing tenancies and future growth of telecom tower companies like Bharti Infratel could be at risk as well, they said.

    Rajiv Sharma, the co-head of research at SBICap Securities, said all vendors would be affected except Samsung (the Korean company sells equipment only to Reliance Jio Infocomm in India, and the country’s newest telecom operator isn’t affected by the judgement) because telcos’ capital expenditure plan would take a back seat.

    “A sharp cut in the capex deployments over the next 12-18 months at the least is expected, and it could be prolonged. VIL will find it hard to do meaningful capex if they were to pay, and Airtel will also be selective,” Sharma added.

  6. Reducing 5G’s energy consumption is ‘an industry responsibility’, says Ericsson

    A new report from Ericsson argues that it will be possible to overcome 5G networks “energy curve”
    From 2G to 4G, the increase in energy demand from generation to generation of mobile technology has been steady and predictable. With more data traffic comes higher power consumption, and some operators are predicting that 5G will double their current power usage once fully deployed.

    But it does not have to be this way, suggests a new report from Swedish vendor Ericsson.

    The report outlines a four-point strategy for tackling the issue of power consumption, paraphrased here:

    1) Modernising the network by replacing old, inefficient tech, rather than simply adding to it
    2) Utilising energy saving software to reduce energy demand while retaining network performance
    3) Optimising the 5G network through using new tech to minimise the need for hardware
    4) Capitalising on AI to increase site infrastructure efficiency

    It will come as no surprise that all these points can be facilitated with Ericsson technology. The company’s Energy Infrastructure Operations solution, for example, can offer a decrease of up to 15% in energy-related OpEx and 30% in energy-related outages.

    Nonetheless, it is interesting that the report suggests that new technologies made possible or enhanced by 5G, like AI and machine learning, could play a significant role in reducing power consumption. In a sense, 5G will go some way to solving its own network efficiency problems, but there is still much to be done on the part of the operators.

    “With this new report, we answer the billion-dollar question: is it possible to quadruple data traffic without increasing energy consumption? We believe that it is not only an option, it is an industry responsibility,” said Erik Ekudden, Eriksson’s senior VP, CTO and head of group function technology. “We are now sharing our insights into how the industry can achieve this new reality.”

    With the world in a climate crisis, the telecoms industry is slowly increasing the pace of its environmental projects. Many operators have already pledged to go carbon neutral, but the target dates vary widely. O2, for example, recently announcing its new 2025 target, but rival BT still wants another quarter of a century to reach its target, currently aiming for carbon neutrality in 2045.

    Some operators are doing a much better job – Finnish operator Elisa earlier this week announcing that it was on course to achieve carbon neutrality this year – but for the rest of the industry reducing energy consumption should be a priority when deploying 5G, not an afterthought.

    As operators around the world race to deploy 5G as quickly as possible, energy efficiency should be at the forefront of their mind. An efficient strategy to deploying 5G will not only save them money but could also help save the planet.

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