The Ericsson product range will deliver high-quality connectivity for outdoor coverage in densely populated areas and help drive strong indoor-mall coverage across the city-state. The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled the need for better connectivity indoors, due to the numerous travel and lock-down restrictions.
According to the May 2021 ConsumerLab report – Five Ways to a Better 5G – indoor 5G coverage at public places has become two times more important than mobile data speed in delivering satisfactory 5G experiences for consumers in Singapore.
In addition, Ericsson’s solutions for 5G SA will provide super-fast response times and faster access to higher data rates that are required by cloud gaming, immersive media and vehicles or robot control. This connectivity will also help drive the future-readiness of Singtel’s network, creating new business opportunities.
Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, says: “We are pleased to partner Ericsson in our 5G journey. Together, we launched Singapore’s first 5G standalone network and achieved the fastest 5G speeds this year. 5G is a game changer that will drive greater innovation, and in turn strengthen Singapore’s position as a leading digital hub. We look forward to bringing to life the full benefits 5G has to offer to enterprises and consumers in collaboration with ecosystem partners.”
To nurture a growing and vibrant local 5G ecosystem, Ericsson and Singtel have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with several global industry partners to develop advanced 5G enterprise solutions in Singapore. The MoU will utilize test facilities and capabilities to innovate solutions and scale them for global deployment. The partners are ABB, Axis Communications, Bosch, Bosch Rexroth, Cradlepoint, DHL, Hexagon, PTC and Rohde & Schwarz.
Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, says: “5G SA will allow consumers in Singapore to experience the full benefits of 5G connectivity and also enable businesses across industries to reap the benefits of enhanced mobility, flexibility, reliability and security. As Singtel’s long-standing partner, we are proud to support the roll-out of one of the first 5G SA networks in the world. As a global ICT leader, we have already accumulated a wealth of technology expertise through the deployment close to 100 live 5G networks worldwide.”
For the past 30 years, Ericsson and Singtel have achieved multiple milestones together in Singapore. This partnership includes leading the way in 5G in the city-state – achieving Singapore’s fastest 5G speeds, the launch of Singtel’s GENIE, the world’s first portable 5G-in-a-box platform powered by Ericsson to enable enterprises to experience 5G’s capabilities; and the establishment of 5G Garage, the country’s first live 5G facility to drive 5G solutions for enterprises in collaboration with Singtel and Singapore Polytechnic.
Separately, Ericsson has released the latest addition to its Massive MIMO portfolio – the ultra-lightweight antenna-integrated radio AIR 3268 – for easier and efficient 5G mid-band deployments in dense urban and suburban areas.
At 12 kg (26lb) and 23 liters, AIR 3268 is the lightest and smallest Massive MIMO radio in the industry. With 200W output power, 32 transceivers and passive cooling, the radio weighs about 40 percent less than the earlier generation, making installations easy not only on towers and rooftops, but also on poles and walls.
The radio will help to accelerate 5G mid-band deployment for communications service providers seeking to boost capacity, coverage, speeds and mobile experiences for their subscribers.
Ericsson’s latest radio is 10 percent more energy-efficient than the earlier generation, lowering the total added power consumption when introducing 5G on mid-band. It also supports Ericsson’s unique Massive MIMO architecture and Uplink Booster capabilities that deliver leading network performance.
The AIR 3268 is about 8 kilograms lighter than its predecessor and could threaten the recent efforts by Nokia, Ericsson’s Finnish rival, to seize the leadership position in 5G radios. In June, after a 5G refresh, Nokia began advertising a 5G “massive MIMO” radio unit that included 32 transmitters and 32 receivers (the so-called 32T32R configuration) and weighed 17 kilograms. However, Ericsson’s 12-kilogram base station falls into exact the same 32T32R category, and a 5-kilogram difference is potentially very significant.
Heavy base station equipment puts stress on masts, brackets and other supporting infrastructure. Massive MIMO units usually need to be installed at the edge of a rooftop to get the full benefits of beamforming, says Gabriel Brown, a principal analyst with Heavy Reading (a sister company of Light Reading).
Ericsson has developed AIR 3268 in partnership with BT to address 5G challenges. Through the development process, the ultra-lightweight radio has been designed for 5G mid-band Massive MIMO performance to deliver the benefits of deployment simplicity and improved energy efficiency.
Greg McCall, Managing Director of Service Platforms, BT Group, says: “The 3.5 GHz band and Massive MIMO technology are important to our 5G network strategy to deliver the best customer experience in urban areas. We continue to add capacity within our market-leading 5G coverage, but to maximize our ability to deploy this technology, we need to minimize the burden on our site infrastructure.”
He adds: BT is pleased to be working with Ericsson on this product, which is less than half the size and weight of our current solution, reducing wind loading on existing sites and providing potential for adding 3.5 GHz Massive MIMO in new locations. The reduced power consumption will help BT deliver on our sustainability ambition.”
David Hammarwall, Head of Product Line Radio, Ericsson, says: “We continue to revolutionize Massive MIMO with ultra-lightweight radios that allow easier site upgrades and more seamless 5G mid-band deployments. AIR 3268 widens the options for the radio site, allowing service providers to boost their networks and deliver faster 5G speeds and response times. It is also energy-efficient, which is important to us and our customers.”
With its size and weight, AIR 3268 will simplify upgrades and new site acquisitions even in locations where footprint may prove challenging. The new radio also supports Ericsson’s mini bracket, providing lower total weight and easier installations.
AIR 3268 joins the family of ultra-lightweight radios launched in February this year. Like the rest of the company’s Massive MIMO radios, it is designed with Ericsson Silicon, providing real-time channel estimation and ultra-precise beamforming that improves coverage and user experience.
Ericsson also offers optimized site solutions with integrated transport for dense urban areas as part of its comprehensive transport and site solutions portfolio.