Ericsson and SK Telecom plan 5G demo at 2018 Winter Olympics
With commercial availability of 5G cellular networks projected for 2020 – the same year analysts expect there will be some 50 billion connected devices – Ericsson is ramping up investment in research and development that looks beyond LTE.
Ericsson on March 25 announced collaborations with King’s College London in the United Kingdom and Dresden Technical University in Germany.
The Swedish networking giant already has R&D partnerships relative to 5G with Lund University, the Royal Institute of Technology and Chalmers University of Technology, all in Sweden.
Valter D’Avino, Ericsson’s head of region Western and Central Europe said the new partnerships “will accelerate the momentum around smart sustainable cities, the ‘Internet of Things’ and evolved industries powered by 5G in [the] U.K. and Germany.”
He continued: “They underscore Ericsson’s ongoing commitment to innovate in Europe and develop 5G with relevant partners as the basis of a networked society and digitized economies in the next decade.”
Although there’s no firm consensus on what a 5G standard will entail, specifically how it will differ from LTE networks, many researchers have highlighted the centrality of using existing spectrum more efficiently, accessing new higher-frequency spectrum and continued densification of metro networks.
Ericsson and carrier SK Telecom are planning the first 5G demo during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Planned aspects of that future deployment include an emphasis on small cell, FDD/TDD convergence and gigabyte-level throughput. Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst for 451 Research, said, “South Korea is an ideal test bed for early demonstrations of new wireless technologies due to a supportive regulatory framework, compact geography, outstanding affordable fiber connectivity and end users well used to early technology adoption.”
Specific to the SK/Ericsson collaboration, Rehbehn said, “Ericsson has a lot to prove in both the 5G domain and the South Korean market. This embrace of SK Telecom shows Ericsson is taking strategic steps to bolster its relevance in both arenas.”
A major R&D step for 5G came in February when researchers at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom announced they achieved a 1 Tbps transfer speed in a restrictive laboratory setting.
Ericsson, which is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, employs some 115,000 professionals in 180 countries; the company reported 2014 net sales at more than $33 billion.