INTERVIEW: Ericsson CTO Erik Ekudden played down talk about 6G technology, arguing with the transition to 5G only just gathering steam, the focus should remain on how to steer that technology forward.
At the recent MWC19 Shanghai, Ekudden noted the industry is still in the process of moving from 4G to 5G, meaning “it’s a little too early to talk about 6G”. But he acknowledged that technology evolutions take time and there are “great opportunities to take the next step” in discussions around researching the future evolution of mobile technologies in partnership with universities.
Indeed, the vendor last month signed a pact with rivals Nokia and Samsung Electronics, as well as operator SK Telecom, to jointly research and develop the technology alongside advanced 5G.
This kind of research, Ekudden explained, would begin to look at what mobile technology “would look like, maybe ten years out”.
Indeed, a strong research programme around the evolution of 5G will see next steps come in phases.
Ekudden cited a clear 3GPP development path for 5G and the software-based nature of the technology, which will enable future iterations to be released in the form of upgrades. With software upgrades, “you can really bring functionality out faster to customers, both enterprise and consumers.”
“So, therefore, we talk much more about 5G and beyond all those steps that are coming in the foreseeable future, in the coming two, three, four and five years.”
During the interview, Ekudden also explained why 5G is already better placed than 4G in terms of ecosystem maturity, discussed Ericsson’s position in the key China market, and offered opinions on standalone versus non-standalone implementations of 5G technology.
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