Ericsson, Qualcomm make 5G space play - Mobile World Live

Ericsson, Qualcomm make 5G space play

11 JUL 2022

Ericsson teamed with chip giant Qualcomm and French aerospace company Thales to test and develop 5G through a network of satellites, as next-generation space-based connectivity continued to gather steam.

The vendor stated forming the partnership followed 3GPP approval for satellite-driven 5G non-terrestrial networks (NTN) in March. The aim is to use satellite infrastructure to compete for global 5G coverage, including in underserved areas.

Ericsson, Qualcomm and Thales’ initial work will be carried out in France, testing and validating 5G NTN, with the eventual goal of enabling compatible smartphones to access next-generation network connectivity anywhere on earth, providing complete global coverage for wideband data services.

The Swedish vendor explained using low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites for 5G connectivity would include coverage in extreme geographies including on oceans and other locations where it is impossible to get terrestrial coverage.

Ericsson’s role in the set up will be to verify a 5G virtual RAN stack modified to handle radio signals, while working to understand what happens to radio waves through the vacuum of space and the Earth’s atmosphere via fast-moving LEO satellites.

Thales, meanwhile, will work to verify a compatible radio satellite payload suitable for deployment on LEO birds and Qualcomm will provide test devices to verify 5G NTN can be accessed on future smartphones.

Erik Ekudden, SVP and CTO at Ericsson, believes the testing and validation cooperation “will be a major milestone in the history of communications”, and the work done could be key to making a 5G-equipped prototype satellite to launch into orbit for real operational use.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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