Ericsson announced it is “one of the prime vendors” to deploy LTE and EPC (evolved packet core) gear for KDDI, the second-largest mobile operator in Japan behind NTT Docomo.
It is a coup for Ericsson since it’s the first time the Swedish supplier has been selected by KDDI to implement a radio access network (RAN). The RAN is based on LTE FDD technology.
Ericsson was chosen by KDDI in February to supply IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) kit.
Ericsson’s KDDI win comes closely on the heels of a deal signed with SoftBank, Japan’s third-largest operator, to provide VoLTE equipment. Ericsson is also a core network and RAN supplier to SoftBank.
At the time of the SoftBank VoLTE announcement, Ulf Ewaldsson, Ericsson’s CTO, said the technology has not been deployed by operators as fast as predicted.
“They will all move, it’s just going to take time,” he told Mobile World Live, noting that the delay is largely due to the fact that CSFB technology is “good enough” to offer a consistent user experience at present.
Ericsson boasts that around half of the world’s LTE smartphone traffic is carried over its network kit.
The supplier adds it has delivered more than 180 LTE RAN and EPC networks worldwide, of which more than 110 have gone live commercially.
Ericsson also claims it expects to hold 25 per cent of all essential patents in LTE, covering both TDD and FDD modes.
Today’s Japanese news also comes as Ericsson is attempting to turn around declining revenue in Asia. In October Ericsson’s regional head Mats Olsson told Mobile World Live the company is confident it can buck this trend.