Ericsson unveiled upgrades to its 5G RAN and core network platforms which it claimed would allow operators to launch 5G by the end of the year.
The company revealed software for commercial 5G core and RAN networks alongside improvements to its distributed cloud platform aimed at optimising access, improving latency and enhancing security for 5G use cases.
Ericsson’s upgrades bolster its ‘5G’ platform announced in February 2017, which was originally based on pre-standard technology. Its upgrade makes the platform compatible with the non-standalone 5G New Radio standard released by the 3GPP in December 2017 and currently in use in a range of trials across the world.
While many operators have committed to 5G launches in 2019 and 2020, a small number have confirmed plans for commercial availability by the end of this year. Most have cited fixed-wireless as the most likely release, while some – including AT&T – are aiming for mobile 5G.
The vendor separately launched its Street Macro radio, designed to improve coverage in urban areas with high demand and limited locations for infrastructure, and added 5G NR compatibility to existing kit.
Ericsson was keen to point out that radio equipment shipped since 2015 can be upgraded to 5G NR through a remote software installation. It added the upgrade could be used in 150 variants of its radios used in 190 networks around the world.
In a statement, it added it would enable operators to run 4G and 5G in the same band through “dynamic spectrum sharing”.
The troubled vendor has high hopes for 5G technology, but faces an almighty fight from rivals also ploughing funds into research, tests and launches. Infrastructure companies making major announcements include Nokia, Huawei and ZTE.
Ericsson forecasts there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023 and is focusing its R&D efforts on supporting the new technology. In December 2017, it signed $370 million in credit agreements to help accelerate its R&D efforts.