Ericsson launched an “industry first” combined core and radio platform able to support 5G use cases, which it believes will be a vital tool in accelerating the deployment of next generation networks.

The announcement is the company’s first major 5G-focused product launch since new CEO Borje Ekholm highlighted the importance of the new technology to the company’s turnaround plans during his first day in the job.

Speaking ahead of the company’s showcase at MWC, Arun Bansal, head of Business Unit Network Products at Ericsson, hailed the new platform and highlighted the need for operators to be fully prepared to take advantage of the new business opportunities offered by 5G when the next generation technology becomes a reality.

“Today, we are introducing a 5G platform which includes a 5G core, radio and transport together with support systems, transformation services and security,” he said. “With this we are the first with combined 5G radio and core and we have the market’s first 5G access and transit portfolio.”

Ericsson has high-hopes for 5G and predicts the market opportunity for stakeholders will be worth $582 billion by 2026 – representing a 34 per cent growth on current worldwide operator revenues. This boost will be partly due to the new fields of business technologies that IoT, VR and AR will open up.

“We are seeing a strong pull [towards 5G] from leading operators,” Bansal said. “Digital transformation of industries is happening now. Several have started driving 5G use cases and may not wait for operators to act.”

“The main requirement is driven by both consumer use cases, but more significantly industrial use cases around the globe.”

Trials underway
Ericsson is currently in early-stage trials with 28 operators and expects 2017 to see an increase in 5G field tests ahead of full deployment during 2019 and 2020.

Last month, it demonstrated Gigabit LTE with Australian operator Telstra – which is expected to support a range of 5G use cases. Ericsson also announced earlier today it had conducted trials of the world’s first intercontinental ‘5G’ network with SK Telecom and Deutsche Telekom.