Ericsson publicised details of its 22nd 5G contract, a deal with regional US operator GCI which marks the first deployment of the technology in Alaska.

In a statement, the vendor said it will begin constructing a network in Anchorage, the state’s largest city, in the coming months. Ericsson’s 5G New Radio hardware and software will be deployed at 82 GCI macro sites, with the operator’s existing metro fibre network being used for backhaul.

The 5G network is due to be lit in the first half of 2020 and will use GCI’s existing low- and mid-band spectrum assets, including 600MHz; 700MHz; 850MHz; PCS; and AWS airwaves.

All told, the deployment will cover an area larger than the US state of Rhode Island, which is approximately 1,200 square miles.

GCI CEO Ron Duncan said the move will increase mobile network capacity tenfold and enable smart city initiatives in Anchorage.

Ericsson chief Borje Ekholm explained that in addition to benefitting consumers, the upgraded network will accelerate the creation of new applications for the oil and gas, mining and healthcare industries across Alaska.