Ericsson boosts 5G platform, signs 5G deal with Oppo

Ericsson and Oppo will collaborate on 5G device testing and demonstrations, as well as 2G, 3G, and 4G patent cross-licensing, while Ericsson has also made updates and improvements across its 5G platform for carriers.

Ericsson has added to its 5G platform, making updates and improvements across core, radio access, transport, and service orchestration, as well as signing a licensing deal with Chinese smartphone maker Oppo.

Across its Cloud Core suite, Ericsson has added seven new products for both standalone and non-standalone 5G; while for transport, it has improved the capacity of its microwave-based solution and added the Mini-Link 6200 series of 5G long-haul solutions to support up to 10Gbps, as well as extending its router and front-haul portfolios.

For vRAN, Ericsson has launched nine new dual-band, triple-band, and high-performance Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) radios; and lastly, it has added artificial intelligence (AI)-based automated service orchestration including network slicing.

Ericsson's platform can be used by carriers globally to help transition from 4G LTE to 5G.

The patent licence agreement with Oppo, meanwhile, will see Ericsson and the smartphone vendor collaborate on 5G device testing, a demonstration at next week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, and "customer engagements".

In addition, the deal covers global cross-licensing for Oppo and Ericsson to use each other's 2G, 3G, and 4G patent portfolios.

"Oppo, the fifth-largest smartphone vendor in the world with business operations in more than 40 markets globally, will make ongoing royalty payments to Ericsson based on a substantial part of their annual sales," Ericsson said.

Ericsson had similarly signed a global patent licence agreement with LG Electronics last year for the latter to utilise its cellular standard-essential patents across 2G, 3G, and 4G.

The LG agreement will run on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms and conditions, and is a renewal of previous licensing arrangements.

"This important deal confirms the value of our patent portfolio and further validates the Ericsson FRAND licensing program," Ericsson chief intellectual property officer Gustav Brismark said about the Oppo deal.

"Ericsson has signed more than 100 patent licence agreements to date, and we are delighted to sign a mutually beneficial agreement with Oppo."

Ericsson has been pouring R&D resources into 5G technology, with CEO Börje Ekholm pinning the company's financial hopes on capturing 5G business in future.

Oppo has likewise been focused on pushing 5G technology in order to launch a smartphone this year -- one of the eight or more 5G smartphones that Ericsson has predicted by mid-2019.

In December, Oppo announced making a six-person video call across a 5G connection on a prototype 5G smartphone, which went for more than 17 minutes and used sub-6GHz spectrum bands. The company is eyeing 3D video calls next.

"This latest milestone of completing the world's first multi-party 5G video call once again demonstrates Oppo's technological advancement in the development of 5G smartphones," the company said at the time.

"It also brings the company a step closer to being one of the first manufacturers to release 5G handsets commercially in 2019."

The test came a week after Oppo announced that it would be investing 10 billion yuan or $1.44 billion in R&D across 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) -- a 150 percent year-on-year increase.

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