Ericsson has announced the completion of its 5G commercial software across radio and core networks, which it said will allow telecommunications carriers to launch 5G services from Q4 this year.
"Operators who want to be early with 5G now have the essential pieces for launching 5G networks already this year," Ericsson executive VP and head of Business Area Networks Fredrik Jejdling said.
"With our expanded platform, they will get more efficient networks as well as opportunities to create new revenues from emerging consumer and industrial use cases."
Available from Q4, the radio network software offering will also enable multi-band spectrum support to allow for deployments across the globe by carriers that have varying 5G frequency availability.
All Ericsson Radio System products will be backwards compatible with 5G NR capabilities thanks to remote software installation, including legacy radios dating back to 2015, dot system products, and micro radios. Such products have been deployed in over 190 networks globally, according to Ericsson.
Carriers will also be able to run 5G and 4G in the same band using the same radio and baseband, thanks to dynamic spectrum sharing capabilities.
The Swedish networking giant had initially launched its 5G platform in February last year, adding a new frequency-division duplex (FDD) LTE radio with support for 5G and Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) in September. This week's upgrade amounts to the expansion of its 5G core system to support 5G radio access network (RAN) commercial software based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio (5G NR) standards set in December, it said.
Ericsson also announced an upgrade to its distributed cloud solution for the deployment of cloud applications across central, distributed, and edge sites, along with support for distributed cloud infrastructure containers.
"As part of the Ericsson Distributed Cloud, Ericsson will support deployments of hardware options in a multi-vendor framework. With fast, deployable telecom-grade open software for remote upgrade and operation, Ericsson brings software-defined infrastructure (SDI) to the edge," the company said.
"To support efficient deployment of cloud native applications, Ericsson also expands the offering with support for containers in a distributed cloud infrastructure."
Ericsson additionally announced a new category of radio products labelled Street Macro, which it said fills the niche of carriers attempting to expand coverage throughout cities that have limited locations for radio sites.
The Street Macro products are sized between its macro and micro cell offerings, and can be positioned on building facades to provide network coverage.
To assist in the transition from 4G to 5G services, Ericsson lastly revealed new radio products that support Massive MIMO technology, adding that its own study of enhanced mobile broadband unveiled this week showed that 5G will reduce the cost per gigabyte by tenfold over 4G.
The company's 5G radio solutions will also continue to be updated to include additional functionalities as the 3GPP standards develop further -- the next 3GPP meeting is set for September this year in Australia.
The announcements follow Ericsson last month unveiling its 5G Radio Dot, saying the small cell solution will enhance indoor mobile networks and support 3-6GHz spectrum bands with speeds of up to 2Gbps.
Ericsson is slated to undertake trials of the 5G Radio Dot in late 2018, ahead of commercial availability in 2019.
In December, the networking company raised almost $400 million to support its 5G, mobile, and IoT research and development activities, after that month being chosen to build the 5G networks of mobile carriers Deutsche Telekom and Verizon, while also running trials with AT&T in Texas and KDDI in Japan, and joining the Australian government's 5G working group.
It also completed several global 5G NR interoperability trials following the 3GPP standardisation with Australian mobile carrier Telstra; United States carriers T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T; Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo; Korean carrier SK Telecom; and European carriers Vodafone and Orange.
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