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Ericsson to build Deutsche Telekom '5G-ready' network

Ericsson will provide RAN, baseband, multi-standard radios, and software and hardware solutions over the next five years to prepare and support Deutsche Telekom's 5G mobile network.

Networking giant Ericsson has won a five-year contract with Deutsche Telekom to lay the foundations across the German telecommunications provider's mobile network as part of what it called an "important step towards 5G".

"Ericsson will modernise Deutsche Telekom's 2G, 3G, and 4G network with a multi-standard solution," Ericsson said.

"The OSS for the radio network enables unified network management."

Under the partnership, Ericsson will supply its multi-standard radio access network (RAN) using its Baseband 6630 product and radios for one of Deutsche Telekom's two market areas across Germany, providing radio system products for both macro and small cell sites along with Ericsson Network Manager.

It will also supply hardware and software solutions and support.

"We listened to Deutsche Telekom and understood their urgency to have 5G-ready infrastructure in order to stay at the forefront of customer service in Germany. We can run multiple standards on the same baseband hardware, and a 5G upgrade will be able to be performed by a simple software download to the radio sites," Ericsson senior VP and head of Market Area Europe and Latin America Arun Bansal said.

"During these deliveries, we will use the experience from our 5G activities around the world to be sure that Deutsche Telekom has the most advanced hardware and software in the industry."

Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn last month told ZDNet that Germany's largest mobile telco is ready for 5G, with its live 5G New Radio (NR) trial network in Berlin the first in Europe to be deployed across commercial sites.

Deutsche Telekom's Berlin network, launched in October as part of its 5G Haus development program, was constructed in partnership with Chinese networking giant Huawei rather than Ericsson, however.

The companies used Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology on four Huawei radio antennas in Berlin's Schöneberg district: Two on Winterfeldtstrasse, and one each on Martin-Luther-Strasse and Pohlstrasse.

Using 3GPP 5G NR pre-standards on commercial sites across the 3.7GHz spectrum band for the test network, Huawei and Deutsche Telekom have attained high speeds and low latency on customer devices during tests.

Jacobfeuerborn had told ZDNet that as soon as the 5G standards are defined by 3GPP and the technology is available from vendors, Deutsche Telekom would move to lay the foundation of its 5G network in 2018 ahead of a full rollout.

"We are 5G ready. So the next point for us is when the standard is ready 2020 onwards, there will be a 5G network available," Jacobfeuerborn explained, adding that the telco has been working with Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei.

It is also working with Intel, making use of its x86 chipset and 5G Mobile Trial Platform, with Jacobfeuerborn saying his company has a "very close relationship" with the tech giant.

Deutsche Telekom launched its 5G Haus back in March 2015, with the innovation lab being used to collaborate on development with research firms, startups, network vendors, and other partners.

One such mobile carrier that Deutsche Telekom has partnered with is SK Telecom, with the two telcos earlier this year collaborating with Ericsson to demonstrate federated network slicing technology.

Ericsson, meanwhile, was also chosen earlier this week to roll out Verizon's commercial 5G networks in the United States, providing pre-standardised 3GPP technology "in select markets" next year.

After announcing an accelerated 5G launch in October, Verizon and Ericsson will begin deploying the networks in the second half of 2018 using Ericsson's 5G core network, 5G RAN, transport services, and associated solutions.

Trials of 5G with operators across the globe have seen Ericsson use its 28GHz radios, virtualised RAN (vRAN), and full 5G virtualised core for trials with AT&T; attain speeds of over 6Gbps during trials with Verizon during the Indianapolis 500 motor race in addition to working with Verizon on 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks across the US; attain data transfer speeds of 3.6Gbps on connected cars with SK Telecom and BMW; download speeds of between 18Gbps and 22Gbps during the first live trial of 5G in Australia with Telstra; and achieve 1Gbps speeds with 5G-connected cars in partnership with Intel, Toyota, Denso, and NTT DoCoMo.

Ericsson last month predicted that 5G would reach 20 percent of the global population by 2023, with 1 billion subscriptions to be held by then.

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