Ericsson announced on Wednesday its plans to build a 5G factory in the US sometime early next year.
The factory will be the Swedish telco equipment maker's first fully-automated factory, the company said, and will be used to produce 5G radios designed for urban areas. It will also make Advanced Antenna System radios that it said are components for large-scale deployments of 4G and 5G networks for both rural and urban coverage.
"With today's announcement, we conclude months of preparations and can move into execution also in the US," Ericsson executive vice president and head of networks Fredrik Jejdling said.
"In addition, we are digitalising our entire global production landscape, including establishing this factory in the US. With 5G connectivity we're accelerating Industry 4.0, enabling automated factories for the future."
Ericsson did not provide details about where the factory will be located, but the company has plans to initially employ around 100 people at the factory, which will have "highly automated operations".
The race to launch 5G networks among telcos is already well underway, with telcos like Verizon having already rolled out a live 5G network.
Ericsson's announcement to build a 5G factory in the US also follows US President Donald Trump in recent months banning companies from using telco equipment made by its competitor Huawei.
See also: 5G network deployments stymied by Huawei ban as other firms scramble to fill the void (TechRepublic)
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai applauded Ericsson's announcement.
"Building 5G equipment in the United States is good for our economy, good for the supply chain, and good for the rapid rollout of the next generation of wireless connectivity in the United States," he said.
According to the Ericsson's latest mobility report, North America is expected to lead in the adoption of 5G, with the company predicting that 63% of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G-based in 2024.
The Swedish equipment maker also forecasts that 45% of the world's population will have 5G coverage by 2024.
Touting its low latency and high speeds, Ericsson says 5G can introduce a multitude of new applications for businesses and give telcos the cost efficiencies they seek, but the persistent controversy over cybersecurity--specifically involving Huawei--is leading to uncertainty and a general slowdown in the market.
Ericsson and Intel have announced another collaboration, this time for a software and hardware management platform for 5G, NFV, and distributed cloud.
Ericsson's new 5G offerings include standalone NR software, edge computing options, and a virtual network function vendors certification program.