Orange and Chinese telco equipment maker ZTE showcased various use cases for 5G networks on Wednesday at the Global 5G Event and the European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC) in Valencia, Spain.
The first test, dubbed "#ConnectedVehicleCampus5G", trialled a 5G remote-driving application. The application uses high-definition cameras that are installed in a vehicle to get multiple images of the car's surroundings and sends them over the Orange 5G network to the remote driver in real-time. Using a 5G network, Orange said, provides the ultra-low latency needed for the driver to effectively control the vehicle at all times.
ZTE and Orange also trialled an application that allows users to control robotic arms remotely. This application uses a high-resolution camera that captures the movements of the human arm that controls the robot. These movements are recognised, interpreted, and transformed into commands that are instantly sent to the robot over the Orange 5G network.
The two companies also conducted demonstrations of 5G being used to stream HD news programs in real-time and 4K 360-degree videos.
The Orange-ZTE collaboration follows the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) decision in April to cut its ties with ZTE over US federal investigations currently underway against the two Chinese companies.
Countries around the world have been hesitant to use Chinese telco equipment due to security concerns, with US President Trump in May signing an executive order to ban US companies from buying, installing, or using foreign-made telecommunications equipment, citing cyber-espionage fears. The ban effectively targets Chinese equipment providers like ZTE and Huawei, although no names were mentioned in the executive order's text.
ZTE's telco equipment is also banned from participating in 5G rollouts in Australia and Japan, with the countries citing similar reasons of ZTE and Huawei likely being subject to extrajudicial directions from Beijing.
Prior to this, ZTE was banned from buying US components after the company was found to have breached a US trade embargo with Iran. The ban was lifted in July last year after ZTE agreed to pay a tranche of a $1.4 billion penalty.
Ericsson to build out GCI's 5G network
Meanwhile, Alaska's largest telco, GCI, has selected Ericsson's telco equipment for its 5G network buildout, with the company expecting the next-generation network to launch sometime in 2020.
GCI will deploy Ericsson's 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software to 82 macro cell sites across the municipality of Anchorage. Those sites will be supported by backhaul services provided by GCI's metro fibre network, the telco said.
"We are committed to providing superior 5G wireless service to the residents of Anchorage just as we already provide the fastest internet service. We are bringing all our assets -- fibre, spectrum, wireless footprint, Alaska expertise -- to bear on that commitment," GCI CEO Ron Duncan.
The municipality of Anchorage is currently using a "light grid" for its street lights and is exploring programs that rely on automated systems and connectivity in a bid to improve the city's smart capabilities.
With Ericsson being signed on by GCI to build out its 5G network, the company's telco equipment has been chosen for 22 publicly announced build outs around the world so far.
Indonesia's largest telco, Telkomsel, also announced last week it would use Ericsson's new network virtualisation infrastructure, which when combined with its existing Cloud Packet Core, to lead it towards being 5G-ready,
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The Swedish equipment maker also forecasts that 45% of the world's population will have 5G coverage by 2024.
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Ericsson's new 5G offerings include standalone NR software, edge computing options, and a virtual network function vendors certification program.