Ericsson will begin rolling out Verizon's commercial 5G networks next year under a deal announced this week, providing pre-standardised 3GPP technology "in select markets".
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 radio access network (RAN), transport services, and associated solutions.
"Our pioneering work with 5G will make US consumers and businesses among the first in the world to benefit from the transformative services of the new technology," Ericsson executive VP Fredrik Jejdling said.
"It further illustrates how our global 5G portfolio, designed to support 5G NR as standardised in 3GPP, enables first movers in the early commercialisation of 5G networks."
Ericsson has already been helping Verizon -- which earlier this week announced a $2.5 billion five-year deal to stream NFL games -- to upgrade its 4G LTE networks.
In October, the two companies announced the deployment of Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) technology across its wireless network in Irvine, California.
For the Massive MIMO deployment, Ericsson provided 96 antenna elements that are driven by 16 transceiver radio units across a 20MHz chunk of advanced wireless services spectrum.
At the time, they said the frequency-division duplex (FDD) deployment will "serve as a stepping stone to 5G", enabling beam-forming technology that directs antenna beams to where a customer is.
"Massive MIMO is a key technology enabler for 5G, but already today, 4G LTE service providers and end users can benefit from the superior capacity and network performance this technology enables," Ericsson head of Market Area North America Niklas Heuveldop explained.
"The current trial is an important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon to prepare their network for 5G."
Ericsson said it will also move to deploy Massive MIMO on further areas of Verizon's network "where there are capacity needs" in future.
Verizon has previously said its goal is to launch 5G networks in 2019.
Their 5G trials will begin in 2018, and will also involve MIMO antenna technology, adaptive beam-forming and beam-tracking techniques, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X50 5G NR mobile modem chipset.
In June, Verizon told ZDNet that one of the "key" parts of 5G is interoperability, with the carrier working not only with Ericsson and Qualcomm but also with Cisco, Samsung, Intel, LG, and Nokia to roll out its pre-commercial 5G trial networks across the US this year.
"It's going to be a multi-vendor solution, so we need to have that interoperability," Verizon senior solutions architect Chris Painter told ZDNet earlier this year.
Painter had confirmed to ZDNet in June that Verizon's 11 pre-commercial 5G trial networks -- in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington; Washington DC; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Brockton, Massachusetts; and Denver, Colorado -- would be deployed before the end of 2017.
Ericsson is similarly working with US carrier T-Mobile, last week using licensed-assisted access (LAA) technology to achieve speeds of 1.1Gbps using 12-layer LAA technology, Ericsson's Radio 2205 system, Cobham Wireless TM500 network test equipment, and T-Mobile's lab in Bellevue, Washington for the trials, which aggregated two licensed carriers and three unlicensed carriers.
T-Mobile has worked with Ericsson over the last two years to roll out advanced 4G using Ericsson's Antenna-Integrated Radio (AIR), 4x4 MIMO, and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Moderation (QAM), and 64 QAM. Ericsson also provided T-Mobile with 700MHz tuning and optimisation.
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 as of 2023, with 1 billion subscriptions to be held by then.
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