Ericsson was the last of the big three kit vendors to preannounce its MWC agenda and it’s going straight for the big one – 5G.
Huawei had its reveal at the start of this week, which had a decidedly cloudy feel to it, while Nokia has spammed so many press releases out since the start of the month that it would be easier to list the themes it hasn’t covered. Ericsson is unashamedly shooting for the big prize and its messaging is that it’s ahead of the game when it comes to the kit you need to get there.
A collection of new products and upgrade options for existing ones have been grouped together under the banner of a ‘5G platform’, which is being positioned as catering to the needs of 5G first movers. Ericsson has done some number crunching and reckons that in ten years’ time, the total global business opportunity created for operators by 5G will be $582 billion – i.e. just short of the profit Apple makes per quarter.
“With this launch, we introduce our 5G platform to support the beginning of a huge change in network capabilities, allowing our customers to offer more advanced use cases and new business models to their customers,” said Arun Bansal, Head of Business Unit Network Products at Ericsson. “It is an important milestone enabling operators to continue their evolution journey to 5G.”
Such is the early, ill-defined and eclectic nature of the next generation telecoms offering that big announcements tend to be somewhat vague affairs, and this was no exception. During an online presentation successive Ericsson execs lined up to tell us how big 5G will be and how ‘all over it’ Ericsson is. To be fair, when your actual product launches are essentially grey boxes with a slightly higher number than the last lot, you’re entitled to hyperbolic tangent or two.
Ericsson also preferred to dwell on solutions and use-cases rather than the boxes themselves and seemed especially keen to talk about network slicing in the light of the announcement from SK Telecom earlier in the day. At the core of the new 5G platform is, appropriately enough, the 5G core system. Here are some of the handy 5G-ish things Ericsson says it does.
- Federated network slices for 5G roaming extends this concept to a visited network. This technology will make it possible for an operator to provide a network service globally, ensuring enterprises do not need individual agreements with different operators for a global service experience.
- Network slice management to automate the setup of service connections and to secure service quality, to save costs and to gain fast time to service.
- 5G policy and user data for network slices to ensure users get the right service quality and have data integrity.
- Distributed cloud to facilitate short latency applications, such as real-time face recognition, by moving applications and workloads closer to the access. In addition, the 5G-enabled packet core will allow full separation of control and user data, as well as unprecedented capacity and user data rates.
- 5G transformation services to ensure the migration of the network and operation from legacy to 5G core, virtualized and based on an automated operational model.
Ericsson lined up a bunch of other talking heads, including the inevitable obliging analysts, and you can safely assume they all said the Ericsson 5G platform is great. As you’re clearly desperate to see a photo of the new boxes here it is – we hope you’re happy now.