Displaying items by tag: Ericsson

Qualcomm and Ericsson further MTN’s IoT ambitions

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 10:49

Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies have successfully completed a lab trial for a Cat-M1 solution with MTN South Africa in support of MTN’s Internet of Things (IoT) ambitions.

This is the first Cat-M1 test implementation of its kind on the African continent and represents the first stage of a wider scope of test activity. The Cat-M1 trial uses IoT devices integrated with a Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modem and the Ericsson Massive IoT Radio Access Network product.

The successful test will ensure MTN continues to lead in technological IoT advancements and will prepare MTN for a new wave of solutions that can be implemented in the future. MTN South Africa will continue trialing devices and applications for Cat-M1 in its Test Bed lab.

Cellular IoT technologies, such as Cat-M1 and their evolution into 5G, set a solid foundation for massive IoT by reducing complexity, lowering power consumption, expanding coverage, and increasing device density.

Cat-M1 enables advanced IoT applications by providing hundreds of kilobits per second in throughput, mobility, and VoLTE support. Examples of typical Cat-M1 IoT applications include smartwatches or fitness bands with integrated voice communications services, pet tracking devices, point of sale terminals, vending machines and vehicle tracking with emergency calling support.

“Cat-M1 provides key advantages of low-cost devices, long battery life, extended coverage and supports a wide range of use cases,” said Giovanni Chiarelli, CTIO, MTN South Africa. “The successful trial, in conjunction with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, proves that both companies have the ability to support new IoT services and technologies for MTN.”

Chiarelli added, “The initial use of this technology has been for tracking and reporting use cases that have benefited both consumer and business customers. At MTN we are providing the platform for these and future applications to enhance people’s lives.”

Rafiah Ibrahim, President, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said, “Today, the majority of telco IoT revenue comes from machine-to-machine connectivity, but in the next five years, this will change to revenue from platforms, applications and services. This trial ensures MTN South Africa will capture new revenue streams and deliver the best experience to its customers.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Hong Kong’s SmarTone successfully trials LAA with Ericsson

Written on Monday, 04 September 2017 07:01

Ericsson and SmarTone, the leading mobile network operator in Hong Kong, have taken a significant step toward 5G with the successful trial of Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology in a live over-the-air demonstration in Hong Kong.

LAA allows the use of unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band in combination with licensed spectrum. By doing this, subscribers get an enhanced mobile broadband experience with even more capacity and faster speeds while operators make efficient use of unlicensed spectrum resources.

“SmarTone is very pleased to have completed the first LAA trial in Hong Kong.  LAA is an important technological evolution that can combine licensed and unlicensed spectrum to provide LTE service,” said Stephen Chau, Chief Technology Officer of SmarTone.

“It will be widely adopted in the US and European markets in the near future.  We are very excited that with the support of Ericsson, our long-term technology partner, SmarTone has once again brought a groundbreaking technology to mobile users in Hong Kong and taken a great step further toward 5G,” Chau added.

SmarTone used one LTE 10MHz band aggregated with three 20MHz bands of unlicensed spectrum for the trial. Together with 4CC carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256QAM technologies, the trial used a Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM X16 LTE mobile test device and Ericsson’s micro Radio 2205 for LAA, which is designed for unlicensed spectrum use and provides small dimensions, flexible mounting and superior performance.  Future enhancement of LAA includes 5CC carrier aggregation support in 2018, and allows the download speeds to exceed 1Gbps.

“LAA is a key evolution of mobile technology and we are pleased to be first in Hong Kong together with SmarTone to demonstrate the increased capacity, improved speeds and enhanced user experience through the combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum,” said Petra Schirren, President of Ericsson Hong Kong and Macau. “Through the introduction of advanced technologies, such as LAA, we enable Gigabit Class LTE on the road to 5G.”

This latest news is a significant milestone for SmarTone and Ericsson, after the companies extended their partnership in Q4, 2016 to transform the operator’s network beyond 4G. It also adds to a slew of recent achievements using LAA from Ericsson on the road to Gigabit LTE.

LAA is a key technology as operators evolve their networks to achieve Gigabit LTE. The milestone requires more spectrum than what most operators have access to, and by opening up previously untapped resources of unlicensed spectrum using LAA, operators can deliver speeds once thought only possible over fiber. 

Published in Telecom Operators

Zain Iraq upgrading network to meet growing data demands

Written on Monday, 04 September 2017 06:08

Zain Iraq, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zain Group, has selected Ericsson to upgrade its existing network using the Swedish telecom equipment vendor’s virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) offering to meet the growing data demands of its customers in the region.

Under this collaboration, Ericsson will modernize the current infrastructure of Zain Iraq’s network by implementing a solution that will enable the operator to quickly introduce new services for customers, while maintaining high performance network requirements.

Ericsson will modernize Zain Iraq’s existing infrastructure into Ericsson NFV infrastructure (NFVi) solution, which provides a software-defined infrastructure with Hyperscale Datacenter System 8000. Also as part of the solution, Ericsson will provide system integration and support services.

“We trust that Ericsson’s Network Functions Virtualization solution will enable us to meet our strategic goals as well as our customers’ demands, and continue to provide superior performance while meeting growing data needs,” said Ali Al-Zahid, CEO, Zain Iraq.

“This investment and ongoing modernization of our network is yet another example of our dedication to future-proofing our operations for the benefit of all stakeholders,” Al-Zahid added. “It also reflects our commitment to providing the mobile community in Iraq with the highest quality of service available, delivered via cutting edge infrastructure and technology to ensure a superior mobile experience for our customers.”

Rafiah Ibrahim, President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa said: “Iraq is an important market for mobile network development and innovation. As Iraqi users are passionate adopters of new technology, network modernization and adoption of new technologies become critical to meet Iraqi users’ demand for capacity and coverage.”

Despite the socio-economic circumstances coupled with the continuation of intense price competition in Iraq, Zain Iraq achieved US$523 million revenues in Q2 due to growth in data usage and numerous customer acquisition initiatives in the northern regions of the country. The operator’s efficiency drive saw EBITDA reach US$ 179 million, reflecting a 34 percent EBITDA margin. Net income amounted to US$ 11 million for the period.

Zain Iraq leads the market serving 12.9 million customers. 

Published in Telecom Operators

 Ericsson has endured a difficult number of years in the telecommunications market, but newly-appointed CTO Erik Ekudden has expressed his optimism moving forward – vowing that the Swedish vendor will focus on key trends they’ve identified such as ‘automation’. The CTO disclosed that the key trends were identified following intense discussions with Ericsson’s customers and its leadership team since his appointment on July 1st.

Ekudden believes that Ericsson is well-placed to deliver on some of the technology trends which have been established. However, he did concede that it must develop new skills and capabilities in conjunction with other key industry players in order to be in a position to capitalize on the remainder.

One of the key trends identified is providing an adaptable technology base by combining software and hardware. According to the executive Ericsson’s experience and nous ensures that it can improve the efficiency of networks and ultimately ‘lower costs’.

Other keys trends identified by Ericsson which were disclosed by Ekudden include the need to establish an advanced machine intelligence system - he claimed that the ecosystem for machine learning and AI platforms were maturing and that the Swedish telecommunications colossus was enhancing its operations in relation to the development of such network platforms.

However, it was in the area of ‘automation’ and IoT  which represents a great opportunity for Ericsson to assist its customer base in their ‘automation journey’ by offering better infrastructure and ultimately delivering an interaction between operations and networks which is much more intuitive and smooth.

Ekudden said, “Automation is a big theme among our customers. Ericsson is taking a leading role here, and we’ve got great experience in managed services and broader optimization capabilities. In addition to this, end-to-end security in IoT systems is crucial, and our goal is to establish what we call “hardware routes of trust” in every IoT device.”

However, the newly-appointed CTO stressed the importance of security and said it was imperative that it is considered when developing every new IoT device. He added, “It’s an architectural question, and it’s also about designing every node at a certain security level. This is something we take as a very important part of the products that we build on the network side.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

China Unicom launches commercial Gigabit LTE network

Written on Monday, 28 August 2017 05:52

China Unicom, together with Ericsson, has commercially launched a Gigabit LTE network in China, allowing subscribers to “enjoy the services and benefits available with high-speed mobile broadband data,” an Ericsson statement said.

The Gigabit LTE network upgraded by Ericsson will not only provide China Unicom subscribers with an advanced LTE experience and enhanced customer satisfaction, but it will also make full use of network resources and improve profitability, the companies claim.

“This remarkable achievement will fulfill our strategy to offer the most advanced services to individuals and enterprises on the China Unicom network,” said Hao Liqian, General Manager, Hainan branch, China Unicom. “Our launch ceremony today [August 23] is important, innovative and fun, since we’re using Virtual Reality on a high-speed train over a high-speed network to prove the worthiness of this launch.”

As one part of the launch, passengers on the Hainan Island high-speed train were able to watch the ceremony through LTE broadcast technology and the Gigabit wireless network. Ericsson, as China Unicom's strategic partner, is the exclusive provider of the LTE broadcast solution, which is China's first LTE broadcast commercial deployment.

“We’re literally putting the network into the hands of the subscribers on day one,” said Chris Houghton, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson. “People will be able to immerse themselves in their video experience and not just understand, but feel, the difference with a Gigabit LTE network while they are moving at very fast speeds. It’s the perfect combination of thrilling speeds – physically and virtually.”

Ericsson’s LTE broadcast solution will “revolutionize video delivery” in mobile networks enabled by the combination of three new standards: eMBMS, HEVC (H.265) and MPEG DASH and will address the growing consumer demand for media services, the Swedish firm said. To accelerate the development of China Unicom’s video strategy, Ericsson supported China Unicom with eMBMS in the high-speed train scenario so that passengers could enjoy high-definition video without buffering on the network.

Recently, Ericsson supported China Unicom in setting up a 1Gbps network in Guangdong, Hainan, Shandong, and Beijing with peak speeds of up to 979Mbps. With that speed, it takes just 13 seconds to download a 1080P high-definition movie. There are more on-going 1Gbps trials in Sichuan, Hubei, Shanxi, Jilin and Jiangsu province. A high-speed mobile broadband network will enable businesses and services using artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other big data operations.

From an outside perspective, China Unicom appears strong, as one of the world’s largest carriers by user numbers, but the company’s earnings haven’t measure up to its fierce competition. The carrier, according to recent reports, is perceived as slow, often lagging behind its competition in terms of developing new technologies and services, including cloud and big data services, and mobile software. 

Therefore, Chinese search engine colossus Baidu and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group are amongst a consortium of 14 strategic investors expected to participate in the sale of China Unicom shares, according to a statement released by the Chinese operator.  Funds generated from a share sale are estimated to earn the operator around $11.7 billion, which it will subsequently utilize to upgrade its 4G capabilities and help accelerate its aims to develop 5G.

The Chinese government is reportedly attempting to drive investment in state-owned giants through private capital. The government selected China Unicom among other state-owned enterprises last year, a report by Business Insider says, to see “mixed-ownership reform”. 

Published in Telecom Operators

South Korean multinational conglomerate Samsung and Chinese vendor ZTE have both adopted aggressive strategies in relation to investment for 5G infrastructure – and many analysts are predicting that this approach will both disrupt and threaten the traditional trio of networks players which include Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.

ZTE has focused largely on the development of 5G specifications in the last twelve months, which is much more than any of it previous forays in relation to mobile technology. The Chinese telecommunications equipment and systems colossus has doubled its R&D spending on 5G in 2016 to $400m – and has assigned 1,600 employees to work on the technology at four dedicated research facilities located in China, the US and Europe.

Director of Wireless Standardization, Wang Xinhui has claimed that ZTE’s inactivity with 2G, 3G and 4G was down to the fact that it lacked maturity, and declared it was now much better equipped for the forthcoming era of 5G. At a 5G Summit in Tokyo in May, he told Mobile World Live: “In the past we were simply less mature. With 2G and 3G, and even with 4G, we weren’t that big. But in the era of 5G, we were well prepared. We’ve spent a huge amount of money and devoted so much human resources, particularly towards the New Radio specifications.”

Chief analyst at Global Data Technology, Peter Jarich said it made perfect sense for an entity like ZTE to attempt to penetrate the 5G market, as the technology will require new expertise and infrastructure. He feels it’s a natural and logical progression from ZTE to invest heavily in 5G, as they recognize it as a phenomenal opportunity.

South Korean smartphone giants Samsung have also adopted a similar approach, and have been working on 5G since 2012, when it started its first mmWave research and development. It has previously stated that it firmly believes that strong 5G infrastructure will help ensure Samsung executes its mission which is to ‘connect everything’.

Samsung has boldly set its sights on becoming a top-three player in the 5G infrastructure market, and it has estimated that network equipment sales will treble to $8.6 billion in 2022. It has been disclosed that Samsung, which is the world’s largest smartphone maker plans to accumulate market share by moving swiftly and targeting the US market.

The reason behind its strategic targeting of the US market is that its Asian competitors such as Huawei and ZTE may face a ban on selling networking gear due to security concerns which have been raised by the government. In May, Samsung publicly announced that it had conducted the world’s first field trial of a multi-vendor, pre-standard 5G network with US telecommunications firm Verizon. In addition to this, more recently Samsung and UK communications firm Arqiva announced it had conducted the first field trial of 5G Fixed Wireless Access Technology in Europe that went live in Central London.

VP of next-generation business and products at Samsung Networks, Woojune Kim, has expressed his confidence they can become a top tier network player in 5G, citing the fact that its Finnish and Swedish competitors are currently struggling. This stark assessment of its rivals was evidenced by the CEO of Nokia, Rajeev Suri conceded that the fact 5G was accelerating much faster than originally expected, would almost inevitable create some near term risks for his company, with the timing and completion of certain projects now uncertain. 

Published in Telecom Vendors

Qualcomm Technologies, Verizon and Ericsson together successfully surpassed the Gigabit speed barrier, Ericsson said in a statement on August 21. The companies achieved an industry first with commercial silicon and network infrastructure with 1.07Gbps download speeds using Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem, the first to support Category 18 LTE, during an Ericsson lab trial.

“Ericsson is working across the industry to improve the end-user experience and to develop new functionalities and advancements with greater spectral efficiency on LTE,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Business Area Networks, Ericsson. “Achieving 1.07Gbps with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies on a commercial chipset is a big milestone on the road to 5G.” 

This achievement builds on Ericsson’s recent announcement about Gigabit LTE with support for License Assisted Access (LAA). Also of significance, the 1.07Gbps speed was achieved using only three 20MHz carriers of FDD (Frequency Division Duplex using separate transmit and receive frequencies) spectrum, achieving new levels of spectral efficiency for commercial networks and devices. These efficiencies will enable the delivery of the Gigabit class experience to more customers and lead to new wireless innovations, Ericsson said.

The companies achieved the 1.07Gbps industry milestone by using 12 simultaneous LTE streams, which allow for up to 20 percent increase in peak data rates and capacity with a corresponding improvement in average speeds. Ericsson’s Radio System and LTE software, in concert with a mobile test device based on the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, enabled the high speeds.

In the lab, the 1.07Gbps speeds were achieved using all licensed band combinations with:12 LTE streams with 3 cell carrier aggregation of FDD spectrum; 4x4 MIMO per carrier (multiple in, multiple out), which uses multiple antennae at the cell tower and on consumers devices to optimize data speeds; and 256 QAM per carrier, which enables customer devices and the network to exchange information in large amounts, delivering more bits of data in each transmission, significantly enhancing data speeds.

“Qualcomm Technologies has been at the forefront of driving Gigabit LTE in the industry,” said Mike Finley, senior vice president and president, Qualcomm North America. “Our work with Verizon and Ericsson has allowed us to be first in surpassing the Gigabit speed barrier with our Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. This is an important milestone on the path to 5G that will allow for better average speeds for all users and will drive new and exciting consumer experiences.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Ericsson’s financial uncertainty shows no sign of abating following reports in the Swedish media that the telecommunications firm is set to cut 25,000 jobs. Reports circulating from the Nordic region claim that management at Ericsson intend to lay off around 25,000 employees as part of its new savings program that has been devised in an effort to counteract its financial plight. 

In July, Ericsson formally announced that it planned to accelerate measures to meet a target of doubling its 2016 underlying operating margin of 6%. In addition to this, it also outlined its aim to reach an annual cost reduction run rate of at least $1.2 billion by the end of the second quarter of next year.

Ericsson stressed that any actions taken would primarily affect service delivery and common costs, and claimed that research and development would remain largely unaffected. However, the Swedish telecommunications colossus is facing increasing pressure from competitors such as China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia.

Other contributory factors to its financial woes is that of weak emerging markets and falling spend by operators with the demand for next-generation 5G technology still years away. Swedish media outlet Svenska Dagbladet claimed that a source within Ericsson leaked the information to them, but said it was unsure as to whether or not the planned culling of staff included employees within its media operations.

It has been claimed that these positions are up for strategic review, and many analysts have predicted that it is likely to be sold by the group. In a statement which was released on Ericsson’s website, a spokesman said it was too early to talk about ‘specific measures’ in relation to the latest jobs cuts at the organization. The statement read, “Ericsson has not communicated which specific units or countries could be affected. It is too early to talk about specific measures or exclude any country.”

This is just the latest in a long line of job cuts which have been made by Ericsson over the last number of years. Multiple job losses have been made in both Italy and Sweden. However, these reports if true would represent the largest reduction in staff by the company. Theres was hope that the appointment of a new CEO, and a number of board changes would reinvigorate the Swedish telecommunications giant, but that has thus far failed to materialize. Currently, Ericsson has around 109,000 employees.

Published in Telecom Operators

Ericsson sued smartphone maker Wiko, in the regional courts of Düsseldorf and Mannheim in Germany, for infringement of patents essential for 2G, 3G and 4G cellular technology, as well as implementation patents. Wiko is a French smartphone manufacturing company majority-owned by Chinese technology group Tinno Mobile and its phones are manufactured in China.

Wiko has been infringing Ericsson’s intellectual property rights for six years without any license or compensation, Ericsson claims. The Swedish telecom vendor has “tried to establish a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) license agreement with Wiko since May 2013, but has not succeeded,” it said. Ericsson has now decided to exercise its legal rights to enforce its patents against Wiko’s infringing products.

“Global sharing of technology and open standards are the force behind the smartphone revolution and have allowed new entrants, such as Wiko, to quickly build successful businesses,” said Gustav Brismark, Chief Intellectual Property Officer at Ericsson.

“This ICT eco-system only works, however, if all market players respect the basic rules of FRAND licensing,” he added. “It is unfair for Wiko to benefit from our substantial R&D investment without paying a reasonable license fee for our patented technology. Our ambition has always been to reach a mutually fair and reasonable license agreement with Wiko, just as we do with all of our licensees.”

Ericsson has a large intellectual property portfolio, which includes more than 42,000 granted patents worldwide. Ericsson’s patent portfolio covers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE technologies, and the company plays a key role in the global organizations that are developing standards for 5G technologies.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Japanese automotive manufacturer DENSO Corporation, along with Ericsson, Intel Corporation, Japanese telecom company NTT DOCOMO and Toyota announced that they have initiated the formation of the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium.

The objective of the consortium is to develop an ecosystem for connected cars to support emerging services such as intelligent driving, the creation of maps with real-time data and driving assistance based on cloud computing.

It is estimated that the data volume between vehicles and the cloud will reach 10 exabytes per month around 2025, approximately 10,000 times larger than the present volume. This expected increase will trigger the need for new architectures of network and computing infrastructure to support distributed resources and topology-aware storage capacity. The architectures will be compliant with applicable standards that require collaboration on a local and global scale.

The consortium will focus on increasing network capacity to accommodate automotive big data in a reasonable fashion between vehicles and the cloud by means of edge computing and more efficient network design.

It will define requirements and develop use cases for emerging mobile devices with a particular focus on the automotive industry, bringing them to standards bodies, industry consortiums and solution providers. The consortium will also encourage the development of best practices for the distributed and layered computing approach recommended by the members.

In the coming months, the aforementioned companies will initiate activities to invite relevant global technology leaders and expand the consortium.

Published in Internet of Things
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