Ericsson modular radio system leads company's MWC 2015 announcements

LONDON--Ericsson stole a march on its rivals by announcing it will launch a new modular radio network system at the forthcoming Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona that can reduce operator's total cost of ownership by 20 per cent.

In an invitation-only pre-MWC presentation here, the Swedish infrastructure provider said its Radio System is a step-change in the way mobile networks are constructed that can help to remove site acquisition issues by enabling operators to install equipment on rooftops. The company said its multi-layer, multi-band radio system simultaneously operates in TDD and FDD modes of LTE and delivers three-times the capacity density, and a 50 per cent improvement in energy efficiency, compared to traditional radio equipment.

In an exclusive interview with FierceWireless:Europe, Sebastian Tolstoy, vice president of BURA marketing and communications at Ericsson's Radio business unit, said that operators are increasingly seeking a modular approach to network rollouts, and in particular one that sets them on the road to 5G.

The system sees the start of "work on some of the key requirements" of 5G technology including "energy efficiency". The system caters for 960 MHz of bandwidth that Tolstoy said "is also a key parameter going forward" towards 5G.

Ericsson noted that the modular radio architecture enables operators to tailor individual mobile network sites to meet localised requirements. The Ericsson system includes macro and small cells, antenna systems, IP transport, microwave nodes and related site equipment including a new common rail installation system which, once installed, enables engineers to fit new modules using just one bolt.

Joakim Sorelius, the head of services and infrastructure at Ericsson's LTE product area, explained to FW:E that the radio system is designed to connect to an existing baseband to add an extra cell to an existing macro site, albeit with a smaller coverage area.

Alternatively, operators may use the radio unit to offer a combined cell, which at its simplest level "increases the coverage of that cell" without the need for handoff between the main macro site and Ericsson radio system, Ericsson said.

A micro base station included within Ericsson's new Radio System is designed to meet operators' demand for improved indoor coverage, Tolstoy explained. "That particular unit has the radio and the antenna integrated," he said, noting that the new micro station will sit alongside existing equipment, including a pico cell system Ericsson introduced in the autumn of 2014.

Adding the micro station gives operators the flexibility to deploy at street level or in office buildings, Tolstoy noted.

Ericsson's new radio system is due to launch in the third quarter of 2015.

The system was one of seven announcements Ericsson made relating to its activities at Mobile World Congress. Also announced at the launch event were:

  • Digital Telco Transformation Toolbox, which combines consulting and systems integration services with Ericsson's OSS/BSS products to enable digital interaction.
  • Expert Analytics 15.0, which the company states delivers service level index to complement net promoter score with a user satisfaction index covering all subscribers.
  • Router 6000 series, which Ericsson said integrates IP transport and the industry's first 1 Rack Unit access router with a 100GE interface.
  • Networks software 15B, which Ericsson said is the world's first software-only upgrade of installed LTE kit to enable simultaneous TDD and FDD operation. Cloud Execution Environment, a part of the Networks software announcement.
  • App experience optimisation, a new service that matches app usage with network KPIs.

For more:
- see Ericsson's Radio System announcement
- view the Digital Telco statement
- see the Router 6000 announcement
- view the Networks Software and Cloud statement
- read this App Experience announcement

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