Swisscom, Ericsson collaborate on Swiss 5G project

Ericsson wrapped up a busy week of 5G developments by announcing a new programme with Swisscom and unveiling what it described as "5G plug-ins" to help bridge the gap with current mobile networks.

The Sweden-based vendor has launched the "5G for Switzerland" programme together with Swisscom and academic partner École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The three partners plan to work with different industries to develop, implement and trial various industrial applications.

The companies intend to contribute the results of their research towards the definition of international 5G standards, with completion planned for 2019.

Heinz Herren, CTO and CIO of Swisscom said: "5G is still in the early stages of development. For Swisscom it is essential to be in on the planning from the start, preparing for future applications."

Like 5G for Germany, which Ericsson also unveiled this week, 5G for Switzerland forms part of the company's "5G for Europe" programme that was announced in 2015.

Meanwhile Ericsson also plans to offer "5G plug-ins" to enable mobile operators to address various new use cases as their networks evolve towards 5G. The vendor said the plug-ins "are software-driven innovations that bring essential 5G technology concepts to today's cellular networks." Field trials will be carried out in 2016 with commercial deployments expected in 2017.

Ericsson designed the plug-ins as bridges between existing and future mobile networks because LTE networks are expected to continue to evolve in parallel with new 5G technologies.

Peter Jarich, VP for consumer and infrastructure services at Current Analysis, said: "5G has gained undeniable momentum over the last year. Yet, without spectrum allocations or ratified standards, operators need a migration tactic allowing them to leverage current network investments in synch with their 5G evolution strategies."

Ericsson added that it is already working with more than 20 mobile operators worldwide on 5G networking and use cases.

Arun Bansal, senior VP and head of the radio business unit at Ericsson, said: "5G will be driven by new use cases requiring higher performance -- from connected cars with perfect driving records, to immersive augmented reality for remote surgery, to multi-K movies on mobile devices."

Ericsson 5G plug-ins include massive MIMO; multi-user MIMO; RAN virtualisation; intelligent connectivity; and latency reduction plug-ins.

For more:
- see the Ericsson release on 5G for Switzerland
- see the Ericsson release on 5G plug-ins

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