Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) want to drive early applications of 5G mobile network technology. The two signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on 5G research and development, including the development of a new 5G air interface for commercial deployment by 2020.
At the MOU signing, Yuhong Huang, deputy head of CMRI, and Per Narvinger, head of LTE at Ericsson, wear AR glasses used to demonstrate one of the 5G use cases. (Image source: Ericsson)
The pair also will work toward a close interworking between 5G and the evolution of LTE, as well as RAN features to support industrial use cases for the Internet of Things (IoT). Specifically, they will work on verifying and conducting trials of narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) for massive machine-type communications and corresponding vertical use cases.
Ericsson has been an advocate for NB-IoT, which the 3GPP agreed to make part of LTE Release 13. A competing proposal had been pushed by Huawei and other companies called Narrowband Cellular IoT (CIoT). Supporters of NB-LTE say it allows for a high re-use of already existing LTE network technology for both infrastructure and chipsets.
China Mobile is the world's largest mobile operator based on number of subscribers, with more than 825 million total customers at the end of November. It's also touting the launch of 4G+, also known as LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which uses carrier aggregation.
"China Mobile officially deployed 4G at the end of 2013, and 4G+ is now officially launched," Yuhong Huang, deputy head at CMRI, said in a press release. "We aim to improve network performance, which has provided 300 million customers with excellent user experiences, and which is the key driver for China's Internet+ strategy."
Chris Houghton, head of the North East Asia region at Ericsson, said that with commercial implementation expected by 2020, Ericsson's 5G research is coming out of the labs and into live test networks, both in its headquarters in Sweden and in collaboration with operator partners in Northeast Asia, North America and Latin America.
In North America, Ericsson is one of the vendors involved in Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) 5G Technology Forum. Last month, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said the carrier expects to be able to offer 5G wireless speeds up to 1 Gbps and that he expects the carrier to begin a commercial test of the technology as early as this month at the carrier's Basking Ridge, N.J., headquarters.
Ericsson says it is driving technology advances with its Ericsson 5G radio prototypes that include advanced antenna design, multi-user MIMO and beamforming.
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