Recent announcements from Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Huawei highlight the fact that major infrastructure vendors are keeping quite busy attacking next-generation wireless network development from all angles, which include their own R&D initiatives as well as collaborative industry efforts.
For its part, Ericsson announced that its lab in Kista, Sweden, achieved data speeds of 5 Gbps in live, over-the-air demonstrations of what the company is calling its pre-standard 5G network technology. Given that 5G is still in the early stages of being defined, much less standardized, every demo conducted by a carrier or vendor at this point is by definition "pre-standard."
Nonetheless, vendors such as Ericsson are trying to position themselves to potential customers as leaders in 5G, whatever it ends up being. To that end, senior management from Japan's NTT DoCoMo and South Korea's SK Telecom were on hand to witness Ericsson's demo. Commercialization of 5G technology will not likely occur until at least 2020.
"We need to push the envelope strongly to make sure we have something advanced enough if we are talking about 2020, and that's why we demonstrated what we are doing with operators," Ericsson CTO Ulf Ewaldsson told Mobile World Live.
He acknowledged there is a risk of overhyping 5G at this early stage but also indicated that has occurred with every generation of wireless technology that followed the industry's earliest analog days. Ewaldsson cited "this hype of new 'Gs' that came with digital and 2G, then broadband with 3G, and real, true broadband access with 4G."
Meanwhile, rival infrastructure vendor Huawei disclosed that it was elected to join the board of Europe's 5G Infrastructure Association. The vote occurred during the group's general assembly June 26 in Bologna, Italy. China's Huawei, which has said it intends to position itself as a "European vendor," will be represented on the board by David Soldani of the company's European research center.
The 5G Infrastructure Association represents the private portion of the 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership (5G PPP) between the European ICT industry and the European Commission. The 1.4 billion euros ($1.9 billion) project, jointly funded by the public and private partners, is aimed at accelerating and structuring 5G R&D as Europe seeks to gain an advantage in next-generation wireless technologies.
"Huawei will place significant effort in driving 5G foundational technology research, tests and large-scale trials in collaboration with partners to assess the technical feasibility and business viability of new 5G technologies. It will also help to formulate and implement a 5G communications plan with partners and to disseminate results at a global level," the vendor said.
Huawei added that it will work with the European Commission and industry partners to align the work of the 5G Infrastructure Association, 5G PPP, the NetWorld2020 European Technology Platform and related working groups with stakeholders' expectations.
- see this Ericsson release
- see this Huawei release
- see this Mobile World Live article
5GPPP says fresh approach needed for future network development
Europe, South Korea enter 5G development pact
China, South Korea commit to 5G leadership, while Japan and U.S. rely on private efforts
Ericsson CTO claims North America is driving 5G development
Europe's 5G PPP preparing to dole out cash for next-gen network development
Article updated July 7 to correct the headline.