Ericsson has refuted claims by some mobile operators and industry observers that its 5G technology is inferior to Huawei’s.
Along with its China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia, Ericsson is competing to provide operators with the equipment required to build next-generation networks. Ericsson has a significant opportunity in areas where Huawei has been frozen out either in part or in whole, such as North America.
However, operators in Europe have opposed any moves to ban Huawei equipment from the roll out of 5G on the continent, arguing that this would reduce innovation and increase prices.
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Speaking at an event originally intended to be Ericsson’s pre-Mobile World Congress (MWC) gathering, Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson denied the claims.
He said its customer base and technological roadmap were evidence of its own leadership, stating: “We believe we are leading 5G. We have 81 commercial contracts and we believe that this is the highest number.
“We have deployed 24 networks across the globe and we are the first to do so across four continents so it’s difficult to see anyone ahead of us at this stage … we believe we have a competitive portfolio that is on a par or ahead of any of our competitors.”
Jejdling pointed to planned upgrades to Ericsson’s 5G core network and dynamic spectrum sharing technologies as evidence of this superiority, pointing out that significant advances would be possible with the arrival of standalone 5G later this year.
Ericsson has also just achieved a record 5G transmission rate of 4.3Gbps using mmWave spectrum at its labs in Sweden, and announced two new AI-powered services for its customers. The first allows operators to identify and resolve network issues before they happen, while the other is a smart workspace that allows Ericsson to communicate more effectively with its partners.
The company had hoped to detail these innovations at MWC itself but said it was left with no option following the Coronavirus outbreak. Ericsson said it was a costly decision, both in terms of direct cost and opportunity cost, but the right one.
“It wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, as you can imagine, and it was unanimous across the company,” said Stella Medlicott, head of marketing and corporate relation. “MWC attracts [more than] 100,000 people and on our booth alone we have 10,000 visitors across the four days.
“This could impact our employees, customers, partners, press and analysts, and government officials. Although the risk was low, it was not a risk that we were willing to take. We looked at the practicalities of additional measures such as medical stuff and measuring temperatures, but even when doing that we couldn’t guarantee safety.”
Ericsson will instead look to communicate the developments and show off demos through a series of roadshows held by its local teams across the world.
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