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Building 5G networks with precision

Explore how we are building secure resilient and sustainable networks in Thailand with the best performance and total cost of ownership even as they deliver a superior digital customer experience.
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The Thailand market is very dynamic with some of the most ICT-savvy consumers in the world. When it comes to 5G adoption, according to Ericsson estimates, data consumption per subscription in Thailand has grown to 32.7 GB/month in 2022 from 25 GB in 2021. This figure is expected to jump to nearly 80 GB/month in 2025. Enterprises in Thailand have also started to transform and digitalize their operations, as per the Government’s Industry 4.0 vision. Global 5G leader Ericsson shared that to support this massive and fast-growing data traffic in Thailand, whilst enabling Communications Service Providers to build efficient and sustainable mobile networks, it is critical to build 5G with precision and deploy the best energy performing solutions.

Due to Ericsson’s installed base being 5G ready, the introduction of the next mobile generation gives Ericsson the opportunity to reduce the climate footprint of mobile networks. These energy efficiencies are being achieved by preparing the network with latest technology solutions, activating energy-saving software, deploying 5G optimally, and operating site infrastructure intelligently. States Igor Maurell, Head of Ericsson Thailand, “We can today modernize legacy 4G sites with 5G achieving 10 times improved capacity and more than 30 percent energy savings. This is beneficial for CSPs as well as countries focused on sustainable socio-economic development.”

Igor said that Ericsson could make its 5G Ericsson Radio System (ERS) portfolio 10 times more efficient for the same amount of transferred data compared to 4G based on factors like improvements in radio unit design, multi-band technology and hardware components such as Ericsson Silicon (ASICs). Ericsson Silicon is a dedicated, purpose-built system on a chip design solution that makes it possible to create high performing, smaller and lighter radios that consume less energy.

Ericsson’s latest generation Massive MIMO radio AIR 6419, which has just been introduced in Thailand, has been developed with the goal of having industry-leading energy efficiency and the smallest size and weight possible. Ericsson’s award-winning unique ‘Interference Sensing’ is portfolio-wide Massive MIMO software, that minimizes inter-cell interference and increases network capacity by up to 40 percent.

“Building a high-performing and energy-efficient 5G network is part of our vision for resilient and sustainable future networks. Using our energy-optimized 5G portfolio, we are tackling one of our industry’s biggest challenges – reducing network energy consumption and carbon footprint while scaling up 5G. Our goal is to realize a low-carbon future while accelerating 5G experience.” states Igor. Ericsson invests USD 4.4b in research and development annually, corresponding to almost 18% of its sales. Around a quarter of its workforce is also deployed in R&D activity.

The new performance demands on networks require new levels of spectral efficiency and flexibility. The higher spectral efficiency of 5G and the lower energy footprint of the new 5G Ericsson Radio portfolio translates into a lower cost/GB for service providers as traffic grows. Massive MIMO technology offers communication service providers the larger bandwidth of the mid-band to deliver powerful 5G experiences nationwide. Thai service providers are delivering 5G to consumers on mid band (2.6 GHz).

In a recent example from Asia-Pacific, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), the largest telecoms company in Taiwan, upgraded its installed Ericsson base of mid-band Massive MIMO to AIR 6419 and AIR 3219 as part of its network modernization. This 5G mid-band upgrade enabled CHT to cut power consumption by more than one third, lowering CO2 emissions while also improving network performance.

“With a combined view of investments and operating costs, our latest generations of multi-band and massive MIMO radios, and basebands can help CSPs to cut energy consumption and greatly improve their energy costs and total cost of ownership going forward,” states Igor.

Scaling up 5G while reducing the total network energy consumption requires CSPs to focus on sustainable network evolution, modernize the existing network effectively and leverage artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and automation to maximize traffic performance of deployed hardware with minimized energy use. “Ericsson believes that mobile networks need to be planned, built and operated with precision. By taking a holistic view of network evolution, expansion and operation, we have advanced our approach to break the upward trajectory of energy consumption in mobile networks.” states Igor.

As traffic varies daily, the use of energy-saving applications is fundamental to adjusting the capacity of mobile networks to match demand and to delivering the best user experience with the lowest energy use. This can be achieved through a portfolio of tools and capabilities including the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) – as well as automation solutions which can help to reduce perceived complexity barriers. “We are well equipped to support CSPs in keeping energy use and carbon emissions at a minimum, with zero-touch problem solving and predictive energy management” states Igor.

Igor cited another APAC example of Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (IoH) in Indonesia. IoH wanted to reduce emissions while increasing data traffic, and to achieve a more sustainable network by aggressive LTE spectrum migration and Ericsson Radio System modernization. The solution deployed by Ericsson entailed deploying energy-saving features that decreased overall consumption. The hardware, software and related services were upgraded to build a modular RAN. Ericsson Energy Infrastructure Operations (EIO) was used to manage all energy-related assets efficiently.

The solution achieved the highest spectral efficiency in all of Jakarta and produced more traffic on fewer sites than competition. There were energy savings of around 20-30% compared to the old equipment. And on the sites where the EIO solution was deployed, energy bills were further reduced by up to 3.6% and CO2 emissions by 4%.

“We can bring these strong APAC experiences such as from IoH and CHT to Thailand,” Igor said. “Ericsson relies on its strong product portfolio with best spectral efficiency, fast deployments of networks and strong partnership with CSPs to optimize the network and deliver superior network performance.” Ericsson today manages 147 live 5G networks across 63 markets across the globe.

Ericsson’s 5G leadership has been recognized by important independent analysts’ reports: Gartner 5G Magic Quadrant 2023, (third year in a row) and Frost Radar Global 5G Infrastructure. Ericsson also scored #1 position in the latest ABI Research report on telco vendors sustainability.

“As a technology leader in the telecom industry, we can build secure resilient and sustainable networks in Thailand that have the best performance and total cost of ownership even as they deliver a superior digital customer experience,” Igor said. Ericsson has been present in Thailand for 117 years and has been supporting the country through every generation of mobility, including 5G.

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