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How Ericsson and Intel are leading the 5G telco ecosystem into an AI, API and cloud-native future – Reflections at MWC 2024

  • Intel’s Caroline Chan and Ericsson’s Mischa Dohler reflect on the state of the telecommunications industry in 2024 and emphasize the necessity of a robust API strategy for cloud- and AI-native designs to effectively benefit the developer ecosystem.
  • They provide proof points for Ericsson’s Industry Vision, and the role of performant 5G networks and discuss the global leadership of Ericsson & Intel in cloud-native telco, AI and API.
  • Additionally, they discuss the reasons behind MWC experiencing a tectonic shift, with more than 50 percent of attendees not coming from the classical mobile industry. Finally, they disclose what attire they will be wearing when they meet at MWC 2025!

VP Emerging Technologies

Vice President in the Network and Edge Group at Intel Corporation


VP Emerging Technologies

Vice President in the Network and Edge Group at Intel Corporation

VP Emerging Technologies

Contributor (+1)

Vice President in the Network and Edge Group at Intel Corporation


In conversation with Caroline Chan, VP and GM, Intel Mobile World Congress, 2024

"To create the future is to embark on a journey both bold and essential …"

… and so we did at MWC 2024, surrounded by the architects of today and innovators of tomorrow. We are Caroline Chan, VP Network & Edge Group at Intel, and Mischa Dohler, VP Emerging Technologies at Ericsson – appreciated by all for our technology foresight and loved by most (but not all) for our choice of outfits.

Whenever we meet, we engage in energetic discussions on digital empowerment, cloudified 5G and 6G, AI and APIs – and this time we were caught on camera! Our dialogue? A confluence of ideas shaped by an emerging “industry vision” that is redefining the mobile infrastructure for our consumers and enterprises around the world.

The attendance statistics of MWC 2024 stand testament to the foresight of our industry: more than 50% of this year’s attendees were not from the (classical) mobile industry! Is it becoming a new “CES”? No, it is even bigger and more inclusive: enterprise and consumer-centric companies in attendance sought to understand the opportunities that the API-enabled open programmable 5G networks would yield. In our discussions we touched on all of these proof points, as well as other emerging and exciting developments in the telco industry.

Open programmable networks: A strategic endeavor turning tactical market advantage

The shared commitment to transforming the telecom ecosystem towards open, programmable and performant 5G networks through cloudification was reaffirmed as a key aspect of both Ericsson’s industry vision and Intel’s roadmap. This commitment has been evident for years.

However, it was not until AT&T inked a $14 billion deal with Ericsson on Open RAN, that the market validated our years-long strategic hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that AT&T – one of the leading communications service providers (CSPs) in the world – has opened up their brownfield and committed such efforts towards a more robust ecosystem of network infrastructure providers and suppliers.

When three tech titans say ‘cloud’, the heavens listen! Powered by Intel, integrated and tested at scale by Ericsson, and serviced to consumers and enterprise by AT&T – this market move is true leadership. It will set the “ball rolling”, with others likely to follow suit.

Cutting edge-cloud into tomorrow: Where (Gen)AI really needs 5G networks

You probably had to read this heading twice! But, yes, the edge is getting “edgier” and cuts into a future where AI truly needs 5G. Caroline rightly emphasized the transformative role of AI for consumers and enterprises, as well as for those deploying the networks and managing them!

Consumers and enterprises are right at the edge, connected through telco 5G networks. Therefore, the importance of delivering on a reliable, performant and secure 5G network that connects the end-user to the AI-platform cannot be overstated.

To enable AI and GenAI-enabled use cases, Intel has just announced a new edge-AI platform. It fully aligns with Ericsson’s industry vision where AI is recognized as a quickly-growing use case that requires 5G networks.

The Intel platform, as per Caroline, is designed to deploy GenAI models securely in the infrastructure. It will prove useful for deploying and managing networks. Yet, through APIs, it will also empower our favorite community: developers around the world!

On another AI front, Intel has focused on making AI (more) native for 5G RAN applications and loads which is essential for Ericsson’s market leadership globally. To this end, an AI SDK has been released which could potentially morph into an API proposition in later years.

A remarkable feature of the AI platform is that it runs natively not only on the current Intel generation N, but backwards until generation N-4! One can thus run sophisticated edge-GenAI workloads on legacy N-4 and forward – a great ROI! And we like that at Ericsson, i.e. backward and instruction-set compatibilities - good job, Intel!

From the edge to the world: How a converged edge platform, APIs and 5G empower developers

Developers around the world do not want to develop three different solutions for devices (the ultimate edge), an edge-compute cloud (the edge of the cloud) and a hyperscaler cloud. Therefore, Intel’s strategic focus is to create a “Converged Edge Platform” where developers no longer have to worry about where the compute is being instantiated.

To enable such a “fluid compute” paradigm, the network is more critical than ever! This is where the strategic relationship with Ericsson comes in, i.e. providing the networking infrastructure and ensuring it is programmable to developers through APIs.

In light of such a bold vision, Ericsson's strategic acquisition of Vonage – a company specializing in abstracting networking and computing complexities into simplified API bundles – is suddenly obvious. The acquisition is more than an expansion; it is a commitment to providing a global platform that serves as a launchpad for developers serving consumers and businesses, serving an ecosystem.

Speaking of ecosystem – do we have it? Intel has been a dev ecosystem player for a long time, working with millions of developers in health, enterprise, industry, government, telco, and so on. With the acquisitions of companies like Vonage and Cradlepoint, Ericsson now has direct access to such ecosystems. Therefore, both companies now have an ecosystem, and Ericsson and Intel are joining forces.

By focusing on the needs of developers, we are setting the stage for a future where telecommunication and compute is the bedrock for expansive and sustainable growth across various industries. Our MWC 2024 dialog has made it evident that our strategic partnerships and acquisitions are not just growth tactics but essential steps in orchestrating a unified approach to innovation in the rapidly evolving landscape of 5G and beyond.

Today will be tomorrow’s yesterday: The work to be done until MWC 2025

As we wrapped up our vibrant discussion at MWC 2024, Caroline captured the essence of the industry’s revival. It is not just about reconnecting the world post-pandemic: rather, it is about redefining our industry capabilities with the data at our disposal.

Intel’s reflection on monetizing data to benefit everyone from CSPs to enterprises is a goal that closely aligns with Ericsson’s industry vision of leveraging connectivity to enable transformations across the board.

As we look forward to the next year, Caroline remarked that our ambition ought to bring not just narratives but tangible evidence of our progress, i.e. factual numbers and case studies that showcase how we have tackled business challenges, enhanced customer experiences, and delivered on the promise of 5G.

To share success stories and proof points is a sentiment that resonates deeply with us at Ericsson. We envision a future where the network is not just a foundation for communication but a platform for innovation, driving growth and enabling businesses to thrive in a mobile-first world. We are only at the beginning of this journey and the road ahead is not trivial; yet, it is ripe with potential for transformative change.

As for the color of our attire, whether it’s red for passion, blue for innovation, or a blend of both, it symbolizes our commitment to a future where technology enhances every aspect of our lives. So, here’s to another year of innovation, collaboration, and shared success – “cheers” to the future we are building together.

See you at MWC 2025!

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