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Mission-critical 5G in the skies

Mission-critical 5G in the skies

Trialing 5G-ready connectivity

An innovative cellular air-ground-air (AGA) trial between Teracom and Ericsson is extending mission-critical broadband coverage further and higher than ever before, providing a launchpad for digital transformation across even the most demanding and remote public safety and first responder use cases – today and tomorrow.


In 2021, the scenic Mälaren Valley on Sweden’s east coast provided the setting for an innovative 4G and 5G AGA, also known as ATG, air-to-ground, connectivity trial between Swedish-based communication service provider (CSP) Teracom and Ericsson.

The trial marks a new era of critical connectivity in the skies, demonstrating resilient and high-performance 5G-ready mobile connectivity for airborne use cases up to several thousand meters in altitude.

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Quick facts: The mission-critical 5G-ready AGA trial

  • Altitude coverage target (but not limited to): 0 to 5000+ meters
  • Area coverage (approximate): 3000+ km2 - Mälaren Valley (Västerås to Stockholm archipelago)
  • Targeted applications: Airborne operations (unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, propeller airplanes)
  • Network infrastructure: Teracom’s 300+ meter high-mast infrastructure
  • Spectrum: Wide-area and high capacity 5G-ready 2.3 GHz spectrum with a bandwidth of 80 MHz
  • Ericsson solutions: Ericsson Radio 4418 and AIR 3239 with Massive MIMO in 4x4 and 32x32 formation, Ericsson Evolved Packet Core with Service Capability Exposure Function


As one of the leading radio and television operators in the Nordics, Teracom delivers nationwide communications services to public and private national critical infrastructure enterprises. Their networks have traditionally served an important function for emergency preparedness, with a condition that it must be able to broadcast under most circumstances. While such narrowband networks provide high reliability, their limited data load capacity and range restrict them to supporting use cases such as voice-only and short messaging services.

Trialing 5G-ready air-ground-air connectivity


Ericsson Massive MIMO

A unique spectrum strategy

As part of the trial, Teracom and Ericsson deployed services in both the low-band 450 MHz range – ensuring wider reach, better propagation and more suitable coverage for remote location sites; as well as the 2.3 GHz range, ensuring high-performance 5G-ready capacity for data-heavy and latency-sensitive operational services.

Ericsson Massive MIMO

This approach has been supported by Ericsson Massive MIMO’s built-in capability to enable ad-hoc hardware reconfiguration, with the dynamic and versatile solution enabling Teracom to use the same radio hardware to meet the coverage requirements of both ground-based and airborne use cases at zero plane positioning – unlike traditional AGA deployments where the hardware is typically pivoted skywards.

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The feedback from the wide range of public safety actors involved in the trial has been extremely positive, regarding both the network coverage and data capacity performance. It also successfully demonstrates that cellular AGA, also known as ATG, air-to-ground, connectivity can provide the necessary coverage and data capacity to support future advanced digital technologies for public safety operations both on the ground and in the air.

"The future need of public safety operations is cellular coverage to or more than 5000 meters with speeds of 450 km/h or beyond. To deliver that, our ambition is to build a completely different kind of network, one that can both meet these criteria and serve completely different use cases." - Roland Svensson, Chief Technology Officer, Teracom