Ericsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm declared 5G open for business during a briefing to media and analysts on Monday, February 26. There he highlighted the company's concrete focus on the 5G business cases as well as the key technological enablers – from radio access to network slicing and machine intelligence – that will make 5G a commercial success.
“We will focus not only on why and what, but also on how. This is what our customers – the service providers – want to discuss."
Ekholm pointed out three fundamental areas where service providers need to succeed:
- efficiency – bringing the cost per gigabyte down
- digital experience – improving customer experience and cost reduction
- and creating new revenue streams based on 5G and IoT use cases.
“Customer feedback was the foundation for our focused strategy launched last year and now in how we are showcasing our products and technologies in our hall.”
After many years of work with standards and technology, 5G is moving into the commercial phase. To date Ericsson has signed 38 memorandums of understanding with service providers for trials. Even more importantly, Ericsson has signed several commercial contracts with deliveries already by the end of this year.
5G will be built on multiple use cases, and Ekholm underscored enhanced mobile broadband as the first large-scale global use case for 5G. This is based on surging data traffic and the need to provide better user experience. Between 2017 and 2023, data traffic is projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent. This means eight times more traffic per site.
But enhanced mobile broadband is not only about speed and user experience, it is also about network efficiency. A site fully evolved with 4G and 5G capacity will deliver mobile data at one tenth of the cost compared to a basic 4G site today.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn joined Ekholm on stage where he talked about the importance of being an early mover in 5G, focusing on the opportunity it creates for enterprise segments of Telstra’s business and the company’s desire to always be the leader in customer experience.
Ekholm also addressed the achievements of 4G early adopters in terms of yearly revenue growth and market share.
“We don’t know which use cases will ultimately be the most important for 5G, but we know that early adopters tend to get a sustainable advantage.” Ekholm said.
By having a network that is ready for 5G, service providers can choose the time to turn on 5G traffic.
“Last year we broke speed records in tests, opened a 5G design center in Austin, Texas, and introduced new radio products for Massive MIMO and network services that ease the 5G journey.
“Just this year, we completed our 5G platform, which comprises the 5G core, radio and transport portfolios, together with OSS, BSS, network services and security. We added 5G commercial software for radio and core networks to enable operators to launch 5G already from Q4 2018,” he said.