Ericsson: Europe’s 5G Partner

Written by Erik Ekudden on 18 March 2019 in Opinion Plus
Opinion Plus

Digital transformation promises to unleash a new era of productivity that will touch all our lives, explains Erik Ekudden.

Photo Credit: Daniel Roos


Whether it’s about smart cities, autonomous cars, the industrial internet, digital health, virtual reality, or fibre-over-the-air, it will change the way we live, work and interact.

A huge array of technologies and services will be interconnected by 5G, creating a platform for innovation. It will serve consumers, enterprises and take Internet of Things (IoT) to the next level, where superior connectivity is a prerequisite. It is infrastructure that will underpin future prosperity and create new jobs.

Europe’s assets can be leveraged to catch up and become a 5G leader. Different to other regions, Europe could provide early access to mid-band spectrum. Much of Europe also benefits from dense mobile networks.


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Given timely access to spectrum Europe could use its existing mobile sites to reduce 5G time-to-market and enable cost-efficient build-out.

The United States is improving the economics and speed of network densification by making public land and buildings for additional sites available at predictable cost. Europe could compound its advantage by doing the same.

With 5G, security is built in from the start as part of the standardization process. Yet it’s only a start.  As 5G becomes a critical infrastructure, network security will be determined by the security technology and operational procedures that are put on top of the standardized features.

At Ericsson, in our European R&D sites, we continuously drive the development of security solutions.

Drive the digital economy

It is vital that 5G is available for Europe’s industrial base. Not least for its small and medium enterprises that employ two thirds of the continent’s workforce and generate more than half of total turnover.

But for Europe to be a 5G leader it needs to act urgently on spectrum and implement a harmonised policy and regulatory framework to enable the cross-border nature and business-to-business aspects of many 5G use-cases and deployments.

"For Europe to be a 5G leader it needs to act urgently on spectrum and implement a harmonised policy and regulatory framework to enable the cross-border nature and business-to-business aspects of many 5G use-cases and deployments"

The priority should be to assign 5G spectrum no later than 2020 and to do so in an optimal way  that incentivises investment in infrastructure deployment rather than maximises upfront fees. Policy goals should be aligned, for example by including coverage targets in the pricing objective.

As many legacy licenses reach their term’s end, providing certainty around renewal can unlock incremental investment. In a landmark new deal for mobile , the French government waived renewal fees for binding investment commitments to extend coverage and capacity.

Since 2000, European operators have spent €160bn on spectrum fees which could have covered the €155bn investment shortfall the Commission calculates is needed to meet its 2025 connectivity targets.

Make 5G a reality

Being a technology leader is at the core of Ericsson. Through early and significant investments in R&D we are recognized as a leader in 5G standardization and we have many 5G industry firsts.

While many are still talking about 5G, Ericsson is deploying it . Since 2015, we have shipped three million 5G-ready radios.

We have the most named 5G commercial deals with operators, including those that have already launched live services. We enable more than half of the world’s commercial wide-area IoT networks.

"The transition to 5G can also catalyse energy efficient solutions across different sectors of society to help reduce global emissions by 15 percent, or one-third of the 50 percent reduction required by 2030"

And we have cutting edge technology that allows operators to dynamically mix 4G and 5G traffic on the same spectrum, enabling 5G to be switched on by a software upgrade.

The transition to 5G can also catalyse energy efficient solutions across different sectors of society to help reduce global emissions by 15 percent, or one-third of the 50 percent reduction required by 2030.

Ericsson, headquartered in Europe, is present in 43 European countries. We manufacture in five facilities and employ more than 35,000 people on the continent. Last year we invested around €3.7bn (18.5 percent of net sales) into R&D.

We spend around 60 percent of our global R&D budget in Europe, retaining the services of some 14,000 engineers across 22 R&D centres hosted in 15 countries.

Ericsson is ready to speed up Europe. Let’s get ahead and make the 5G switch.

About the author

Erik Ekudden is Senior Vice President and Group CTO at Ericsson

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