It was great catching up with Ericsson last week in San Francisco at the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas conference. Ericsson is doing incredible work to advance innovation by partnering with operators globally around IoT and 5G deployments, ranging from testing new radio technology, like advanced MIMO, to new core 5G systems for providing network slicing, to applications like Autonomous vehicles.
Ericsson’s radio access network was also featured at Sprint’s booth where the first 2.5 GHz Massive MIMO field tests were conducted using Sprint’s spectrum and Ericsson’s radios reaching peak speeds of more than 300 Mbps using a single 20 MHz channel!
A great new use case for 5G was intelligent video streaming with Verizon for security and smart city applications, with streams coming to a central, video optimized repository in the core of the 5G network. This 5G overlay to an existing 4G network will provide benefits across multiple applications at the edge of the network from video cameras to drones to industrial control endpoints. In the automotive arena applications are endless given the big data being generated by the connected car industry, with new 5G architectures from Ericsson required to support the coming deluge of data that will flow forth from smart car.
On the mobile telephony front, few services have accelerated the growth of mobile users than Voice Over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) (see Figure 1). Check out the Ericsson Mobility Report for an innovative global exploration of mobile technologies, user applications, and long-term forecasts of VoLTE. VoLTE is much more than just voice-enhanced wireless communications – it is a global technology in use in more than 100 telecom networks in 55 countries.
I spoke with Ericsson executive Ulf Ewaldsson, Head of Business Area Digital Services, who indicated that based on recent measurements in telecom operator networks, “a stronger growth than anticipated has resulted in a significant upward adjustment of our forecast.” He continued to explain that “the number of VoLTE subscriptions is now projected to reach 4.6 billion by the end of 2022, making up more than 90 percent of all LTE subscriptions globally.”
Coupled with OTT-over-the-top voice and multi-media chat, pics and increasing streaming services like podcasting and video have “flipped” the world in exciting new ways. VoLTE is just part of the overall network explosion which has also spurned the growth in CDN-content delivery networks is bring new programming content in so many new ways. Program content development often been the limiting factor is now lighting the fire creating new exciting programs all delivered in a mobile format. What this also means is to both excite and ignite development of many new and innovative consumer concepts.
As Ericsson points out, “consumer and enterprise communication services include: HD voice, HD voice+ and music within calls (new voice codec Enhanced Voice Services (EVS), video communication, IP messaging and evolution to chat bots, content sharing within calls, multi-device and new service innovations.” Ericsson is deeply involved in the convergence of devices such as IoT-internet of things and LTE in the new forms of user devices such as Apple’s Watch with LTE. As Ericsson noted “this shows clearly massive LTE and VoLTE that Ericsson is the leading supplier of and brings great quality and programmable as well.” You can see more than 50% growth annually is forecasted (see Figure 2), this means we are only at the nascent beginning of what IoT applications and devices will appear such as implanted medical tech, connected health care for infants, to wireless personal fitness trainers.
Bottom-line – Attending Mobile World Congress Americas was an exciting and eye-opening event. Ericsson is also leading the way in 5G. As they noted, “5G is reaching peak excitement and you will find 5G coming out in operational products that are deployable with 5G at the core.” Take a moment to read the Ericsson Mobility Report and you will find even more leading-edge ideas and innovation.
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