News Feature | December 15, 2017

The Week In 5G: Ericsson Wins Contract With Deutsche Telekom, Telstra Adds Spectrum, China Preps Middle-Frequency Band, 5G Spending Set To Nearly Double By 2025

By Jof Enriquez, Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


Fresh off a network deal with Verizon, Ericsson clinched another one this week, inking a five-year agreement with Deutsche Telekom to upgrade the German carrier's mobile network to become 5G-ready. Ericsson will provide multi-standard radio access network (RAN) using its Baseband 6630 product and radios, along with hardware and software support.

"Ericsson will modernise Deutsche Telekom's 2G, 3G, and 4G network with a multi-standard solution," stated the Swedish telecom supplier. "The OSS [operations support system] for the radio network enables unified network management."

"We can run multiple standards on the same baseband hardware, and a 5G upgrade will be able to be performed by a simple software download to the radio sites," said Ericsson senior VP and head of Market Area Europe and Latin America Arun Bansal, reported ZDNet.

Germany, which ranks 28th out of 32 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) league table of access to fast internet, is keen to upgrade most of its older telecom infrastructure to glass fiber, in anticipation of commercial 5G services in 2020, according to Reuters.

Ericsson says the 5G implementation for Deutsche Telekom will draw from its experience from 5G trials around the world. The deal it won prior to this one was a supply contract for 5G home broadband with U.S. carrier Verizon, which was announced earlier this week.

Deutsche Telekom also has an existing partnership with Chinese company Huawei, which is helping it run a Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (Massive MIMO) network in Berlin using 3GPP 5G NR pre-standards across the 3.7GHz spectrum band.

Australian provider Telstra also is choosing a similar frequency, 3.4Ghz, to focus its 5G programs on. It just allocated $72.5 million toward 17 lots (out of a total 39 available) it won at the latest government spectrum auction, mostly for a block of 3.4Ghz spectrum in Brisbane, reports

Related, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has chosen to use 3000-5000 MHz range for 5G systems starting Nov. 14, 2017, making China the first country to use the 5G system frequency plan in the middle-frequency band. According to Lexology, MIIT's plan sets aside 3300-3400 MHz for indoor use, while 3400-3600 MHz and 4800-5000 MHz are allocated as the working frequency band of 5G systems.

SNS Research forecasts that, by 2020, expenditure on 5G networks still will be quite low, at just around 5 percent. However, spending is projected to shoot up to about 40 percent by the year 2025, as older 2G, 3G, 4G/4G LTE networks get replaced more quickly by 5G, reports Techjuice.