Mobile and Ericsson join forces with $3.5 billion 5G agreement

First 3GPP-compliant 5G NR mm Wave OTA call happened

T-Mobile bolster 5G ambitions with $3.5 billion supplier deal with Ericsson

In July, Nokia announced that it had also agreed on a deal with T-Mobile US, in the same amount.

With 5G use cases placing more demanding requirements on networks, Ericsson is strengthening its end-to-end mobile transport solutions by building on its radio expertise and adding best-in-class transport technologies from Juniper Networks and ECI Telecom. On Tuesday, the nation's third largest wireless provider matched that investment through a similar agreement with Ericsson.

T-Mobile, the third biggest US mobile carrier, said in February it was working with Ericsson and rival network vendor Nokia of Finland to build out 5G networks in 30 USA cities during 2018.

"The cadence and frequency of these significant milestone achievements from Verizon and Nokia show just how quickly we're taking the promise of 5G technology from the lab to the field and to the marketplace where our customers will ultimately use this revolutionary technology", said Bill Stone, VP of Technology Development and Planning for Verizon.

As the USA races toward commercial 5G services, Ericsson achieves significant milestones with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile on the road to making 5G a reality for consumers.

Ericsson said that T-Mobile's already installed base of Ericsson Radio System radios will be able to run 5G NR technology with simple remote software installation.

In related news, U.S. communications giant Verizon is asking customers to sign up for what it claims is the world's first commercial 5G service, in a sign of the provider marketing battles to come. In its deal with Ericsson, the "uncarrier" notes that it will use the infrastructure supplier's 5G portfolio to expand existing LTE capacity needs while "future-proofing the network".

"We have recently chose to increase our investments in the USA to be closer to our leading customers and better support them with their accelerated 5G deployments and we are excited about our partnership with T-Mobile", said Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson in North America.

Both European vendors have undoubtedly benefited from the USA clampdown on Chinese rivals Huawei Technologies Co. Executives have repeatedly argued that a combined entity will be able to roll out 5G services much faster than if the companies remain separate, hoping to sway United States authorities concerned that China might be winning the 5G race.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks at Ericsson, says: "This accomplishment shows that 5G is ready for business".

Read also: What is 5G?

Claims to "5G firsts" will continue to be made until 5G deployments are in full swing next year, supported by finalized 5G NR standards, spectrum auctions, and relaxed regulatory policies.

While Nokia's performance has come as a disappointment to shareholders so far in 2018 - with earnings marked by a fall in profitability - CEO Rajeev Suri has continued to insist that 5G business will start to buoy figures toward the end of the current financial year.

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