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September 1, 2015

5 key players in the future of 5G

Find out what Ericsson, Huawei, Telstra, Nokia and Deutsche Telekom are doing with this emerging telecoms technology.

By Alexander Sword

Sometimes standards, although crucial to the technology industry, can get ahead of technology and the needs of the consumer. Most likely it’s too early to be thinking about research in 6G smartphones, which the UK government claimed to be investing in back in March, when 4G hasn’t even been fully rolled out yet.

However, 5G is being taken very seriously by industry players, who want to prepare for a technology that is expected to be key in the emerging world of the Internet of Things. Crucially, if companies can be involved in the standards-setting process, they can develop their solutions to these specific requirements.

Here are some of the key contenders in the 5G future.


1. Ericsson

Ericsson is rearing to establish itself as a leader in 5G. Generally its strategy has focused on partnerships with local industry players such as Turkcell, SK Telecom and Softbank.

Recently the Swedish provider signed a Letter of Intent to develop a core network with SK Telecom to deploy network slicing technology using Ericsson’s Regional Cloud Lab and Ericsson HDS 8000.

In addition, the company is working on 5G standardisation in the EU, coordinating the METIS-II EU project to develop the overall 5G radio system design and roadmap recommendation for 5G standardisation.

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2. Huawei

Huawei is pouring considerable sums of money into 5G; by 2018, this number will reach $600 million. It took some tentative steps towards 5G with its 4.5G concept. According to Patrick Zhang, speaking to CBR earlier this year, 5G could have speeds of 10 Gbps or 100 Gbps.

The Chinese company recently announced that it is cooperating with Europe’s 5G public-private partnership, working on five specific projects.

As well as participating in the launch of the Munich-based 5G Vertical Industry Accelerator, Huawei also suggested that it will spend £5 million per year on 5G research in Europe by 2018.


3. Telstra

Telstra used this year’s Mobile World Congress to reveal its ambitious goal: 5G in five years. Telstra expects 5G to be designed to meet the requirements of the Internet of Things.

The Australian operator plans to roll it out by upgrading the existing LTE network. Since the 700MHz frequency formerly used by analogue television in Australia became free, Telstra has used a chunk of this spectrum to deliver 4GX, which theoretically runs twice as fast as regular 4G.

CEO Andrew Penn announced at the most recent annual results briefing that Telstra’s planned network will deliver speeds of up to 10GB per second.


4. Nokia

Many will remember Nokia as the maker of their first mobile phone handset, but Nokia could soon regain its crown in the mobile arena – this time in the network rather than in hardware.

At a Boston summit, Nokia Networks demonstrated a system delivering speeds of up to 10Gbps Nokia Networks has demonstrated a system that can deliver speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second, 40 times that which is available on current 4G.

As part of the European 5G PPP, Nokia is technically managing the METIS-II project as well as leading 5G radio access network design and spectrum work packages.


5. Deutsche Telekom

As one of the main European carrier networks, Deutsche Telekom plans to invest more than €6 billion in its networks through 2018. Its network currently runs at speeds of 300 Mbps.

DT is also a leader in the global standardisation efforts through its chairmanship of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance.

In March, the German operator launched a 5G innovation lab called 5G:haus, teaming up with European universities to carry out research.

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