MTS and Ericsson announce major 5G tie-up, tout global demo at 2018 World Cup

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MTS and Ericsson have signed a major deal to collaborate on testing and launch of 5G cellular technologies in Russia.

The tie-up includes the establishment of a 5G pilot system in 2016 and a public demonstration of 5G at the 2018 World Cup.

The two companies will also establish a joint dialogue with regulators about the use of the frequency spectrum for 5G.

The agreement cover all aspects of the ITU’s technical objectives of 5G, from high capacity, low latency technologies that deliver real-time information at over 10Gbps and support such use cases as automated vehicles and traffic networks, to low-power wide access technologies that deliver massive sensor networks and support industrial-scale IoT applications.

MTS and Ericsson said the 2016 pilot would involve the use of the LTE radio interface in the unlicensed 5GHz band.

LTE-Unlicensed (LTE-U), also known as LTE License Assisted Access (LTE-LAA), provides better coverage and capacity, and combines existing Wi-Fi networks with mobile network resources, they said.

Under the agreement, the pair will also test Ericsson’s Lean Carrier technology to improve signalling traffic, interference, network planning, data rates and coverage.

As well, they will trial enhanced GSM and LTE technologies, including extended coverage GSM (EC-GSM), M2M (LTE-M) and narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), that will support certain 5G use cases and work alongside a new 5G radio interface, as set out by the ITU-R and 3GPP.

“By working proactively through the process of 5G standardisation, we will be ready to build the first stages of a new network that will dramatically change our lives and the role of things around us in all fields – homes, schools, medicine, science, transport, entertainment and many other areas,” said Andrey Ushatskiy, Vice President of Technology and IT and Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTS.

A number of showcase 5G instalments by other operators are already planned; notably, Verizon wants pre-standard trials in the US in 2016/17, and South Korea wants them for the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.

Japan has earmarked the 2020 Summer Olympic Games for commercial launch of 5G services, while SK Telecom has stated it will launch live 5G services even sooner.

MTS and Ericsson plan to pilot 5G using high-speed data transmission in the 15GHz band during 2017, and construct a test area to demonstrate 5G to a global audience during the football World Cup in 2018 in Russia.

“5G will revolutionise user experiences in mobile technology during the FIFA World Cup in 2018,” said Jeff Travers, Head of Customer Unit at Ericsson Northern Europe and Central Asia.