Ericsson touts trio of commercial 5G launches

Swedish telecom equipment vendor Ericsson this week announced a trio of commercial 5G launches with service provider partners globally, including Chunghwa Telecom, MTN, and Telma.

The first was Telma, which launched commercial 5G in multiple cities in Madagascar on June 26. The operator is delivering 5G service on 3.6-3.7 GHz mid-band spectrum, using RAN gear and transport products from Ericsson’s Radio System portfolio.

Telma tapped Ericsson last year for a core and radio upgrade and is initially using 5G for enhanced mobile broadband service and fixed wireless access, according to the vendor.  

“5G will transform how we use and adopt technology and will have a huge impact on businesses and society in Madagascar,” said Patrick Pisal Hamida, CEO of Telma Madagascar, in a statement. “It will bring high speed, ultra-low latency and highly secure connectivity to a massive number of devices and is a technology that will unlock a vast array of new use cases through Telma’s next-generation network."

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On June 30, communications service provider MTN turned on commercial 5G service in South Africa. Initial 5G activations in the country include Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

MTN South Africa selected Ericsson as a vendor last November, using RAN equipment, transport, and 5G core products. The operator is also deploying dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology with the Ericsson Spectrum Sharing product.

“The 5G era in South Africa is becoming a reality Soon, South Africans will be able to experience 5G in their daily lives and witness its positive impact on society and industry,” said Fadi Pharaon, president, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, in a statement. “We have a rich history of working in close partnership with MTN and now we are going live with 5G in South Africa."

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The same day, Chunghwa Telecom turned on 5G service in Taiwan – the first operator to do so in the country. Chunghwa Telecom is providing mobile 5G service using spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands. Taiwan’s largest communications provider secured 90 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum at the country’s auction in January.

The operator is also looking at 5G for private wireless networks for enterprise, smart transportation, and other industry applications.

Ericsson is the only supplier for Chunghwa Telecom’s 5G core network, and is providing radio equipment, alongside competitor Nokia. Nokia’s providing 5G RAN gear for Chunghwa Telecom’s deployment in the central and southern region of Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Far EasTone also picked Ericsson as its 5G RAN vendor, while Nokia this week announced a 3-year $450 million 5G contract with Taiwan Mobile. The Finnish vendor is the sole network supplier for Taiwan Mobile’s 5G RAN, core, and IMS.

With the latest deployments, Ericsson said it has 43 live 5G networks globally, with 95 commercial 5G deals, 55 of which have been publicly announced.