Telia picks Ericsson for 5G in Norway, plans to deploy spectrum sharing tech

Telia Norway and Ericsson have announced a four-year 5G network deal that includes deployment of the Swedish vendor’s spectrum sharing technology. 

Ericsson is providing 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software from its Radio System portfolio, and was chosen as the sole radio access network (RAN) vendor for Telia’s next-generation network in Norway. Ericsson is helping upgrade Telia’s 2G and 4G networks, with 5G rollouts expected to start in 2020 and extend through 2023.  

Ericsson’s dynamic spectrum sharing solution, which enables operators to utilize the same spectrum for both 4G and 5G, is set to become commercially available in December, but it’s unclear how soon Telia plans to deploy it. In a release, Telia said its network modernization project will happen “gradually” over the four-year timeframe, but a spokesperson could not immediately be reached for additional details.

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Swisscomm in April introduced 5G in Switzerland using Ericsson, and will be the first operator to use Ericsson’s Spectrum Sharing (ESS) product when it deploys the software this December. With the ESS software, spectrum is quickly shifted, within milliseconds, between 4G and 5G depending on traffic demands, according to Ericsson. Unlike with earlier generations, carriers don’t need to allocate dedicated spectrum for a single technology, but instead can share spectrum resources between 4G and 5G, speeding up 5G NR deployments.

In the U.S., Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg has previously touted dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) as key to the carrier’s 5G strategy, but the company has not announced specifics. Verizon is using Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung gear for its 5G deployments, but Ericsson appears to be the only vendor with a near-term commercial spectrum sharing product.

For Telia’s 5G rollout in Norway, the operator plans to use low-band spectrum. Earlier this year Telia Norway secured 2x10 megahertz of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, which will be available Nov. 1, and which Telia called a “key enabler” for the 5G deployment in Norway.

The operator expects to have nationwide 5G coverage by the end of 2023, but plans to initially introduce 5G service in the enterprise sector, driven by a business case approach.

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“Together with our customers, we will explore opportunities and innovate new services which will strengthen the 5G business case even further” said Christian Luiga, acting President and CEO of Telia Company, in a statement. “5G is not only about building a new network but also about building a new way of thinking and perceiving what a mobile network can be and can do. High speed, low latency, guaranteed capacity and truly mobile is going to push the boundaries of digitalization.”

In addition to enhanced mobile broadband, Telia Norway is exploring 5G for IoT applications, industrial uses, smart cities and in-home uses, according to Ericsson.

The pair have already teamed up on a 5G pilot network in Trondheim, Norway, that involves smart transportation, automation and artificial intelligence.

The major telecom equipment vendors have been vying for 5G contracts, and Ericsson so far has publicly announced 26 5G deals.