Verizon awards new LTE markets to Ericsson

Ericsson has more reason to be bullish about the North American 5G market: It just announced it has increased its U.S. footprint by expanding its 4G partnership with Verizon to include new markets.

The announcement did not identify which markets or how many, but the extended partnership means Ericsson will deploy its Ericsson Radio System, which provides a 5G-ready platform that will allow Verizon to “rapidly transition” to 5G when it deploys that service in new markets.

Verizon has been keeping its 5G markets close to the vest but has made it known that Sacramento and Los Angeles are among the handful that will get its version of 5G this year. Samsung is supplying 5G network infrastructure gear in Sacramento, but Verizon didn’t identify the vendor in LA. (Update: Verizon today announced Houston as the third of four markets to get its 5G residential broadband service the second half of this year.)

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Ericsson said the new LTE markets it deploys for Verizon will use its latest baseband and dual band radios, an optimized solution for widescale high-capacity deployment. The solution will be software upgradeable to 5G and will deliver CAT-M and NB-IoT for Massive Internet of Things use cases, as well as network capacity.

Ericsson has been closely involved in a lot of Verizon’s “firsts,” including the milestone of achieving 953 Mbps by combining licensed and unlicensed bands with four-carrier aggregation, 4x4 MIMO and 256 QAM in a real-world network environment in Florida. They also collaborated to exceed 1 Gbps speeds on Verizon’s LTE network using three-carrier aggregation.

Last October, Verizon and Ericsson marked another milestone by completing their first deployment of Frequency Division Duplexing Massive MIMO on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, California.  

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To prepare for 5G, Ericsson said it has released its first commercial 5G RAN software, allowing operators to turn on 5G in commercial networks when ready. In addition, the installed base of Ericsson Radio System radios from 2015 onwards can run 5G NR technology with a simple remote software installation.

Verizon announced in June that CEO Lowell McAdam will retire at the end of this year, to be replaced by former Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg. Vestberg joined Verizon last year to lead its newly created networks and technology team.

Editor's Note: Article updated July 24 with information on Houston.