Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 56 | Page 72

INTELLIGENT BRANDS // Mobile Technology

Ericsson , Qualcomm and Thales to take 5G into space

Ericsson , a leading telecommunications company ; Thales , French aerospace company ; and Qualcomm Technologies , wireless technology innovator , are planning to take 5G out of this world and across a network of Earth-orbiting satellites .

After having each conducted detailed research , which included multiple studies and simulations , the parties plan to enter smartphone-use-case-focused testing and validation of 5G non-terrestrial networks ( 5G NTN ).
The result could effectively mean that a future 5G smartphone could use 5G connectivity anywhere on Earth and provide complete global coverage for wideband data services , including places normally only covered by legacy satellite phone systems with limited data connectivity capabilities .
The benefits of 5G connectivity via low Earth Orbit ( LEO ) satellites are expected to include coverage in extreme geographies or remote areas across seas , oceans and other locations where terrestrial coverage is absent .
Such widespread connectivity would boost 5G smartphone subscriber roaming service capabilities , as well as enabling global connectivity for transportation , energy and health sector 5G use cases .
The space-based network could also be used as backup support to terrestrial networks in the event of major network outages or disasters .
The expected security capabilities of 5G NTNs mean that national government communications may be a main-use case , to enhance safe and secure national security and public safety government networks .
Erik Ekudden , Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer , Ericsson . commented : “ This testing and validation cooperation between Ericsson , Thales and Qualcomm Technologies will be a major milestone in the history of communications as the ultimate result could effectively mean that no matter where you are on Earth – in the middle of an ocean or the remotest forest – high-end , secure and cost-effective connectivity will be available through collaborative 5G satellite and terrestrial connectivity .”
“ For 5G to fulfil on the promise of ubiquitous connectivity , it is imperative that it can also deliver network coverage in areas where terrestrial cellular networks do not exist , whether that be over oceans or in remote areas ,” said John Smee , Senior Vice President of Engineering , Qualcomm Technologies . “ Our planned research with Ericsson and Thales will kick off an important step in making this vital technology a reality . We are looking forward to what this collaboration can accomplish .”
“ The deployment of 5G networks marks a step change for the telecoms industry . It is a game-changer , not only in terms of business opportunities but also in the skills required to connect and protect billions of people and things ,” said Philippe Keryer , Executive Vice-President , Strategy , Research and Technology , Thales . “ Thales is deeply involved in it through the different activities of the group . The research collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies will demonstrate the belief of our companies that 5G non-terrestrial networks will contribute to this revolution and will take network resiliency and security to the next level .” p
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