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Ericsson aims to lead world in IoT and 5G network development

Ericsson aims to lead world in IoT and 5G network development

TUESDAY, October 06, 2015

Urges regulators to do their jobs and make more spectrum available

Ericsson wants to be a world leader in the Internet of Things (IoT) as it strives to develop the 5G network and enhance LTE, the company’s senior vice president has said.
Arun Bansal, who is also head of Business Unit Radio at Ericsson, said the company is accelerating IoT growth on existing LTE and GSM networks to ensure a global foundation for a vast range of new consumer, industry and government applications, from smart cities to connected farms. 
Internet of Things is a sub-set of 5G, he said, and the 5G network will enable people-to-people communication as well as IoT communication and connectivity.
“We need more spectrum. Spectrum is a natural resource and regulators need to do their job. They need to allocate resources, which is the spectrum, to operators that can invest to give the right usage and the right quality of services to users. Regulators should facilitate,” said Bansal.
“The spectrum is needed for operators to give not only the best effort service, but also the quality of service. And with the vision of Thailand to become a digital country, operators need spectrum to provide better connectivity. Auctions are the only answer. Spectrum is the key [element] for the development of the nation both for job creation and the digital Thailand vision,” he said. 
Meanwhile, Camilla Vautier, president and country manager of Ericsson Thailand, said another key driver of IoT in Thailand is urbanization. From the company’s portfolio perspective, it is striving to develop its portfolios to support society to become more digital. In Southeast Asia, Thailand is one of the top markets where Ericsson sees a lot of investment potential.
Bansal reiterated that its customers can invest when the spectrum is available to develop the digitalization of Thailand. And then the company can develop the products to support different needs.
“For example, IoT has two use-cases, for rural applications like sensors, and in urbanization for applications like connected cars. IoT standardization is all about all the parts in the IoT ecosystem from sensors to networks,” Bansal said.
Technology is not just hi-tech and high cost, he said, it also drives down the cost to make IoT devices more affordable. Ericsson is working with leading ecosystem players to address the cost, coverage and battery life issues that have hindered broader mass uptake of IoT applications.
Bansal said the company spends US$2.5 billion (Bt91.05 billion) a year in research and development. The company has cleared a budget to spend on three areas: 5G, to speed up the network performance; the standardisation of IoT and MTC; and the development of products. 
He said Ericsson is very involved in IoT for standardisation of infrastructure. The company recently launched its Ericsson Networks Software 16B software to support low-cost devices, extend battery life, improve deep indoor and rural coverage, and offer service prioritization.
Ericsson plays a role in all levels of IoT transformation, from rollout to enterprise and business processes, platforms and cloud and radio connectivity.
The company’s plan is to address these challenges with a targeted new suite of software upgrades and ecosystem advances that will accelerate the uptake of IoT for the benefit of both industry and consumers.
Bansal said the future growth will come from Asia. Almost 3.5 billion of the world’s 7 billion population live in Asia, which is a huge market for Ericsson. Within Asia, Thailand is a very important market for Ericsson as well. 
Most of the population is young, he said. In Thailand and the rest of Asia, the average age is much lower than the average age in Europe. The future of innovation and application, usage of mobile broadband and mobile data will be driven by this market. 
However, infrastructure in Asian countries, except a few countries like Singapore, is not very developed.
“With the GDP growth forecast, we believe in our vision of a network society. Everything will benefit from connectivity. We will see technologies being used in totally different ways in this part of the world. We will see smart meters and connected cars, but infrastructure is needed to get the GDP growth. It requires so much investment that no country can afford it without ICT help. We will ICT being used in this part of the world, besides consumers, in totally different ways,” Bansal said.