Seeing 5G fixed wireless access as a way to turn off the digital divide
Ericsson North American President Nicholas Huveldop recently proposed an analysis of the current state of the 5G game in both the United States and internationally. He said more work needs to be done across ecosystems for development in the use of 5G, but there are also some bright points. His comments came during a recent interview with futures analyst Daniel Newman and Moore Insights and Strategy analyst Patrick Moorehead. Six Five SummitA virtual event presented by Futurum and Moor.
“We are tracking very well. We are 2 years faster in 5G platform rollout than 4G platform. You have over a thousand devices available, 200 plus network up and running. We are still on track to surpass one billion 5G subscribers this year. ”
The United States was an early adopter of 5G, he said, but it was hampered by a slow regulatory process to release the available radio frequency (RF) spectrum for 5G.
“America was first, but we had a blind spot. We didn’t have a ton of midband spectrum, ”he said.
China and South Korea have provided worldwide examples of how to quickly build 5G networks using midband, he said. The United States is closing the midband gap, he said.
“I mean, we have a network of 220 million POP coverage, one in 100, and a third is being built fast because operators are getting spectrum now,” he said.
The 5G buildout in the United States may have lagged behind some other countries, but Huvelldop says American CSPs are rapidly closing the gap.
“We have more than 90 cities with millimeter waves [mmWave] The spectrum in the United States and you will not see anywhere else in the world, “he said.
Huveldop predicts that Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will be a game-changer for 5G. He called it a “net new business” for Ericsson’s customers
“Fixed wireless accounted for more than 50% of the fixed broadband subscriptions sold in the United States in the first quarter of 2022. So fixed wireless plays a huge role in tackling digital segmentation and providing that broadband connection, ”he said.
Huveldop acknowledges that there is still much work to be done to deliver on the promise of 5G, especially for industrial applications. He pointed to the floor of a 5G smart factory used as the background for the interview, which uses advanced 5G automation, but not for everything.
“We’re pulling device manufacturers here, we’re pulling developers here, and it’s part of the ecosystem that we haven’t really solved yet,” he said.
Ericsson CEO acknowledges global supply problems, particularly in semiconductor manufacturing, but also notes that the end-to-end ecosystem of 5G products, solutions and services is still a patchwork that is still in its infancy.
“A lot of it is up to us, the technology providers, the operators, but we have to get the devices,” he said. Developers and system integration partners have also discussed the need to open up a roundabout and application programming interface (API) around industry standards as a way to promote a prosperous ecosystem.
The launch of 5G for the industry will require more effort to bring developers from Ericsson and other stakeholders on board and explore new uses for 5G, which makes sense.
“Through 4G, the consumer experience has been digitized … which is now happening in an industrial context,” he said.
This buildout would have to happen in 5G to pivot from being a catalyst for emerging technologies like Metaverse, he said. It is now possible to create that experience in controlled situations within a laboratory or test center, but it is a different matter for everyone to do it. Huveldop says Ericsson is working with Meta and other customers on how networks should look in the near future so that the technology works for everyone.
“But to get it on the road to macro networks, there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.