With the COVID-19 pandemic still very much in focus, Ericsson also supported adjacent industries. As the demand for ventilators increased, Getinge, a global supplier of mechanical ventilators, was faced with the challenge of ramping its production 160 percent during 2020. With R&D and supply teams based in the same region of Sweden, Getinge reached out to Ericsson’s local Product Development Unit Transport for help.
Commercial 5G launches continued to gain speed around the world. In Taiwan, both Chunghwa Telecom and Far EasTone launched their commercial 5G networks, with 5G RAN and Core solutions provided by Ericsson.
In South Africa, communications service provider MTN went live with Ericsson-powered commercial 5G in the cities of Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth. In the US, Verizon became the country’s first communications service provider to receive a 5G base station manufactured at Ericsson’s new 5G production factory in Texas.
New Ericsson software was also released, allowing communications service providers to tap the full potential of 5G New Radio (NR) technology with the commercial availability of Ericsson Standalone 5G NR software for 5G mid- and low bands.
August: Ericsson tops 100 unique 5G customer milestone
August saw Ericsson reach a significant 5G milestone when the company secured its 100th commercial 5G agreement or contract with unique communications service providers. Speaking on the achievement, President and CEO Börje Ekholm said: “Our customers’ needs have been central to the development and evolution of Ericsson’s 5G technology across our portfolio from the very beginning. We are proud that this commitment has resulted in 100 unique communications service providers globally selecting our technology to drive their 5G success ambitions. We continue to put our customers center stage to help them deliver the benefits of 5G to their subscribers, industry, society and countries as a critical national infrastructure.”
5G deployments continued with Ericsson and Telekom Slovenije, launching the first commercial 5G network in Slovenia. Claro Brasil also brought the first 5G network to Latin America using Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, initially rolling out services across 12 areas in Brazil.
Forwarding the company’s sustainability and corporate responsibility ambitions, Ericsson joined The Pathways Coalition, a group of innovative companies representing the infrastructure, utilities, transportation and retail sectors. The ambition is to accelerate decarbonization of heavy transport and reach the objective of zero CO2 emissions by year 2050 or earlier, in line with The Paris Agreement.
September: More 5G momentum in Europe … Ericsson acquires Cradlepoint
September saw more operators launching their commercial 5G services. In Denmark, rapid deployment by Ericsson field professionals enabled Danish communications service provider, TDC, to beat its nationwide 5G network roll out timeline and launch commercial 5G across most of Denmark on September 7.
In Spain, Ericsson helped both Orange and Telefónica Spain to launch commercial 5G services. Ericsson and Three Ireland combined to launch 5G in Ireland, bringing comprehensive 5G coverage and network capacity.
Ericsson teamed up with Rostelecom and Tele2 to demonstrate 5G capabilities for COVID health monitoring by deploying a pilot 5G network at the Digital Industry of Industrial Russia (CIPR) conference to help monitor the health of visitors. The pilot 5G service enabled remote health monitoring of CIPR-2020 visitors including temperature checks, use of personal protective equipment (e.g. masks), and extent of social distancing.
Big news followed with the announcement of Ericsson’s agreement to acquire Cradlepoint, the US-based market leader in Wireless Edge WAN 4G and 5G Enterprise solutions. The investment is key to Ericsson’s ongoing strategy of capturing market share in the rapidly expanding 5G Enterprise space. Cradlepoint complements Ericsson’s existing 5G Enterprise portfolio which includes Dedicated Networks and a global IoT platform. The combined offering will create valuable new revenue streams for customers by supporting full 5G-enabled services for enterprise, and boost returns on investments in the network.
October: A big month for 5G Core
October saw numerous wins for Ericsson in the 5G Core space. Proximus, the Belgian communications service provider, selected Ericsson to implement a new 5G Core network on its cloud infrastructure. The cloud-native solution is based on Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core, which will also be used for the renewal of the 4G network.
In neighboring Netherlands, Dutch service provider KPN chose Ericsson as its mobile core network vendor. Under the five-year agreement, Ericsson will deploy dual-mode 5G Core software with full support services, including an accompanying systems integration program with third-line support services.
To the south, POST Luxembourg strengthened its partnership with Ericsson with a multiyear deal to deploy 5G Core and 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) in Luxembourg. POST went live with Ericsson-powered 5G on October 16.
Confirming Ericsson’s strong stance on sustainable business practices, the company was named one of the world’s most sustainable companies by the Wall Street Journal. Ericsson ranked #12 on the publications list of the 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World.
November: Company turnround completed
November saw another significant milestone in recent Ericsson history as senior company executives confirmed to Capital Markets Day 2020 attendees that the three-year company turnaround was complete – with restored profitability, organic growth and on-tracking financial target progress. Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, said: “The execution on our focused strategy has delivered a turnaround which creates a robust base for the future and delivered global leadership in 5G. Our future value is inextricably linked to wider economic growth and we are well-positioned to play a lead role in the ecosystem of operators, businesses, and decision-makers on whose combined shoulders 5G’s full success rests.”
A series of contracts in Kenya, South Africa, Madagascar and Benin, among others, highlighted Ericsson’s growing footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa as communications service providers moved to strengthen their networks and cater to demand for enhanced mobile services.
In Europe, more service providers were forwarding their 5G agendas with Ericsson. Telia and Ericsson switched on Estonia’s first commercial 5G network, powered by Ericsson 5G technology including Ericsson Radio System products and solutions and using hardware produced in Estonia. In the Czech Republic, Ericsson and wholesale telecom infrastructure company, CETIN, signed a five-year contract to bring 5G to the nation.
The November 2020 Ericsson Mobility Report was released, estimating that by the end of this year, more than 1 billion people – 15 percent of the world’s population – will live in an area that has 5G coverage rolled out. In 2026, 60 percent of the world’s population will have access to 5G coverage, with 5G subscriptions forecast to reach 3.5 billion.
December: Ericsson closes a strong performance year
More 5G deals were unveiled including in Greece, where the company was selected by WIND Hellas as its mobile core network vendor for standalone and non-standalone 5G, as well as its BSS partner. Ericsson will deliver a powerful transformation to Wind Hellas’ existing 2G/3G/4G packet core and signaling infrastructure and enable them to deploy their first standalone 5G network.
In Slovakia, Ericsson was chosen by Slovak Telekom to deliver its 5G Radio Access Network and switch on 5G commercial services as of December 10, while Japan’s KDDI selected Ericsson to deploy cloud-native, dual-mode 5G Core, enabling the launch of 5G Standalone services in its network.
December also saw the publication of Ericsson ConsumerLab’s annual 10 Top Consumer Trends report and the unveiling of the 2020 Ericsson Innovation Awards winners.
December also highlighted our Ericsson solutions are boosting public safety networks across some of Europe’s remotest communities in the Faroe Islands, as well as showcasing how Ericsson innovation could bring mobile connectivity to the seas and change the marine industry as we know it – and how Ericsson network-on-a-drone innovation could transform emergency disaster response.
Ericsson and Singtel announced the acceleration of their 5G partnership in Singapore through the deployment of high-end 5G technology enabled by 5G New Radio (NR) Standalone and dual-mode 5G core network products and solutions.
As the year closes out, Ericsson has 122 commercial 5G agreement or contracts with unique communications service providers, 68 publicly announced 5G contracts, and are live with 77 5G networks across the globe in 40 countries.