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Ericsson to provide private 5G-ready network for UN peacekeepers


Ericsson has announced being chosen to provide private 4G LTE mission-critical networks for United Nations peacekeeping missions, with the first expected to go live in 2019 and include 5G-ready radio systems.

The networking equipment being provided includes offerings from Ericsson’s 5G-ready radio system portfolio including its Mini-Link technology for microwave radio backhaul and its cloud packet core, as well as professional services and training alongside IT company Danoffice IT ApS.

“This LTE network will significantly improve existing communications by providing stable, secure, and future-proof mobile broadband services for peacekeeping troops, often operating in tough geographical terrain and conditions,” Ericsson said.

“Together with the latest mission-critical push-to-talk, data, and video capabilities, specifically designed for professional use, communications will be enriched to embody the full multimedia experience.”

The 14 current UN peacekeeping operations across the globe use public radio spectrum, with Ericsson saying that providing private systems will allow the UN to add capabilities including HD real-time video, mobile positioning, and cellular Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in future.

Ericsson said it is therefore “providing communications capabilities that are crucial to [the UN’s] important work”.

“The digitalisation through broadband that is driving so much development for business and society also has great potential in peace-building and humanitarian response,” Ericsson said.

Ericsson had last week reported 54 billion Swedish kronor (SEK) (almost $6 billion) in net sales for the third quarter of 2018, up from 49 billion SEK in the same quarter last year as it called 5G a “commercial reality”.

Cost of sales for the quarter was 34 billion SEK, down from 36 billion SEK this time last year, while research and development (R&D) expenses were down from 10.5 billion SEK to 9.4 billion SEK. Opex was 16 billion SEK, down from 17 billion SEK.

Total net income for the quarter was 2.6 billion SEK, an improvement on the 3.5 billion SEK loss this time last year, with net sales in its Networks division up by 13 percent year on year to 35.9 billion SEK.

Across Networks, products were up by 17 percent to 25 billion SEK and services rose by 5 percent to 10.6 billion SEK.

In the year to date, Ericsson has made 97 billion SEK from Networks; 25 billion SEK from Digital Services; 19 billion SEK from Managed Services; and 6 billion SEK from Emerging Business and other.

Speaking to ZDNet earlier this week, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said the networking giant’s new innovation centre in Melbourne is designed to drive technology development for both Ericsson and its partners.

“This, for us, is very important global effort; we’re trying to drive innovation internally as well as externally, so this is part of that overall setup,” Ekholm said in an interview with ZDNet.

Ericsson is also increasingly investing in 5G R&D, Ekholm said, having hired more than 3,000 engineers globally over the last year and a half in a bid to “strengthen our technology position in and lead in 5G”.

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(Image: Ericsson)

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