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Ericsson heralds Verizon 5G kit win

Verizon fixed 5G

Ericsson will be one of Verizon’s kit partners when it first dips its toe in the 5G water next year, and it wants us to know it.

This is the sort of thing telecoms marketing departments have erotic dreams about. For years companies like Ericsson have been shoe-horning ‘5G’ into their press releases with often questionable justification. Now we’re on the cusp of some real, live 5G and Ericsson can legitimately lay claim to a piece of it. The only surprise is that it hasn’t conducted a ticker-tape parade in an open-top bus through central Stockholm.

Maybe this is because CEO Ekholm saw fit to remind his euphoric marketing team that this isn’t really 5G in a substantial sense. Verizon is calling it fixed 5G and it’s basically good, old fixed wireless access, but using the 28 GHz spectrum and some early 5G technology to deliver higher data throughputs. What it isn’t is mobile 5G delivered to smartphones, which we’re still at least a couple of years away from seeing.

But let’s not rain on Ericsson’s parade too much. It has been a tough few years for the vendor as it tries to find things CSPs might actually pay for. So while this is just a very small, early increment of 5G there is symbolic significance in scoring one of the first kit deals that can legitimately be labelled 5G.

“5G will change the way we work, interact, learn and play,” said Ed Chan, SVP Technology Strategy and Planning for Corporate Networking and Technology at Verizon. “Through our work with Ericsson, we are creating a clear roadmap and building a robust ecosystem that will enable us to maximize the potential of 5G.”

“Our pioneering work with 5G will make US consumers and businesses among the first in the world to benefit from the transformative services of the new technology,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson. “It further illustrates how our global 5G portfolio, designed to support 5G NR as standardized in 3GPP, enables first movers in the early commercialization of 5G networks.”

It’s amusing that Ericsson recruited Chan, rather than its former CEO Hans Vestberg, for the Verizon canned quote in the press release, despite Vestberg being the head of Verizon’s network business unit and his prominence in the original Verizon announcement. However Vestberg clearly bears no ill will towards his former company and Ericsson will have its fingers crossed for a reversal of its fortunes in the US.

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