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  • Updated: July 11, 2022

Ericsson, Qualcomm, Thales To Take 5G Into Space

To bring 5G into space, the international telecommunications corporation Ericsson has teamed up with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Thales, a French aerospace business.

In a statement released on Monday, Ericsson stated that in the event of significant network disruptions or disasters, the space-based network may also be used as backup support for terrestrial networks.

The outcome, it was claimed, might actually imply that a future 5G smartphone could utilise 5G connectivity everywhere there is land and offer full worldwide coverage for wideband data services.

According to Ericsson, the advantages of 5G connectivity through low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites include coverage in remote or extreme geographies across seas, oceans, and other places where terrestrial coverage is lacking.

It claimed that such widespread connectivity will improve the capabilities of 5G smartphone subscribers' roaming services and enable global connectivity for 5G use cases in the transportation, energy, and health sectors.

In order to improve safe and secure national security and public safety government networks, national government communications may be one of the primary use cases for 5G non-terrestrial networks (5G NTNs), according to Ericsson.

Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Ericsson, Erik Ekudden, said: “This testing and validation cooperation between Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies will be a major milestone in the history of communications.

“The ultimate result can effectively mean that no matter where you are on earth whether, in the middle of an ocean or the remotest forest, secure and cost-effective connectivity will be available through collaborative 5G satellite and terrestrial connectivity.

“The goal of the testing will be to validate various technology components needed to enable 5G non-terrestrial networks, including a 5G smartphone, satellite payload and 5G network pieces on the ground.

“This work also aims to validate that 5G NTN can be supported in a smartphone form factor allowing tomorrow’s 5G smartphone to effectively become a satellite phone."

The majority of Europe's space-focused sector is headquartered in France, he said, where the initial testing would be conducted in a mock space environment.

John Smee, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., added: “For 5G to fulfil the promise of ubiquitous connectivity, it is imperative that it can also deliver network coverage in areas where terrestrial cellular networks do not exist.

He said that Qualcomm’s planned research with Ericsson and Thales would kick off an important step in making the vital technology a reality.

Philippe Keryer, Executive Vice-President, Strategy, Research and Technology, Thales, stated: “The deployment of 5G networks marks a step-change for the telecoms industry.

Keryer said that 5G was a game-changer, not only in terms of business opportunities but also in the skills required to connect and protect billions of people and things.

He said the research collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm would demonstrate how 5G non-terrestrial networks would contribute to revolution and take network resiliency and security to the next level.

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Lawrence Agbo
Lawrence Agbo

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