Australian communications heavyweight Telstra and Swedish technology partner Ericsson have announced a clutch of mobile network developments including the planned switch-on of 450Mbps capability in selected areas of Telstra’s LTE ‘4GX’ network from April, with compatible devices available from mid-2015, while a voice and video calling over LTE (VoLTE) network trial will also begin in April, leading up to commercial services ‘later in 2015’. A vendor press release also disclosed that Telstra has demonstrated 600Mbps interoperability showing the future potential of LTE Carrier Aggregation (CA). The release continues that Telstra and Ericsson are deploying the latest generation LTE radio and core network technology, and that building on Telstra’s current 300Mbps capability, the introduction of tri-band CA capability will enable Telstra’s 4GX network with theoretical peak speeds of up to 450Mbps, leveraging the cellco’s new 700MHz and 2600MHz spectrum, thereby delivering improved coverage and extra capacity.
In a separate press release, Telstra and Ericsson announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of 5G standards and technologies. Mike Wright, managing director of networks at Telstra, said: ‘While a 5G world is some time away, it is important to begin key foundational work now to help us to better understand this emerging new technology and what it can do for customers across Australia and the world. For Telstra, 5G will be an evolution of our world leading 4G network, and we are keen to work together with our network partner Ericsson to drive the standards, test new concepts and research the new architectures.’
The pair will collaborate on 5G projects including the following areas:
- 3GPP standards evolution;
- 5G radio test bed (Telstra staff will join Ericsson in their advanced technology facilities in Sweden later this year to test and analyse the latest innovations);
- 5G field trial (Telstra will run a trial in Australia involving industry partners and customers);
- PoC (Proof of Concept) for MTC (Machine Type Communications), a key enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT); and
- core network evolution (Ericsson adds that ‘for 5G to be an end-to-end network reality, the mobile core network will need to evolve to support the new services. To facilitate understanding in this area, Telstra and Ericsson will collaborate to investigate and demonstrate key capabilities for a 5G ready evolved core network using the Ericsson Cloud System, Router 6000 series, Evolved Packet Core, SDN controller, IMS and other core elements’).
The collaboration activities will commence in the second quarter of 2015 and continue to evolve as the standards mature and 5G becomes a commercial network reality (projected to be around 2020).