Ericsson ramps up US 5G development with new software hub

13 Aug 2018

Exterior of an Ericsson building in San Francisco, California. Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock 

Comms player Ericsson is bumping up its 5G investment plans in the US.

The US is demanding 5G connectivity and fast, so Ericsson is investing to meet these needs.

The company predicts 5G subscriptions will reach the 150m mark in North America by the end of 2023. This means a whopping 48pc of customers will be using 5G-powered devices.

Ericsson announced that the investments fall into two distinct categories. The first is an increase in research and development work done close to US customers, and the second is increasing flexibility to bring new products to the hungry market.

New jobs coming for the US

Last year, Ericsson launched its ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) in Austin, Texas, to develop and test crucial microelectronics for use in 5G radio base stations. This will employ 80 people.

A new software development centre is in the works, which is set to employ more than 200 software engineers. Starting in 2019, the facilities will contribute 5G products and software features into Ericsson’s portfolio. A further 100 engineers will be hired, increasing company investment in AI to boost automation.

In the final quarter of 2018, Ericsson will begin building next-generation radios in the US. This will begin with a third-party partner at first.

CEO Börje Ekholm said: “To serve the demand of these fast-moving service providers, we are strengthening our investment in the US to be even closer to our customers and meet their accelerated 5G deployment plans.”

Ekholm also noted that the US is Ericsson’s largest market, accounting for a quarter of its business over the last seven years.

5G implementation is not a simple task

US carriers and chipmakers have made rapid progress on the path to this new generation of mobile network but Europe is proving to be a more difficult story. The numerous countries, carriers and regulators to manage means that a coordinated approach for implementation has not quite materialised.

This does not mean Europe is free from innovative achievements in 5G, though. In Kista in Sweden, Ericsson and Intel achieved the first-ever bi-directional call on both downlink and uplink streams using the new technology standards for 5G approved by 3GPP in June.

Exterior of an Ericsson building in San Francisco, California. Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock 

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects