Deploying 5G network will be critical for operators, says Sweden's Ericsson

The troubled telecom sector in India will need to turn to 5G deployments to reduce costs and improve performance, spokespersons of Swedish telecom equipment provider Ericsson said on Friday.

So far, Ericsson has announced eighteen commercial 5G deals globally and are part of the first wave of live 5G networks across US, Europe and Asia. While the Indian telecom sector continues to struggle with financial turmoil, merged telco Vodafone Idea (VIL) was the first one to speak out against 5G spectrum auctions, in December 2018, in the absence of  affordable spectrum and a robust 4G network.  

“The important aspect is that its is critical for our customers (operators)) to move into 5G than for the end subscribers. 5G will drive down the cost per gigabit and by deploying it they can deploy much higher capacity at a much lower cost to cater to the rapidly growing demand and smoother user experience,”said Ludvig Landgren, Head of Network Applications and Cloud Infrastructure, Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania & India.

Indian telecom operators deal with lowest posible global average revenue per user (ARPU) and highest possible demand in India. He added, operators have to be a little careful about where they spend so resulting in technology that allows reuse of existing equipment, which means that they can take easier steps rather than full rollout and seek to continuously trying to bring down costs. 

Ericsson today announced that it has been selected by Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) to deploy its Cloud Packet Core to enhance its existing core network. As part of this deal, VIL will deploy Ericsson’s  core network applications and Network Functions such as Ericsson virtual Evolved Packet Gateway (vEPG), Service Aware Policy Controller (vSAPC) and Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVi) solution enabling fast introduction of new services and providing full service continuity. 

The telecom operators themselves have been reeling under high debt and capex pressure forcing them to seek out rights issues and asset demerger to balance the lack of revenue upside.

Ericsson  also has 5G MoUs with Bharti Airtel, BSNL and IIT, Delhi as part of its efforts to strengthen the 5G ecosystem in the country. Apart from tehse in recent times, both Bharti Airtel and VIL have announced deals in recent months with Ericsson for rapid 4G rollout. They have also been rolling out 5G use cases with Reliance Jio, however, no comprehensive equipment deals have been announced yet on the lines of VIL or Airtel deal. 

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