5G has been talked about for a number of years but the quest is really starting to heat up with actual implementations on the near horizon – which means a lot more data.

This week at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress Ericsson declared 5G ‘open for business’ while several other companies have been keen to express their handiwork too.

One of these is Huawei, with the company announcing an agreement with BT Group to extend their strategic partnership with a clear focus on ensuring 5G leadership for BT Group and its mobile network, EE.

The partnership involves development and live trials of 5G New Radio (NR), core network technology, and 5G customer premises equipment (CPEs). The aim is to test real-life 5G performance in a range of environments in preparation for commercial launch.

“Our 5G research has been hugely promising, and this partnership with Huawei will turn that research into reality,” says BT Group CTIO Howard Watson.

“Huawei has helped us drive the evolution of the EE 4G network, and they are the ideal partner to help us push the barriers of 5G.”

BT and Huawei started joint work on 5G research and development in 2016 and have a wide ranging research collaboration agreement. In November 2017, they announced the completion of the UK’s first 5G end-to-end lab testing, delivering consistent 2.8Gbps downlink throughput and sub-5ms latency.

Huawei 5G product line president Yang Chaobin says BT is one of Huawei’s most important global customers.

“Signing this new agreement is recognition of our leading position in the 5G field. We are confident that this further deepening of our partnership will show that our end-to-end 5G solution – from network to device – leads the industry,” says Chaobin.

“This partnership demonstrates our ability to deliver and support the successful deployment of a 5G commercial network to our customers.”

Meanwhile, Ericsson and MTS have announced an agreement to establish a 5G research centre in Innopolis, a new Russian high-tech city located in the Republic of Tatarstan.

The two companies will leverage their expertise, latest technologies, and partner ecosystem to build prototypes and explore new business opportunities with 5G and Internet of Things for Smart Cities, with possible extension to other areas.

Their activities will begin in the second quarter of this year and in addition to joint research and development projects, Ericsson and MTS plan to organise hackathons and collaborate with local partners, startups, and residents. The idea is to develop solutions that can be deployed and evaluated locally before being scaled for the global market.

“We are conducting research both in-house and in partnership with key suppliers, continuously testing new solutions. Today, we reached a new stage of our technological cooperation with Ericsson,” says MTS procurement and administration vice president Valery Shorzhin.

“The launch of a joint R&D Center will significantly accelerate the introduction of innovative products to the market. We hope that the research work of both companies will allow us to bring new developments not only to the Russian but also to the global market.”

The infrastructure to be used at the research center includes the Ericsson IoT Accelerator Platform and Massive IoT solutions supporting NB-IoT.

“Ericsson will provide its latest 5G and IoT technologies, global expertise and access to a worldwide ecosystem of partners and universities as well as support of key Business Labs,” says Ericsson Russia president Sebastian Tolstoy.

“The R&D Center in Innopolis will become an important part of Ericsson’s global R&D program for development and launch of IoT innovations to drive the large-scale uptake of IoT in Russia and beyond.”

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