Ericsson, Qualcomm Team Up with Thales to Test Satellite 5G Services
Ericsson and Qualcomm announced Monday that they have teamed up with Thales to test satellite-delivered, space-based 5G services to global customers and to validate that 5G non-terrestrial networks (NTN) can be supported in a smartphone form factor allowing the device to effectively become a satellite-phone.
Initial tests will take place in an emulated space environment in France. The companies said the result of the test could effectively mean that a future 5G smartphone could use 5G connectivity anywhere on Earth and provide complete global coverage for wideband data services, including places normally only covered by legacy satellite phone systems with limited data connectivity capabilities. After having each conducted detailed research, which included multiple studies and simulations, the parties plan to enter smartphone-use-case-focused testing and validation of 5G non-terrestrial networks (5G NTN).
“This testing and validation cooperation between Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies will be a major milestone in the history of communications as the ultimate result could effectively mean that no matter where you are on Earth – in the middle of an ocean or the remotest forest – high-end, secure and cost-effective connectivity will be available through collaborative 5G satellite and terrestrial connectivity,” Erik Ekudden, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson.
Such widespread connectivity would boost 5G smartphone subscriber roaming service capabilities, as well as enabling global connectivity for transportation, energy and health sector 5G use cases. The space-based network could also be used as back-up support to terrestrial networks in the event of major network outages or disasters.
“The deployment of 5G networks marks a step change for the telecoms industry. It is 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,” said Philippe Keryer, Executive Vice-President of Strategy, Research and Technology for Thales. “Thales is deeply involved in it through the different activities of the Group. The research collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies will demonstrate the belief of our companies that 5G non-terrestrial Networks will contribute to this revolution and will take network resiliency and security to the next level. “