• Sarah-Jayne Gratton

The 5G year of 2020: Cornerstones, Challenges and Collaboration

“I don’t think anyone could have ever imagined what this year has turned out to be” recalls Cecilia Atterwall, head of Ericsson Network's marketing and communications.

Dean and I are listening to the “5G year of 2020 podcast” from Ericsson. It’s a cold December morning; the kind that usually bristles the senses with festivity being so close to Christmas and yet, this year, it’s all too quiet, all too still.


Now, as we continue to listen, one word keeps repeating over and over and it’s a word that truly resonates, not only with us but with everyone, we suspect. The word is collaboration and it’s never been more poignant.


It would be a gross understatement to call this an interesting year for Ericsson

“Partnerships are all important. The best announcements of this year were made through collaboration with our key partners and customers” remarks podcast host, Janina Hedberg.


With new geographies and countries adopting 5G, new devices being introduced around the globe and industry integration at the forefront of digital transformation, it would be a gross understatement to call this an interesting year for Ericsson – and for us all!


“Firstly, it was very clear for us that we had to make the decision not to attend MWC in light of the pandemic” explains Cecilia.


In fact, Ericsson created shock waves by being one of the first organisations to pull out of MWC which, on reflection, turned out to be a wise decision.


“Things still happened, they just had to happen in different ways,” Cecilia reflects. “For example, the Ericsson Spectrum Sharing (ESS) won a GLOMO Award this year, which was amazing, but we were unable to receive it in Barcelona, so we had to find alternative solutions.”


Now, seeing the 5G possibilities come to fruition is incredibly empowering, both for us and our customers”

“Yes, we had to re-steer the way we collaborated with our partners” explains Hannes Ekström, head of Ericsson's 5G access products. “And when things came together this year we could clearly see that the technology we have been developing, for example our Ericsson Spectrum Sharing solution, was allowing our customers to expand their 5G footprint rapidly, even during these challenging times”

In terms of Network Rollout, Ericsson were able to deliver - even during lockdown. “Again, it’s about collaboration, albeit remotely” Hannes adds. “Ericsson invented the Spectrum Sharing solution three years ago so, now, seeing the 5G possibilities come to fruition is incredibly empowering, both for us and our customers”.


"It’s been the year when we finally built the innovation platform that 5G was meant to be"

“It’s been the year when we finally built the innovation platform that 5G was meant to be in terms of coverage, speed, low latency and slicing capability,” continues Hannes. “The cornerstones of these are now in place and we will continue to evolve during 2021”


“So, is 5G just going to get faster and faster?” asks Janina.


“We need to get to the higher spectrum bands in more geographies,” comes the reply. “And we’re doing it.”


“Rather than slowing 5G down, the pandemic is doing the opposite"

In terms of rural connectivity “the demand for coverage and capacity has dramatically increased due to remote working and communication needs” explains Hannes.


“We estimate 226 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year,” he adds. “Rather than slowing 5G down, the pandemic is doing the opposite, as more and more of us rely on good connectivity”.


“Another thing that is fundamentally impressive is the resilience of our supply chain,” exclaims Cecilia proudly. “The fact that we have been able to continue to build networks to meet customers’ demand is one of the great achievements of the year,” she adds.


"What Ericsson are echoing is that, in a strange way, we couldn’t have picked a better year (if there was ever one) for this to happen."

The Ericsson Mobility Report has revealed that one billion people could have 5G coverage by the end of 2020, so with this in mind, having the multitude of low-cost devices being developed is essential for consumers.

The realisation that 5G is an innovation platform that is now fully in place will lay the path for greater industry uptake, creating more efficiency and building resilience.


“It’s what 5G was built for in the beginning” ponders Cecilia as the episode draws to a positive close.


It’s a ‘new normal’ world, where facemasks are a necessary part of our daily attire and where physical hugs have been replaced by social emojis. What Ericsson are echoing is that, in a strange way, we couldn’t have picked a better year (if there was ever one) for this to happen.


"5G is nothing short of a twenty-first century saviour"

And our own thoughts on the future? Having faced the stuff of science fiction fantasy this year, we both agree that we now live in a world where nothing should be dismissed as impossible.


For us, it’s a world filled with renewed possibilities.


We can see a deeper value in the development of self-driving vehicles safely delivering much needed supplies and of robotic fruit and vegetable pickers, packers and transporters, keeping our nation’s food supplies abundant. These innovations are already happening of course, but their relevance is all the more poignant in light of what the world has experienced this past year.

And, we both agree that 5G is nothing short of a twenty-first century saviour; providing a powerful framework of connectivity that is positively impacting upon innovation growth and providing increasing possibilities to assist in every aspect of our lives.


Yes, the 5G revolution has well and truly been rolled out and its effects are touching us all. From providing new ways to remotely collaborate, new tools for innovation and new means to work, shop and communicate, it’s all about connectivity!


What a year it’s been! With our new book on Artificial Intelligence being published in 2021, Dean and I raise a glass and chink to all that has been achieved so far and all that is yet to come.



This is a sponsored post on behalf of Ericsson.


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