- Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson will increase its investments in the United States on infrastructure for advanced 5G networks, both increasing research and development and shortening the timeline for introduction of 5G products.
- Ericsson will expand a 5G chip design center it opened last year in Texas, and this year will open a new software development center focused on baseband, the interface between the core network and radio units. The two investments will support nearly 300 employees, the company said.
- The company says it will also manufacture 5G radios in the U.S. before the end of the year, producing more of the infrastructure that will bring 5G wireless to consumers.
Ericsson says it expects 150 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023, which would account for 48% of all mobile subscriptions by that time. But to get to that level of use, telecoms and cities must first deploy infrastructure in the form of small cells and radios to ensure that consumers can get mobile 5G. Networks have been promising to launch mobile 5G in select cities by the end of the year, but more widespread deployment will depend on how quickly infrastructure can get off the ground.
A report last week from Deloitte found that China has outspent the U.S. by $24 billion since 2015 on new wireless networks; China has built 350,000 new cell sites for 5G, while the U.S. has built fewer than 30,000.
A lot of discussion in the U.S. has centered on policy measures that could speed up infrastructure deployment. Some networks have tried to reach partnerships with cities, like ones three companies struck with San Jose,CA to accelerate installation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is also expected to approve a policy that would make it easier to put new attachments for 5G or other networks on utility poles. Increased production of 5G software and hardware in the U.S. will also ensure that more products are installed and reach consumers faster.