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Vietnam aims to commercialise 5G this year to accelerate its digital transformation journey. How important is the end-to-end network infrastructure to the readiness of a 5G rollout?
|Denis Brunetti, president of Ericsson in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos|
The 5G infrastructure that we will be deploying in Vietnam will serve as a platform for innovation that will address the needs of the country today and well into the future.
The Ericsson Radio System hardware has been 5G-ready since 2015 and can also be used for 5G NR, including standalone, with a remote software installation. In total, we have shipped seven million 5G-ready hardware radios to our customers since 2015, which gives us and our customers a unique advantage. This is currently the most installed 5G-ready radio in the industry. This enables our customers to access the fastest migration to 5G and protects their past investments.
Ericsson Dynamic Spectrum Sharing software is the most economically feasible way to introduce 5G in existing bands, enabling nationwide coverage from day one. Our dual-mode 5G Core portfolio also enables one common network for 5G and earlier standards, delivering high levels of network automation and programmability as well as standalone 5G as a software installation on radios.
Thus, we have the right portfolio in place to enable our customers to deploy networks in all main frequency bands for global deployments and utilise their valuable spectrum assets in the fastest and most efficient way. This is proven in live networks with the best performance results that we have deployed globally, so our customers in Vietnam have every opportunity to be ahead with 5G.
How can Ericsson help the country develop 5G networks and help communications services make the best use of them?
As a trusted and long-term strategic partner in Vietnam’s ICT industry, Ericsson is committed to working alongside leading mobile service providers, such as Viettel, VNPT Group, Mobifone, and Vietnamobile, to expand 4G network coverage and capacity whilst also preparing for the commercial introduction of 5G through a series of technical and commercial trials.
Ericsson has been supporting Vietnamese mobile service providers with technical 5G trials since 2019, leveraging our technology leadership, strategic partnerships, and expansive 4G base, which can seamlessly and efficiently be upgraded to 5G capabilities when required.
We are proactively working with mobile service providers to ensure Vietnam is at the forefront of 5G developments, sharing our technical capabilities, market insights, and thought leadership.
In addition, Ericsson also recognises the need to lead the market in forging strategic 5G partnerships that include cross-industry players, bringing them together with mobile service providers to deliver compelling digital transformation engagements and new revenue streams.
According to an Ericsson 5G for Business Study, the related revenues for service providers in Vietnam could be to the tune of $1.54 billion by 2030 with sectors like manufacturing, energy/utilities, and healthcare leading the pack. Coupled with Vietnam’s National Innovation Centre initiative, the government’s investment in sustainably growing the nation’s startup ecosystem will also contribute significantly to the country’s innovation capacity and the establishment of a thriving digital economy leveraging 5G as the enabling platform.
As commercial 5G leadership and technology evolve globally, what are some examples of successful 5G rollout and what lessons should Vietnam learn from elsewhere to quicken the process?
5G networks are rolled out faster than expected, and the focus is initially on consumers and bringing capacity to networks. With each mobile generation, not only has performance increased but the pace of adoption has also increased, and the price per Gbit continues to decrease.
Today, the focus is on consumer services bundling in VR and AR for entertainment, but will also be relevant for education and businesses, as well as used for enhancing the health and wellbeing of senior citizens, for example for therapy.
We can see that many industry use-case applications can be created or enhanced by 5G due to low latency, promoting a safer environment with robotics and this year, we will see trials continue for industries.
The expectations across industries are that the ramp-up of 5G-enabled use cases is likely to happen later and to be distributed across industries. It has taken industries longer to move into more sophisticated digitalisation use cases, as they are still pushing basic functionality.
5G will pave the way for increased investments in smart manufacturing capabilities in Vietnam, supporting the government’s vision and focusing on driving an increased and sustainable productivity growth rate of 7 per cent per year by 2025.
If I take the example of our own smart factory in Lewisville, Texas, where connectivity comes from a state-of-the-art 5G network, technology is enabling incredible efficiencies at the facility itself. An asset-tracking solution digitally integrates with factory floor sensors to track critical assets’ location, condition and status in real time. The solution provides real-time visibility of finished goods on the production floor and brought an immediate impact: a 10 per cent increase in repair tech productivity and a 5 per cent reduction in rework and waste.
Various solutions have been designed to solve challenges across a variety of different areas and generate tangible and significant business impact, including cost reduction, improved uptime, improved quality, and much more. We have worked on use cases in numerous industries in Europe, Asia as well as in Northern America.
Some of the other examples that I can cite include our partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Telefónica Deutschland to establish the 5G network for automobile production, which went live in 2020, and we also developed the first 5G use case for making jet engine components tested for MTU Aero Engines in 2018.
We have been collaborating with leading service providers worldwide, more than 40 universities and technology institutes and 30 industry partners.
We are also committed to supporting Vietnam in becoming a regional and global smart manufacturing hub. Our ambition is further sharpened by the expectation that over two-thirds of global manufacturers will relocate to Asia-Pacific by 2025, with Vietnam clearly attracting a high number of these manufacturing opportunities.
What has Ericsson already achieved in its 5G work, and how can communication service providers in Vietnam benefit from the company’s tech evolution?
This year, Ericsson was named a leader in a Gartner report on the Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers. Ericsson was also named a leader in the corresponding 2021 report – the first time Gartner conducted such a report.
The report highlights that the leadership in the 5G technology evolution, from Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Uplink Booster as well as in-house Ericsson Silicon, give us a first-mover advantage, enhancing our share as a market leader.
Operators in Vietnam will certainly benefit from Ericsson’s global deployment experience. We are currently powering 121 live 5G networks, which is more than half of the world’s such networks. Ericsson powers networks in 54 countries that have launched 5G, which translates to more than 60 per cent of the countries that have already launched it.
This technology is a core part of our business and we invest $4.4 billion in research and development annually, corresponding to almost 20 per cent of our sales. Around a quarter of our workforce is also deployed in related activities.
Ericsson has the right portfolio in place to enable its customers to deploy networks in all main frequency bands for global deployments and utilise their valuable spectrum assets in the fastest and the most efficient way.