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Ericsson and Qualcomm achieve first 5G NR call on CBRS spectrum

In a significant achievement for the industry, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. announced that they have successfully completed the first over-the-air 5G New Radio (NR) call on CBRS (Citizen Broadband Radio Service) spectrum in a recent field trial. This combination of 5G NR over CBRS will enable a wide range of new applications for enterprises and industry verticals, which in turn supports the proliferation of private networks, further propelling the Industry 4.0 evolution.

“The promise of 5G NR in the CBRS band offers nearly unlimited potential for enterprise applications and industries, and we are excited to once again collaborate with Qualcomm Technologies in this industry first achievement,” said Paul Challoner, vice president, network product solutions, Ericsson North America. “This demonstrates our technology leadership and investments to date, and the fruits of our collaboration to drive the promise of private networks in the Industry 4.0 evolution.”

“This 5G NR call over CBRS spectrum is a significant milestone with Ericsson in enabling the full potential of 5G and will help address the increasing data demand and evolving use cases for wireless connectivity among consumers, enterprises, governments and other organizations,” said Francesco Grilli, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies has been at the forefront of commercialization of CBRS with support since 2017 in our Snapdragon® Mobile Platforms, LTE modems and the Snapdragon X55 and X65 5G Modem-RF Systems, and we are excited to create opportunities for deployment and to enable better user experiences in a wide array of scenarios.”

CBRS, shared spectrum from 3.55 GHz to 3.7 GHz, has been the catalyst for innovation to expand cellular usage beyond enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) in the US. Combined with the commercial rollout of Priority Access Licenses (PAL), LTE-based CBRS network deployments are rapidly gaining momentum and proliferating across thousands of sites across the country. These sites enable use cases such as Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), mobile network densification, and private cellular networks.

As the rollout of 5G NR network equipment in the CBRS band occurs, private cellular network performance will deliver improved throughput, reduced latency, enhanced reliability, and greater connection density – thereby allowing for advanced applications such as mobile robotics, connected manufacturing and facilities, augmented reality industrial applications, and much more. In addition, the coordination of CBRS and licensed spectrum, such as C-band, through carrier aggregation further delivers increased capacity to enhance the user experience.

With this first over-the-air 5G NR call, Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies now deliver the power of 5G NR to CBRS shared spectrum. The field trial took place at Ericsson’s North America headquarters in Plano, Texas, utilizing the previously announced Ericsson 5G Distributed Innovation Network together with a smartphone form-factor test device powered by Snapdragon 888 5G Mobile Platform with the Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System. The standalone 5G network configuration with rooftop radios allowed for various real-life test scenarios, including intra- and inter-band mobility and carrier aggregation (3.55-3.7GHz TDD and C-band), as well as mobility between n48 and 5G low-band, or 4G.

Ericsson radios 4408 and AIR 6449 and the smartphone form-factor test device were used for this trial and the over-the-air environment was made possible with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) test licenses in the respective bands.

Both Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies offer a full suite of solutions to support customers on their journey as industries like manufacturing, mining, and ports look to cellular indoors for low-latency, reliability, and to support for massive numbers of IoT devices. These offerings will help deliver the power of 5G NR to CBRS shared spectrum as quickly and broadly as possible. From an Ericsson point of view, the company has been focused on fortifying its 5G indoor portfolio to help make it the simplest and most flexible product range on the market, serving as a high-performing, dependable, cost-efficient, easy-to-deploy solution.

With the conclusion of this field trial, both companies are one step closer to 5G services on the CBRS shared spectrum, ushering in more innovation via 5G on this transformative shared spectrum.

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