Hong Kong cellco SmarTone said it is taking the next step on its roadmap to 5G via a five-year contract with Ericsson that will kick off with trials and pilot deployments of key pre-5G technologies slated for the fourth quarter of 2016.
Under the deal, Ericsson will be the sole supplier for SmarTone’s core and RAN equipment for the next five years.
Ericsson says it will enable SmarTone to upgrade and expand its network infrastructure for the re-farming of more spectrum to LTE and to support the latest mobile technologies.
Ericsson will also deploy NFV and SDN for various core network solutions to enhance network performance and efficiency. The total solution will enable cost-effective, energy-efficient and work-smart operations while also supporting the fast and agile introduction of the new services required for 5G and the Internet of Things.
SmarTone and Ericsson have been working together on the introduction of pre-5G technologies, including LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro, to further enhance SmarTone’s network capability and user experience, said Stephen Chau, Chief Technology Officer of SmarTone.
“The evolutionary work toward 5G will uplift network capacity by multiple times and will enable SmarTone to be a frontrunner in capturing future business opportunities from new types of applications, such as virtual reality and machine-to-machine applications,” Chau said. “SmarTone will continue to invest in spectrum and pre-5G technologies within the next few years to provide a superior customer experience and to evolve our network into an advanced, dynamic and cloud-based network architecture.”
Paul Bergström, Head of Customer Unit Hong Kong and Macau, Ericsson, added: “This agreement is built and extended on our long- term strategic business partnership with SmarTone, and Ericsson is committed to reinforcing SmarTone’s market-leading position into the next-generation of mobile technology. With Hong Kong as a strategic Asian telecom hub, we will continue to excite the market and industry with our latest technologies that deliver unparalleled performing networks and outstanding mobile services to meet consumers’ digital lifestyle needs.”