Ericsson plans to enable operators in urban areas to offer 5G technology, up from 4G, to their subscribers using the current mid-band spectrum.
This will be done through the firm’s new radio product, AIR 3246 for Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), which complements Ericsson’s global 5G radio offering.
The firm will provide services that will help operators to prepare, mobilise and launch the 5G network.
“The Massive MIMO has the potential to provide a smooth transition towards 5G,” said Fredrik Jejdling, head of business area networks at Ericsson.
The decision was taken after the company analysed the performance of 4G network in different urban areas around the world and found that the probability of a smart device suffering from slow Internet speed can be as high as 20 per cent during peak hours.
Industry players have welcomed the development, saying it will greatly boost their LTE network capacity.
The demands for fast Internet speeds are increasing with many users dissatisfied and frustrated with the 4G network.
The 5G network is expected to boost user experience. Rwanda was one of the first countries to roll out 4G LTE in 2014.
However, three years of using the technology has not achieved the expected adoption, which is largely blamed on high costs and the fact that it was introduced when 3G was still a reliable technology.
GSMA recently released a report showing how the single wholesale network (SWN) model has failed to deliver widely accessible, affordable, fast Internet.
It called on regulators to stop the monopolies enjoyed by the wholesale networks by opening the market up to competition.
Hong Sung Choi, LTE director at Korea Telecom, said they have rolled out the 4G network in almost all parts of the country, but utilisation of the technology is still very low especially outside Kigali.
When asked how this new product fits into their functionality as a 4G LTE operator, he said the company doesn’t plan to migrate to the 5G network any time soon.
Sector players are engaging governments to adopt the 5G network as it will be key in providing solutions to current problems.
Analysts say the roll out of the 4G network should provide useful lessons before the 5G network is introduced.
The Massive MIMO can increase network capacity up to three times, and give up to five times better user experience and boost performance for the end users.
The 5G services will use engineered intelligence approaches, which build on the best of human and machine capabilities and are supported by automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence tools.