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  1. Ericsson signs $8.5bn Verizon 5G deal Landmark deal will improve the coverage and speed of Verizon's 5G network Ericsson and Verizon are expanding their long-standing partnership with the announcement of a new landmark $8.5bn multi-year agreement in which the Swedish network equipment vendor will provide the US telecom with its 5G solutions. Through the deal, Verizon plans to accelerate the deployment of its 5G network throughout the US after first beginning its rollout of the next generation of mobile internet connectivity back in 2019. President and head of Ericsson North America Niklas Heuveldop provided further insight on both companies' strategic partnership in a press release, saying: “This is a significant strategic partnership for both companies and what we’re most excited about is bringing the benefits of 5G to U.S. consumers, enterprises and the public sector. We’re looking forward to working with Verizon to leverage solutions like Cloud RAN and our Street Macro, adding depth and versatility to 5G network rollouts across the U.S.” Landmark deal As part of the new $8.3bn agreement, Verizon will deploy Ericsson's 5G MIMO C-band, low-band and millimeter wave (mmWave) solutions to boost and expand its 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, network performance and user experience. Ericsson's technology solutions, which include Massive MIMO, Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson Cloud RAN, complement its Ericsson Radio System portfolio to support 5G services. Verizon and Ericsson have worked together in the past and last year, Verizon was the first telecom to receive a commercial 5G mmWave Street Marco base station from Ericsson's US smart factory in Lewisville, Texas. Verizon customers will soon see a performance boost as well as better coverage when using a 5G smartphone on its network and we'll likely hear more regarding the deal once the telecom begins rolling out Ericsson's equipment. Ericsson signs $8.5bn Verizon 5G deal
  2. HELSINKI/NEW YORK (Reuters) - About a dozen rural U.S. telecom carriers that depend on Huawei for network gear are in discussions with its biggest rivals, Ericsson and Nokia, to replace their Chinese equipment, sources familiar with the matter said. The carriers, which include Pine Belt in Alabama, and Union Wireless in Wyoming, are seeking discounted pricing and looking forward to government assistance but have yet to reach agreements, these sources said. Nokia and Ericsson declined to comment. The talks are critical for small carriers that have relied on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd or ZTE Corp for inexpensive, high-quality mobile network gear in recent years even as the big U.S. telecom companies shunned the Chinese firm. The U.S. government has labeled Huawei a security threat and effectively banned U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei. But switching vendors will not be easy. Nokia and Ericsson, both of which have struggled financially in recent years, will not match Huawei’s pricing, analysts and company executives say. Huawei’s prices “were not market-based,” said an equipment industry executive who has worked for years in North America. “They made no sense.” Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, estimated Huawei and its compatriot, ZTE, charged 30% to 50% less than rivals. Talks are not expected to continue until legislation in the U.S. Congress to provide $700 million in subsidies to help rural carriers with the switch is approved, sources familiar with the discussions said. No action has been taken on the bill since it was introduced in May, according to Congress.gov. The Rural Wireless Association (RWA), a trade group, estimates it would cost between $800 million to $1 billion to install new gear. John Nettles, president of Pine Belt, said he reached out to Ericsson and Nokia last year when the federal ban on using money from the $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund for Chinese equipment was first suggested. “The conversation has been going on for about a year and they are looking for ways to bring down the price, within the reach of the smaller carriers,” he said. Without a discount, he added, rural carriers would not be able to afford it. Union Wireless said it was in discussions with Nokia, but declined to provide details. Industry executives briefed on the discussions confirmed that Nokia and Ericsson were in talks with rural carriers but detailed discussions will not happen until later this year as the regulators are still trying to determine which parts need to be replaced. Ericsson and Nokia, however, may have little incentive to offer discounts as economies of scale are not in rural carriers’ favor. The $700 million opportunity is scattered between small operators which in total, according to one industry executive, need at most 2,000 base stations to be swapped. By comparison, the top U.S. operators each run networks of more than 50,000 base stations. The availability of local workforces that manage swapping of the equipment could also be a problem. “The scarcest resource in the U.S. today is tower-climbers. There is tremendous job growth in this sector right now,” said one industry executive. RISK OF SHUT-DOWNS Rural wireless carriers typically serve between 50,000 to 100,000 subscribers in remote areas that are out of reach by big telecom companies like Verizon Communications Inc or AT&T Inc and are often the sole regional provider. Among these carriers, the RWA estimated that 25% of its members have Huawei or ZTE equipment. SI Wireless, which has 20,000 mobile customers across western portions of Kentucky and Tennessee, said the majority of its network uses Huawei equipment. Viaero, which serves 110,000 mobile customers across Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Nebraska and parts of Wyoming and South Dakota, said roughly 80% of its network equipment, including core, wireless, microwave and fiber, was manufactured by Huawei, according to FCC filings. “Rural telcos are not very profitable and a lot of the owners are in their 50s, 60s and 70s. If they have to rip out their network, they are probably going to shut down if they can’t easily find a buyer,” Recon Analytics’ Entner said. That means basic communications could disappear from poorly served communities. The advent of 5G networks poses a dilemma: companies that are forced to rip out Chinese equipment could try and move to 5G immediately, but that would be more expensive in the short term. Still, 5G could give the rural carriers some leverage with Nokia and Ericsson. Handelsbanken analyst Daniel Djurberg noted small deals would boost the number of 5G wins Nokia and Ericsson are counting to show their advances in the new technology. Ericsson and Nokia are likely interested in the deals also for strategic reasons. “It’s important to be in the U.S. and these operators may be bought by bigger operators later on and then they have positioned themselves,” said Bengt Nordstrom, head of Stockholm-headquartered consultancy firm Northstream which advises telecom operators and vendors. Source
  3. Ericsson announced on Wednesday its plans to build a 5G factory in the US sometime early next year. The factory will be the Swedish telco equipment maker's first fully-automated factory, the company said, and will be used to produce 5G radios designed for urban areas. It will also make Advanced Antenna System radios that it said are components for large-scale deployments of 4G and 5G networks for both rural and urban coverage. "With today's announcement, we conclude months of preparations and can move into execution also in the US," Ericsson executive vice president and head of networks Fredrik Jejdling said. "In addition, we are digitalising our entire global production landscape, including establishing this factory in the US. With 5G connectivity we're accelerating Industry 4.0, enabling automated factories for the future." Ericsson did not provide details about where the factory will be located, but the company has plans to initially employ around 100 people at the factory, which will have "highly automated operations". The race to launch 5G networks among telcos is already well underway, with telcos like Verizon having already rolled out a live 5G network. Ericsson's announcement to build a 5G factory in the US also follows US President Donald Trump in recent months banning companies from using telco equipment made by its competitor Huawei. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai applauded Ericsson's announcement. "Building 5G equipment in the United States is good for our economy, good for the supply chain, and good for the rapid rollout of the next generation of wireless connectivity in the United States," he said. Ericsson is currently signed on by T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, US Cellular, and GCI to help build out their respective 5G mobile networks. According to the Ericsson's latest mobility report, North America is expected to lead in the adoption of 5G, with the company predicting that 63% of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G-based in 2024. Source
  4. SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The United States is in talks with Brazil and its local telecommunications companies on funding the acquisition of fifth-generation gear produced by Ericsson and Nokia, U.S. ambassador for Brazil Todd Chapman told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. In an interview published on Thursday night, Chapman said this type of funding is a matter of “national security” to Washington and aims to “protect data and intellectual property, as well as sensitive information of nations”. His remarks were a blow to the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker, China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], which has consolidated its presence in Brazil over the last 20 years. Huawei did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. The Chinese company has successfully conducted 5G tests with all four major carriers - Telefonica Brasil SA, TIM Participacoes SA, America Movil’s Claro and Oi SA - and is helping them modernize their infrastructure ahead of a long-awaited 5G spectrum auction. In August, Reuters reported Huawei would invest $800 mln to build another factory in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state by 2022, pushing to ramp up its Latin American footprint despite U.S. objections. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has urged governments worldwide, including Brazil, to shun Huawei because of spying concerns but few have heeded those warnings so far. Chapman argues that allowing Chinese companies in the country’s 5G deployment could even discourage investments by other foreign companies. “Who wants to make investments in countries where their information will not be protected?,” he told Folha. The U.S. Ambassador added that the funding under discussion with Brazil would be provided by the International Development Finance Corporation, a development bank created by Trump in late 2018 to counter China’s Development Bank operations in other countries. Source
  5. COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Greenland has picked Sweden’s Ericsson over China’s Huawei to supply equipment for its fifth-generation (5G) telecoms network, state telecoms operator Tele Greenland said on Thursday. The decision comes as United States is pushing allies to exclude Huawei from 5G deals, and after President Donald Trump in August offered to buy Greenland from Denmark as part of a broader strategic push into the Arctic. “5G is coming to Greenland, but no date has been set for this yet. We do not see Huawei as a possible supplier of (Tele Greenland’s) 5G network,” its Chief Executive Kristian Reinert Davidsen told broadcaster KNR. His comments were confirmed to Reuters by a Tele Greenland spokeswoman. A Huawei spokeswoman in Denmark said the company was not aware of any plans for 5G rollout in Greenland. “Huawei has no mobile network business in Greenland and had no plans to participate in any 5G rollout in Greenland,” she said. Tele Greenland’s decision had been made after considering issues like “quality, price and security in the broadest sense,” the company’s chairman Stine Bosse told Reuters. Ericsson, which last week was picked by Norway’s Telenor as key technology provider of the country’s 5G network, also supplied Greenland’s 4G network. “It’s hard to say which network is best,” Davidsen told KNR. “We just found that Ericsson was the right choice for us based on all the parameters. It was from an overall point of view, and I can’t say if one is safer than the other.” A spokeswoman for the Swedish company declined to comment on future plans for 5G rollout in Greenland, but said Tele Greenland is “an important customer” and that its current 4G network in Greenland is based upon Ericsson’s 5G ready products. Fearing high-tech espionage, and battling with China over trade, the United States has pushed allies to exclude Huawei from lucrative 5G deals. Huawei has denied its equipment can be used for spying. Earlier this year, privately held Danish telecoms operator TDC also picked Ericsson over Huawei for its 5G network. TDC said it was a commercial decision, but that it “was not blind” to widespread concerns about Huawei and information security. Source
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