As 5G changes world, Ericsson continues to innovate, invest in the future

Published on 09/20 2018  Source: China Daily


The global telecommunications company Ericsson says it expects to accelerate research and development of 5G technologies to enhance its competitiveness in intellectual property. 

The first 5G-equipped phone call was dialed out by Ericsson this month. The experiment opens a door for marketing 5G-related infrastructure, intelligent cellphones and other mobile devices, the company said. 

Robert Earle, vice-president of Assertion and Enforcement for IP Rights and Licensing at Ericsson, said the company will invest more in 5G, whose speed is 10 times that of 4G, and promote its application in many fields. 

"We invest significant resources in R&D of 5G because we think that it is the future," Earle said. 

"You will see more and more devices equipped with 5G. Every 10 years, there has been a new generation (of technology), and we saw 5G coming." 

The 5G technology is exciting because of its negligible delay and high transmission speed, he said. 

"We can use the example of a robot trying to catch the ball (to compare 4G and 5G). If it receives messages via 4G, it misses every time. But when (it uses) 5G, it catches the ball." 

The new technology can also facilitate automatic driving and make remote surgery a reality. 

"The information flow is so fast. It updates in seemingly real time," Earle said. 

The 5G technology can also reduce production costs per bit because it is more spectrally efficient and can use wider carriers, he said. 

In addition, 5G is more energy efficient because it has smarter scheduling techniques that switch on transmitting equipment only when needed. 

"Operational costs will be lower with 5G for comparable units today. This is because 5G is introduced with automation and analytics that reduce the need for human intervention in building, optimizing, operating and troubleshooting networks." 

Since 1999, Ericsson has made about 50,000 contributions to 3GPP, a set of global organization supervising cellular standards, to develop 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. This is 15,000 more than the second-largest contributor, the company said. 

Ericsson holds the most chairmanships and vice-chairman positions in 3GPP. This points to the company's leadership in driving 3GPP standardization. 

The company has organized discussions about 5G since 2011 and now has the most 5G patent applications worldwide, showing its leading role in the emerging sector. 

"Just as with 4G, 5G licensing will be based on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory principles, and will need to maintain a proper balance that encourages the future development and adoption of standardized technology," Earle said. 

"As a leading innovator and vendor of standardized technology, Ericsson will seek to promote this balance in bilateral licensing discussions, both as a licensor and as a licensee." 

The company invests 15 percent of its annual revenue in R&D, which amounts to about three to four times its licensing revenue. 

"We feel that innovation is key to the growth of our company. It's not only for our products, but the ecosystem, as a whole, needs innovation too. We place a high priority on that." 

Earle said the company has signed license agreements with many companies worldwide. However, some do not consider the technology licensing costs when they set their operating budget. 

"In those cases, we negotiate and work to come up with a solution that results in a licensing agreement, which is a more efficient path. We like to see new products on the market, but we also need to get returns for our R&D investment." 

Ericsson also looks forward to working more with China in supporting the country's 5G strategies and infrastructure, Earle said. 

"China is becoming a global innovation hub. China's innovation and technology advancements currently have and will continue to have enormous global impact. 

"Therefore, we are very optimistic about China's future in leading global technological and economic development." 

The company will increase investment in China and establish in the country the largest R&D center outside Sweden, where its headquarters are located, he said. 

"Countries have different rules. You need to understand how the rules work so that you can better adapt to it. Since the number of IP enforcement actions worldwide has increased, we have continued to evolve our enforcement strategies to ensure we operate successfully within the various worldwide systems. 

"Time will tell how it all turns out, but I'm very optimistic." 

There have been significant changes in policies on IP protection in China, which have resulted in recent court decisions providing guidance on further protection. 

Ericsson will continue to innovate and seek patent protection in China for its innovations. It will also continue to offer its global IP protection experience and expertise when helping to address issues related to IP protection in China, Earle said. 

"As utilization of China's IP protection achieves greater perceived geographical neutrality and predictability, it will gain strength from an international perspective." (Source: China Daily)