Alaska’s largest telecommunications operator, GCI, has selected Ericsson for the deployment of 5G infrastructure, the vendor said in a release.
Ericsson said that the deployment of 5G technology will accelerate applications for the oil, gas, mining and healthcare industries across Alaska.
GCI said it expects to commercially launch 5G services in Alaska during 2020.
As part of the deal, GCI will deploy Ericsson’s 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software to 82 macro cell sites across the municipality of Anchorage. Those sites will be supported by backhaul services provided by GCI’s metro fiber network.
“We are committed to providing superior 5G wireless service to the residents of Anchorage just as we already provide the fastest internet service,” said GCI CEO Ron Duncan. “The combination of our assets and Ericsson’s industry-leading 5G solution will increase the capacity of our Anchorage wireless network by 10 times or more and also provide better coverage. All of our customers will benefit from this increase in capacity.”
“Ericsson and GCI have partnered over the past decade to connect customers in some of the most remote communities in Alaska. We are pleased to continue working with GCI to bring 5G service to Alaska’s biggest city,” said Börje Ekholm, president and CEO of Ericsson.
“Using 5G, new use cases benefitting society, consumers and enterprises, will be created. Consumers will benefit from a premium experience with faster speeds and better coverage, while new wireless functionality will accelerate applications for the oil and gas, mining and healthcare industry across Alaska,” Ekholm added.
This deployment will also support the local government efforts to grow Anchorage’s smart city project. The municipality of Anchorage already uses a “light grid” to improve efficiency for municipal street lights and is exploring programs that rely on automated systems and connectivity to deliver services more efficiently to residents.
At a global level, the Swedish vendor has already publicly announced 22 wins in the 5G segment. Some key customers include AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile US, US Cellular, Verizon, Swisscom, TDC, Telenor, Vodafone UK, Wind , Etisalat, Optus, Ooredoo, STC, KT, SK Telecom and Telstra.
In April, Ericsson’s President and CEO Börje Ekholm said during a conference call with investors that Ericsson aims to obtain a share of 5G contracts in the Chinese market once local carriers start to deploy the technology.
Ericsson and China Unicom have recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to accelerate the development of commercial 5G and promote 5G technological innovation.
The agreement strengthens the strategic partnership between the companies. In addition to testing the technical networking scheme, the partners have completed innovative 5G projects, such as the live 4K high-definition broadcast of a marathon; live 8K HD broadcast of the Women’s World Club Volleyball Championship; 360-degree panoramic live broadcasting, and driving demos.
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