Ericsson president and CEO Hans Vestberg said that the uptake in mobile broadband had driven strong market growth in 2011, despite a slowdown in operator spending in the fourth quarter. ‘Our early internal market data indicate that our market share in mobile network equipment grew from 32% to 38% during 2011,’ he said.
Speaking at a press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Vestberg said that the company’s strong portfolio, featuring the family of RBS6000 base stations, contributed to a gain in Ericsson's market share.
Vestberg said he believed the industry fundamentals for longer term positive development remained solid. ‘We expect operators to continue to be cautious with spending, reflecting factors such as macro-economic and political uncertainty. We will continue to execute on our strategy which means that the business mix, with more coverage and network modernization projects than capacity projects, will prevail short term.’
Vestberg claimed that Ericsson is the clear LTE leader citing recent wins including contracts with e-access in Japan, Open Mobile in Latin America, and Augere in India. ‘The two fastest-growing 4G markets in the world are North America and Korea, where Ericsson is supporting rollout of 4G quickly. This gives us unparalleled insight and experience of the high-traffic demands in 4G,’ said Vestberg.
SON Optimization Manager and Hetnets
Ericsson presented new products and portfolio enhancements including its SON (self organizing network) Optimization Manager, which automatically optimizes the process of optimizing the capacity, coverage and quality of the performance of mobile networks.
It extends the self-organizing network features developed for LTE to multi-standard and multi-vendor networks and helps operators get the most out of their existing network assets as part of a future-proof hetnet strategy.
LTE standardization introduced a range of network optimization and management features that Ericsson is now making available for automating multi-standard networks, bringing the latest self-organizing management features to existing operator networks.
This solution helps extend SON functionality to existing networks, regardless of how many vendors or standards are involved. Optimizing the use of existing network assets is a key component of any heterogeneous (hetnet) network strategy, so SON Optimization Manager is a good fit for operators that are looking to build future-proof networks.
The end result is that users experience fewer dropped calls and get a better internet browsing experience, while operators benefit from happier customers, reduced operating expenses, as well as increased traffic and revenue from their existing networks.
In mobile broadband, the heterogeneous network (hetnet) approach provided by Ericsson offers a plan in densely populated areas that calls for boosting the macro layer first, then incorporating micro, pico, and Wi-Fi solutions.
Ericsson believes that network capacity can be increased in the following ways:
•Improve the macro layer by upgrading the functionality of the existing base stations;
•Densify the macro layer by increasing the number of cells;
•Add small cells as a complement to the macro layer.
The best possible solution, and the approach adopted by Ericsson, is to combine all three into one network, as the solution delivers the same services with half the spectrum and with throughput gains of 2-10 times compared to using separate vendors for the macro and the small cell layer. In addition, Ericsson's solution halves the total cost of ownership for the small cell layer.
Pico base station with integrated Wi-Fi
Vestberg showed the latest addition to the RBS6000 family, the new Pico RBS, the industry's first Wi-Fi integrated pico radio base station. Ericsson is also releasing an Indoor Pico Gateway, to enable indoor deployments that are fully coordinated with the macro layer.
The new additions make it easy to add small cells to the network in the form of Ericsson's new small RBS products, using both 3GPP-licensed spectrum and unlicensed spectrum such as Wi-Fi, both of which can be transported over the same backhaul.
The demand for Wi-Fi technology in mobile networks will continue to grow over the coming years, as it plays an important part of the overall mobile broadband user experience. To address that, Ericsson previously announced on 21 February 2012 that it will acquire Canadian BelAir Networks, an industry leader in carrier-grade Wi-Fi.
Smart Services Router
In next generation IP networking, Ericsson announced a new application on the Smart Services Router (SSR) which is launching commercially in operator Telstra's network in Australia. The Evolved Packet Gateway, when coupled with the SSR 8020, lifts capacity boundaries for 2G, 3G and 4G networks to meet the rapidly growing demand for mobile broadband services.
MINI-LINK microwave antenna
In addition to addressing the concern of capacity in big-city environments, Ericsson gave a nod to the need for design and attractiveness of its products. Vestberg displayed a concept product in microwave technology, the MINI-LINK ball-shaped microwave antenna. With the technological ability to support 1 GB throughput speeds, the small, round unit is unobtrusive in environments where appearances matter.
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