In a public relations exercise guaranteed to turn heads in the networking industry, Ericsson has delivered its first 5G radio unit built entirely on American soil to Verizon’s chief technology officer, Kyle Malady, showcasing the potential of Ericsson’s new state-of-the-art 300,000 sq. ft. smart factory in Texas.
The equipment, the first 5G base station to be produced by Ericsson in the US, marks a major milestone for the Swedish multinational, as it continues its efforts to win business from clients unable to use Huawei technology in the wake of the US trade ban.
“Ericsson’s smart factory is a cornerstone of our collaboration as we work together to bring 5G to our consumer, enterprise and public safety customers,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer of Verizon. “Together these types of innovation will accelerate our 5G deployments, as we expand our 5G leadership in technology and continue to rapidly build the ecosystem with our partners.”
Street Macro product
Although Ericsson won’t want to explicitly antagonise the Chinese government, of the seven manufacturing sites listed in the company’s last annual report, only one is in China, and it sits in a relatively good position, should China decide to block European exports.
The 5G base station delivered to Verizon’s headquarters is the millimeter wave Street Macro product, which is especially designed for deployment in metropolitan areas, providing extra capacity alongside rooftop sites, with all radio access components housed in a lightweight enclosure.
“As the most advanced platform for innovation, 5G will enable a transformation across enterprises –as we’re now experiencing in our own smart factories,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks at Ericsson. “Automation and remote operations have become more important, and we’re working with our customers to make them available for the benefit of industries. From producing the first 5G base stations at our 5G USA Smart Factory earlier this year, we’ve made our first commercial delivery to Verizon. That’s just the beginning.”
Ericsson’s Texas-based factory began commercial operations in March, and will be fully operational by the end of the year, when it will produce 5G and Advanced Antenna System radios to boost network capacity. According to Ericsson, this domestic manufacturing factory is a “critical component of Ericsson’s global supply strategy”, as the company strives to meet US requirements for a 5G supply chain that meets the current expectations of the Trump administration.
We have approached Ericsson for a breakdown of the components used in the base station, including information on where they originated from, and will include an update if we receive any confirmation.