Ahead of the 5G launch, Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer Ericsson is keen to improve digitalisation and connectivity in India through Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) services. Ericsson is also supporting its customers on 5G trials in India.

“FWA is gaining traction across the world, even though in terms of number of subscribers, it is relatively few. We had predicted in the ‘Ericsson Mobility Report’ that 25 per cent of the total network mobile data in 2026 will be generated by FWA. In absolute numbers, it is considerably smaller than the number of smartphones because they sell much more, and they scale by the number of individuals,” Magnus Ewerbring, Chief Technology Officer for Asia-Pacific at Ericsson told BusinessLine in an interview.

“A few operators have launched FWA like SmarTone in Hong Kong and Verizon in the US. It is very simple to deploy and then you get good performance,” he said, adding, enterprises have to be digitalised to ensure they are connected.

FWA helps network operators to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband connections, while eMBB will be an extension to existing 4G services initially but would be instrumental in ushering in 5G services.

The use cases of 5G in India would be the traditional consumer segment and the enterprise. Enterprises want to digitalise and one way of doing this is to provide connectivity with 5G. In case of non-availability of 5G, the key is to start using 4G to digitalise enterprises because updating to 5G will be quicker, once spectrum is available.

Ericsson foresees a “big uptake” for 5G in India, and its share of subscribers would be about 10 per cent of the 3.5 billion customers in the world, which is 350 million.

“Just to give you the potential in India, between now and 2026 if we take all technologies, factoring in 4G and 5G, 530 million smartphone subscriptions will be added and that is an enormous amount of new smartphone subscriptions,” Ewerbring said.

India should use 4G to drive digitisation for enterprises till 5G services, which offers considerably better performance, are available.

On the adoption of bands, Ewerbring expects 5G to be used on low bands, mid bands and high bands.

“This is all up to what is available in the local market. If you see bands which are commonly used today, we have mid bands, with 3.5 GHz and 2.6, 3.5 and then up to 4.9 GHz. We have the high band which are typically 26-28 GHz while some are 39 GHz also. So, those are the new bands that are being deployed. But then, we also have the ability to use the existing bands of 1800 MHz and 900 MHz and so forth,” he added.