Shift to 4G will be quicker than expected: Ericsson CTO

Urvashi Valecha Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 04, 2017

MAGNUS EWERBRING, Chief Technology Officer, - Asia Pacific, Ericsson

Telecom networks are undergoing massive changes as consumers start guzzling data services. Magnus Ewerbring, Chief Technology Officer for Ericsson in Asia Pacific, speaks to BusinessLine about the challenges and trends ahead. Excerpts:

Large-scale deployments of 5G are is expected to start in other markets like the US, South Korea and other major nations markets by 2019. When do you expect India to deploy large-scale 5G ?

I think the key thing is really that India allocates 5G frequencies for operators and 2020 is a good time frame. If we look at the number of 4G users, it is significantly higher than what we predicted six months ago.

We foresee the shift from previous Gs to 4G to happen quicker. Out of 1.5 billion subscriptions in total in India in 2023, 60 per cent of that would be 4G.

That’s fantastic you know because that means you have a billion good internet connections, and that’s enormous. I think we say that it’s a billion smartphones in India by 2023. I think goes really hand in hand with the ambition of digital India.

When you take 5G it is yet a further stand, but India will have a strong foundation of 4G by 2023 in the everyday society thanks to the high penetration of 4G through smartphones.

What does this growth mean for telecom operators and Ericsson?

One things that is very important for the operators to do is to have spectrum assets. So when you go into 5G, the operators will need to have more spectrum to accommodate for the large data volumes. What we do is we, of course, make sure that our products can manage all this data more efficiently. If I look at our products today and I go back 10 years, I see the volume of the product, and how much data it is processing it’s gone up significantly. In our latest report we said that India will have 18 gigabit mobile data usage per smartphone and that is higher than the world average, the world average is 17 gigabit . This to me is a good sign.

With increasing subscriptions, security is also becoming very important, so what is Ericsson doing in terms of security?

It is a key thing, security has many aspects to it. Security, privacy, integrity, intrusion and it’s so important because you put your life into your smartphone and it has account numbers, passwords, everything.

And with Internet of Things you will have ten things that are connected in your home. We need to make sure that it is there both in terms of your connection and your device which is a part of the network and also have the network which is secured.

In the network, we need to make sure that no one comes to the radio tower, opens up, the area where all the equipment is there and tries to log on to it. It needs to be safe and secure so that it doesn’t happen.

For that we are doing a number of things, we are very active with pushing the security measures. Inside our products, we do a number of things to make sure that bad parties cannot come into the system and misuse it or retrieve information, or come in and change parameters. A key thing is, one is to build a stronger defence around your system and that is again intuitive, the other thing is to make sure that you detect when someone gets inside the network. So, there we have also techniques to help run the system.

What is your view on Net neutrality?

Regulators need to think of spectrum costs, cost per megahertz in spectrum in India is extraordinarily high and in comparison to what people pay for the subscription is very low.

Now, there has to be some fair way of getting a return on that. From a legal framework, one needs to judge different interests and if the framework is such that the operator gets the hands tied to the back and cannot differentiate between services, how can you differentiate to your customers?

What are you selling, if you’re just selling a pipe that you can’t differentiate. One thing I can say when we move to 5G, there will be industrial internet so how will that be regulated?

The writer is an intern with BusinessLine Mumbai Bureau

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Published on December 04, 2017
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