Ericsson, Qualcomm and Thales will take 5G to space

Ericsson, French aerospace company Thales and wireless technology innovator Qualcomm Technologies are planning to take 5G from Earth and via a network of satellites orbiting the Earth.

After conducting each detailed research, which includes multiple studies and simulations, the parties plan to test and verify the 5G non-terrestrial network (5G NTN) smartphone use cases.

The result could effectively mean that future 5G smartphones can use 5G connections anywhere in the world and provide full global coverage for broadband data services, which could normally only be covered by older phone systems. Via satellite with limited data connectivity


Extreme geographic coverage

The benefits of 5G connectivity via Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are expected to include coverage in extreme geographic areas or seas, oceans and other places where land coverage is absent.

Such widespread connectivity will strengthen the roaming capabilities of 5G smartphone customers, while enabling global connectivity in 5G use cases in transportation, energy and healthcare.

The space network can also be used as a backup medium for the terrestrial network in case of major network failure or disaster.

The anticipated security capabilities of 5G NTNs mean that domestic government communications could be a primary use case to enhance national security and government public safety networks.


“This test and validation collaboration between Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies will be a major milestone in the history of communications, as the end result could mean real life wherever you are on Earth – in the middle of an ocean,” said Ericsson Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Eric Ekuden. or the most remote forest – high-end, secure and cost-effective connectivity will be available through collaborative 5G satellite and terrestrial connectivity.

“For 5G to deliver on its promise of ubiquitous connectivity, it’s essential that it can also provide network coverage in areas where cellular networks don’t exist terrestrially,” said John Smee, senior vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Technologies. Ocean or remote areas. Our research project with Ericsson and Thales will mark an important step in bringing this vital technology to fruition. We look forward to what this collaboration can bring.

phase change

Philippe Carriere, executive vice president, strategy, research and technology at Thales, said: “The deployment of 5G networks marks a radical change for the telecoms industry. It’s a game-changer, not only in business opportunities, but also in the skills needed to connect and secure billions of people and things.

“The Thales team is strongly involved in this through various activities. The research collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies demonstrates our company’s belief that 5G non-terrestrial networks will contribute to this revolution and take network resilience and security to the next level. »


Testing and validation by Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies after a March 2022 green light from 3GPP – the global telecommunications standards body – is intended to support non-terrestrial networks for the first time.

The focus of the test will be to validate the various technology components required to enable 5G non-terrestrial networks, including a 5G smartphone, satellite payload and ground-based 5G network components.

This work also aims to ensure that 5G NTN can be supported in a smartphone form factor allowing tomorrow’s 5G smartphone to effectively become a satellite phone. The first tests will take place in a simulated space environment in France, where most of the European space industry is based.

5G Virtual RAN

Ericsson plans to test a 5G virtual RAN (vRAN) stack, modified to handle propagation of radio signals (what would be 5G radio waves traveling through the vacuum of space and Earth’s atmosphere) via fast-moving LEO satellites.

Thales plans to verify a 5G radio satellite payload suitable for deployment on LEO satellites, while Qualcomm Technologies plans to deliver test phones verifying that 5G NTN is accessible to future 5G smartphones.

Experts will use ground-based equipment to simulate 5G radio propagation and the delay between a satellite in orbit and a 5G smartphone connecting to a 5G radio access network at various locations on Earth’s surface.

Validation work

Ekuden added: “While it is too early to say when a 5G-equipped prototype satellite could be launched into orbit for actual operational use, the highly technical ground test and validation work planned between Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies is essential to make this happen. .

As a 3GPP-supported technology, 5G NTNs will be able to capitalize on a vast ecosystem of standardized products and components. The new specification enables the incorporation of NTN technology into 5G devices, giving technology vendors the ability to easily and quickly extend 5G NTN compatibility between devices.

Copyright 2022 by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Syndigate Media Inc (

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