Ericsson builds 5G motorway with Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica

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Ericsson and BMW have joined with all three operators in Germany to establish a cross-industry consortium to build a 30-kilometre long test track to research and develop 5G infrastructure and applications for cars and trains.

The new ‘5G-ConnectedMobility’ consortium comprises Ericsson, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Vodafone, the Technical University of Dresden (TUD), the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt), and the Federal Regulatory Agency (BNetzA).

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Bavarian Road Construction Administration will also support the project, said Ericsson.

The group will build a ‘Digital Test Field Motorway’ on a 30-kilometre stretch running in parallel with both the A9 motorway between Nuremberg and Greding, in Bavaria, and the high-speed train route from Nuremberg to Munich. Deutsche Telekom has already been using a stretch of the A9 to test LTE technology on the roads.

Trials will start immediately on sections of the track that have already been completed, it said.

The mobile infrastructure will use existing sites owned by the local roads authority, the national train operator and mobile operators Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom. Ericsson said the “concentration point” for the network is located on the premises of the motorway maintenance agency in Greding.

The core network will be operated from Ericsson’s ICT Development Centre Eurolab near Aachen. Vodafone will handle connection to the core network, said Ericsson.

Research will focus on applications for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, as well as new traffic information and management for automated vehicles, said Ericsson. It will also consider 5G “digitalisation” of railway infrastructure.

Each party will look to influence the 5G standardisation process through their respective trade bodies.

Stefan Koetz, Chairman at Ericsson, said: “With the members of the telecommunications industry, and the application industry, it will be possible to accelerate 5G research and development beyond Germany, and bring the specific requirements of the various industries in Germany into international 5G standardisation activities.”

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom, said: “The cross-sector collaboration will help us to translate the potential regarding extremely short latencies of under a millisecond, high data throughput of more than a Gigabit per second, or the network availability for billions of devices into tailor made offers for our customers.”

Yesterday, Ericsson announced two 5G research projects with the European Commission into energy production and grid stability. The work will take place in Ireland, Italy and Romania.