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Ericsson to ramp European 5G with new R&D site in France

New facility will provide access to a competence pool and foster industry and academic collaborations on 5G, says company

Aiming to stay in the 5G ring with big-spending Asian heavyweight rivals, Ericsson is to establish a new research and development (R&D) site in France with up to 300 employees.

The company believes that as the 5G roll-out gathers momentum for service providers around the world, customer proximity is particularly relevant. Ericsson currently employs 15,000 engineers in Europe – three-fifths of its total R&D staff – at 18 R&D centres in Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

In September 2019, the company completed a SEK500m investment at its factory in Tallinn, Estonia, directly benefiting the European market.

The new site is designed to complement Ericsson’s existing R&D facilities in Europe and the company says it will progressively ramp up activities from now on as it accelerates 5G momentum in Europe.  The first unit will be established at Ericsson’s offices in Massy, France, part of Paris-Saclay, one of Europe’s largest innovation zones.

The company says this will provide access to a competence pool and foster industry and academic collaborations. The site will focus initially on 5G software development and security, using the global 5G ecosystem and taking advantage of existing collaborations with French customers, it says.

“We recognise the economic and technological importance of the French market and the country’s influence in Europe,” said Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice-president and head of networks at Ericsson. “The rich technology ecosystem and key competencies that are present in France are conducive to building 5G through a strong R&D presence in the country.

“This initiative will strengthen Ericsson’s 5G software portfolio, including enhancing security capabilities, especially for the French and European markets. It will also support our continued focus on Europe and bring the latest innovations to our customers.”

News of the new R&D site comes after Ericsson closed a 2019 that saw a number of key developments with 5G technology, particularly in the area of spectrum sharing, but outside of Europe. In December, the firm announced it had added smartphones from Chinese manufacturer OPPO to its 5G ecosystem, having successfully tested a transglobal data call in live commercial 5G networks in late November.

This came just days after Ericsson revealed the results of a project it had embarked upon with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies to use dynamic spectrum-sharing technology to extend reach and hasten development of the US carrier’s 5G Ultra Wideband network.

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