Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Thales Partner to Bring 5G to Space

Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Thales Partner to Bring 5G to Space

Ericsson, Qualcomm, and Thales are planning to take 5G out of this world and across a network of Earth-orbiting satellites. After having each conducted detailed research, which included multiple studies and simulations, the parties plan to enter smartphone-use-case-focused testing and validation of 5G non-terrestrial networks (5G NTN).

The companies say they have already conducted extensive research into non-terrestrial 5G networks, including studies and simulations. Now, they hope to conduct use-case-focused tests using the technology. The result could effectively mean that a future 5G smartphone could use 5G connectivity anywhere on Earth and provide complete global coverage for wideband data services, including places normally only covered by legacy satellite phone systems with limited data connectivity capabilities.

Non-terrestrial networks include technologies such as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and High-altitude platform systems (HAPS). There has been an effort to better integrate these technologies into the 5G standard, which could result in an interoperable, standardized wireless experience across the entire globe.

Such widespread connectivity would boost 5G smartphone subscriber roaming service capabilities, as well as enable global connectivity for transportation, energy, and health sector 5G use cases. The space-based network could also be used as backup support to terrestrial networks in the event of major network outages or disasters.