Ericsson and Fujitsu are the latest telecom equipment vendors to join forces on their 5G efforts, dovetailing with a partnership announced earlier this week between Samsung and NEC.
The latest pairing, dubbed a “strategic partnership,” will initially tap Fujitsu’s expertise in its home market to target Japanese operators. They also plan to then tap Ericsson’s more worldly reach beyond Japan.
The two companies say that they will provide an end-to-end 5G network platform and related services that is based on their combined portfolios across radio access and core networks.
Fujitsu has been quieter about its 5G work but has been aggressive in bolstering its software and cloud platforms. The vendor late last year selected Nokia’s Nuage for its Virtualized Services Platform (VSP), which will provide the SDN overlay across Fujitsu’s Enterprise Cloud Service K5.
The Ericsson and Fujitsu alliance comes on the heels of Samsung and NEC announcing a similar arrangement earlier this week. That partnership spans mobile infrastructure and IT solutions, from the radio to OSS/BSS systems to services, though the exact mix has yet to be finalized.
Both partnerships bring together an established, global 5G vendor (Ericsson and Samsung) with a more Japan-focused partner (NEC and Fujitsu). Ed Gubbins, senior analyst for global telecom technology and software at GlobalData, said he thinks these deals could be at the behest of Japanese operators.
“In both cases it’s not clear what either Japanese company offers, at a product level, that their new partners couldn’t offer themselves,” Gubbins said. “So I suspect these partnerships stem from requests made – or preferences stated – by major Japanese operators and won’t have much relevance outside Japan.”
A recent Juniper Research report ranked Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank as two of the “most promising” 5G operators. DoCoMo topped the list based on its recent 5G trials. The carrier plans to fully launch its commercial 5G network by 2020, which would coincide with that year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
DoCoMo had previously worked with both Ericsson and Fujitsu on its virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) deployment. Those vendors were also part of DoCoMo’s initial 5G deployment plans announced in 2014.