Ericsson last week opened a tower training facility in Texas, the latest feather in its cap to show that the vendor is a force for 5G in the U.S.
“Our goal to lead in 5G depends on providing quality installation, roll out, and other services,” said Niklas Heuveldop, Ericsson’s head of market for North America. “To do this we need to recruit and train the best teams to support customers’ ambitious 5G plans.”
The new center will serve as the “heart of those plans,” he added.
Trainees will work specifically for each operator, learning site installation and integration; radio base station installation; tower and rooftop installation; microwave alignment; deployment and network integration for 3G, 4G, and 5G; and virtual site support.
Last year, Ericsson bolstered its investment plans for the U.S., opening a software development center alongside an ASIC design center in Austin, Texas. The two facilities will introduce 5G products and software features and employ more than 330 engineers.
Ericsson is the largest wireless network equipment vendor in the U.S., according to Dell’Oro Group. Also, the U.S. is one of Ericsson’s largest markets, accounting for more than one-fourth of the vendor’s overall sales for the past seven years. Last August, Heuveldop said “the U.S. is on fire” in terms of overall wireless investment activity.
Ericsson expects to bask in that glow. “5G in the U.S. has been very good for Ericsson,” remarked Chris Nicoll, principal analyst at ACG Research.
Early on, Ericsson made a big investment in a Silicon Valley operation, and last year signed multi-billion dollar 5G deals with T-Mobile US and Verizon, Nicoll noted. Ericsson, along with Nokia, have leading positions with all four U.S. operators, with Samsung gaining market share.
China-based rivals Huawei and ZTE are not considered a factor in the U.S. 5G market. If the U.S. and other western countries increasingly avoid the two Chinese vendors for security risks, Huawei and ZTE will face problems, Nicoll said, adding that Huawei is widely regarded as being a year ahead of Nokia and Ericsson on its 5G technology prowess.
However, Nicoll noted that with U.S. carriers aggressively pushing 5G, both Ericsson and Nokia are likely to learn lessons they can use in other countries.