Qualcomm, Thales and Ericsson set to take 5G out of this world
Mobile technology specialists Ericsson, French aerospace company Thales, and wireless technology innovator Qualcomm are planning to take 5G into space across a network of Earth-orbiting satellites.
After having each conducted detailed research, including multiple studies and simulations, the parties plan to enter smartphone-use-case-focused testing and validation of 5G non-terrestrial networks (5G NTN).
The result could effectively mean that a future 5G smartphone could use 5G connectivity anywhere on Earth and provide complete global coverage for wide-band data services, including places normally only covered by legacy satellite phone systems with limited data connectivity capabilities.
The benefits of 5G connectivity via low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are expected to include coverage in extreme geographies or remote areas across seas, oceans and other locations where terrestrial coverage is absent.
Such widespread connectivity would boost 5G smartphone subscriber roaming service capabilities, as well as enabling global connectivity for transportation, energy and health sector 5G use cases.
The space-based network could also be used as back-up support to terrestrial networks in the event of major network outages or disasters.
Photo top of page: copyright ©Thales Alenia Space/Master Image Programmes – Please note that this photo is purely for illustration and does not directly represent the satellites mentioned in this article.