Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies are looking to bring 5G to the space across a constellation 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 outcome could suggest that a 5G smartphone can utilize 5G connectivity wherever on Earth and provide global coverage for broadband data services, including areas that are typically only covered by traditional satellite phone systems that have limited connectivity to data.
The advantages of 5G connectivity using Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are expected to extend coverage in remote or extreme geopolitics regions across oceans, seas and other areas in which terrestrial coverage isn’t available.
This widespread connectivity will enhance 5G smartphone roaming service capabilities in addition to enabling global connectivity for energy, transportation and health sector scenarios.
The network that is space-based could serve as a backup support to terrestrial networks in case there is massive disruptions to networks or natural catastrophic events. The purpose of the tests will be to verify various components of technology needed for 5G non-terrestrial network which include the 5G smartphone satellite payload, satellite and 5G network elements in the ground.
The work also seeks to prove the possibility of 5G NTN being integrated into a smartphone aspect, allowing the next 5G smartphone to be effectively a satellite phone. Initial tests will be conducted in an emulated spatial environment within France, where the majority of European space-related industry is located.
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