Mike Murphy, Chief Technology Officer of Ericsson North America, stated that the 5G network giant is focusing on a new potential customer: the US military.
Murphy stated in his keynote speech at Light Reading’s Big 5G Event that the US government is now very interested in adopting 5G, and Ericsson will deliver products to the US Department of Defense (DoD). Murphy believes that Ericsson now complies with many of the US military’s regulations for its 5G devices, including support for open interfaces and local US manufacturing.
After its biggest competitor Nokia took the lead, Ericsson has recently begun to expand into the private wireless 5G field. In addition, Ericsson’s new military ambitions align with a plan by the US Department of Defense aimed at promoting the development of 5G networks at various US military bases.US Military
This plan is part of a broader initiative by the Pentagon aimed at connecting all departments of the military to a secure and flexible global communication system that may rely on 5G. Lockheed Martin, the top contractor of the Pentagon, is already promoting its “5G. MIL” campaign, aimed at wirelessly connecting military products such as fighter jets.
Murphy, the Chief Technology Officer of Ericsson North America, once again reiterated the company’s position on Open RAN, stating that in the future, all products will adopt open specifications to allow customers to mix and match Ericsson’s devices with those of other suppliers.
Murphy said, “Ericsson is betting on the long-term development of Open RAN for the company.” He also stated that Ericsson remains actively involved in O-RAN alliance activities. The alliance is committed to developing the Open RAN standard.
However, companies such as Mavenir and Dish Network have questioned Ericsson’s commitment to open standards, as Open RAN may provide network operators with the opportunity to easily replace Ericsson’s devices with those from other suppliers, thereby reducing their dependence on Ericsson.
Murphy said of these doubts, “There’s nothing more outrageous than this
He said that Ericsson is implementing some O-RAN alliance specifications in its equipment, and added that this move will help Ericsson’s equipment meet the requirements of the Ministry of Defense for open specification 5G devices.
Murphy pointed out that a significant portion of Ericsson’s 5G equipment was built at its new manufacturing facility in Lewis ville, Texas, which will help the company meet the requirements of the US Department of Defense to promote 5G equipment manufacturing in the United States.
Specifically, Murphy stated that by the end of next year, all Ericsson’s intermediate frequency 5G equipment in the region will be produced at the factory.
It is not surprising that Ericsson is interested in the business of the US Department of Defense. In 2020, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) wrote that the Pentagon’s Joint Universal Command and Control program was a concept of the Department of Defense (DoD) aimed at connecting sensors from all services (Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Forces) into a single network. CRS explains that traditionally, each branch of the US military has its own communication network, so they often cannot communicate directly with each other.
The US Department of Defense has been advancing this issue. For example, according to a report from Defenescoop, a defense website, the Pentagon said that its chief information officer organization would take over 5G’s work from the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, who is responsible for research and engineering in the Ministry of Defense, later this year.
According to Aviation Today, Lockheed Martin has successfully transmitted aircraft health and usage data from the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter using AT&T’s private 5G network.
In addition, the US Department of Defense is clearly focused on Open RAN technology.
John Sherman, chief information officer of the Ministry of Defense, said to Defenescoop, “We are conducting potential cooperation with some American companies. In the process of changing from closed networks and black boxes to more open networks and open software methods, we are studying multi service installation, and our American industry can play a leading role in this regard.”
This is partly because Open RAN has been touted by US government officials as a way for US companies to counter China and the growing influence of Chinese suppliers such as Huawei and ZTE.
Although there are still doubts about whether Open RAN can cultivate the ecosystem of 5G suppliers in the United States, the US Department of Defense seems willing to invest funds where it hopes. For example, the Naval Air Station in Whitby Island recently launched a private 5G network through a US $18 million contract with the Ministry of Defense and the Information Warfare Research Program (IWRP) coalition.