Ericsson secures €250mn loan for 5G R&D
Swedish multinational telecommunications company Ericsson has secured a €250mn from the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the aim of boosting its 5G research and development (R&D) efforts.
“We are very pleased to announce the new funding from the European Investment Bank,” said Carl Mellander, Chief Finance Officer of Ericsson. “It will support our research and development activities for 5G and extend our debt maturity profile.”
The company hopes to lead the way in commercial 5G in Europe, looking to utilise the increased data rates and ultra-low latency of 5G to allow businesses to capitalise on new opportunities in fields such as the internet of things.
In turn, this will both support European technological innovation and keep thousands of highly skilled, in-demand STEM jobs within the EU.
“The development of 5G technology is easily one of the most important innovation initiatives for the telecom industry in the coming years,” said Alexander Stubb, Vice President of the European Investment Bank. “Ericsson has been one of the defining contributors to what mobile telephony is today and I think we can only be proud to support this.”
Earlier this year, Ericsson extended its partnership with US data centre specialist Equinix to look at developing IT solutions to improve telecommunications network performance.
Further, in December Ericsson was recruited by Verizon to provide networking equipment ahead of the US telco’s 5G launch, planned for later this year.
With the first systems set to be launched later this year, Ericsson forecasts that there will be more than one billion 5G subscriptions by 2023.
Thales Group to Provide Tech for Low Earth Orbit Satellites
The Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer, Thales Alenia, which specialises in the space industry is set to supply the world’s only network of satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) with its industry-leading technology. More specifically, the Optical Inter-Satellite Links ─ which is hailed as the ‘best technology for the next generation of the Galileo Navigation System’, by the European Space Agency. Through the implementation of Thales Alenia’s optical systems, the satellite network will be able to provide global, fine-scale coverage, overland, oceans, and both poles, without compromising the security of data communications.
Telesat, a Canadian satellite services company, is currently developing the network and has commissioned Thales Alenia Space to build its broadband constellation. The network, which will be named Lightspeed, will apparently comprise 298 individual satellites, each weighing roughly 700 kilograms. These satellites will be capable of delivering multiple terabits per second worldwide for secure broadband professional services with low latency and high levels of performance. Ergo, it’ll be incredibly fast.
‘The Optical Inter Satellite Links technology is based on Thales Alenia Space’s product line Space Optical Communications, i.e., OPTEL-C. The more compact OPTEL-µ is another optical communications product from this line. This is particularly good for downloading data from small LEO satellites’, according to Innovation Origins.
Thales Alenia Space Background
Thales Alenia Space is the largest satellite manufacturer in Europe ─ the Swiss branch, which has been commissioned in this particular announcement, opened up five years ago in Zurich, where the company primarily specialises in the development and manufacture of instruments for scientific satellites, but also on optical communication terminals for space applications.
The Swiss Space Sector
When it comes to the European and international space industry, the Swiss sector is becoming increasingly important. Approximately 100 Swiss companies already produce incredibly sophisticated pieces of kit and technologies for space missions, and Switzerland also plays host to the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre, which was established back in 2016 in an effort to help entrepreneurs ‘realise their innovative ideas and transfer technologies from space to Earth and from Earth to space.’