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Three and Ericsson run Ireland’s first live 5G-SA trial

Three Ireland and Ericsson announce 5G standalone (5G-SA) live trials, claiming an Irish first.

Armita Satari

December 22, 2023

3 Min Read
Blue image of '5G'

The network will be only available to a select number of the operator’s corporate clients, aiming to facilitate advanced technologies and IT systems.

Three Ireland has partnered with Ericsson and Technological University Shannon (TUS) on this trial which aims to showcase its capabilities in real-life scenarios. The trial will run for a period of one year but is open to extension, if needed, and presumably a commercial launch could be expected shortly after.

Unlike 5G non-standalone, which relies of 4G core, 5G-SA can unleash the real capabilities expected of 5G including ultra-reliable low latency and much larger capacity. But standalone network launches have been slower than anticipated by many industry observers.

In a recent industry survey looking into the next steps of 5G, a mere 16% of respondents stated that they have already completed their roll out of standalone, while around 60% stated they were either in the process of rollout now or in the next four years.

“5G Standalone is the next evolution in 5G technology, as we move fully away from a reliance on 4G and into 5G core technology” said David Hennessy, Chief Technical Officer Three Ireland & UK. “This is just the beginning for true 5G where we will see the extensive possibilities for powering advanced technologies and supporting greater connectivity for all kinds of devices and enhance user experiences.”

“The introduction of 5G Standalone capabilities on a public network for the first time in Ireland marks a new milestone in our partnership with Three Ireland” said John Griffin, Head of Ericsson Ireland. “5G Standalone is the ultimate next step in meeting the growing connectivity demands from consumers and businesses who require premium performance.”

“With the network technology to offer tailored speed, latency and reliability, Three Ireland will be able to support innovative applications and services that will drive new market growth and deliver benefits for industry and society across the country.”

Ireland was among the first countries that assigned C-band spectrum, 3.4 GHz – 4.2 GHz bands, back in 2017. C-band is considered the sweet spot for 5G as it strikes a balance between coverage and capacity. The latter helps with managing larger density of devices or sensors per square kilometre, about 10 times higher than 4G.

The launch of 5G core can enable mission critical applications with features including network slicing, real-time processing and analysis, robotics, and more.

“We are delighted to partner with Three Ireland on the launch of 5G Standalone technology in Ireland, working alongside them as we advance use case studies of this technology” commented Dr. Enda Fallon, Head of Department of Computer and Software Engineering from TUS.

“This will enable researchers to design and evaluate the transformative solutions of the future, solutions that have yet not even been contemplated. There is no doubt that our lives are increasingly enhanced by technology, and we are proud to be at the forefront of the next advancement of 5G – a technology that has the potential to augment and elevate how businesses perform into the future.”

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