Telia and Ericsson launch NorthStar 5G innovation program
Telia and Ericsson announce the launch of the NorthStar program to give Sweden’s leading industrial companies access to a 5G innovation network and the opportunity to explore the latest 5G technologies, such as network slicing and positioning. The program will target customer innovation and R&D units in selected industries, initially focusing on the automotive industry and the development of smart and sustainable transport solutions. The first customer to join the program is AstaZero, the world’s first full-scale independent test environment for automated transport systems, located outside Gothenburg.
The NorthStar program deepens the partnership between Telia and Ericsson and focuses on helping industrial companies reinvent better connected business by accelerating the adoption of 5G, a standard developed specifically for demanding applications such as vehicles, machinery or critical infrastructure that require robust and secure mobile connectivity.
At the center of the program is a new purpose-built 5G innovation network. The network connects a new 5G core, the brains of a mobile network, to Telia’s existing public 5G network, which is currently being rolled out across Sweden. Customers can also build dedicated network infrastructure – for example at test sites and R&D facilities – and connect that to the innovation network. The ability to leverage both the public network and dedicated networks will allow customers to access the innovation hub regardless of where they are located. Apart from technology, the program will provide customers with access to support from 5G experts and specialists from both Telia and Ericsson.
Anders Olsson, CEO at Telia Sweden, says: “Sweden is an industrial powerhouse with iconic brands that reach around the globe. Scaling digital solutions and turning new technologies into tangible business benefits is critical if these companies, and Sweden as a nation, are to remain competitive. Without access to robust and secure digital infrastructure, businesses risk falling behind. Through the NorthStar program, we welcome industrial players to collaborate and trial their solutions using the latest 5G technology, which will help accelerate the development of smart and sustainable transport solutions.”
One area the program will explore, with funding from the EU, is the development of 5G transport corridors, ensuring that vehicles such as autonomous trucks benefit from secure connectivity when switching between private and public 5G networks as they travel along highways, cross borders, and enter or exit confined areas.
Erik Ekudden, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Ericsson, says: ”The NorthStar program marks another milestone in our partnership with Telia toward the digitalization of Sweden and the Nordics with the latest mobile technology. Telia and Ericsson launched Europe’s first 1G network and the world’s first 4G network. With NorthStar, we are giving Swedish industry access to the most advanced 5G technology for local sites and for their wide-area connectivity and digitalization needs. NorthStar’s ambition is to be the catalyst to further develop Sweden as a leading industrial nation and to increase our international competitiveness.”
AstaZero, the first customer to participate in the NorthStar program, is owned and operated by the research organization RISE, with partners such as Volvo Group, Volvo Cars, Veoneer and Scania.
Peter Janevik, CEO at AstaZero, says: “For AstaZero, the combination of one open and one closed network makes it possible to step up both research and development testing. For example, a self-driving truck can undergo research tests in the closed network in our FLX Zone, simulating operations in a harbor or logistics center. After leaving the FLX Zone, the truck would transition to the public network, just as it would when leaving the closed area. However, still in the safe confines of the AstaZero Proving Ground. This is one more example of how AstaZero increases digitally driven research and development possibilities.”
The NorthStar innovation network will continuously be updated with new functionality, some of which will not yet be available in the public 5G network. The technologies customers will be able to explore include network slicing – which can be used to create dedicated network services for connected, autonomous and remotely steered vehicles – and positioning for high accuracy, high availability and low latency.
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