Concept: Sweden’s Ericsson has unveiled an advanced tri-sector, triple-band radio named ‘Radio 6646’ that can replace nine radios and ostensibly uses 40% less energy than triple-band single-sector radios. The new Radio 6646 aims to provide a cost-effective and adaptable way to increase 5G coverage that is both economical and sustainable.

Nature of Disruption: The new radio expands the multiband functionality of Ericsson tri-sector devices by combining the 900, 800, and 700MHz frequency bands into a single small 2G to 5G-capable radio. Its low-band spectrum capabilities can enhance mid-band (3.5GHz) and 5G coverage performance in an energy-efficient way while meeting the environmentally friendly solutions demand from communications service providers (CSPs). The system uses aluminum which reduces the radio’s design weight by 60% and lowers deployment expenses, tower rental, and carbon footprint. Being fully recyclable, this metal also plays a crucial role in the circular economy. Ericsson claims that the outside-in coverage of Radio 6646 extends from rooftops and towers to indoor spaces like offices, basements, shops, and homes. Moreover, it can boost  5G network capacity when combined with mid-band TDD via Carrier Aggregation and 5G Standalone (5G SA).

Outlook: Sustainability has become a primary concern for operators as the volume of 5G traffic is projected to surpass that of 3G and 4G by 2025. Ericsson claims the Radio 6646 can improve coverage indoors and outdoors for all generations of mobile networks from 2G to 5G, including the IoT. The frequencies supported by most devices have a huge potential to accelerate the growth of 5G services. With an initial focus on Europe, the company plans to streamline deployments and increase 5G coverage. Also, it enables service providers to expand 5G SA installations with emerging consumer, business, and mission-critical communications applications. In May 2022, the company partnered with Deutsche Telekom to promote sustainable 5G radio site operations.

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