China Mobile might not be a big name on these shores, but it’s a huge force in mobile. In fact, with 312 million 4G subscribers it has the largest user base of any single operator.
So it makes sense that it’s making a push to be at the forefront of 5G and there are few better partners for that than Ericsson.
The two companies had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) back in December 2015, covering an extensive range of 5G research and development cooperation.
But now the two have signed another MoU to collaborate on the development of an Open NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation) lab and the NovoNet, which is focused on software-defined networking and other technologies.
For this Ericsson has joined China Mobile’s 5G Innovation Centre initiative, which aims to accelerate the development of 5G by establishing a cross-industry ecosystem and setting up an open lab, which will provide a platform for new products and applications, as well as fostering new business and market opportunities.
This latest partnership, which sees the two companies working more closely together than ever, was first announced at MWC 2016, during which Ericsson jointly demonstrated connected livestock tracking utilising NB-IoT technology at China Mobile's booth.
During the show, Shang Bing, chairman of China Mobile, took the opportunity to visit Ericsson’s headquarters, saying: "China Mobile pays a lot of attention to the developing trends of this industry. We saw at MWC 2016 that the ICT industry will embrace transformation in the following 5 years.
“It is crucial for China Mobile and Ericsson, as the two ships of this industry, to stride forward in the right direction in the coming 5 years. Ericsson has been an important partner to China Mobile for a long time. China Mobile values the partnership with Ericsson and hope to have more cooperation with this important partner during the coming 5 year transformative period."