JT taps Ericsson for 5G test centre

One year into a major infrastructure project, JT Group has announced that the programme to build a generation 5G mobile network on the Channel Island of Jersey has reached a pivotal milestone by entering the testing phase. 

The telco regards 5G technology as promising unprecedented speeds, ultra-low latency, and massive connectivity, revolutionising industries and transforming communication. It added that while its benefits are already enjoyed across Asia, the US and most major UK towns and cities, rigorous testing across various stages of deployment and operation is essential to realise its full potential in the Channel Islands. This, it said, involves lab-testing environments and real everyday scenarios. 

Beginning in 2023, the 5G upgrade project includes mobile network modernisation and upgrades to JT’s Radio Access Network (RAN), transport/transmission and core network infrastructure and associated Network Management and operations tools. It also features Ericsson’s advanced telecommunications solutions, software and services, especially the latest energy-efficient features to support a sustainable network evolution.

To assist in the deployment of its 5G network, JT Group has now established in Jersey a dedicated “state-of-the-art” test lab, a separate controlled space replicating the network production environment. The facility will aim to allow engineers to test changes before implementation, ensuring network performance and reliability. 

In tandem with this project, JT said it would continue its progress to simplify, digitise, and automate its processes, systems, and customer offerings, aligning with today’s consumer, business, home, and industry needs.

“Reaching this exciting and critical phase on time is a testament to the exceptional skills of our team,” said JT Group CEO Daragh McDermott. “The meticulous testing required to ensure network performance and reliability is of utmost importance. This new test environment represents a significant step towards achieving the technological transformation needed to meet future demands for Channel Islanders.

“We are committed to building a network that delivers exceptional connectivity and encourages innovation, powering new services for consumers and businesses and contributing to the digital transformation and economic growth of Channel Islands. All things going well, we remain on track to deploy 5G by the end of 2025.”

Ericsson UK and Ireland CEO Katherine Ainley added: “Our collaboration with JT is driven by a shared vision for next-generation connectivity. New technologies and architectures bring both benefits and challenges. The start of testing marks an exciting step towards completing a next-generation network, promising enhanced connectivity and innovation for the Channel Islands.” 

Assessing what the project could mean to the island, deputy Lyndon Farnham, chief minister of Jersey, said: “This substantial investment by JT will ensure islanders have access to the opportunities that new technology brings. Focusing on the future, this development of a next-generation mobile network is about more than improved connectivity – it is about building a resilient, innovative, and prosperous future for generations to come.

“This lab will evaluate equipment performance and validate new technologies, ensuring that the islands remain at the forefront of communications technology, offering access to cutting-edge services and products.”