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Ericsson has extended its 20-year strategic partnership with Entel, the largest telecommunications company in Chile. Under the terms of the new contract, Ericsson will prepare Entel's network in the evolution path towards 5G by deploying its latest LTE FDD network technologies and LTE TDD Massive MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output).

This will allow Entel to increase its competitiveness and capture additional revenue streams. Entel will be the first operator in Latin America to deploy Massive MIMO nationwide.

Massive MIMO is a wireless technology that uses multiple transmitters and receivers to transfer more data at the same time. Multi-antenna transmission is playing a critical role in the evolution of 4G and 5G networks.

Entel will also evolve the Radio Network Controllers and EVO controllers across the network, including remote locations such as Easter Island, and upgrade the transport network with the introduction of Ericsson's microwave solutions, a section of which now tap into E-band spectrum to cater for capacity increases in backhaul and fronthaul.

"With mobile traffic volumes expected to increase exponentially through 2020 and beyond, operators around the world are bolstering their existing networks to deliver higher speeds and lower latency to their subscribers," said Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President and Head of Market Area Europe and Latin America, Ericsson.

"We write a new chapter in the history of our strategic partnership with Entel by evolving their network to Gigabit LTE and paving the way to 5G and beyond, cementing their leadership position among operators in the Latin American region," Bansal added.

Within the agreement, Ericsson will also deliver several strategic core network projects intended to upgrade Entel's voice and data networks to the latest generation in order to provide new end-user services, enable increased broadband capacity and higher data speeds, enhanced voice quality, optimized latency, and reduced network operation costs.

"Entel has a long-standing partnership with Ericsson that is based on a history of excellence in product and service delivery," said Alfredo Parot, Vice President of Technologies and Operations, Entel.

"Now, as we evolve our network to capture the new business opportunities of Gigabit LTE and the evolution towards 5G and IoT, we naturally extend this partnership with Ericsson in these areas," Parot added. "Our subscribers and enterprise customers will enjoy the benefits of a very high performance network in the region for years to come."

Among the projects is a fully virtualized network service (VNS) for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) including virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS), virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) for VoLTE. vIMS is a core network solution that delivers rich real-time communication services for both consumer and business users over any access network and for any device types, including smartphones, tablets, wearables and laptops.

Supported communication services include HD voice (VoLTE), Wi-Fi calling and video calling. The NFV infrastructure solution including Hyperscale Datacenter solution 8000, Ericsson Cloud Execution Environment (ECEE) and Ericsson Cloud Manager (ECM) will be deployed. The ECM and Ericsson Network Manager (ENM) will help orchestrate rollout of Entel's nationwide VoLTE service.

Additionally, Ericsson introduces its Adaptive Network Inventory solution (EAI) which will become an integral part of Entel's Digital Transformation project. Deployment of the core network projects begins immediately and will be completed in different phases throughout 2018 and 2019.

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