Given how competent Ericsson seems at developing new network equipment, I still can’t believe how bad they were at managing it as part of the Managed Services Contract it had with Sprint a while back.
I guess all is forgiven now?
Going to the release that's linked in the article, you'll find this quote:
"The new standalone 5G NR software can be installed on existing Ericsson Radio System hardware."
Clicking the link of "Ericsson Radio System" and going about 3/4 of the way down you'll find mention of some antenna models. Sprint is currently using AIR 6468 antennas with the updated AIR 6488 antennas replacing those. Only using those models will there be a software switched upgrade
Verizon is / was deploying the Ericsson 5GTF backend systems which is their proprietary 5G pre NR standards setup.
The M-mimo equipment on cell towers / light poles are dual mode 5GTF and NR capable. So it's fairly simple for them to just "flip the switch" (simple terms).
They had built a completely new standalone system for 5GTF that doesn't really interact with their extensive LTE EPC hence why they can go full stack NR rather than mixed which most carriers will be going with.
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