Facebook, Ericsson Partner on Innovation Lab for Internet.org: MWC

Ericsson will provide Facebook and application developers the ability to simulate different network environments from around the world.

Social media giant Facebook and communications technology and services provider Ericsson announced the creation of a joint innovation lab supporting the Internet.org initiative at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) convention in Barcelona, Spain.

The Internet.org Innovation Lab, a collaboration between the two companies, will provide an environment and expertise for optimizing applications, networks, devices and services for the rapidly growing base of Internet users worldwide.

Announced in August 2013, Internet.org was formed with the goal to make Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected, and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today.

The Ericsson Device and Application Verification service, announced at MWC in 2013, enables application developers, device and chipset vendors, as well as other players in the ecosystem of mobile and fixed telecom services, the ability to test and verify the devices and applications in wireline, mobile 2G, 3G and LTE networks.

Based on Ericsson's service capabilities and the company's technology expertise in mobile networks, Ericsson will provide Facebook and application developers the ability to simulate different network environments from around the world, allowing them to develop and test mobile applications and services.

"The goals of Internet.org are very much aligned with our long-standing ideal that communications is a basic human need," Johan Wibergh, executive vice president and Ericsson's head of business unit networks, said in a statement. "The creation of the lab will provide a unique environment for testing and ultimately optimizing applications regardless of network, device or operating system. The collaboration with app developers will provide Ericsson with invaluable understanding of their requirements on our networks, which we can apply to ensure the continued development of the best performing networks globally."

Expected to open in the second half of 2014 on Facebook's campus in Menlo Park, Calif., the new lab will tackle the most critical aspects of the Internet.org goal to make Internet access available to all.

The joint innovation lab will facilitate multiple network environments for testing and optimization, all in one location, and is designed to help remove one of the key physical barriers that exist for bringing the Internet to everyone.

"With this lab, developers will be able to simulate network conditions typically found in new markets, giving them an environment to test and optimize their applications under a number of different scenarios," Jay Parikh, vice president of infrastructure engineering at Facebook, said in a statement. "This is a unique capability that Ericsson brings to the table and we are happy they have taken a leadership position with us in this initiative."

The company also announced a partnership with SingTel, an Asian communications group, and Samsung to unveil a new era of mobile voice communications with the launch of voice over LTE (VoLTE) services in Singapore in the coming months.

SingTel's VoLTE service will be the first of its kind to be equipped with Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC) capability, which automatically switches ongoing calls without interruption to the 3G network if users lose connection to the 4G network.