China Mobile reports 2018 net profit of $17.58 billion; 5G accomplishments and 2019 plans

2018 Financial Overview:

On March 20, 2019, China Mobile (the world’s largest wireless carrier by subscribers and revenue) reported a 3.1% increase in net profit for 2018 to 117.78 billion yuan ($17.58 billion).  The company focused on reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency.  Telecommunications service revenue fell a reported 0.4% but grew 3.7% in comparable terms to 670.9 billion yuan.  China Mobile’s  net profit was aided by the listing of the company’s tower division China Tower in August last year.

2018 Highlights:

  • China Mobile reported a 4.3% increase in its total customer base for the year to 925 million, of which 713 million are 4G customers – a 9.7% increase from 2017.
  • However,  mobile ARPU fell 8% to 53.1 yuan as a result of strong competition.
  • Total wireline broadband subscribers increased by 39% to 157 million, of which 147 million were household broadband customers. Household broadband blended ARPU grew 3.2% to 34.4 yuan.
  • The company’s four growth engines are: personal mobile market, home broadband market, corporate market,  emerging business
  • IoT revenue +40.2% to RMB7.53 bil
  • ICT, Cloud Computing, Big Data Revenue Revenue =RMB4.19 bil which was +75.3%
  • Boasted 2.41 mil 4G base stations with an industry-leading 4G network coverage capability
  • Realized NB-IoT continuous coverage in areas at township level and above across China
  • Achieved household broadband access capability of ≥100Mbps.
  • More efficient deployment of CDN edge nodes resulted in ongoing enhancements to customer perception
  • Maintained a backbone network with a further enhanced transmission and loading capability.
  • Performance of international submarine cables, cross-border terrestrial cables and PoPs was substantially lifted

“2018 was a challenging year for telecommunications operators. Competition amongst peers changed in characteristics as products and services have become homogenized while cross-sector challenges have intensified. The value of traditional telecommunications business rapidly diminished, coupled with multiple challenges from a complex and rapidly-changing policy environment,” China Mobile chairman Yang Jie said.

“In order to counter market competition, overcome the major obstacles in the ongoing reforms and enhance management, we continued to encourage everyone across the Company to take the ‘Big Connectivity’ strategy even further and implement the integrated development of the four growth engines.”

2018 5G Accomplishments:

  • Permitted to adopt 2.6GHz and 4.9GHz frequency bands for trials
  • Network tests and application trials in 17 cities
  • Developed 5G Ecology:
    • 5G Joint Innovation Centre
    • 5G Device Forerunner Initiative
    • 5G Joint Innovation Industry Fund

2019 Goals dor 5G: Construct end-to-end network infrastructure; Promote 5G commercialization:
• Develop NSA and SA networks concurrently with SA (stand alone- no LTE) as the primary goal
• Promote 4G/5G synergistic development and expedite 4G VoLTE
• Join hands with the industry supply chain to develop devices supporting multiple modes, bands and form factors
• Share end-to-end smart technology capabilities and serve vertical industries

Work together to build an open and win-win innovative ecosystem. Promote 5G cross-industry integration:

  • Culture and entertainment
  • Smart transportation
  • Smart city
  • Smart manufacturing
  • Remote healthcare

https://www.chinamobileltd.com/en/ir/webcasts/pre190321.pdf

China Mobile on 5G (from Press Release):

We will continue to conduct tests on the 5G network and perform trials on business applications to ensure the precommercial launch of 5G services this year. We aim to provide direction and leadership for 5G development, exploring suitable 5G products and business models with industry partners. To build a strong foundation for the ongoing transformation towards an intelligent network, we will speed up the pace of network upgrades and strengthen our core capabilities. The Company will expand into new retail business and strive for the large-scale development of our own branded intelligent hardware. We will build up our capabilities in key business areas and develop an open and shared innovative ecosystem. In order to realize a win-win situation, we will continue to enhance the collaborative opening-up efforts, reinforcing industrial cooperation,investment planning and international expansion.

http://mms.prnasia.com/00941/20190321/2018ARPressRelease_ENG.pdf

India delays 5G trials; Advocates “the Indian Way” within ITU-R WP 5D for IMT 2020

India Delays 5G Trials:

5G technology trials in India are now expected to begin by  the end of the current calendar year or early next year, according to a recently-constituted committee looking into the 5G field trial initiative.

5G trials may happen towards the end of this year or early next year. Early deployments may happen in the second or third quarter of 2020,” Abhay Karandikar, director, IIT Kanpur and chairman of the recently set up committee to look into SG spectrum for trials told ETT.

The much-anticipated 5G field trials have hit a policy roadblock with the department of telecom (DoT) wireless planning and coordination wing (WPC) averse to allocating airwaves beyond 90 days, which according to industry, would not serve any purpose.

Prof. Karandikar said that the industry needs to get trial spectrum for a reasonable duration or for at least one year with a minimum cost to telecom carriers for carrying out 5G trials.   “Current mechanisms of experimental license by DoT require modifications in terms of scope and duration for enabling telecom service providers and industry to undertake the 5G trial at the network level,” he said.

On February 25, the department has formed a committee headed by Karandikar with representation from the academia, industry and the government, to make recommendations related to licensing for carrying out 5G pilots, and also asked for the quantum, size, price and other aspects for offering experimental spectrum. The 5G India Forum will serve as a strategic national initiative which concerns all stakeholders, private and public, small and large, to meet the challenge of making 5G a reality in India, at timelines aligning with the rest of world.  5G India Forum is a collaborative body under the aegis of COAI.

Objective:  This 5G India forum aims to become the leading force in the development of next generation communications and will enable synergizing national efforts and will play a significant role in shaping the strategic, commercial and regulatory development of the 5G ecosystem in India.

Earlier in 2018, the Indian government has asked telecom service providers— Vodafone IdeaBharti Airtel and Reliance Jio— to partner with telecom gear makers such as Cisco, Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia, and showcase India-specific 5G use cases by early 2019.

The department has so far excluded Chinese telecom equipment firm ZTE from awarding intent letter to participate in trials. Shenzhen-based Huawei said it was still awaiting clarity from the government to conduct 5G trials and could deploy a 5G network within the three week’s time after the allocation of trial radiowaves.

Karandikar, one of the sector regulator’s advisers is also a member of the 5G high-level forum which under the noted scientist AJ Paulraj is working on to prepare a roadmap for 5G rollout in the country in tandem with some of the matured markets worldwide.  In September 2018, the forum submitted its recommendations to the government which has constituted several implementation-level committees or working groups to develop a wider 5G deployment strategy.

References:

https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/india-delays-5g-trials-to-start-by-end-of-year/68522451

https://www.coai.com/5g_india_forum

 

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ITU-R WP5D split on the way forward for IMT 2020 specifications:

At the February 2019 ITU-R WP5D meeting 31bis, TSDSI (India’s telecom standards body) submitted updated information related to their proposal of candidate IMT-2020 radio interfaces.  The TDSI contribution was reviewed and the respective IMT-2020 documents were revised accordingly.

This meeting received and reviewed a number of input contributions on Process and use of the Global Core Specification (GCS), references, and related certifications in conjunction with Recommendation ITU-R M.[IMT‑2020.SPECS].”  There continues to be two diverse philosophies on how to proceed with the document – one desiring to significantly alter the process to support specific national needs (e.g. India) in the transposition phase of the process and the other demonstrating how the same objective could be accomplished with the existing process remaining unaltered in its scope, steps, and procedures.

The two views are Indian Way Forward (provided by TSDSI) and Summary of a Proposed IMT-2020 VVV Way Forward (AT&T v3 2-14-19) (provided by AT&T).

The Indian Way courtesy of TSDSI:

  • India believes that, the process works well ONLY for countries with strong industry presence in 3GPP
  • Most developing countries have no way to influence the technology they consume
  • Much of the value transactions in standardization are abrogated to external bodies
  • That relegates most of the developing countries to be consumers

What the ITU-R IMT 2020 standardization process should enable:

  • India believes the process should enable developing countries to take 3GPP (or other GCS) as the base specification.
  • Then provide enhancements and innovations to the base specifications, depending on local use cases.
  • TDSI believes it is possible to preserve interoperability/international roaming, while allowing for these regional enhancements
  • That is not enabled by the current process

TSDSI Proposal for ITU-R IMT-2020 Standard:

  • Reference to Base Specification  – Version 1.
  • Delta-DIS Version 1. (for national options)

References:

ATIS endorses 3GPP IMT 2020 RIT submission to ITU-R WP 5D; sees no need for separate LMLC India national option

TSDSI’s Initial Proposal on candidate RIT/SRIT for IMT 2020 Accepted

 

 

 

 

 

AT&T CEO Talks up 5G: Deploying small cells, China/Huawei – Security or Critical U.S. Infrastructure Risk?

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said China still lags behind the U.S. in the 5G race (for dubious reasons- see comment in box below this article), but slow cell site permitting processes in the U.S. and heavy Chinese investment, coupled with Huawei’s 5G dominance, could change the situation. Also, European carriers that use Huawei equipment in 4G networks are unable to switch suppliers for 5G networks because “Huawei is not allowing interoperability to 5G-— meaning if you are 4G, you are stuck with Huawei for 5G,”  said Stephenson during an interview with Carlisle Group co-founder David Rubenstein at the Economic Club in Washington DC.

“When the Europeans say we got a problem — that’s their problem. They really don’t have an option to go to somebody else…To me, the biggest risk is not that the Chinese government might listen in on our phone conversations or mine our data some how if we use their equipment. That’s not the issue,” he said.

Stephenson is worried about how the 5G equipment could eventually be connected to millions of devices tied to critical  U.S. infrastructure — including autonomous cars, manufacturing floors, robotics, refineries and traffic management in cities.  “We have to ask ourselves a question: If that much of our infrastructure will be attached to this kind of (5G) technology, do we want to be cautious about who is the underlying company behind that technology? We damn well better be,” Stephenson said.

AT&T’s CEO is very optimistic about 5G technology, claiming it “will be the most transformative of all the Gs … you can’t conceive all the services that 5G implies.”

But in a 5G world millions of “things” will be connected and located within a square mile.  To make that possible, AT&T will deploy hundreds of thousands of small cell sites throughout the U.S.  They will be placed on light poles, sides of buildings, roof tops and other structures.

According to the AT&T CEO, 5G is a more efficient technology, delivering a better smartphone user experience, but it won’t be cheaper than 4G.  AT&T has not “worked out what or pricing arithmetic looks like,” Stephenson said.

Regarding 5G replacing smartphone screens with Internet video enabled smart eye glasses, Stephenson said:

We carry around these devices and they’re bigger than they should be, because there’s a lot of computing in here, there’s a lot of storage in here. When you get to 5G, all that computing, all that storage goes away — it’s back in the network. These form factors, some would say they shrink.

I say they go away. It is conceivable that we’re going to be moving into a world without screens, a world where this [points to his eye glasses] is your screen. You don’t need any more of a form factor than this, once the computing and storage requirements move out and into the network. And guys like you [waving to the TV cameras in the back] can think very differently about how you deliver your content to your customers. It becomes a delivery without screens. It’s just a totally different experience. …

AT&T is right at the very center of all this because, if you ask yourself: Five years from now, in this room, will you be consuming more or less global bandwidth. More? Who thinks more? Will you be consuming more or less premium entertainment? More? Well, I like where we are on both of those.

You can watch and listen to Stephenson’s 52 1/2 minute talk here.

References:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/20/business/att-randall-stephenson-5g/index.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-att-ceo-huawei-tech/att-ceo-says-chinas-huawei-hinders-carriers-from-shifting-suppliers-for-5g-idUSKCN1R12TX

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AT&T says its leading wireless and fiber network, including investments in new technology such as 5G, will provide the network bandwidth required as customers increase engagement with premium video and emerging 4K and virtual reality content.

AT&T is now a software company: “Software is increasingly at the heart of everything we do. Whether a patent or an open source project, software is the future of AT&T. Software is our thing,” AT&T’s Mazin Gilbert wrote in a blog post.

 

China Telecom to accelerate 5G deployment; 100% Fiber network coverage; Gigabit fiber broadband deployment

According to its latest financial report published today, China Telecom has big plans for 5G.  The report states in part:

New technologies represented by 5G and AI are integrating and evolving, enabling them to support supply-side structural reform, which will lead to a rapid expansion of potential value for digital economy. As the next generation infrastructure, 5G network will become ever more intertwined with applications and telecom operators will play an increasingly pivotal role in the information communications industry. The Company (China Telecom) will actively explore commercial applications of various new technologies, accelerate the development of operation mechanisms that are adapted for 5G, and capitalize on its advantages to promote ecological services ahead
of time.

Recently, China Telecom was awarded the 3.5GHz band to conduct nationwide 5G network trials. Leveraging the advantages of the 5G mainstream frequency band and insisting on open cooperation, the Company will accelerate 5G deployment proactively and pragmatically. Persisting in a market-oriented and demand-driven approach, the Company will appropriately manage the momentum, propel the development of non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) concurrently, and progressively expand the scale of network trials and the pilot project of 2B/2C applications.

In a presentation on its 2018 financial results, China Telecom noted these 5G milestones:

1.  Technology: 

• Published industry’s first 5G Technology White Paper
• Launched industry’s first 5G+AI handset standard
• Pioneered to accomplish 4G-5G interoperability on SA network architecture
• Pioneered to interoperate 5G SA (Stand Alone) on equipment from different vendors

2. Extensive Application Trials:

• Internet of Vehicles (IoV): 5G-based remote-controlled driving in Xiong’an and passed test
• Media convergence: Ultra-high definition 5G 4K, VR live broadcasting of gala show
• Smart city: 5G full coverage along a 28km road in city area, performing data traffic management for ultra-high definition 5G+, cloud VR and 5G smart transport
• Energy Internet: Trial on IoT electricity distribution leveraging 5G network slicing (?), performing 5G precision control on electricity distribution and usage

3.  Network Capability- Prepare for flexible and agile 5G deployment with:

• Prompt assessment and modification of existing network

• Acceleration of network cloudification and intelligent upgrade

• 100MHz spectrum at 3.5GHz band, which has the world’s most developed industry chain for 5G trial

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China Telecom plans to accelerate 5G development pragmatically:

• Persistence in SA as the goal and direction, to expediate industry chain maturity and conduct scale trials in SA/NSA which is concurrently in a very early stage
• Adjust investment plan and expand trial subject to technology maturity, licensing, market competition and results of scale trial
• Actively explore network co-building and co-sharing to reduce network construction and maintenance cost

Open co-operation initiatives include:

• Promote key 5G technology researches, actively participate in formulating 5G international standards and foster end-to-end development of industry supply chains
• Collaborate with customers and business partners for innovations, enrich products and applications
• Work with industry to commence trials on smart city, autonomous driving, industrial Internet, entertainment, medical service, education, etc.

The Company has modified its R&D system to enhance the R&D capability of key technologies of strategic, pioneering and fundamental importance, such as 5G, network capability, AI, etc.

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In its SEC Form 6-K the company wrote:   LOGO

  • Focusing on user experience, business scale expansion and value management, the Company pushed forward the construction and intelligent upgrade of its network to build up comprehensive network advantages.
  • Leveraging big data analysis, we deployed dynamic capacity expansion of 4G network with precision, and further optimized in-depth coverage at key locations.
  • The number of 4G base stations reached 1.38 million, effectively supporting the upgrade to VoLTE high definition voice, as well as the continuous growth of large data traffic business.
  • Our fiber network now fully covers all cities and towns in the service area of the Company, enabling a leading customer experience. By leading the deployment of Gigabit fiber broadband, we established a new edge in broadband network.
  • We continued to enhance our NB-IoT network, and built a whole-range speed rate IoT structure, which combines high, medium and low speeds, supporting further expansion in vertical industries.
  • By pushing forward cloud-network integration at full throttle, we continued to optimize our nationwide deployment of cloud resources and backbone network coverage, resulting in the establishment of a cloud-led network.
  • By introducing new technologies such as Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), the Company accelerated the re-constitution of its networks, and rolled out scale promotion of intelligent self-selecting bandwidth network products for government and enterprise customers as well as home gateway products based on SDN technology, which allows our network products to be activated within minutes.
  • We also launched a VoLTE virtual IP Multimedia Subsystem (vIMS) core network with software and hardware decoupling, facilitating the progress of cloudification and virtualization. This significantly strengthened our competitiveness and differentiation in the cloud market, while laying a foundation for 5G network cloudification in the future.
  • The Company proactively contributed to the formulation of international standards for 5G technologies and conducted large-scale 5G network trial runs in a number of locations.
  • We achieved some preliminary progress in areas such as 5G voice call, 4G/5G interoperability, and interoperability between (pre-standard 5G) equipment, among others.
  • By supporting the Ultra HD Live broadcast for CCTV’s 2019 Spring Festival Evening Gala with “5G+4K” and “5G+VR” solutions, we took an important step towards the successful accomplishment of enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) application scenarios.
  • The Company also actively explored applications for other vertical industries, such as 5G autonomous driving bus, smart water treatment and mobile remote medical service.

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China Telecom’s CAPEX is expected to increase 4% this year, to roughly RMB78 billion ($11.6 billion), after dropping 7.9% in 2018.  That will include a 21% increase in spending on “information and application services,” to about RMB10.5 billion ($1.56 billion), as China Telecom prepares for its 5G future.

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In a paper published last August, consulting company Deloitte said China had outspent the US on 5G-supporting infrastructure by around $24 billion since 2015. Last year, the 1.9 million mobile sites across China worked out at 14.1 for every 10,000 people. With just 200,000 sites, the US had an equivalent ratio of just 4.7, according to Deloitte. Catching up with China in 5G may be “near impossible” for the Americans, Deloitte said in its report which we summarized for the IEEE Techblog.

In a recent Lightreading.com blog post, Iain Morris wrote:

With its huge population and model of state capitalism, China could be a fertile testing ground for new 5G applications. China Telecom alone had a staggering 303 million mobile customers at the end of last year — an increase of 53 million on the number in 2017 — including 242 million on 4G networks. Revenues were up 3%, to RMB377.1 billion ($56.2 billion), thanks to customer growth, and net profit rose 14%, to RMB21.2 billion ($3.16 billion).

Seeking advantage in AI, China’s government will undoubtedly look for support to a such a large, financially stable organization, with its vast reserves of customer data and stake in 5G. Demographics and democracy make the task much harder for US authorities worried about falling behind in the new technology arms race. Amid recent political talk of building a nationalized 5G network, the US operators may be under government pressure on a generation of mobile technology like never before.

Editor’s Note:  Mr. Morris strongly asserts that China Telecom said it will be a leader in delivering 5G low latency (which will be specified in 3GPP release 16- due to be completed in 2020 and later in ITU-R IMT 2020 for ultra low latency.high reliability use case).   He wrote, “China Telecom said it will be “industry leading” in latency, a signaling delay that could become a new battleground for 5G competitive advantage.”   However, we have NOT found that reference to latency in any of China Telecom’s reports (see highlights above) and presentation made today (March 19, 2019).

Slide 16 describess China Telecom’s CLOUD NETWORK & Cloud led network integration (with other subnetworks like the 5G Core, which has yet to be defined/specified).  The company’s cloud centric network is “industry leading in latency.”  Copy/paste:
Cloud-Led Network and Cloud-Network Integration


  • IDC/cloud-centric network + optimized network architecture 
 Industry-leading in latency 
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  • To support rapid deployment of entirely cloud based 5G 
✓Large bandwidth ✓Low latency  
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How they will do entirely “cloud based 5G” is a mystery to me.  However their “industry leading low latency”  claim refers to China Telecom’s cloud network- not their 5G access or 5G mobile packet core network (yet to be defined).
 All 5G low latency claims I’ve read or heard about refer to the 5G access network- not the cloud network which is carrying many different types of traffic.  In my definition, latency should include the 5G access network, 5G mobile packet core and edge network (if any).
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The 5G-IMT2020 radio access network latency objectives, which Ericsson and others often say will faciliate many new applications, are specified in ITU-R M.2410-0: https://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-r/opb/rep/R-REP-M.2410-2017-PDF-E.pdf

The minimum requirements for user plane latency are:  4 ms for eMBB and 1 ms for URLLC assuming unloaded conditions (i.e. a single user) for small IP packets (e.g. 0 byte payload + IP header), for both downlink and uplink.

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There is no spec or even target for cloud network latency related to carrying 5G packets. In fact, the cloud network might not be used at all for real time control of 5G applications such as V2V or IoT

 

FCC to open spectrum above 95 GHz for new technologies

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted rules to clear spectrum in the 95 GHz to 3 TeraHz frequencies for experimental use in order to ecnourage technological breakthroughs in communications.  It might even set the stage for 6G and beyond. The FCC will issue experimental licenses for up to 10 years and open 21.2 GHz of spectrum in that range for testing unlicensed devices.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai invited NYU Wireless Professor Ted Rappaport, who was instrumental in conducting ground-breaking millimeter wave research, to present his institution’s findings thus far on the opportunities afforded by the spectrum bands above 95 GHz, where “science fiction will become reality,” Rappaport told the commission.

The applications that become possible at these higher frequencies are kind of mind-blowing, he said. With so much bandwidth and wider bandwidth channels, you can start having data rates that approach the bandwidth needed to provide wireless cognition, where the computations of the human brain at those data rates could actually be sent on the fly over wireless. As such, you could have drones or robotics receive in real time the kind of perception and cognition that the human brain could do.

The conventional wisdom is that as you go higher in frequency, you get more loss. “That’s only if you use an omnidirectional antenna, the old way of doing cellular 10 and 20 years ago. When you start using directional antennas, what happens is, you actually do better as you go higher in frequency for a given power level and a given antenna physical size,” Rappaport said.

The FCC’s Spectrum Horizons First Report and Order creates a new category of experimental licenses for use of frequencies between 95 GHz and 3 THz. These licenses will give innovators the flexibility to conduct experiments lasting up to 10 years, and to more easily market equipment during the experimental period, according to the FCC.

The item also makes a total of 21.2 gigahertz of spectrum available for use by unlicensed devices. The Commission selected bands with propagation characteristics that will permit large numbers of unlicensed devices to use the spectrum, while limiting the potential for interference to existing governmental and scientific operations in the above-95 GHz bands, such as space research and atmospheric sensing.

The First Report and Order provides unprecedented opportunities for new experimental and unlicensed use in the frequencies above 95 GHz and will help ensure that the United States stays at the forefront of wireless innovation. Moreover, study of these uses could ultimately lead to further rulemaking actions and additional licensing opportunities within the Spectrum Horizons bands.

“Today, we take big steps towards making productive use of this spectrum,” Pai said in his statement. “We allocate a massive 21 gigahertz for unlicensed use and we create a new category of experimental licenses. This will give innovators strong incentives to develop new technologies using these airwaves while also protecting existing uses.”

References:

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-356588A1.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1CajveIOUHmbAqOPJO-AKFBuG2vVSyOuiBIIASxd2towVTGG7q9nATMCM

https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-divisions/broadband-division/microwave-services/millimeter-wave-708090-ghz-service

https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/fcc-moves-to-open-spectrum-above-95-ghz-for-new-technologies    

https://venturebeat.com/2019/03/15/fcc-opens-95ghz-to-3thz-spectrum-for-6g-7g-or-whatever-is-next/

Facebook’s F16 achieves 400G effective intra DC speeds using 100GE fabric switches and 100G optics, Other Hyperscalers?

On March 14th at the 2019 OCP Summit, Omar Baldonado of Facebook (FB) announced  a next-generation intra -data center (DC) fabric/topology called the F16.  It has 4x the capacity of their previous DC fabric design using the same Ethernet switch ASIC and 100GE optics. FB engineers developed the F16 using mature, readily available 100G 100G CWDM4-OCP optics (contributed by FB to OCP in early 2017), which in essence gives their data centers the same desired 4x aggregate capacity increase as 400G optical link speeds, but using 100G optics and 100GE switching.

F16 is based on the same Broadcom ASIC that was the candidate for a 4x-faster 400G fabric design – Tomahawk 3 (TH3). But FB uses it differently: Instead of four multichip-based planes with 400G link speeds (radix-32 building blocks), FB uses the Broadcom TH3 ASIC to create 16 single-chip-based planes with 100G link speeds (optimal radix-128 blocks).  Note that 400G optical components are not easy to buy inexpensively at Facebook’s large volumes. 400G ASICs and optics would also consume a lot more power, and power is a precious resource within any data center building.  Therefore, FB built the F16 fabric out of 16 128-port 100G switches, achieving the same bandwidth as four 128-port 400G switches would.

Below are some of the primary features of the F16 (also see two illustrations below):

-Each rack is connected to 16 separate planes. With FB Wedge 100S as the top-of-rack (TOR) switch, there is 1.6T uplink bandwidth capacity and 1.6T down to the servers.

-The planes above the rack comprise sixteen 128-port 100G fabric switches (as opposed to four 128-port 400G fabric switches).

-As a new uniform building block for all infrastructure tiers of fabric, FB created a 128-port 100G fabric switch, called Minipack – a flexible, single ASIC design that uses half the power and half the space of Backpack.

-Furthermore, a single-chip system allows for easier management and operations.

Facebook F16 data center network topology.Facebook F16 data center network topology

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 Multichip 400G pod fabric switch topology vs. single-chip F16 at 100G.

Multichip 400G b/sec pod fabric switch topology vs. FBs single chip (Broadcom ASIC) F16 at 100G b/sec

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In addition to Minipack (built by Edgecore Networks), FB also jointly developed Arista Networks’ 7368X4 switch. FB is contributing both Minipack and the Arista 7368X4 to OCP. Both switches run FBOSS – the software that binds together all FB data centers.  Of course the Arista 7368X4 will also run that company’s EOS network operating system.

F16 was said to be more scalable and simpler to operate and evolve, so FB says their DCs are better equipped to handle increased intra-DC throughput for the next few years, the company said in a blog post.  “We deploy early and often,” Baldonado said during his OCP 2019 session (video below).  “The FB teams came together to rethink the DC network, hardware and software.  The components of the new DC are F16 and HGRID as the network topology, Minipak as the new modular switch, and FBOSS software which unifies them.”

This author was very impressed with Baldonado’s presentation- excellent content and flawless delivery of the information with insights and motivation for FBs DC design methodology and testing!

References:

https://code.fb.com/data-center-engineering/f16-minipack/

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Other Hyperscale Cloud Providers move to 400GE in their DCs?

Large hyperscale cloud providers initially championed 400 Gigabit Ethernet because of their endless thirst for networking bandwidth. Like so many other technologies that start at the highest end with the most demanding customers, the technology will eventually find its way into regular enterprise data centers.  However, we’ve not seen any public announcement that it’s been deployed yet, despite its potential and promise!

Some large changes in IT and OT are driving the need to consider 400 GbE infrastructure:

  • Servers are more packed in than ever. Whether it is hyper-converged, blade, modular or even just dense rack servers, the density is increasing. And every server features dual 10 Gb network interface cards or even 25 Gb.
  • Network storage is moving away from Fibre Channel and toward Ethernet, increasing the demand for high-bandwidth Ethernet capabilities.
  • The increase in private cloud applications and virtual desktop infrastructure puts additional demands on networks as more compute is happening at the server level instead of at the distributed endpoints.
  • IoT and massive data accumulation at the edge are increasing bandwidth requirements for the network.

400 GbE can be split via a multiplexer into smaller increments with the most popular options being 2 x 200 Gb, 4 x 100 Gb or 8 x 50 Gb. At the aggregation layer, these new higher-speed connections begin to increase in bandwidth per port, we will see a reduction in port density and more simplified cabling requirements.

Yet despite these advantages, none of the U.S. based hyperscalers have announced they have deployed 400GE within their DC networks as a backbone or to connect leaf-spine fabrics.  We suspect they all are using 400G for Data Center Interconnect, but don’t know what optics are used or if it’s Ethernet or OTN framing and OAM.

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In February, Google said it plans to spend $13 billion in 2019 to expand its data center and office footprint in the U.S. The investments include expanding the company’s presence in 14 states. The dollar figure surpasses the $9 billion the company spent on such facilities in the U.S. last year.

In the blog post, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote that Google will build new data centers or expand existing facilities in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The company will establish or expand offices in California (the Westside Pavillion and the Spruce Goose Hangar), Chicago, Massachusetts, New York (the Google Hudson Square campus), Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Pichai predicts the activity will create more than 10,000 new construction jobs in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia. The expansion plans will put Google facilities in 24 states, including data centers in 13 communities.  Yet there is no mention of what data networking technology or speed the company will use in its expanded DCs.

I believe Google is still designing all their own IT hardware (compute servers, storage equipment, switch/routers, Data Center Interconnect gear other than the PHY layer transponders). They announced design of many AI processor chips that presumably go into their IT equipment which they use internally but don’t sell to anyone else.  So they don’t appear to be using any OCP specified open source hardware.  That’s in harmony with Amazon AWS, but in contrast to Microsoft Azure which actively participates in OCP with its open sourced SONIC now running on over 68 different hardware platforms.

It’s no secret that Google has built its own Internet infrastructure since 2004 from commodity components, resulting in nimble, software-defined data centers. The resulting hierarchical mesh design is standard across all its data centers.  The hardware is dominated by Google-designed custom servers and Jupiter, the switch Google introduced in 2012. With its economies of scale, Google contracts directly with manufactures to get the best deals.
Google’s servers and networking software run a hardened version of the Linux open source operating system. Individual programs have been written in-house.
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Huawei to build Public Cloud Data Centers using OCP Open Rack and its own IT Equipment; Google Cloud and OCP?

Huawei:

On March 14th at the OCP 2019 Summit in San Jose, CA, Huawei Technologies (the world’s number one telecom/network equipment supplier) announced plans to adopt OCP Open Rack in its new public cloud data centers worldwide. The move is designed to enhance the environmental sustainability of Huawei’s new public cloud data centers by using less energy for servers, while driving operational efficiency by reducing the time it takes to install and maintain racks of IT equipment.  In addition to Huawei’s adoption of Open Rack in its cloud data centers, the company is also expanding its work with the OCP Community to extend the design of the standard and further improve time-to-market, and high serviceability and reduce TCO.  In an answer to this author’s question, Jinshui Liu CTO, IT Hardware Domain said the company would make its own OCP compliant compute servers and storage equipment (in addition to network switches) that would be used in its public cloud data centers.  All that IT equipment will ALSO sold to its customers building cloud resident data centers.

The Open Rack initiative introduced by the Open Compute Project (OCP) in 2013, seeks to redefine the data center rack and is one of the most promising developments in the scale computing environment. It is the first rack standard that is designed for data centers, integrating the rack into the data center infrastructure.  Open Rack integrating the rack into the data center infrastructure as part of the Open Compute Project’s “grid to gates” philosophy, a holistic design process that considers the interdependence of everything from the power grid to the gates in the chips on each motherboard.

“Huawei’s engineering and business leaders recognized the efficiency and flexibility that Open Rack offers, and the support that is available from a global supplier base. Providing cloud services to a global customer base creates certain challenges. The flexibility of the Open Rack specification and the ability to adapt for liquid cooling allows Huawei to service new geographies. Huawei’s decision to choose Open Rack is a great endorsement!” stated Bill Carter, Chief Technology Officer for the Open Compute Project Foundation.

 

OCP specified Open Rack v2:

 

Last year Huawei became an OCP Platinum Member. This year, Huawei continues investment in and commitment to OCP and the open source community. Huawei’s active involvement within the OCP Community includes on-going participation and contributions for various OCP projects such as Rack and Power, System Management and Server projects with underlying contributions to the upcoming specs for OCP accelerator Module, Advanced Cooling Solutions and OpenRMC.

“Huawei’s strategic investment and commitment to OCP is a win-win,” said Mr. Kenneth Zhang, General Manager of FusionServer, Huawei Intelligent Computing Business Department. “Combining Huawei’s extensive experience in Telco and Cloud deployments together with the knowledge of the vast OCP community will help Huawei to provide cutting edge, flexible and open solutions to its global customers. In turn, Huawei can leverage its market leadership and global data center infrastructure to help introduce OCP to new geographies and new market segments worldwide.”

During a keynote address at OCP Global Summit, Huawei shared more information about its Open Rack adoption plans as well as overall OCP strategy. Huawei  also showcased some of the building blocks of these solutions in its booth, including OCP-based compute module, Huawei Kunpeng 920 ARM CPU, Huawei Ascend 310 AI processor and other Huawei intelligent Compute products.

Huawei’s Booth at  OCP 2019 Summit

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In summary, Huawei has developed an optimized rack scale design that will become the foundation of its cloud and IT infrastructure roll out.   This extends the company’s product portfolio from telecom/networking to cloud computing and storage as well as an ODM for compute and storage equipment.  Hence, Huawei will now compete with Microsoft Azure as well as China CSPs Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent in using OCP compliant IT equipment in their cloud resident data centers,.  Unlike the other aforementioned OCP Platinum members, Huawei will design and build its own IT equipment (the other  CSPs buy OCP equipment from ODMs).

There are now 124 OCP certified products available with over 60 more in the pipeline.  Most of the OCP ODMs are in Taiwan.

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Google:

While Google has been an OCP Platinum member since 2015, they maintained a very low profile at this year’s OCP Summit, so it’s not clear how much OCP compliant equipment they use in Google Cloud or in any of their cloud resident data centers.  Google did present 2 tech sessions at the conference:

Google’s 48V Rack Adaptation and Onboard Power Technology Update” at the OCP 2019 Summit early Friday morning March 15th.  Google said that significant progress has been made in three specific applications:

1. Multi-phase 48V-to-12V voltage regulators adopting the latest hybrid switched-capacitor-buck topologies for traditional 12V workloads such as PCIEs and OTS servers;

2. Very high efficiency high density fixed ratio bus converters for 2-stage 48V-to-PoL power conversions;

3. High frequency high density voltage regulators for extremely power hungry AI accelerators.

Google and ONF provided an update on Stratum — a next generation, thin switch OS that provides silicon and hardware independence, which was first introduced at the 2018 OCP Summit.  Stratum was said to enable the next generation of SDN.  It adds new SDN-ready interfaces from the P4 and OpenConfig communities to ONL (Open Network Linux) that enable programmable switching chips (ASICs, FPGAs, etc.) and traditional switching ASICs alike. The talk described how the open source community has generalized Google’s seed OVP contribution for additional whitebox targets, and demonstrate Stratum on a fabric of OCP devices controlled by an open source control plane.

I believe Google is still designing all their own IT hardware (compute servers, storage equipment, switch/routers, Data Center Interconnect gear other than the PHY layer transponders). They announced design of many AI processor chips that presumably go into their IT equipment which they use internally but don’t sell to anyone else (just like Amazon AWS).

Google Cloud Next 2019 conference will be April 9-11, 2019 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

References:

https://www.huawei.com/en/press-events/news/2019/3/huawei-ocp-open-rack-public-cloud-datacenters

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/03/14/1754946/0/en/Huawei-to-Adopt-OCP-s-Open-Rack-across-New-Public-Cloud-Datacenters-Globally.html

 

Verizon and AT&T want to virtualize the 5G Network Core and use Mobile Edge Computing

Verizon:

As we reported earlier this week, Verizon announced the first deployment of it’s mobile 5G network with Chicago and Minneapolis going live on April 11. The nation’s largest mobile network operator says the service will be available in “select areas” in those markets, and it plans to bring an additional 30 markets online later this year.

Verizon engineers have been preparing for 5G by migrating network core and edge processing functions from the physical world to the virtual world for about three years now, said Adam Koeppe, SVP of network planning at Verizon.  “Today, in the (proprietary) 5G network that we’ve already launched in our four 5G Home markets (FWA), those software functions that are used for the core of the 5G network are 100 percent virtual. Unlike LTE where you had to start physical and move to virtual, they’re native 5G network functions, those all start as virtual,” said Koeppe.

Similar to other carriers’ 5G roadmaps, Verizon’s initial pre-standard 5G deployments are based on 3GPP Release 15 NR NSA (non-standalone) architecture.  It’s using parts of the 4G network core (EPC) and signaling with a 5G radio access network for the data plane.   “All those functions in that path for 5G are virtual regardless of whether they’re 4G core that you’re using to support 5G or native to 5G functions,” Koeppe said.

“We’re trying to get the processing capabilities required on a network session as close to the consumer as possible, and the reason for that is one of the promises and realities of 5G is that you have the ability to have much lower network latency,” he said. Multi-access edge compute equipment (MEC) and network slicing are key components of that effort. “You have to make fundamental architectural changes to how your core works if you want to provide very low-latency services.”

Verizon currently manages different network use cases manually, by identifying the class of service for each device running on its wireless network. Network slicing and virtualization would change that significantly, and software plays a critical role, Koeppe said. “All the network functions that are providing that service need to be virtualized, because I can’t autonomously spin up physical capacity. That has to be done by a person. But if it’s virtual capacity I can spin that up from a machine through orchestration and machine learning.”

When you have 15 to 20 different use cases, “you have a very sophisticated network that is all virtualized and all programmable. Some of that you physically just can’t do with LTE today. Much of those 5G use cases will rely on that type of programmability of your network and you can’t do that without having a virtualized network function,” Koeppe added.

Verizon wants to put the capabilities of its 5G network and the MEC network into the hands of innovators who can drive use cases beyond what’s possible with 4G today, according to Koeppe. “These are radically different network capabilities, a lot goes in to ensuring that the hardware and the software works well together. And that’s the phase we’re in right now with our deployment.”

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ITU-T Standards status of network softwarization:

Question 21 of ITU-T SG13 is studying network softwarization including: network slicing, SDN, and orchestration which are highly expected to contribute to IMT-2020.  Question 21 met during the SG13 meeting, from 4 to 14 March 2019 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe under the chairmanship of co-Rapporteur Ms.Yushuang Hu (China Mobile, China) and Mr. Kazunori TANIKAWA (NEC, Japan).

On March 14, 2019, ITU-T SG13 has consented to two new Recommendations:

  1. ITU-T Y.IMT2020-ML-Arch “Architectural framework for machine learning in future networks including IMT-2020” (Ref. SG13-TD355/WP1)
  2. ITU-T Y.3115 (formerly Y.NetSoft-SSSDN). It describes SDN control interfaces for network slicing, which especially focuses on the control of front haul networks such as PON.

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AT&T:

AT&T is on a similar path with virtualized network functions and MEF.  According to Light Reading, AT&T has virtualized 65% of its core network during the past five years, and is on track to meet its goal of virtualizing 75% of its network functions by the end of 2020.

“We see the cloud fragmenting again and certain workloads being pushed out to the edge — at customer [premises] and in the network — with more heavy-duty storage, and the back end being in the centralized cloud,” Roman Pacewicz, AT&T Business’s chief product officer, told Light Reading during an interview conducted at MWC 2019 in Barcelona.

Nowhere is [virtualization] more important than in our rollout of 5G,” Pacewicz says. “If we didn’t have a network edge cloud environment that takes the mobile core out to the edge of the network, those deployments would be complicated and longer. The whole strategy of virtualization and cloudification of the network (see IEEE Techblog posts on ITU-T SG13 recommendations related to IMT 2020) becomes more important in upgrading the infrastructure to 5G, because everything is virtualized and software-enabled.”

A new generation of services enabled by 5G will require low latency, and therefore require compute and storage resources close to the edge of the network, Pacewicz says.  That’s where MEC comes in to play a huge role in 5G (as well as real time critical IoT applications).  We previously reported that AT&T has a joint project with Microsoft to deliver Microsoft Azure cloud services from the AT&T network edge. The goal is reduced latency and increased network resiliency.  For applications such as AI, mixed reality and augmented reality, latency needs to be no greater than 20 milliseconds and that requires data to be processed closer to the edge of the network and closer to the end user, Pacewicz says.

A retailer with 8,000–10,000 stores can’t have dedicated compute at every site, but needs low latency to create new types of experience and networks need 2 millisecond latency for safe interactions between robots and human beings, Pacewicz claims.

–>Of course latency includes the mobile access network, mobile packet core, and edge network.  We are a very long way from achieving 20 milliseconds one way latency let alone round trip!

AT&T is teaming with Israeli startup Vorpa on projects to monitor the location of drones around sensitive locations such as aircraft and airports, alert authorities if they’re flying in restricted areas, and identify the location of a drone’s controller. Those types of applications require low latency enabled by mobile edge computing, Pacewicz says.  He concluded the Light Reading interview by highlighting SD-WAN is a key part of making the network more intelligent and flexible to accommodate 5G applications by optimizing traffic routing, particularly as edge devices don’t just consume data, but also generate lots of data.

–>While the SD-WAN market is growing, there are no standard definitions, interfaces or any specs for UNI or NNI interoperability.

AT&T’s CFO John Stephens said that several trends are conspiring to potentially lower AT&T’s CAPEX. He cited the company’s move to network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), which are technologies intended to replacing expensive, proprietary vendor hardware/equipment with less expensive, software-powered equivalents that run on commodity compute servers, white boxes and bare metal switches. Stephens said that more than half of AT&T’s network functions have been virtualized, and that the company remains on track to reach its goal of virtualizing fully 75% of its network functions by 2020.  “All of this leads to an efficiency opportunity on a going forward basis,” he said.

References:

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/how-verizon-is-using-software-to-power-its-5g-network/2019/03/

https://www.lightreading.com/cloud/atandts-pacewicz-we-see-the-cloud-fragmenting-again/d/d-id/750150

ITU-T SG13 Non Radio Hot Topics and Recommendations related to IMT 2020/5G

 

 

GSMA to ITU-D: Addressing Barriers to Mobile Network Coverage in the Developing World

by Ms. Lauren Dawes, GSMA-UK    ldawes@gsma.com

Abstract:

  • While mobile broadband (3G or 4G) coverage in the developed world is ubiquitous, 800 million people are still not covered by mobile broadband networks. In rural areas the cost of building and operating mobile infrastructure can be twice as expensive compared to urban areas, with revenues up to 10 times smaller.
  • In addition, 3.2 billion people live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but are not using mobile internet services. A large scale consumer survey conducted by the GSMA revealed that affordability was the greatest barrier to using mobile internet services.
  • Both the private sector and public sector have important roles to play in improving the business case for mobile network coverage expansion.
  • By providing precise and granular data on mobile coverage, GSMA Mobile Coverage Maps can help operators determine the costs of providing mobile broadband services in uncovered areas and support the development of mobile networks.
  • For example, GSMA Coverage maps can help mobile operators assess the relevance of infrastructure sharing deals. Indeed, infrastructure sharing can help to lower the risk and costs of investments in network expansion. Regulators should seize this opportunity and ensure all forms of voluntary infrastructure sharing between operators are permitted.
  • GSMA Coverage Maps can also help other stakeholders – including governments, NGOs, and private companies that rely on mobile connectivity – to strategically target their activity, by helping them identify the locations with existing coverage.
  • In this context, policy-makers are encouraged to adopt policies that will support mobile operators’ efforts to provide affordable mobile internet services. This includes:
  1. Removing sector specific taxes which have an impact on the price of mobile devices and the costs of providing mobile internet services;
  2. Adopting pro-investment supply side policies in areas such as spectrum policy and planning;
  3. Providing open and non-discriminatory access to state-owned public infrastructures.

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Discussion:

Mobile is now the most common – and often the only way – that many people around the world access the internet, with 3.6 billion now subscribing to mobile internet services. However, while mobile broadband (3G or 4G) coverage in the developed world is ubiquitous, 800 million people are still not covered by mobile broadband networks. In rural areas the cost of building and operating mobile infrastructure can be twice as expensive compared to urban areas, with revenues up to 10 times smaller. As a result, mobile operators who expand their networks to rural areas often find that they lose money or take a long time to produce a return on investment. While seeking to grow their coverage (and hence their subscriber base) they can struggle to identify locations that could be economically viable.

In addition, 3.2 billion people live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but are not using mobile internet services – thus indicating that whilst coverage is a necessary criteria, it alone cannot address the problem of digital inclusion. A large scale consumer survey conducted by the GSMA[1] revealed that affordability was the greatest barrier to using mobile internet services, for people who were aware of mobile internet. In almost all the sample countries, the greatest barriers to mobile internet use are access to, and the cost of, internet-enabled handsets and data. These barriers are clearly interlinked, representing the importance of the overall cost of mobile internet access. The analysis also indicates that, although cost is an important consideration for both women and men in many of the surveyed countries, this barrier disproportionately affects women. For example, in Dominican Republic, 53% of female mobile users who do not use mobile internet, but are aware of it, cited handset cost as a key barrier to mobile internet use compared to 37% of men. In a similar sample in Kenya, 43% of women and 31% of men stated that not having access to an internet-enabled mobile phone was a major barrier to using mobile internet.

Both the private sector and public sector have important roles to play in improving the business case for mobile network coverage expansion.

Precise and granular data is key to help mobile operators, governments and others to determine the costs of providing mobile broadband services in uncovered areas and support the development of sustainable networks. In this context, the GSMA developed Mobile Coverage Maps[2]: a tool to help operators and others estimate the precise location and size of uncovered populations. These maps will allow users to:

  • Gain an accurate and complete picture of the mobile coverage in a given country by each generation of mobile technology (2G, 3G and 4G)
  • Estimate the population living in uncovered or underserved settlements with a very high level of granularity (e.g. small cities, villages or farms)
  • Search for uncovered settlements based on population size.

GSMA Mobile Coverage Maps are therefore a key tool to help operators improve the efficiency of their investments. For example, GSMA Coverage maps can help mobile operators assess the need for infrastructure sharing deals. Indeed, infrastructure sharing can help to lower the risk and costs of investments in network expansion. Regulators should seize this opportunity and ensure all forms of voluntary infrastructure sharing between operators are permitted. This is especially the case since the costs savings of such commercial arrangements can be significant, reducing capital investment and on-going operating costs by between 50% and 80% -depending on market structure and the sharing model – which can be reinvested in network expansion[3]. This helps to close the ‘coverage gap’ and encourage operators to venture into rural areas they might otherwise have not wanted or could not afford to go to.

GSMA Mobile Coverage Maps can also help other stakeholders – including governments, NGOs, and private companies that rely on mobile connectivity – to strategically target their activity, by helping them identify the locations with existing coverage.

In this context, it is critical for policy makers to adopt economic policies that will support mobile operators’ efforts to provide affordable services.

  • Mobile is the main gateway to the internet for consumers in many parts of the world today, particularly in developing countries. Despite this, governments in many of these countries are increasingly imposing – in addition to general taxes – sector-specific taxes on consumers of mobile services and devices and on mobile operators. This poses a significant risk to the growth of the services among citizens, limiting the widely acknowledged social and economic benefits associated with mobile technology. This latest report from GSMA Intelligence https://www.gsmaintelligence.com/research/?file=8f36cd1c58c0d619d9f165261a57f4a9&download examines mobile sector taxation over time and its impact on affordability and connectivity. The report highlights the taxes applied to mobile services and how certain taxes can raise the affordability barrier and reduce the ability of citizens to take part in digital society. It also explores the impact of uncertain tax regimes on operators’ ability to continue investing in new networks. The report shows how sector-specific taxes can create inefficiency, inequity and complexity, and hinder achievement of the UN Broadband Commission’s target for affordable broadband for all by 2025.
  • Effective pro-investment supply side policies should also be adopted in areas such as spectrum policy and planning to encourage long term investment in the sector and result in more affordable mobile internet services being made available to all.
  • Providing open and non-discriminatory access to state-owned public infrastructures such as public buildings, roads, railways and utility service ducts can also significantly reduce the costs of network roll-out and can be key to providing the site access and necessary backhaul capacity so critical to operator investments.

Notes:

[1] The analysis is based on findings from quantitative face-to-face surveys with women and men in 23 low- and middle-income countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America. Source: Gender Gap Report 2018. GSMA (2019). Available here: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GSMA_The_Mobile_Gender_Gap_Report_2018_32pp_WEBv7.pdf

[2] GSMA Mobile Coverage Maps use data collected directly from mobile operators and overlay it with the High Resolution Settlement Layer, a dataset developed by Facebook Connectivity Lab and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University. This data estimates human population distribution at a hyperlocal level, based on census data and high-resolution satellite imagery. We have further enriched this data by adding socioeconomic indicators and key buildings such as schools, hospitals, and medical centres. The Mobile Coverage Maps are accessible here: www.mobilecoveragemaps.com

[3] Unlocking rural coverage: Enablers for commercially sustainable mobile network expansion. GSMA (2016). Available here: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Unlocking-Rural-Coverage-enablers-for-commercially-sustainable-mobile-network-expansion_English.pdf

Verizon Announces Mobile 5G for April 11, 2019 in Chicago and Minneapolis

Verizon plans to deploy its mobile 5G “ultra wideband” network in Chicago and Minneapolis on April 11th, the company said in a statement on Wednesday. Verizon CTO Kyle Malady said that the company is only starting in Chicago and Minneapolis, with only parts of the cities getting 5G coverage initially. The carrier plans to have more than 30 U.S. markets running 5G connections by the end of the year.

  • Preorders for the Verizon-exclusive 5G Moto mod – the first 5G-upgradeable smartphone – begin March 14, with a $50 special offer
  • Verizon’s 5G service plan comes with unlimited data, available for just $10 a month (with the first three months free) with any Verizon unlimited plan, including  Verizon Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited or Above Unlimited plans
  • Customers that order a 5G Moto mod on March 14 get a FREE Moto z3 when they activate a new line of service on a Verizon device payment plan
  • 5G Ultra Wideband technology uses new radio technology and new device hardware to deliver advanced capabilities to consumers and businesses.
  • When customers move outside Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage area, the 5G moto mod automatically and seamlessly hands off the signal to Verizon’s 4G LTE network, the nation’s best and most reliable 4G LTE network.
  • Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service will continue to improve as Verizon expands capabilities and coverage areas.

Editor’s Note:  Moto phones are made by Mototola Mobility which is owned by Lenovo

“Continuing our track record of 5G ‘firsts,’ we are thrilled to bring the first 5G-upgradeable smartphone exclusively to Verizon customers,” said Verizon’s chief technology officer, Kyle Malady. “Not all 5G networks are the same. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is built by the company with the nation’s best and most reliable 4G LTE network. It will change the way we live, work, learn and play, starting in Chicago and Minneapolis and rapidly expanding to more than 30 U.S. markets this year.”

“At Motorola we proudly deliver innovations, like the 5G Moto mod and Moto z3, that change how people connect with each other and use technology in daily life,” said Rudi Kalil, vice president and general manager, North America at Motorola. “We’re very excited that the transformative 5G Moto mod developed at our HQ in Chicago will soon be used by our own community, in addition to Minneapolis, to bring our bright 5G future to life.”

Verizon said that its 5G offering will come with unlimited data that will cost $10 a month with any Verizon unlimited plan. That’s on top of what unlimited customers are paying already. The first three months of Verizon’s 5G unlimited data will be free to customers.   Verizon also announced that it will be exclusively offering the 5G Moto Mod for pre-order starting on Mar. 14. The Moto Mod is an add-on for the Moto Z3 smartphone that effectively turns it into a 5G phone. Verizon said that the Moto Z3 and Moto Mod combination will turn it into the world’s first 5G phone.

Dan Hays, an adviser at PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting firm, said $10 a month is right in line with what its research shows customers are willing to pay for premium wireless connections. Hays said he believes most people aren’t willing to change the device they’re currently using to another brand or model just because it has 5G.

Comment:  Just like all the other fake mobile 5G offerings, Verizon’s Ultra Wideband uses 3GPP NR NSA which means it relies on LTE signaling/control plane as well as LTE’s Evolved Packet Core (EPC).  Further, there isn’t a phone available yet to US customers that can operate independently on any of the announced pre-IMT 2020 standard 5G networks. In February 2019, Samsung announced its first ever 5G smartphone – the Galaxy S10 5G. The device will be available to Verizon customers during the second quarter of this year. It will be available from other wireless carriers later this summer.  While Samsung S10 5G and other pre-standard 5G phones use 3GPP Rel 15 NR for the data plane, they all use LTE signalling for the control plane.

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-5g-mobility-service-and-motorola-5g-smartphone-are-here

https://www.verizonwireless.com/5g/

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-issues-built-5g-challenge

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