Verizon and the city of San Diego, CA have announced a partnership under which the U.S.’ #1 wireless telco will invest upward of $100 million to deploy as many as 200 energy-efficient light poles that host small cells for 5G wireless, as well as providing the police with 500 smartphones and the fire and rescue department with 50 tablets. The city, in exchange, will ensure a streamlined process for approval of small cells and fiber optic links.
San Diego has pledged to streamline the permitting process for rolling out mobile network “small cells” in a deal with Verizon that could help lay the foundation for bringing 5G technology to the city. Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced the deal in a news conference Monday on Harbor Island. Verizon will spend more than $100 million to install up to 200 power efficient light poles with small cell wireless network gear to improve cellular coverage.
“Verizon is a partner in our effort to enhance wireless capability and lay the groundwork for the future of 5G wireless,” said Faulconer. “This agreement is going to increase services and expand our smart cities capabilities, at no additional costs to taxpayers.”
Small cells — about the size of a pizza box — contain lower power radios and antennas. They add density to the cellular network to boost range and increase the number of smartphone/ endpoint users who can then gain high speed connections to the Internet. This is done via frequency reuse– small cells in one area of town may use the same frequency bands as other small cells in a different part of the city. Small cells are expected to be a key component of high speed 5G mobile networks, which have just begun rolling out in a few cities in the U.S. and South Korea. They have to be mounted on city owned polls or like infrastructure. “Most of these small cells essentially they are on poles, and they blend into the areas to provide that coverage, as well as capacity,” said Ed Chan, Verizon’s senior vice president of engineering.
Verizon plans to install 4G LTE small cells in San Diego under the new program, said Chan. These small cells can be upgraded to 5G technology — either through software updates or the addition of 5G radio equipment. 5G networks aim to deliver speeds 10 times faster than current 4G technologies, with imperceptible transmission delays. They are expected to help power ubiquitous mobile video, self-driving cars, smart cities infrastructure and connected health care devices.
Verizon deployed its first pre-standard mobile 5G networks last week in neighborhoods in Chicago and Minneapolis. It expects to expand to 30 additional cities U.S. by year end. The telco hasn’t named the next 30 cities to get 5G. Chan said to stay tuned. “This will definitely create the foundation to get to 5G” in San Diego, he said.
The city and Verizon have been talking for several months about ways to speed up the permitting process for small cells and fiber optic links. Plans include updating some building codes and allowing “master permits” where the installation of several, similarly designed small cell street-light poles in a neighborhood would fall under one permit, said Ron Villa, assistant chief operating officer with the city.
“We are doing a pilot in Mission Valley where they can permit a whole area all at once, and they don’t have to go through individual permits,” said Villa. “It will be to the advantage of other carriers as well. If we can get this to work, there will be other carriers that will be welcome” to use the streamlined permitting process.
Verizon is providing poles with street lights and will cover installation costs, said Villa. The company will own the poles. In the future, it will provide analysis of traffic patterns and other data to bolster San Diego’s smart cities capabilities.
“From smart streetlights on Mira Mesa Boulevard to weather-based irrigation controllers in Clairemont, innovation is shaping how we are living and working in District 6,” said Council member Chris Cate. “San Diego’s partnership with Verizon will not only benefit San Diegans today, it will help all future generations.”
Last week at the 2019 Open Network Summit, AT&T announced that its white box switch/routers, which interconnect compute servers in the network cloud, are live and carrying 5G traffic. This is part of the company’s push to virtualize its network, which at the end of 2018 had 65% virtualized network functions. AT&T’s goal is to virtualize 75 percent of its core network functions by 2020. “This year (2019) our goal is to get to 70 percent,” Fuetsch said in his Thursday morning keynote. “Why not faster progress this year? We left all the hard stuff for last.”
AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch during his keynote address at 2019 Open Network Summit
Sidebar: AT&T 5G White Boxes
The radio access network (RAN) includes radios on towers, small cells and other types of equipment that traditionally “were specialized, expensive devices sold by a small number of (wireless network equipment) vendors,” said Fuetsch in a blog post. Those vendors “dictated costs, technical capabilities and upgrade schedules. They controlled the hardware and the software.”
This status quo no longer makes sense, now that carriers are deploying 5G wireless, which will support higher speeds and lower latency, Fuetsch argues. Wireless network traffic is expected to skyrocket, but carriers cannot afford to increase the price of service commensurately.
AT&T previously released specifications for a white box router for use in its 5G network and invited vendors to submit proposals to build the router. Feutsch’s blog post notes that the company is working on additional hardware specs with the O-RAN Alliance, an industry group focused on defining 5G white box requirements.
The other AT&T 5G white box initiative highlighted in Fuetsch’s blog post is something he calls the “network cloud white box,” which he said is now live in the AT&T network and carrying 5G traffic. This device would be a switch that would interconnect servers in the edge data centers that AT&T is establishing to support low-latency 5G wireless applications. Some of these applications need more processing power than end-user devices can support, which dictates a cloud approach. But the cloud resources must be located near the end-user to provide low latency.
The servers in the edge data centers are powered by the ONAP open source network operating system that AT&T played a key role in developing. The white box deployment uses a software stack that will be part of the open source Disaggregated Network Operating System (DANOS) Project, and AT&T plans to introduce its code contribution to the community soon
Also in the blog post, Fuetsch noted that AT&T has deployed white boxes in Toronto and London to support internet service for business customers and that the company plans to offer the devices in 76 countries by the end of the year. In addition, he said AT&T is working on technology that would enable a single fiber optic wavelength to carry 400 Gbps. For its 400G deployment, AT&T expects to use Open ROADM optical networking for interoperability, to achieve more competition, mix and match between vendors, and lower the barrier to entry for startup vendors, Fuetsch said.
“These white boxes and open source routing software that we’re deploying, the cell site router initiative that we’re putting in is going to 65,000 (domestic) cell sites over the coming years,” Fuetsch said.
AT&T contributed its white box specs to the Open Compute Project last year, which led to the development of the cell site router gateway that it’s showing at ONS this week. AT&T is demonstrating a white box router gateway from UfiSpace that was developed via the OCP specifications.
Fuetsch said AT&T planned to update 65,000 cell tower sites with the UfiSpace white boxes. While he didn’t provide a timeline, he said those efforts were ramping up this year.
“This is a hardware box that is based on Broadcom’s Qumran chipset, and it’s basically a cell site router that is a hardened for extreme environmental conditions,” Fuetsch said. “So think like negative 40 Celsius up to 65 degrees Celsius operating ranges. It’s also a box that basically can support interfaces from as low as 100 megs all the way up to 100 gig for both supporting our radio based RAN units as well as our backhaul needs.”
While AT&T hasn’t said which vendors it’s using for the internet white boxes, AT&T is running its Vyatta software stack on them, which Fuetsch said AT&T still planned to contribute into the Linux Foundation’s DANOS community at some point this year. These open, white box systems allow AT&T to run 10 times as much traffic as the proprietary routers it previously bought at the same price. Fuetsch declined to give a time frame for when a majority of AT&T’s network might operate on open source-based hardware, but said certain aspects of it will in the coming years.
Regarding AT&T’s motivations for open source, Fuetsch identified security, freedom of choice, flexibility, and interoperability. “As we shift from a hardware-centric network to a more software-centric network we needed a way to get our software to become more open, more flexible. We also were looking for software that’s more secure. Open source is inherently more secure because you have more eyeballs on it,” he said.
“We believe that not only having more open reference designs on the hardware level but also having more open source based projects in that ecosystem will drive more innovation, more economic solutions, more competition, thus a better experience and products and services for our customers,” he said. “Open source has really become a major foundation to a lot of our major network initiatives.”
AT&T’s Network by the Numbers:
• 214 Countries & territories
• 1.1M+ Global fiber route miles
• 253 Petabytes per day
• 12 5G US cities launched (with pre-IMT 2020 standard, 3GPP Release 15 NR, NSA implementation)
• 9 additional 5G US cities coming soon
• Nationwide 5G early 2020 (IMT 2020 won’t be completed by then)
In the next 5 years [Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast & Trends 2/27/19]:
• 3x Increase global IP traffic
• 7x Increase mobile IP Traffic
• 71% Traffic from wireless devices
by Josh Bancroft, IHS Markit Analyst
IHS Markit recently surveyed 100 North American enterprises that are evaluating or implementing software-defined networking (SDN) for the data center by 2020. Respondents currently evaluating SDN expect that it will drive operational- and capital-expenditure decreases at a faster pace than what has been experienced by those already deploying SDN.
“Migrating to SDN means deploying new equipment, upgrading existing equipment, and training IT staff, which requires investment,” said Josh Bancroft, senior analyst, cloud and data center research, IHS Markit. “Those evaluating SDN need to adjust their expectations that savings might not be felt immediately, but instead might happen over a longer period of time.”
The 2018 “Data Center SDN Strategies North American Enterprise Survey” indicated that the transition to live SDN deployment is well underway. By the end of 2019, 74 percent of respondents will be in production trials, and 36 percent will be in live production, up from 38 percent and 20 percent, respectively, in 2018. Enhancements have been made by vendors, including integrating network analytics to improve application performance and security. Doing so will encourage enterprises to deploy SDN, since improved application performance and improved security were two of the top drivers for deploying SDN. Other top deployment drivers for SDN included; decreased operating costs, simplified network provisioning and improved management capability.
In the IHS Markit survey, Cisco, VMware, and Dell EMC were identified as the SDN hardware and software manufacturers with which respondents were most familiar.
Following are some additional highlights from the survey:
- Top deployment barriers among the respondents were the interruption of critical network operations (30 percent), interoperability with existing network equipment (29 percent) and lack of trained staff (29 percent)
- Less than half (48 percent) of respondents expect capital expenditures (capex) to increase again in the second year of deployment. However, capex increased in the second year for 61 percent of those who have deployed SDN, which suggests those evaluating deployment should adjust their expectations.
- Nearly one-third (31 percent) of respondents chose automated disaster recovery as the top use case for capex reduction, while 35 percent selected automated provisioning as the top use case for operating expenditure (opex) reduction, and 30 percent chose automation for application deployment as the top use case for employee productivity.
- By 2020, 83 percent of respondents will be in live production with data center SDN.
Data Center SDN Strategies North American Enterprise Survey
This IHS Markit survey analyzes the trends and assesses the needs of enterprises deploying SDN in their data centers. The study probes issues defining how the enterprise market will evolve with data center SDN, including deployment drivers and barriers, rollout plans, applications, use cases, vendors installed and under evaluation, top rated vendors, and more.
By Stéphane Téral, director, IHS Markit
Key information from China released over the past two weeks indicate that China’s 4G LTE capital expenditures (capex) totaled $17.3 billion in 2018, which is 8.5 percent above the initial plan. Among the three Chinese service providers – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – China Mobile was responsible for much of the increase in plan, spending $1.5 billion more than its initial plan released in March 2018.
With this hike in China’s capex, along with solid sustained infrastructure spending in Europe, Middle East, Africa and various countries in Asia, global 4G LTE infrastructure revenue was $22.9 billion in 2018.
Huawei finished 2018 with 31 percent market share in the global mobile infrastructure market, which includes 2G, 3G and 4G hardware macrocell networks. Huawei was followed by Ericsson with 27 percent and Nokia with 22 percent.
As always, March is an important month in China, as it is punctuated by full-year financial results and the release of guidance for the full calendar year from China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. Given the magnitude of telecom capex in China, everyone involved in the telecom ecosystem pays attention to what the three service providers say, particularly their plans for the year.
On April 1, 2019 Mr Teral wrote: Capex in China has bottomed out; 5G produces a 3% YoY increase!
On April 2nd, the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation jointly announced the creation of the O-RAN Software Community (O-RAN SC). The O-RAN SC will provide open software aligned with the O-RAN Alliance’s open architecture. As a new open source community under the Linux Foundation, the O-RAN SC is sponsored by the O-RAN Alliance, and together they will develop open source software enabling modular, open, intelligent, efficient, and agile disaggregated radio access networks. The initial set of software projects may include: near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (nRT RIC), non-real-time RAN intelligent controller (NRT RIC), cloudification and virtualization platforms, open central unit (O-CU), open distributed unit (O-DU), and a test and integration effort to provide a working reference implementation. Working with other adjacent open source networking communities, the O-RAN SC will enable collaborative development across the full operator network stack.
Background: The telecom industry is experiencing a profound transformation and 5G is expected to radically change how we live, work, and play. This means it’s critical to make network infrastructure commercially available as quickly as possible to ensure business success for operators. It’s time to turn to open source, as it is one of the most efficient ways to accelerate product development in a collaborative and cost-efficient way.
“This collaboration between the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation is a tremendous accomplishment that represents the culmination of years of thoughtful innovation around the next generation of networks,” said Andre Fuetsch, Chairman of the O-RAN Alliance, and President of AT&T Labs and Chief Technology Officer at AT&T. “The launch of the O-RAN SC marks the next phase of that innovation, where the benefits of disaggregated and software-centric platforms will move out to the edge of the network. This new open source community will be critical if 5G is to reach its full potential.”
“We are really excited to see the establishment of the O-RAN Open Source Community,” said Chih-Lin I, chief scientist of China Mobile, co-chair of the O-RAN Technical Steering Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the O-RAN Alliance. “The O-RAN Alliance is aiming at building an ‘Open’ and ‘Smart’ Radio Access Network for future wireless systems. From day one, the Alliance has embraced open source as one of the most powerful means to achieve its vision. The O-RAN Open Source Community is the fruit of a yearlong extensive deliberation between the O-RAN Alliance and the Linux Foundation. We believe that the power of open source will further the momentum and accelerate the development, test, commercialization and deployment of O-RAN solutions.”
“We are excited to collaborate with O-RAN Alliance in bringing communities together to create software for this important access area of Telecommunications,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge & IOT, the Linux Foundation. “This step towards execution marks another major milestone in networking partnerships across standards and open source organizations.”
About O-RAN Alliance
The O-RAN Alliance is a world-wide, carrier-led effort to drive new levels of openness in the radio access network of next generation wireless systems. Future RANs will be built on a foundation of virtualized network elements, white-box hardware and standardized interfaces that fully embrace O-RAN’s core principles of intelligence and openness. An ecosystem of innovative new products is already emerging that will form the underpinnings of the multi-vendor, interoperable, autonomous RAN, envisioned by many in the past, but only now enabled by the global industry-wide vision, commitment and leadership of O-RAN Alliance members and contributors.
More information about O-RAN can be found at www.o-ran.org.
About the Linux Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration. For more information please visit us at www.linuxfoundation.org.
Assessment of Open Networking:
While Open Source Software (e.g. ONAP from ONF, Sonic from OCP) and Hardware (from OCP, TIP, Open RAN consortiums, ONF, etc) for networking is advancing rapidly, Open Networking via SDN, NFV, SD-WAN is really a euphemism for closed networking. That’s because almost all such “Open Networks” are proprietary to either the service provider (e.g. Amazon, Google, AT&T, etc) or SD-WAN vendor (many).
Some hyper-scale cloud providers (e.g. Microsoft) use a mix of open source software and purpose built proprietary software. Others (like Amazon and Google) use only their own (proprietary) software. Open Networking hasn’t much of an impact on the enterprise network yet, because of complex support and training issues. It seems like the main beneficiary of open networking will be Facebook (which started the OCP and TIP) and global telcos/ISPs (e.g. Yahoo Japan).
Telco Focused Open Source Projects:
Telcos such as AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, DTK, and others have embraced open source technologies to move faster into the future. And LF Networking is at the heart of this transformation. AT&T seems to be the leading open source software telco. The company contributed their own software on virtual networks as ONAP to the Linux Foundation. The project is now being used by in production by other companies, and AT&T in return is benefiting from the work the competitors are doing to improve the code base.
AT&T also led the effort on Project CORD (Central Office Rearchitected as a Data center). CORD combines NFV, SDN, and the elasticity of commodity clouds to bring data center economics and cloud agility to the Telco Central Office. CORD lets the network operator manage their Central Offices using declarative modeling languages for agile, real-time configuration of new customer services. Major service providers like AT&T, SK Telecom, Verizon, China Unicom and NTT Communications are already supporting CORD.
AT&T contributed to the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) work on multi-gigabit PON virtual optical line termination hardware abstraction (VOLTHA), which is an open source software stack for PON networks. ONF is now working on integrating the ONAP operating system with multi-gigabit passive optical networks. ONAP was created by the merger of the Open ECOMP platform created by AT&T Labs with a similar, preexisting open source development project.
AT&T and the ONF will build on ongoing field trials of XGS-PON technology designed to support speeds up to 10 Gbps. The current XGS-PON trial is testing multi-gigabit high-speed internet traffic and providing AT&T DirecTV NOW video to trial participants. “Collaboration and openness across AT&T, the ONF and VOLTHA teams will be key to bringing this 10 Gbps broadband network to customers faster,” said Igal Elbaz, AT&T senior vice president of wireless network architecture and design, in the press release. “Now that we’ve proven the viability of open access technology in our trials, we can start the integration with our operations and management automation platform – ONAP.
ONF also provides a variety of Reference Designs, which are are “blueprints” developed by ONF’s Operator members to address specific use cases for the emerging edge cloud. Each Reference Design is backed by specific network operator partner(s) who plan to deploy these designs into their production networks and will include participation from invited supply chain partners sharing the vision and demonstrating active investment in building open source solutions.
The Telecom Infra Project aims to collaborate on building new technologies, examining new business approaches, and spurring investment in the telecom space. TIP Project Groups are divided into three strategic networks areas that collectively make up an end-to-end network: Access, Backhaul, and Core and Management. TIP members include operators, suppliers, developers, systems integrators, startups, and other entities that have joined TIP to build new technologies and develop innovative approaches for deploying telecom network infrastructure. Most telco members are outside the U.S. However, Century Link, Cox Communications, Sprint, and Windstream are U.S. based members. Representatives from Deutsche Telekom, BT, Vodafone, and Telefonica are on the TIP Board of Directors.
Sri Lanka’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Dialog Axiata has launched what it says is South Asia’s first “fully standards based 5G” pilot service in collaboration with Huawei. Of course, that’s impossible because the IMT 2020 5G recommendations for ITU-R and ITU-T won’t be completed till the end of 2020 or later.
The successful demonstration used Huawei-based RAN and core network with the most current 5G non-standalone architecture (from 3GPP Release 15) to transmit data to a 5G smartphone. The mobile network operator claims it is South Asia’s first pilot mobile 5G service.
Dialog Axiata group chief executive Supun Weerasinghe said the trial marks another step towards the operator’s introduction of 5G in the region. The operator has to date upgraded over 20% of its base stations to support Massive MIMO technology, giving them 5G ready status.
“The success of South Asia’s first demonstration of a mobile 5G service is yet another milestone following our launch of a fully functional pre-commercial 5G network and builds on our significant investments into high speed broadband network infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Dialog will continue to deliver on its promise of delivering The Future.Today. by leveraging the unique capabilities of 5G technology, to spearhead the country’s transformation into a regional technology hub,” he said.
Dialog Axiata launched its pre-commercial 5G network at the end of last year, demonstrating South Asia’s first fully functional and “standards compliant 5G” transmission using commercial grade base stations. Unveiled at the end of December 2018, the cellco’s pre-commercial trial was fulfilled via a partnership with the industry watchdog the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), which is making available 3.5GHz band spectrum to pilot 5G. In the trials, Dialog reportedly achieved data speeds of more than 2 Gbps in a live setting.
To date Dialog has since then upgraded over 20% of its expansive base station network to a “5G Ready Status” by deploying Massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology. The same infrastructure will transmit 5G speeds upon the licensing of commercial 5G spectrum in Sri Lanka, enabling the delivery of nationwide 5G coverage.
Spending On 5G Network Rollout
Morgan Stanley estimates that about $225 billion will be spent on 5G network deployment from this year to 2025. The first 5G-enabled smartphones are just beginning to arrive, though access to 5G networks will be limited. Real-world tests of the technology are underway only in a few dozen U.S. cities and other locations worldwide.
Analysts disagree on where the first impact will be felt. Some say in commercial and industrial applications. Others see 5G technology initially gaining momentum on the consumer side, particularly in gaming. Industrial applications will come later, according to some analysts, as the competency of the technology proves itself. But long term, business applications are where 5G appears likely to have the greatest impact.
“It’s an exciting tech but a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, a lot of hype,” said Jason Leigh, IDC research analyst covering mobility. “Because of that, it’s hard to say which specific industries will really benefit most, but I think the biggest impact will be on the business side overall.”
In addition to network infrastructure providers such as Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia, other beneficiaries of 5G network deployment include vendors exposed to the metro foundations and core cloud infrastructure. Cisco Systems, Ciena, and Juniper Networks fall into this category, wrote analyst Simon Leopold at Raymond James in a research report on 5G.
More Chips Needed
The deployment of 5G infrastructure also requires lots of semiconductor content, mainly due to higher radio content tied to antenna counts. Analog Devices, Marvell Technology, and Xilinx have large 5G infrastructure content, and each has already experienced early benefits as 5G trials progress, Leopold said.
Chipmakers Intel and Qualcomm, meanwhile, are involved in 5G trials. The rollout also requires network densification, which involves replacing cell towers with smaller, more tightly spaced transmit/receivers and benefits apparatus suppliers such as CommScope.
A report from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association said there are about 201 operators globally that have initiated 5G efforts, as of January. That’s up from 154 the previous year. A 2018 survey by Ericsson found that nearly 20% of 900 companies interviewed aimed to do 5G-related proof-of-concept trials in that year. An additional 38% planned to run trials in 2019.
In 2016, Ericsson found that 59% of respondents thought 5G wouldn’t be on their radar for at least five years. By 2018, that number had fallen to just 11%.
Sparking A New Era Of Entrepreneurship
Altogether, that means the 5G network upgrade will eventually affect almost every aspect of business. This includes manufacturing, health care and emergency services, education, transportation , smart cities and smart homes.
It’s also expected to expand and improve the capabilities of drones and other aerial systems and enhance autonomous vehicles. 5G will also fast-forward the application of virtual reality and augmented reality in industrial applications.
“5G will spark an unprecedented new era of entrepreneurship and business opportunities as new technologies are created, tested and rolled out in cities across the country,” wrote Craig Silliman, Verizon’s executive vice president for public policy, in a December article. He also said the 5G network will act as the backbone of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And he asserted that robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and drones will change almost every facet of society.
5G Use Cases and Applications
Morgan Stanley analyst Simon Flannery identified seven uses that could drive $156 billion of incremental annual revenue by 2030.
These are: $64 billion for manufacturing automation; $9 billion for cloud gaming; $18 billion for fixed wireless; $7 billion for autonomous vehicles; and $20 billion for surveillance and smart cities. He also estimates $4 billion for drones and $32 billion for remote health care services.
“The business opportunities for 5G are just exponentially bigger than previous-generation networks,” wrote Flannery, who covers North American telecom services. “And while the immediate opportunities may be limited, we believe revenue opportunities will emerge as technologies such as cloud-based gaming, autonomous vehicles, and remote surgery become mainstream.”
The first generation of mobile networks that debuted in the 1980s had the capacity to carry voice calls only. Then, 2G in the mid-1990s brought text messaging, basic data packages and partial internet services. As the new millennium began 3G ushered in the mobile internet, mobile computing, and the proliferation of apps. 4G (also called LTE) provided mobile broadband that allowed streaming video and audio and also enabled an explosion of social media apps and ride hailing services. Improvements to 4G technology continue, with rollouts in far-flung places still underway.
The power of 5G technology goes beyond current 4G wireless in several ways. For example, the time it will take for a wireless data signal to get a network response, known as latency, will shrink to about 1 millisecond, compared with 25 milliseconds with most 4G technology. It boasts bandwidth and data transmission rates more than 10 times faster than 4G LTE.
The number of devices that can connect to a 5G network, compared with existing 4G wireless towers, will also greatly expand. That’s particularly important to the rapidly expanding market for the Internet of Things. IoT is the global network of interconnected electronic devices embedded in everyday objects that share data. These will include smart homes, smart factories, smart power grids and other “systems of systems” networked configurations. There are currently more than 11 billion IoT connections worldwide; that’s expected to grow to more than 20 billion by 2020.
Among the earliest adopters could be gaming and the eSports venues, where services are already monetized and high speeds and ubiquitous connectivity are paramount.
In March, the Google unit of Alphabet announced Stadia. It’s a cloud-based gaming platform and a major move into the video game business.
Stadia is not an external console or set-top box. It is a cloud-based platform, accessible over the internet via a variety of formats.
Google‘s cloud servers will allow Stadia to stream games in 4K ultra-high definition and in 8K in the future. 5G is expected to play a crucial role in making it all work.
Microsoft is also creating its own cloud gaming service, dubbed xCloud.
“Games tend to be the tip of the spear for this kind of technology,” said Bill Morelli, chief of research for enterprise solutions at IHS Markit Technology. “While consumer segments will do better in the near term, business applications will emerge as 5G is more fully implemented and its capabilities are proven.”
Morelli doesn’t see major business applications using 5G emerging until about 2021 or 2022. While businesses are increasingly using digital technology in industrial fields, its been a slow process. Equipment replacement cycles are very long, and industry executives tend to be conservative when it comes to a major transformation.
Currently, the use of wired technology configurations far outweigh the use of wireless in industrial fields. Moreover, the bulk of wireless technology is not standard cellular wireless. It’s not considered fully reliable.
“Historically, cellular has not been a technology that was optimized for that sort of environment,” said Morelli. “But 5G is designed to close that gap, to do things with wireless you’re just not able to do today.”
One of the most anticipated uses is machine-to-machine communications, enhanced by IoT. It refers to direct communication between devices using any communications channel, including wired and wireless. IoT enables sensors or meters to communicate the data it receives so that they can be analyzed and acted upon.
Because 5G supports far more connections, it will provide the ability to connect embedded sensors in virtually everything, significantly accelerating enterprise adoption of IoT products and services.
In the development of smart cities, IoT and 5G will more closely monitor traffic flow and help reduce accidents. The addition of more sensors could also improve the distribution of utilities, monitor agriculture and improve infrastructure safety. This also includes crop monitors gauging water levels in agricultural environments and power-management systems in residential properties.
Many see IoT significantly increasing demand for microcontrollers, sensors, Wi-Fi and cellular chips, flash memory and high-performance processing units.
Among other technologies that will benefit from 5G expansion are drones and other autonomous aerial vehicles. UPS and FedEx are among the companies experimenting with autonomous vehicles and drone delivery.
The impact of 5G wireless will also be big in the health care market. It will accelerate the development and use of wearable devices for physical health monitoring and advance the medical equipment market in the development of surgical assistants and devices for remote surgery.
“There’s a lot to be excited about,” said IDC’s Leigh. “5G wireless will transform technology, but transferring that into dollars is another story.”
With over one billion mobile phone customers and an explosion of mobile data consumption over the past two years, the Indian telecom industry needs to migrate from traditional copper-based backhaul networks to dense optic fiber cable networks, according to Indian investment information and credit rating agency ICRA.
The proliferation of affordable smartphones, low data tariffs, increase in speeds of delivery and enhanced content have led to 539 million wireless internet subscribers in the country. This translates into daily consumption of 418,330 terabytes (TBs) of data. Each TB measures over 1,000 gigabytes. The data consumption is expected to grow over the long term with increasing applications, improving technology and more content. To meet the requirements, telecom networks need to be robust and have the capacity to carry large amounts of data and deliver it quickly, according to a new ICRA research report.
With each step on technology ladder from 2G to 3G to 4G and soon to be 5G, the fiber requirement has been increasing. 5G and its applications, which will likely grow exponentially in years to come, translate into speeds in excess of 10 Gbps as against the average speeds of 6 Mpbs achieved with 4G technologies in India (against a global average of 17 Mbps).
“Achieving such speeds make fiber connectivity essential. India’s high population density also translates into deeper and denser fiber network,” the report stated. At present, the country has about 500,000 towers of which only 22 per cent are fiberized as against 80 per cent in China. India has 110 million km of fiber deployed compared to 420 million km in the United States and 1,090 million km in China. Hence, India’s fiber coverage in km per capita works out to 0.09, which is far behind 0.87 for China and more than 1.3 for the United States and Japan. “The fiber density in India will have to increase at least four-fold. It means that fiber will evolve as a separate industry in some time, similar to the trajectory seen for telecom tower industry over the past two decades.”
ICRA estimates the present market value of fiber assets owned by major private telecom operators is about Rs 1.2 lakh crore. The extent of fiber rollout over the next few years will require investments of Rs 2.5 lakh crore to 3 lakh crore. Hence sharing of fiber among multiple telcos will be the key driver of a reasonable return on capital.
Trends of Indian Telecom Industry for January 2019 [SOURCE: ICRA Research]:
1) Total subscriber base at 1,203 million; YoY growth of 2.4%; MoM growth of 0.5%
2) 20 out of 22 circles reported increase in subscriber base on MoM basis; North East reported the highest MoM growth
3) Overall tele-density steady at 91.8%; Urban tele-density at 161.3%, rural tele-density at 59.4%
4) Wireless subscriber base at – 1,182 million; YoY growth of 2.6%; MoM growth of 0.5%
5) Active wireless subscriber base at 1,022 million; YoY growth of 1.0%; MoM de-growth of 0.4%
6) Vodafone Idea leads the market with active wireless subscriber market share of 37.6%, followed by Bharti at 32.4% and RJio
7) Urban wireless subscriber base at 654.2 million; YoY growth of 0.2%; MoM growth of 1.0%
8) Rural wireless subscriber base at 527.8 million; YoY growth at 5.7%; MoM decline of 0.1%
9) Wireline Subscriber base at 21.8 million; YoY decline of 5.5%; BSNL/MTNL continue to be the market leader
10) Broadband subscriber base at 540.0 million; strong YoY growth of 43%
11) For September 2018 quarter, total minutes on network grew 41.2% YoY, while MoU per subscriber grew by 43.9%.
12) For September 2018 quarter, data subscriber base and per subscriber usage continued to report healthy YoY growth
by Yang Ge (edited by Alan J Weissberger)
China will issue 5G wireless communications licenses by year-end, the nation’s telecoms minister said, as the country pushes aggressively into 5G before the IMT 2020 standard or 3GPP Release 16 spec are completed.
“I expect 5G licenses will be issued at some point this year,” Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei, said on Thursday in a session at the Boao Forum for Asia in South China’s Hainan province, the Shanghai Securities News reported. Wei added that actual timing for the launch of 5G network deployments will depend on maturation of the necessary technology, most notably 5G handsets. “Large-scale commercial service will need to wait until networks are perfected,” he said. “We need to give China’s (wireless) carriers some time.”
Editor’s Note: The three state owned and controlled China carriers are: China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom.
China is the world’s largest mobile market with some 1.5 billion subscribers, with many in the world’s most populous country holding multiple accounts. But in the past the nation was slow to roll out the latest generations of new mobile communications, often preferring to wait for the technology to mature first in more advanced Western markets.
Beijing has taken a sharply different tack in 5G, aiming to become a leader in the space for a technology expected to power many of the wireless high-tech applications of the future such as telemedicine and self-driving cars. Accordingly, it wants to roll out its networks sooner rather than later, and for the first time could be among the world’s first major markets to launch service.
The technology could facilitate data-transfer speeds up to 10 times faster than current 4G technology, said Yang Chaobin, president of 5G product lines at China’s own Huawei Technologies, the world’s leading manufacturer of telecom equipment. Miao estimated that 20% of 5G will be used for person-to-person communications, while 80% will be used for communication between things such as applications behind self-driving cars.
Among China’s three major carriers, the largest, China Mobile, is aiming to roll out “pre-commercial” 5G service this year, with full commercial service available sometime next year, said Vice President Li Huidi, according to the Shanghai Securities News report. China Mobile’s smaller rivals, China Unicom and China Telecom, have previously said they will each invest around $1.2 billion this year on 5G networks.
Miao also said that countries and companies should work together on 5G, even as a U.S. coalition is expressing concerns about the security of equipment produced by Huawei, worried it could be used for spying by Beijing. “In my view, in the development of 5G, the most important thing is open collaboration, and a single standard for the world,” Miao said.
Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez also spoke to the recent politicization of 5G earlier in the week at Boao, saying competition in new technologies including 5G is not between different nations, and instead is a competition among enterprises.
Contact reporter Yang Ge (email@example.com)
AT&T was the top U.S. network service provider in fiber lit buildings, according to the Vertical Systems Group’s 2018 U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings Leaderboard. AT&T ranked #1 in Vertical Systems fiber lit buildings findings for the third consecutive year.
Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Crown Castle Fiber, Frontier, Zayo, Altice USA, and Windstream were the other fiber lit leaders. Each of those companies had 10,000 or more on-net U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings as of year-end 2018, according to VSG.
Vertical Systems Group defines a fiber lit building as a commercial site or data center that has on-net optical fiber connectivity to a network provider’s infrastructure, plus active service termination equipment onsite. Excluded for purpose of the Leaderboard rankings analysis are standalone cell towers, small cells not located in fiber lit buildings, near net buildings, buildings classified as coiled at curb or coiled in building, HFC-connected buildings, carrier central offices, residential buildings, and private or dark fiber installations.
“Following a flurry of mergers and acquisitions, fiber providers focused on new buildouts in 2018 to meet customer demand for higher speed dedicated access to business services and to support 5G pilots,” said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group, in a prepared statement. “Our research shows that while the majority of large and medium size commercial buildings in the U.S. are fiber lit with one or more providers, relatively few small multi-tenant buildings are fiber connected. Cable MSOs and regional network operators have been most actively targeting fiber investment opportunities in this underserved segment.”
Thirteen companies qualified for VSG’s 2018 “Challenge Tier” (listed here in alphabetical order): Atlantic Broadband, Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, FiberLight, FirstLight, GTT, IFN, Logix Fiber Networks, Segra, Unite Private Networks, and Uniti Fiber. These fiber providers each qualify for the 2018 Challenge Tier with between 2,000 and 9,999 U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings.
Fiber Provider Research Summary:
-AT&T ranks #1 on the Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD for the third consecutive year.
-Frontier moves into the #8 position, up from ninth in the prior year.
-As a result, Zayo falls to #9, down from eighth position.
-Windstream enters the LEADERBOARD at #11, moving up from the Challenge Tier.
-Atlantic Broadband and GTT advance to the Challenge Tier, both moving up from the Market Player tier.
-Cincinnati Bell’s acquisition of Hawaiian Telecom, which was completed in 2018, is reflected in this analysis.
-Segra is the new brand name for the merged entity of Lumos Networks and Spirit Communications.
VSG “Market Players” include all other fiber providers with fewer than 2,000 U.S. commercial fiber lit buildings. The 2018 Market Players tier includes more than two hundred metro, regional and other fiber providers.