Taiwan Regulator: Price Wars Negative for 5G Development & Deployments

Taiwan’s  National Communications Commission (NCC) regulator said that an ongoing price war in the Taiwanese mobile industry could hamper the development and deployment of 5G, according to an article in the Taipei Times.

The warning came after Chunghwa Telecom introduced a fourth-generation (4G) service plan earlier this month that targets government workers, teachers, school staff and military personnel, charging users NT$499 per month for unlimited access to mobile Internet and unlimited phone calls between subscribers of the same network. Taiwan Mobile, Far EasTone Telecommunications and Asia-Pacific Telecom quickly followed suit, introducing the same plan to attract subscribers.

NCC spokesperson Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that the commission respects a free market system, but added: “If telecoms simply want to boost their market shares and revenue by luring subscribers from competitors, rather than with innovative business models, it would not be positive for the development of 5G in the nation.”

“What they are doing does not help to make the pie bigger. They are not benefiting from innovative business models that could sustain them through the maintenance and operation of 4G services, the auctioning of the 5G service spectrum and finally commercial operation of 5G,” Wong said.

“That would hamper sustainable development of the nation’s telecommunications industry,” he added.

While carriers in other countries have sought to provide original content by buying content producers or have expanded their businesses overseas, Taiwanese telecoms are unlikely to do so, Wong said.

“Either none of them are big enough to develop their businesses overseas, or the acquisition of content providers is out of the question because of regulations that ban the government, political parties and the military from investing in media,” Wong said.

Carriers need to have courage and stop offering unlimited data and call service at unreasonably low prices, which would hurt their development in the long term, Wong said.

It is not the first time that telecoms have engaged in price competition to attract subscribers since 4G was launched in 2014. Average monthly fees dropped from about NT$1,300 to below NT$1,000 within one year of the service being launched, in a bid to motivate people to upgrade to 4G.  The tactic was revived last year, with prices dropping further to NT$599 per month.

NCC statistics showed that mobile carriers’ revenue has declined from NT$53.2 billion (US$1.81 billion) in the second quarter of 2016 to NT$49.4 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

Apart from a continued decrease in revenue from voice communication and a rapid increase in data transmission, industry experts have also attributed the decline in revenue to an ongoing price war.  Offering unlimited data and call services at unreasonably low prices will hurt operators’ development in the long term, the regulator added. Operators are already grappling with declining revenue as a result of the price war, coupled with the continued decline in voice revenues.

As noted above, NCC does not believe that Taiwan’s operators will be able to follow the models their overseas counterparts have been pursuing to sustain growth – such as expanding overseas. pursuing acquisitions, or diversifying into original media content – due to Taiwanese operators’ relatively small size and regulatory restrictions.


“5G” terminals to be available 2nd half of 2019 in China; CCS Insight’s Mobile Phone Forecast

The first set of 5G end points, including data terminals, smartphones, tablets, and other products are expected to be released in China during the second half of 2019.  That will lead to the commercialization of 5G technology in China, according to an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Xinhua news agency reported.

Wen Ku, director of the telecom development department at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, made the remarks as part of a timetable for 5G at the First Digital China Summit, which opened Sunday in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province.  “China started 5G research experiments in 2016, and entered the third stage of system verification this year,” Wen Ku said at the ongoing first Digital China Summit in Fuzhou, capital of east China’s Fujian Province.  Wen noted that device manufacturers such as Huawei and Ericsson had participated in development of 5G products to help create a complete 5G industrial chain.

China has launched 5G cooperation mechanisms with Japan, South Korea, the European Union and the United States, with international companies joining the research and development, he noted.

Given the significantly greater speed — up to 10 gigabits per second — that 5G offers, the next-generation ultra-fast networks will see ways of life change more than in the 4G era, in virtually everything from how we “interact” with our cars to how we use the products in our homes.

In 2013, a working group focusing on 5G is established by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Science and Technology.

At the beginning of 2016, China started its research on 5G technology. The country has finished two rounds of tests on 5G and is conducting a third round now. Initial 5G applications in China are set for 2019.

According to Beijing Youth Daily, China’s three major telecom operators including China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have been approved to set up 5G networks in big cities.

  • China Unicom will pilot 5G-technology in 16 cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Qingdao, Guiyang and Zhengzhou.  China Unicom said it has started free chip upgrading for 2G users and cut 2G frequencies for the 5G network.
  • China Mobile will launch offline testing in five cities in eastern and southern China, with each city installed with more than 100 5G stations as well as 5G application demonstrations in 12 cities.
  • China Telecom has confirmed it will pilot 5G-technology in Xiong’an, Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Lanzhou, and plans to expand the network to six more cities.


CCS Insight believes that manufacturers are increasingly looking to 5G technology to reignite growth in mature markets. Koytcheva comments, “The arrival of 5G handsets offers a glimmer of hope for embattled smartphone makers. They’re betting that this new, faster technology will give consumers a reason to upgrade their phones.”

However, Koytcheva cautions that phone-makers will have to be patient as they wait for this next wave of upgrade activity. “Although we expect the first 5G smartphones will hit the market in 2019, really significant demand won’t start until 2021, eventually having a positive impact in 2022, when we expect over 600 million 5G phones will be sold, accounting for 31 percent of the global market.”

CCS Insight also notes that while advanced markets are focused on the transition to 5G, consumers in emerging markets are taking up smartphones more slowly than previously expected. Koytcheva comments, “The rising cost of components for entry-level smartphones and the arrival of affordable feature phones that support 4G networks mean that many people who otherwise might have bought their first smartphone are sticking with a feature phone for now.”

The chart below provides a summary of CCS Insight’s mobile phone forecast.

Total shipments of mobile phones, 2013-2022

Source: CCS Insight Market Forecast: Mobile Phones Worldwide, 2018-2022




Huawei Diminished Expectations for 5G; Struggles in U.S. vs Booming Business Elsewhere

He noted out that the full 3GPP Release 15 spec – which is expected in June this year – will only address part of future use cases for 5G, which is the enhanced mobile broadband for consumers.

[This author has repeatedly stated that 3GPP Release 16 and parts of Release 15 will be submitted to ITU-R WP5D as a candidate IMT 2020 RIT in July 2019 and NOT BEFORE THEN!]

Xu said the current 4G infrastructure is “pretty robust” and good enough to support most use cases and he doesn’t see many clear use cases or applications which can only be supported with 5G.  Xu is not expecting 5G to be used for nationwide coverage in China (or any other country for that matter), at least to begin with. Instead, he expects 5G to be used for specific, more localized deployments where there is a need for increased speed and bandwidth.

However, he noted, this doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing in 5G. “If you’re not investing in 5G, your customers won’t invest in your 4G,” Xu said.

“It’s the same case for telecoms operators. They are driven by competition, if one telco in the market says, ‘I have 5G-enabled services,’ the other service providers will have to launch 5G, for marketing and branding reasons.”

Xu said Huawei will continue to be committed in 5G investment and the company’s progress in this area is quite “encouraging.”

“By the second half of this year we will launch end to end 5G solution to cater our operators customers who do have requirements for 5G. And we are going to launch 5G-capable smartphones in the third quarter of next year.”


Huawei’s Struggles in the U.S. vs. Booming Business Elsewhere

Huawei has failed to find a U.S. carrier to partner with for its smartphones, and the Federal Communications Commission this Tuesday approved a draft order that could damage Huawei’s existing business in telecom/network equipment. The order cited Huawei and its Chinese rival ZTE by name.

Huawei’s struggles in the United States are in contrast to its booming business in developing countries and growing presence in Europe, where it has been working on next-generation, or “5G,” wireless standards. The company’s profits rose 28.1 percent in 2017, boosted by strong enterprise and consumer sales and booming business overseas.

The recent setbacks have left Huawei’s future in the U.S. uncertain. Huawei recently let go of several American employees in their Washington D.C. office, including William Plummer, who spearheaded efforts to convince the U.S. to allow Huawei in for nearly a decade. Though Huawei declined to comment on the layoffs, the news was first reported by the New York Times and independently confirmed by the Associated Press.

Huawei and ZTE’s burgeoning 5G research is seen as a particular threat, as its expanded transmitting capabilities are seen as crucial for a host of emerging technologies based on artificial intelligence – including self-driving vehicles, robots and other machines that transmit vast amounts of data in real time.

Apart from expanding its influence in the ITU-R WP 5D, which develops cellular technology standards, Huawei joined forces with European companies to develop pseudo “5G” standards. In February, it completed the world’s first “5G” test call in partnership with London-based Vodafone.

Still, while Chinese trade relations with Europe remain calm, Washington has been warning officials in Canada and Australia about Huawei, raising questions about the company’s long-term global prospects.

“Huawei is perceived differently in Europe but that’s definitely a risk for the company,” said Thomas Husson, principal analyst at technology research firm Forrester. “Let’s not forget Europeans can still try to push in favor of European-based solutions from Nokia or Ericsson.”

CTIA Commissioned Study Finds China Ahead of South Korea and U.S. in race to 5G

China has moved slightly ahead of both South Korea and the U.S. in the race to deploy 5G, according to a new report by Analysys Mason.   The countries were ranked based on nations’ respective 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies as well as commercial plans by their respective wireless sectors.

China leads the world in 5G readiness, followed by South Korea, the U.S. and Japan in that order, according to the report, which was commissioned by  CTIA-the U.S. based trade organization for the wireless industry.

Analysis Mason found that all three major Chinese wireless network operators (China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom)  have committed to specific 5G launch dates. The government has also committed to providing at least 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each operator.

In South Korea, the government is soon expected to free up a combined 1300 MHz of both mid-band 3.5-GHz and high-band 28-GHz spectrum, with an additional 2 GHz of high-band spectrum capable of being utilized for 5G.

While all major US wireless providers are trialing 5G technologies and a number have committed to small-scale fixed wireless 5G launches by the end of the year, the country has yet to announce plan to allocate mid-band spectrum exclusively for mobile by the end of 2020.

“The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said.

“Today’s research highlights the importance of policymaker action in 2018 to reform local zoning rules and unlock access to mid-band spectrum as part of a broader spectrum pipeline plan. I’m optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and at the FCC are focused on the reforms needed to win the race.”

In Japan, wireless providers are investing in 5G testing and regulators have committed to releasing mid- and high-band spectrum by early 2019.

In evaluating the current status of the global race to 5G, Analysys Mason studied 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies as well the commercial industry plans of ten countries.

Key findings by Analysys Mason include:

  • All major Chinese providers have committed to specific launch dates and the government has committed to at least 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each wireless provider.
  • Countries around the world are moving quickly to make spectrum available for 5G. This year alone, the U.K., Spain, and Italy are all holding 5G spectrum auctions.
  • At the end of 2018, the U.S. will rank sixth out of the 10 countries in mid-band (3– 24GHz) spectrum availability, a critical band for 5G. The U.S. joins Russia and Canada as the only countries currently without announced plans to allocate mid-band spectrum on an exclusive basis to mobile by the end of 2020.
  • Countries like the U.K. and regions like the European Union are taking significant steps to modernize infrastructure rules to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks.

To understand the potential impact the race to 5G may have on America’s economy, Recon Analytics conducted an historical analysis of how winning and losing wireless leadership effected the economies of the U.S. and other nations.

“When countries lose global leadership in a generation of wireless, jobs are shed and technology innovation gets exported overseas,” said Roger Entner, Founder, Recon Analytics. “Conversely, leading the world in wireless brings significant economic benefits, as the U.S. has seen with its 4G leadership. These are the serious stakes that face American policymakers in the escalating global race to 5G.”

Findings from Recon Analytics include:

  • Winning the race to 4G boosted America’s GDP by nearly $100B and our 4G launch spurred an 84% increase in wireless-related jobs – benefits that could have gone to other countries had the U.S. not led the world in 4G.
  • U.S. 4G leadership helped secure leading positions in key parts of the global wireless ecosystem, including the app economy.
  • Losing wireless leadership had long-term negative effects on Japan and Europe, contributing to job losses and the contraction of their domestic wireless industries.

To highlight the implications of these reports, CTIA is hosting the Race to 5G Summit on Thursday, April 19 in Washington, D.C. The summit will bring together leading policymakers and technology and wireless industry executives involved in shaping America’s 5G future.

Additional resources:

About the Analysys Mason Research

This research was commissioned by CTIA. Analysys Mason compared 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies proposed in markets worldwide to advance 5G technology and facilitate successful network deployment, and to prepare a readiness comparison between markets.

About Analysys Mason

Analysys Mason is a global consultancy and research firm specialising in telecoms, media and technology for more than 30 years. Our consulting and research expertise in telecoms, media and technology underpins everything we do to help change our clients’ businesses for the better. Since 1985, Analysys Mason’s consulting and analyst teams have played an influential role in key industry milestones and helping clients around the world through major shifts in the market. Our consulting and research divisions continue to be at the forefront of developments in digital services and transformation are advising clients on new business strategies to address disruptive technologies. Our experts located in offices around the world provide local perspective on global issues.

About the Recon Analytics Research

This research was commissioned by CTIA. This is the fifth report over the last thirteen years that Recon Analytics has authored on the impact of the wireless industry on the U.S. economy. Building on the same consistent framework, these reports have documented how the U.S. wireless industry has revolutionized society and the U.S. economy, relying on extensive primary and secondary research for these studies.

About Recon Analytics: The mission of Recon Analytics is to clear the clutter, help focus executives and policymakers on what is actually happening in the marketplace and what really matters, and make a positive impact on business and policy decisions. Founded and led by leading telecom analyst Roger Entner, Recon Analytics’ approach is bolstered by its industry-first executive advisory board, which helps us hone our strategy, improve our research, and provide unparalleled insights into the matters most relevant to the business and the public policies impacting it. With this foundation, Recon Analytics focuses on three core areas: Syndicated research, custom consulting, policy related data analysis, as well as white papers.

About CTIA

CTIA® (www.ctia.org) represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem that enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life. The association’s members include wireless carriers, device manufacturers, suppliers as well as apps and content companies. CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. The association also coordinates the industry’s voluntary best practices, hosts educational events that promote the wireless industry and co-produces the industry’s leading wireless tradeshow. CTIA was founded in 1984 and is based in Washington, D.C.


xRAN Forum approves Fronthaul Interface Specification for NexGen Open RAN architecture

Executive Summary:

On April 12th, the xRAN Forum (xRAN.org) announced the public availability of the xRAN Fronthaul Specification Version 1.0 – the first specification made publicly available from xRAN since its launch in October 2016.  The specification was said to permit “a wide range of vendors to develop innovative, best-of-breed RRUs (remote radio unit) and BBUs (base band units) for a wide range of deployment scenarios, which can be easily integrated with virtualized infrastructure and management systems using standardized data models.”

Why is a new RAN architecture needed?

Current RAN architectures result in sub-optimal use of scarce spectrum and radio resources as well as make it hard for operators to program them quickly to meet emerging customer needs. Amid exploding demand for bandwidth and intense demands from new services, carriers need an alternative approach to address the escalating capital and operational costs of the existing design as well as make the network more agile to deploy new services.

Why It’s Important:

The new specification was said to “deliver on important operator member requirements.”  It defines open interfaces between the remote radio unit/head (RRU/RRH), the baseband unit (BBU) and the operation and management (OAM) interface to simplify interoperability between suppliers. It’s significant because traditionally, the RRU and BBU had to come from the same vendor.  By complying with this spec, different vendors (best of breed?) could provide each of those pieces of equipment.  The desired outcome is for a wireless network operator to buy an RRU from one vendor and a BBU from another vendor such that they’ll work together via a common interface.  Some say it’s going to bust up the old “cartel” of RRU/BBU suppliers.

The xRAN Fronthaul spec was said to address several key operator-defined requirements, including:

• BBU – RU interoperability based on well specified control, user and management plane interfaces.
• Efficient bandwidth scaling as a function of user throughput and spatial layers to address
increasing bandwidth needs and Massive MIMO deployments.
• Support for LTE, NR, associated features, 2T – 8T RU products and Massive MIMO beamforming
antenna systems.
• Advanced receivers and co-ordination functions.
• Ethernet based transport layer solutions.
• Extensible data models for management functions to simplify integration.

The xRAN Forum Front Haul Working Group is chaired by Verizon.  A spokeswoman for Verizon, told Lightreading in an email that the xRAN spec defines an “open Internet-based standard on which future RAN products will be built,” while ORAN is an effort to “ensure various proprietary CPRI-based systems can understand one another’s languages and operations.”

Note: CPRI (Common Public Radio Interface) defines the interface between Radio Equipment Controllers (REC) and Radio Equipment (RE) such that multiple vendors can provide different parts of a base station.

Selected Quotes:

“Our vision to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardwarebased RAN architecture is becoming a reality,” said Dr. Sachin Katti, Professor at Stanford University and Director of the xRAN Forum. “Our operator members have been very focused and clear on requirements and our ecosystem of contributing members have risen to the challenge. The Fonthaul Specification is the first of several open interface specifications we expect to be released in 2018.”

“The release of the xRAN Fronthaul Specification is a groundbreaking advancement toward enabling an open RAN architecture to support next-generation products and services,” said Bill Stone, Vice President, Network Technology Development and Planning at Verizon. “xRAN compliant radios coupled with virtualized basebands provide much needed flexibility to support rapid development and deployment of RAN products. By adopting xRAN specifications, we will be able to speed innovation, increase collaboration, and be more agile to a quickly evolving market.”

“We are pleased to have worked with xRAN members in reaching the key milestone of delivering the first open xRAN fronthaul specification,” said Dr. Hiroshi Nakamura, EVP and CTO of NTT DOCOMO. “We believe that the completion and publication of this specification will contribute in further advancing the RAN and in expanding the ecosystem in the 5G era. DOCOMO will keep contributing to this activity with the experience we had in realizing multi-vendor interoperable RAN with our partners using common interfaces for our LTE network.”

“The xRAN Fronthaul Specification is a foundational component in the xRAN architectural vision and vital to accelerating the worldwide deployment of next-generation RAN infrastructure network operators demand,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, SVP Research & Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom. “Going forward, by connecting these specification activities to the broad architectural scope in ORAN, we can ensure the implementations across a wider community of suppliers to promote both innovation and open market competition.”

“xRAN’s release of this jointly-developed open specification creates the first wave of a positive sea change for our industry, transforming the way next-generation RAN infrastructure will be built, managed and optimized,” said Andre Fuetsch, CTO and President AT&T Labs. “Equipment that supports open specifications from xRAN (and ORAN in the future), combined with increasing RAN virtualization and data-driven intelligence, will allow carriers to reduce complexity, innovate more quickly and significantly reduce deployment and operational costs.”


tower cell

The specification is designed to allow for a range of vendors to develop best-of-breed RRUs and BBUs for various deployment scenarios. (Pixabay)

About xRAN Forum:

The xRAN Forum was formed to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardware-based RAN architecture. xRAN fundamentally advances RAN architecture in three areas – decouples the RAN control plane from the user plane, builds a modular eNB software stack that operates on common-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and publishes open north- and south-bound interfaces to the industry.

xRAN Forum operator members include: AT&T, Verizon and Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom and Telstra.  The vendor and academic community is also represented in the xRAN Forum by AltioStar, Amdocs, Aricent, ASOCS, Blue Danube, Ciena, Cisco, CommScope, Fujitsu, Intel, Mavenir, NEC, Netsia, Nokia, Radisys, Samsung, Stanford University, Texas Instruments and University of Sydney.









CCS Insight: Europe will fall behind China & U.S. in 5G

Researchers at CCS Insight have released a report predicting that Europe will fall behind in the rollout of “5G.”  The market research firm predicts the U.S. and China will lead the way in deploying the next generation of mobile technology known as “5G.” Initial commercial deployments in the U.S. are expected this year, but China is set to overtake in connection volume by 2020.

CCS Insight’s forecast of an initial U.S. lead corroborates with a report from the GSMA at the end of March 2018 — but the firms appear to disagree in the rest of their rankings in the period leading to 2025.

In the GSMA’s report, China falls to fourth place — behind Europe — by 2025 with 25 percent of mobile connections being 5G. Europe fares slightly better with 31 percent, Japan with 45 percent, and the United States leading with 49 percent.

This author believes China will be #1 in “5G” deployment, even if the network operators there use a pre-standard RAN/RIT for mobile access.

Kester Mann, Principal Analyst covering operators at CCS Insight, said in the firm’s report:

“The industry might be struggling to establish the business models for investment in 5G, but this isn’t stopping leading operators battling for bragging rights to launch the first networks. Competitive forces and the need for capacity are the leading drivers of early deployment, although we caution this could set unrealistic expectations for initial network capability.”

The chart below provides a summary of CCS Insight’s 5G forecast up to 2025:

As per the above chart, CCS predicts adoption of 5G will not really start ramping up until 2021, which is what we’ve been saying for MANY YEARS!

“The industry might be struggling to establish the business models for investment in 5G, but this isn’t stopping leading operators battling for bragging rights to launch the first networks,” said Kester Mann of CCS Insight. “Competitive forces and the need for capacity are the leading drivers of early deployment, although we caution this could set unrealistic expectations for initial network capability.”

CCS forecasts that while the early launches might be in the US, Korea and Japan, China should storm to the front of the 5G pack. Estimates predict 5G in the country would hit 100 million connections in 2021 before passing 1 billion in 2025. Despite most other markets having launched commercial services by 2025, China will still account for nearly four in every 10 global 5G connections.

“We see the first 5G smartphones emerging in 2019, but these will be relatively few in number,” comments Marina Koytcheva, VP of Forecasting at CCS Insights. “The real ramp-up will come in 2021 when over 350 million 5G handsets will be sold worldwide.”

The bulk of adoption is not expected to be driven by innovative new technologies such as autonomous vehicles and remote healthcare, but rather by the need for higher speeds and bandwidth to support mobile video consumption. Even in 2025, mobile broadband is still predicted to represent 98 percent of all 5G connections.








Posted in 5G

Telstra Launches 5G Enabled WiFi Hotspots without 5G Devices; 5G Connected Car Up Next

Australia’s Telstra has launched what it says are the first “5G-enabled” Wi-Fi hotspots in the world.   The new hotspots on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia will provide locals and visitors with access to free broadband services during the evaluation period.  While there are no 5G-enabled consumer devices available at this time, the Australian telco will connect 5G backhaul and infrastructure from an exchange to a Wi-Fi access point, so it can be used on existing 4G devices.

The open hotspots will provide up to 10GB of downloads per device per day. They will be managed by Telstra’s recently-launched 5G innovation center on the Gold Coast.  Telstra has connected 5G backhaul and related infrastructure in the Southport Exchange in the city to allow connections to the 5G network over Wi-Fi on existing devices.

“Wi-Fi has limited throughput so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G at our Innovation Center,” Telstra group managing director for networks Mike Wright said. “By using multiple hotspots with potentially hundreds of smartphone users served through a single 5G device we are able to get closer to demonstrating 5G in a real world environment. Our 5G backhaul is capable of delivering download speeds of more than 3 Gbps,” he added.

Telstra is also using mmWave spectrum and its 5G innovation centre to put a connected car on the road using Intel’s 5G automotive trial platform.

“Working with global technology companies Ericsson and Intel, we have put Australia’s first 5G connected car on the road. We are in the very early stages of development and are achieving download speeds approaching 1 Gbps inside the car and the vehicle is also equipped with a Wi-Fi access point,” Wright said.

The executive also highlighted the evolution of the telco’s 5G prototype during the first months of the year. “At the start of the year our 5G prototype device was the size of a bar fridge and weighed more than 200 kilograms.  Now, in collaboration with Intel and Ericsson, we have one that has been shrunk down to the size of a personal computer and can be installed in a car.”

The 5G center is central to a $58 million investment Telstra has made to upgrade infrastructure on the Gold Coast to support growing demand and major events in the area. Telstra will run extensive 5G trials on the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games in April this year.

Telstra previously said that said that it would work with Ericsson on key 5G technologies including massive multiple-input, multiple-output (Massive MIMO), adaptive beamforming and beam tracking, and OFDM-based waveforms in its Gold Coast center.




Telstra will have competition. Australian telecom operator Optus said it plans to roll out a fixed-wireless 5G service in key metro areas by early 2019. The announcement comes after the launch of an outdoor trial of 5G New Radio (NR), which showed 2Gbps download speeds for a fixed wireless service in homes and businesses, the Singtel subsidiary said.

The trial, conducted at its headquarters in Macquarie Park in Sydney in January, used dual-band 5G NR equipment and commercial grade CPEs for both C-band and millimeter wave band frequencies. C-band is within the same spectrum range of Optus’ 3.5GHz, which has been earmarked for 5G deployment, the operator said. The mmWave band 5G network has the capability to reach peak data speeds of 15Gbps to a single user, which is 15x what 4.5G is capable of today.

“Everyone has heard of concepts like self-driving cars, smart homes, AI and virtual reality however their full potential will require a fast and reliable network to deliver,” said Optus managing director of networks Dennis Wong.

“Seeing 5G data speeds through our trial that are up to 15x faster than current technologies allows us to show the potential of this transformative technology to support a new ecosystem of connected devices in the home, the office, the paddock and in the wider community.”

Optus will also be hosting a 5G technology showcase during the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland from April 4 to 15 (this week and next).




FCC Acts to Speed Deployment of Next-Gen Wireless Infrastructure; Interview with FCC Chair Ajit Pai

Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, Second Report and Order

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently adopted new rules streamlining the wireless infrastructure siting review process to facilitate the
deployment of next-generation wireless facilities.  The FCC Order focuses on ensuring the Commission’s rules properly address the differences
between large and small wireless facilities, and clarifies the treatment of small cell deployments.

Specifically, the Order:
 Excludes small wireless facilities deployed on non-Tribal lands from National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, concluding that these facilities are not “undertakings” or “major federal actions.”

 Small wireless facilities deployments continue to be subject to currently applicable state and local government approval requirements.

 Clarifies and makes improvements to the process for Tribal participation in Section 106 historic preservation reviews for large wireless facilities where NHPA/NEPA review is still required.

 Removes the requirement that applicants file Environmental Assessments solely due to the location of a proposed facility in a floodplain, as long as certain conditions are met.

 Establishes timeframes for the Commission to act on Environmental Assessments.

The FCC said that those actions will reduce regulatory impediments to deploying small cells needed for 5G and help to expand the reach of 5G for faster, more reliable wireless service and other advanced wireless technologies to more Americans.

Statement by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai:

Re: Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment, WT Docket No. 17-79

If the United States is going to lead the world in 5G, we need to modernize our wireless infrastructure regulations. Our efforts to unleash spectrum for consumer use are necessary, but they aren’t sufficient to secure our 5G future. In fact, they’ll be pointless if carriers can’t deploy the physical infrastructure needed to bring next-generation services to the American people.

And unfortunately, our current wireless infrastructure rules are a poor fit for the 5G networks of the future. They were designed with 200-foot towers in mind, not the highly-densified networks of small cells that will be common in the 5G world.

That’s why today’s Order is so important. We take a giant leap forward in updating our wireless infrastructure rules. By cutting unnecessary red tape, we’ll make it substantially easier for carriers to build next-generation wireless networks throughout the United States. That means faster and more reliable wireless services for American consumers and businesses. That means more wireless innovation, such as novel applications based on the Internet of Things. And ultimately, that means American leadership in 5G.

Specifically, we clarify today that small cells are inherently different from large towers. So they shouldn’t face identical regulatory review under the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act. We also streamline the process for Tribal review notifications through our Tower Construction Notification System……………………..

* * *

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about American leadership in 5G. But talk is cheap; action is what actually matters. And now is the time for action. A vote for this Order is a vote for concrete action that will help toohe United States lead the world in 5G. It’s a vote for better, faster, and cheaper mobile broadband for the American people. It’s a vote for making the United States the best home for wireless innovation and investment. And it’s a vote to extend digital opportunity to more of our citizens. That future is a bright one, and it’s one I’m determined to deliver by supporting this Order.

Read more at: https://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2018/db0330/FCC-18-30A2.pdf

Related:  Ken Pyle’s interview with FCC Chair Pai on Digital Opportunities through Grassroots Efforts

and this article:  Will the FCC Amend Rules for Small Cells….



According to Lightreading, AT&T has applied to the FCC for an experimental radio license to hold “5G” related tests in Burbank, CA using 28GHz base stations and terminals, connecting within 100 meters of the base station.


Many Technologies Must Deliver For IoT To Deliver

IoT will impact every aspect of our lives, including our homes, offices, cars and even our bodies. It will bring structural changes in global economy and as per McKenzie may generate upto $6.2 trillion in value by 2025. However many technologies need to deliver their expectations for IoT to deliver its promise.

Internet of Things or IoT aims to connect interrelated computing, mechanical and digital machines to a common platform. The devices will connect to each other as well as to the humans and will collect information about their environments by sensors. The number of such devices could touch 20 billion by 2020 as per Gartner. As per International Telecommunication Union number of humans using internet is 3.2 billion. In the emerging digital world, connected devices or things would overwhelm the humans.

The impact of IoT would be unprecedented. Home appliances could be remote controlled and warnings of faults would be available on time. In industries, control of various devices in the factories will shift from factory floor to the control rooms. Autonomous cars will predictive maintenance needs would become norm and their safety and fuel efficiency will improve. This will apply to other modes of transport too. Smart meters will synchronize demand supply curves and reduce distribution losses. Smart cities would emerge which would have improved services, less traffic congestion, better conservation of  water and energy, and improved quality of life. The chances of predicting onset of certain diseases and successfully managing them after patient catches them will improve. The list is endless.

The key characteristic of IoT is the amount of data. IDC’s Digital Universe study predicts the world’s data will rise from 4.4 Zettabytes (10^21 bytes) in 2013 to 44 by 2020, 10% of this will be from the IoT. By 2025, it would touch 180 Zettabytes. In some cases, the data generated by individual device would be enormous e.g. self driving car from Google generates 2 Petabytes (10^15 bytes) of data in a year. Besides, the proportion of data that can be analyzed will also increase from 22% in 2013 to 35% in 2020, driven by IoT.

Cloud is often considered as an innovation to business models as it allows companies to outsource their storage and computing needs, while they focus on their core competencies. However, with IoT it is technology enabler. If all IoT devices need to store and process their own data this will make IT a significant part of such devices, forcing change in assembly line processes as well significantly increasing their maintenance costs. One way to reduce these entry barriers for adoption of IoT is to use cloud for storing and computing needs. The cloud infrastructure will allow for analysis besides efficient storage. However current capacities of cloud providers will be challenged. As per the website www.statista.com, the capacity of data centres offering public cloud was 465 Exabytes(10^18 bytes)  in 2017. The scale up needed to accommodate IoT is massive. Currently, hard disks and magnetic tapes capable of storing data in Terabytes (10^12 bytes) are available. However, as data will increase exponentially, cloud providers will need to work on other storage technologies e.g DNA, HVD etc

5G telecom network
This data will generate network traffic. IoT cannot deliver its promise on existing networks and it needs a a network with much higher speed, low latency and consistent performance. Rollout of 5G network is critical for widespread adoption of IoT. The proposed speed is 20 Gbits/sec as compared to 100 Mbits/sec for 4G networks. This would be accompanied by limits on user experienced speeds i.e per-user download speed of 100Mbps and upload speed of 50Mbps rather than just the theoretical maximum, lower latency at 4 ms, support for higher device densities at 1 million connected devices per square kilometer etc. These parameters are specially targeted for IoT. Conversely, IoT is an important use case of 5G networks to justify the investments. Some applications of IoT e.g. driverless vehicles not only need to transfer huge amount of data but also with minimal latency as delays could be dangerous, for a car needs to make real time decisions to avoid accidents.  The latency of 4G was at least an order of magnitude worse and hence incapable of supporting driverless cars.

Fog computing
This latency issue will also warrant change in cloud paradigm. One way to analyze IoT data is near the devices that produce it and act on that data, referred to as Fog computing. The fog nodes, can be deployed anywhere with a network connection e.g. on a factory floor, on top of a power pole, , in a vehicle, or on an oil rig. This reduces bandwidth pressure on the long distance network and can handle cases where latency is critical. The percentage of devices that need computing power near to themselves will increase in future.

Analytics and Machine Learning
Data needs analysis. Big data algorithms hosted in cloud are needed for this analysis as data would come in various formats, huge volume and needs to be processed at fast speeds so that it could to be useful. But one of the proclaimed benefits of IoT is in predictions. Here Machine Learning (ML) could play a critical role. ML is defined as the ability of a machine to vary the outcome of a situation or behavior based on knowledge or observation which is essential for IoT solutions. ML could allow useful patterns, correlations and anomalies to be searched. It can also predict unknown outcomes. Different ML algorithms will need to be “trained’ for different use case of IoT

Security and Privacy
Security and privacy issues are significant hurdles to IoT penetration. The IoT devices will be always on and connected bringing new challenges to security. They will be additional challenges due to number of devices involved for which security measures will need constant upgrades.

In 2013, a hacker got access to credit card information of customers of Target by using network credentials taken from a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning vendor. 2015, 2 researchers demonstrated a wireless hack into Jeep Cherokee, first taking control of the entertainment system and windshield wipers, and then disabling the accelerator.

There is additional issue of privacy as huge amount of personal data would be captured by IoT devices which could be hacked or intentionally used for business purposes.

IoT devices will need battery power to remain always connected. New wireless standards such as Bluetooth® Smart (also known as “BLE”) or zigbee reduce battery consumption and allow coin cell batteries to be used. But the sheer numbers have led to exploration of an alternative approach called Energy Harvesting (EH). Also called power harvesting it is a technology that aims at collecting energy from ambient external sources such as heat, light, vibrations, radio waves etc. It produces very low power levels on the order of several microwatts (10-6W) to milliwatts (10-3W) but that is enough for sensors that are battery optimized.

IoT will impact every aspect of our lives, including our homes, offices, cars and even our bodies. It will bring structural changes in global economy and as per McKenzie may generate upto $6.2 trillion in value by 2025. However many technologies need to deliver their expectations for IoT to deliver its promise

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:

internet of things smart cities computing technology

Sandeep K Chhabra

Sandeep K Chhabra is a software professional working as General Manager at Ericsson India Global Services Pvt Ltd (EGIL). He has more than 23 years of experience of working in IT industry. He is a B Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Delhi and has cleared CFA Level (III) exam. He is active on social media and mostly writes about current trends in Science and Technology.

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Korea Telecom to launch 5G service in March 2019 with what endpoints?

Korea Telecom (KT) announced today that it plans to offer 5G cellular service in March 2019, according to Yonhap and other news sources.

“It is true 5G only when coverage is guaranteed,” Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business division, told reporters in Seoul.  “KT will launch the 5G service for the first time in the world that combines true mobility, excellent service and nationwide coverage,” the KT executive added.

During this year’s PyeongChang Winter Olympics, KT offered a trial service of its 5G service for the first time in the world, allowing athletes and visitors to experience data transmission speeds 40-50 times faster than LTE.

Industry watchers said that at present, it is virtually impossible to set up a 5G nationwide network on par with existing LTE coverage, so full-fledged services will invariably be offered in major metropolitan areas first.  Customers may not be able to immediately use KT’s 5G service next year because major makers of smartphones and silicon, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Qualcomm Technologies Inc., will only start shipping smart phones and 5G chip sets between the end of this year and the first half of 2019, KT said.  Of course, those smart phones and silicon in them will not be compliant with the IMT 2020 standard which won’t be completed till late 2020.

Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business, speaks at a press conference at the firm’s Gwanghwamun building in downtown Seoul, Thursday, stressing the firm will launch commercial 5G network services early next year based on its successful provision of the 5G trial service at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. / Courtesy of KT


KT said it has no plans to commercialize its 5G network based on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) currently being championed by U.S. mobile carrier Verizon which plans to provide fixed 5G with an FWA system in the first half of this year.  Mr. Oh said commercializing the 5G service based on FWA is a step backward as the technology has already been seen before.  That comment comes after KT collaborated with Verizon on 5G video calling tests during last month’s Super Bowl, illustrating the fierce international competition to bring 5G to market first.







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