SK Telecom’s (pre standard) 5G is live in Seoul. Network Coverage Map Available

Following SK Telecom’s announcement on launching 5G smartphone service on April 3rd, there are continued interests around 5G service available in S Korea and details on actual coverage around the nation.

Therefore, on April 12, 2019, SK Telecom has introduced its 5G network coverage map to further enhance customer convenience through transparent communication. With this 5G coverage map, customers can now check the 5G service availability in Korea at www.sktcoverage.com. SK Telecom’s 5G coverage map shows that the company’s 5G network currently covers most areas of Seoul. The size of Seoul is 233.7 square miles, which is close to that of Chicago (234 square miles), Illinois.

SK Telecom 5G

The company has switched on its mobile 5G network on December 1, 2018, in selective areas of 13 cities including Seoul and six metropolitan cities, and has expanded its network coverage to main areas of 85 cities nationwide prior to launching its 5G smartphone service. The 5G network coverage map will be continuously updated as the company builds up more 5G base stations throughout the nation. In particular, it is expanding in-building coverage centered around 120 department stores, shopping malls and airports throughout the nation, and will expand 5G network coverage to nationwide subways, national parks and festival sites in the second half of 2019. We sincerely hope that this information will be useful for your future 5G-related reports.

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SK Telecom has also introduced four different plans for its commercial 5G offering.

The ‘Slim’plan offers 8 GB of data (1 Mbps speeds after the data cap is reached) at KRW 55,000 ($48) per month and the ‘5GX Standard’ plan comes with 150 GB of data (5 Mbps speeds after data cap) at KRW 75,000 ($66) per month.

Customers who subscribe to ‘5GX Prime’ (200 GB of data for $84 per month) or ‘5GX Platinum’ (300 GB of data for $110 per month) plans through the end of June 2019 will be able to use unlimited data without speed restrictions at KRW 89,000 ($78) and KRW 125,000 ($110) per month, respectively. Unlimited data will be provided on that promotional basis through the end of December, according to the operator.

The telco said it plans to update its price plans after analyzing the data usage patterns of subscribers of unlimited plans.

SK Telecom announced that it has secured around 8,000 different content in diverse areas including video games, ultra-high definition, augmented reality, virtual reality and communications.

Rival operator KT recently confirmed it has already deployed 15,000 5G base stations in Seoul and will install a total of 30,000 5G base stations across the country by April 5.

The carrier said that its 5G commercial offering will be available in 85 major cities nationwide by the end of 2019.

Meanwhile, LG Uplus said it has already deployed a total of 18,000 5G base stations in Seoul and surrounding areas as well as some metropolitan cities. The carrier announced plans to install 50,000 base stations within the first half of the year.

Posted in 5G

Comment & Analysis: Intel exits 5G modem chip business, but “5G is still a strategic priority”(?)

Just a few hours after the Qualcomm-Apple legal settlement was announced on April 16th, Intel Corporation said in a press release that it would exit the 5G smartphone modem business. The company plans to complete an assessment of the opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, internet of things devices and other data-centric devices. Intel will also continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business.

Intel will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G-LTE smartphone modem product line, but does not expect to launch 5G modem products in the smartphone space, including those originally planned for launches in 2020.

“We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘cloudification’ of the network, but in the smartphone modem business it has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns,” said Intel CEO Bob Swan. “5G continues to be a strategic priority across Intel (?), and our team has developed a valuable portfolio of wireless products and intellectual property. We are assessing our options to realize the value we have created, including the opportunities in a wide variety of data-centric platforms and devices in a 5G world.”

Intel said in the above referenced press release (also see References below) that it expects to provide additional details of its 5G strategy in its upcoming first-quarter 2019 earnings report and conference call, scheduled for April 25th.

A 5G Intel logo is seen during the Mobile World Congress on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona.

 A 5G Intel logo was displayed at the Mobile World Congress on February 26, 2019 in Barcelona.

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Comment and Analysis:

In 2018, as Apple’s legal battle with Qualcomm heated up, Intel became Apple’s sole supplier for 4G-LTE wireless chips in the iPhone. Intel additionally was working to develop 5G chips for Apple to use in future versions of the iPhone. The company regularly participates in both 3GPP and ITU-R WP5D meetings directed at IMT 2020 (the ONLY 5G wireless/radio interface technology standard).  However, recent reports have indicated that Intel was “missing deadlines” for the pre-standard 5G chip that was slated to go into the 2020 model of the iPhone.  Note that Apple also participates in the ITU-R WP5D IMT 2020 standardization meetings.

Fast Company reported earlier this month that “in order to deliver big numbers of those modems in time for a September 2020 iPhone launch, Intel needs to deliver sample parts to Apple by early summer of this year, and then deliver a finished modem design in early 2020.”  That design would likely be based on 3GPP Release 15 NR, as Release 16 wont be completed till the spring of 2020.

If Intel had failed to provide Apple with (pre-standard) 5G chips in a timely manner, that would have put Apple in an untenable position. The iPhone’s competitors would be able to offer 5G capabilities using Qualcomm chips, while Qualcomm could have denied Apple access to 5G chips as long as the patent battle continued.  That’s over now, as Apple will surely use Qualcomm 5G chips in its future iPhones, iPads and other products.

More importantly, it appears that Apple was Intel’s ONLY volume customer for 4G-LTE chips so the company felt it would be a huge struggle to attract new customers for its planned 5G silicon.  Moreover, it was widely reported that Intel was selling 4G-LTE chips to Apple at a LOSS as seems to be corroborated by CEO Bob Swan’s statement above: “It has become apparent that there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns in the smartphone modem business.

With Intel’s exit, there appears to be ONLY TWO 5G merchant semiconductor companies- Qualcomm and MediaTek.  Huawei and Samsung are developing their own 5G silicon for use in their smartphones and base stations, but they are NOT likely to be sold on the open market to competitors.

Finally, we don’t know how 5G can be a “strategic priority” at Intel when they have consistently failed to profit from the network equipment business after making billions of dollars of acquisitions in the late 1990s and early 2000s (e.g. WiMax, optical networking, Dialogic, etc).  While Intel silicon is inside most IBM compatible PCs, they are NOT in hardly any smartphones or tablets, portable gaming machines, or other cellular connected equipment.  Hence, we wonder how the 5G strategic priority will evolve into profitable products.

The only “strategic priority” area we can come up with is Intel’s processors inside new wireless connected autonomous systems (e.g. remote controlled drones, industrial robots, self driving cars or other vehicles, etc) that uses Qualcomm 5G silicon. Wireless Autonomous Systems (WAS’s), which Intel Labs has been researching, will surely require ultra low latency and high reliability.  Those capabilities are NOT in 3GPP Release 15 NR, but will be included in 3GPP Release 16 and the first IMT 2020 RIT standards that won’t be finished till the end of 2020.  That implies the first 5G WAS’s products won’t be available till mid 2021 at the earliest.

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References:

PRESS RELEASE: Intel exits 5G chip business

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2019/04/intel-quits-5g-modem-business-hours-after-apple-settles-with-qualcomm/

 

CRU: Fiber deployments in China to slow, but will increase worldwide by 2% this year

For the second year in a row, deployments of fiber-optic cable in China should decline year-on-year, according to CRU. And, for the second year in a row, deployments elsewhere in the world should offset this decline and lead to overall growth – just not as much in 2019 as in 2018, predicts the market research firm.

In recent years, China has accounted for more than half the world’s total annual demand for optical cable. China’s telecom network operators have installed fiber in the full range of telecom applications – inter-city, intra-city, FTTx, and mobile cellular systems. And as in other countries, China also has companies and government authorities installing fiber systems to support the electric power grid, railways, highways, pipelines, airports, WiFi hotspots, data centers, and many other applications.

Fiber deployments in China declined 1% in 2018, according to CRU.  However, fiber-optic cable roll outs grew 10% everywhere else, leading total deployments to rise from 492 million fiber-km in 2017 to more than 500 million fiber-km in 2018.

Fiber cable installations in China should decline even further in 2019, CRU predicts. The country’s three main service providers have largely finished their 4G mobile and fiber to the home (FTTH) roll outs, the market research firm asserts, while 5G requirements for now are limited to a relatively small number of metro markets with large field trials.  The transition period in China is not unusual. With the exception of a few carriers in Japan, South Korea, the US, and a few other countries, full-scale 5G construction is not expected until 2020 or later. What’s different about China is that the country’s carriers completed vast 4G and FTTH projects in a relatively small number of years, causing unusually high levels of fiber demand during those years. With China’s FTTH networks now having passed over 90% of homes, and with more than 80% subscribing it has become increasingly clear that China’s FTTx and 4G markets have become saturated with fiber and that demand from both sectors will be softer this year.

As was the case last year, fiber deployments everywhere else should continue to increase – but this time just by single digits. For this reason, CRU expects the overall market to grow by 2%, half of last year’s rate. With a few exceptions in such markets as Japan, South Korea, and the U.S., carriers won’t substantially increase fiber deployments for 5G backhaul until 2020 or later, CRU forecasts.

Should such delays cause a further slowing in fiber deployment growth, the end of a fiber deployment boom could be at hand. CRU notes that fiber installations enjoyed a 14% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 1997 and 2017. This led to annual fiber deployment totals to rise from 37 million fiber-km in 1997 to 2017’s 492 million fiber-km. CRU also notes that it took operators nearly 30 years, from the late 1970s to 2008, to deploy 1 billion fiber-km.  Network operators deployed half that total last year alone!

Since the start of 2019, there have been reports that fiber prices have fallen more precipitously. In early March, CRU assessed bare fibre prices had fallen further, back to pre-shortage levels – similar to, or lower than prices reported in 2015.  That’s depicted in this chart from CRU:

 

5G will be a key variable in fiber demand for many advanced telecom markets, including China over the coming years. The reason is that 5G construction will need fiber to link a much denser array of cell sites than in 4G networks. 5G networks will also support communications between many devices other than smart phones, tablets, and computers. Examples include automobiles, trucks, cargo containers, point-of-sale terminals, vending machines, smart-grid equipment, smart-cities and smart building equipment, and many other types of devices. These systems will rely on connections to new data centers, which also will drive demand for fiber.

Despite the recent softness, CRU forecasts China will account for approximately 50% of the growth in total global optical cable demand between 2018 and 2023 and will remain a key driver of demand mid-term.

CRU Report Author:  Michael Finch Head of Wire and Cable

References:

https://www.crugroup.com/knowledge-and-insights/insights/2019/what-is-behind-the-chinese-optical-cable-contraction-and-outlook-post-2019/

https://www.lightwaveonline.com/articles/2019/04/fiber-deployments-in-china-to-slow-this-year-cru.html

 

Trump and FCC plan to accelerate 5G rollout in U.S.; FCC fund to connect rural areas

In a press conference today in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, President Trump laid out a number of initiatives focused on helping accelerate the U.S. role in the 5G race.

“This is, to me, the future,” Trump said, opening the press conference flanked by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai,  Ivanka Trump and a room full of communications representatives in cowboy and hard hats.

It’s all about 5G now,” Trump told the audience. “We were 4G and everyone was saying we had to get 4G, and then they said before that, ‘we have to get 3G,’ and now we have to get 5G. And 5G’s a big deal and that’s going to be there for a while. And at some point we’ll be talking about number six (6G).”

“5G will be as much as 100 times faster than the current 4G cellular networks.  The race to 5G is on and America must win,  It’s a race our great companies are now involved in,” Trump added.

Trump said a secure 5G network will transform how everyone communicates and create astonishing new opportunities in America.  “It will make American farms more productive, American manufacturing more competitive and American health care better and more accessible,” he said.

The apparently off-script moment echoed Trump’s recent call on Twitter for the U.S. to get 6G technology “as soon as possible.” There’s something to be said for the spirit, perhaps, but it’s probably a little soon to be jumping the gun on a technology that doesn’t really exist just yet.

Trump used the opportunity to downplay earlier rumors that the government might be building its own 5G  network, instead promoting a free-market method, while taking a shot at the government’s capabilities. “In the United States, our approach is private sector-driven and private sector-led,” he added. “The government doesn’t have to spend lots of money.”

“We cannot allowed any other country to out compete the United States in this power industry of the future,” Trump said. It’s important to note that China and the U.S. are fiercely competing in 5G adding to the tensions among the #1 and #2 global economies.

In recent months both the administration and the FCC  have been discussing ways to make America more competitive in the race to the soon-to-be-ubiquitous cellular technology. Earlier today, the FCC announced plans to hold the largest spectrum auction in U.S. history, offering up the bands to wireless carriers. The planned auction is set to commence on December 10th.  As much as 3.4 gigahertz of “millimeter-wave” spectrum could be sold by the FCC to wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon in the spectrum sale, according to Pai.

5G Speedometer

“Forward-thinking spectrum policy, modern infrastructure policy, and market-based network regulation form the heart of our strategy for realizing the promise of the 5G future.” – FCC Chairman Pai

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Techcrunch said:

The focus is understandable, of course (AJW: really???). 5G’s value will go far beyond faster smartphones, providing connections for a wide range of IoT and smart technologies and potentially helping power things like robotics and autonomous vehicles. The technology will undeniably be a key economic driver, touching as of yet unseen portions of the U.S. workforce.

“To accelerate and incentivize these investments, my administration is freeing up as much wireless spectrum as needed,” Trump added, echoing Pai’s plans.

Earlier today Pai and the FCC also proposed a $20.4 billion fund design to help connect rural areas. The chairman said the commission believes the fund could connect as many as four million small businesses and residences to high-speed Internet over the course of the next decade.  The “Rural Digital Opportunity Fund” could launch later this year, after a period of public notice and comment.

The focus is understandable, of course. 5G’s value will go far beyond faster smartphones, providing connections for a wide range of IoT and smart technologies and potentially helping power things like robotics and autonomous vehicles. The technology will undeniably be a key economic driver, touching as of yet unseen portions of the U.S. workforce.

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References:

Trump, FCC unveil plan to accelerate 5G rollout

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/trump-says-securing-5g-will-create-astonishing-us-opportunities

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/04/12/g-is-about-get-big-boost-trump-fcc/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.3ea39f4c0003

https://www.fcc.gov/5G

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-takes-steps-make-millimeter-wave-spectrum-available-5g/pai-statement

 

Posted in 5G Tagged

IHS Markit: 5G Market Set to Boom, but clarity needed; Japanese Telcos: $14.4B in 5G spending

IHS Markit:  5G Market Set to Boom, but clarity needed

As global 5G capabilities expand, alignment of what 5G is, what end users should expect and how it should be measured will be critical to adoption

As the first commercial deployments of (pre-standard) 5G start to appear, the stage is set for consumers finally to find out what the powerful next-generation mobile standard promises can bring: an ambitious and far-reaching technological advance that transforms virtually all aspects of human activity—how we experience life, conduct business, create goods, and build societies. In its latest complimentary white paper, “The Promise and Potential of 5G,” business information provider IHS Markit explores the opportunities and challenges surrounding the upcoming global rollout of new 5G wireless networks.

Without question, 5G is helping set the stage for incredible change, but it remains a confusing landscape, with varied and sometimes conflicting interpretations of what 5G is and what to expect from it. This confusion is impacting not just consumers but also complicating the industry’s ability to measure itself against a standard set of 5G expectations and requirements.

To optimize short-term and long-term 5G adoption, it is imperative that clarity regarding what 5G is and when each capability will be available is established for both consumers and the ecosystem. To that end, IHS Markit follows the official 3GPP definition of 5G [1]but also believes that this description needs to be understood within the context of everyday experience and concepts.

[1.] ITU considers 5G to be based on its forthcoming IMT 2020 recommendations.  Those are the only official standards for 5G.

https://news.itu.int/5g-fifth-generation-mobile-technologies/

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According to the previously referenced IHS Markit 5G white paper, 5G will improve existing services and enable new use cases, such as driverless cars, immersive entertainment, zero-delay virtual reality, uninterrupted video and no-latency gaming. On the industrial front, 5G will be key to expanding and realizing the full promise of the internet of things (IoT), with the technology’s impact to be felt in smart homes, smart cities and smart industries.

“The marketplace implicitly understands 5G represents an unprecedented growth opportunity, with the initial smartphone rollout set to generate record shipment volumes,” said Francis Sideco, vice president, technology  at IHS Markit. “However, fewer people understand the iterative nature of major technology rollouts such as the one we are going through now with 5G—a process involving multiple major updates that will add new capabilities in the coming years. With each of these updates having the potential to significantly disrupt the market’s competitive dynamics, it’s critical for companies to clearly understand the implications of each rollout or risk falling behind the competition.”

Following initial sales of 37 million first-generation 5G smartphones this year, with initial shipments only now commencing, worldwide shipments will surge to 120 million devices in 2020, IHS Markit forecasts. This rollout will be the fastest ever for a new wireless generation, generating six times more unit shipments than previous record-holder LTE, over a similar timeframe. Benefitting from strong industry momentum and alignment, global 5G smartphone shipments will continue to rise in the coming years, reaching over 525 million devices in 2023. “Despite strong growth, the level of success among individual competitors in the smartphone and infrastructure market will hinge on their ability to shift their business strategies in parallel with the evolution of 5G,” Sideco said.

New 5G technical standards (i.e. IMT 2020 from ITU) will eventually enable the creation of applications that could open new opportunities, inform new business models and transform everyday life for multiple industries and billions of users throughout the world. However, many of these capabilities won’t be available in initial 5G rollouts, but instead will arrive in subsequent releases of the standard to be implemented over the next few years.  Each of the releases will deliver new challenges and opportunities not only for the wireless industry but also every industry for which the new use cases are envisioned. To fully realize the potential of these opportunities, competitors will need to understand and capitalize on new capabilities even before they are fully introduced.

The 5G standard’s next release is already on the horizon, with the expected introduction of Release 16 in late 2019. The upcoming release will deliver highly desirable enhancements, including far greater reliability and peak data rates of 20 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) downlink and 10 Gbps uplink. “This next phase of implementation and rollout will trigger a race among mobile network operators to meet and take advantage of these performance enhancements,” Sideco said. “The winners of this race are likely to gain a competitive advantage as they gear up for the next wave of growth.”

Future revisions will spur similar competitive battles, as 5G adds major new capabilities and expands into other markets beyond mobile communications, such as mission-critical applications and massive internet of things (IoT) deployments. “For companies throughout the technology supply chain—from network operators, to smartphone brands, to industrial and automotive device manufacturers and electronics suppliers—it will become increasingly important to understand the changes brought by each phase of the 5G deployment and to be ready to capitalize on the latest capabilities to gain a competitive advantage,” Sideco said.

To learn more about managing the complexities of the 5G era, download the free white paper, “The Promise and Potential of 5G.”

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In other 5G related news today….

Japan’s carriers plan $14.4bn spending blitz for nationwide 5G:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has approved the allocation of spectrum after determining that the companies’ applications met the conditions of the allocation, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.  Japan’s telecom ministry has allocated 5G mobile spectrum to incumbent operators NTT DocomoKDDI, and Softbank, as well as local e-commerce giant Rakuten.

The four companies plan to invest heavily in 5G, spending a combined 1.6 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) over the next five years. Docomo is planning the largest spend, with goals to invest at least 795 billion yen in 5G over this time.

Japan’s mobile operators have set aside $14 billion to invest in 5G networks over five years. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

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The four Japanese wireless carriers plan to commence commercial 5G services in 2020, with KDDI and SoftBank planning to commence advertising for its services in March.  Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s upcoming newest market entrant, plans to commence 4G services in October 2019 and 5G services in June 2020.

The conditions for the allocation of spectrum included commitments to commence services in every prefecture of the nation within two years, and set up 5G base stations in at least half the country within five years.

According to the report, Docomo and KDDI are each targeting more than 90% 5G population coverage by the end of the five years, while SoftBank is targeting 64% coverage while Rakuten is aiming for 56%.

The Japanese government wants industry to build out 5G infrastructure widely, from big metropolitan areas to rural regions. It expects the technology, which offers speeds up to 100 times as fast as 4G, to enable self-driving buses and telemedicine, and to help Japan combat its worker shortage.

The conditions required for receiving 5G spectrum included starting services in every prefecture within two years. The communications ministry also divided Japan into 4,500 blocks, requiring operators to set up base stations in at least half of them within five years. Docomo and KDDI each plan to achieve coverage of more than 90% in that time. SoftBank and Rakuten set less ambitious goals, at 64% and 56%, respectively.  The requirement will force mobile operators to balance making heavy investments with attaining profits.

 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/5G-networks/Japan-s-carriers-plan-14bn-spending-blitz-for-nationwide-5G

Posted in 5G

IDTechEx: China’s 5G investments may be slowing, but it’s still the 5G market to watch

China is certain to be one of the world’s largest 5G markets and has been spending heavily to gain an early lead in 5G adoption, yet there are signs that 5G momentum is slowing down in the market.  That was one of the conclusions of a new report from IDTechEx Research on the 5G technology market forecast for the next 10 years.

The report found that China’s big three operators China MobileChina Telecom and China Unicom have all announced 5G capex budgets that are lower than expected.

China Unicom plans to spend between 6 billion yuan ($893.3 million) and 8 billion yuan on 5G in 2019, while China Telecom has allocated 9 billion yuan. While market leader China Mobile has not disclosed its projected 5G spending, the report forecasts that its spending will be in the region of 17 billion yuan.  The total 5G capex budget allocated in China (34 billion yuan) for 2019 is therefore significantly lower than the projected 50 billion to 100 billion yuan.

Factors behind the lower than expected spending include: greater activity to upgrade 3G networks to 4G, falling per-subscriber revenue and the uncertainty over whether 5G investments will generate returns, the market research firm said.  The CEO from Huawei, the top one telecom infrastructure supplier and number two smartphone provider in the world, has publicly expressed a similar concern on the payback from 5G.

Based on slower than expected 5G deployment schedules, the total contribution of 5G for the telecoms sector could be reduced from the projected $200 billion by 2029 to $160 billion.  Network operators are forecast to invest around $200 billion to $350 billion for 5G development from 2020 to 2030.

Source:  IDTechEx Research

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IDTechEx Research predicts that by 2030 the direct 5G revenue in China will be 6.3 trillion CNY (about $930 bn) and the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the coming ten years will be 29%. 5G will create 8 million jobs and contribute around 5.8% GDP growth in China by 2030. The indirect revenue generated by 5G will be 10.6 trillion CNY (about $1,579 bn), with CAGR of 24%. Among them, the direct revenue for telecoms will be over $200 bn by 2029.

As the current 5G deployment plan is slower than expected, these numbers might be overestimated. The new IDTechEx Research report 5G Technology, Market and Forecast 2019-2029 forecasts a moderated revenue of $160 bn for telecoms in China by 2029. Nonetheless, China is still the main market to watch. It is likely that the telecoms in China will invest at least $200-350 bn from 2020-2030 for 5G development, with the key focus on automotive, industry, healthcare and energy.

References:

https://www.idtechex.com/research/articles/is-5g-slowing-down-in-china-00016958.asp

More information can be found from 5G Technology, Market and Forecast 2019-2029 – contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com/5g.

San Diego and Verizon in deal to deploy small cells for 4G-LTE to be upgraded to 5G

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.”

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/san-diego-mayor-faulconer-verizon-announce-multi-million-dollar-agreement-accelerate-small-cell

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/technology/story/2019-04-08/san-diego-to-streamline-small-cell-permitting-in-deal-with-verizon-laying-groundwork-for

 

Dialog Axiata launches mobile 5G pilot network in Sri Lanka

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.

References:

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/dialog-axiata-announces-5g-pilot-service

https://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2019/04/01/dialog-axiata-pilots-mobile-5g-in-sri-lanka/

Posted in 5G

IBD: 5G Network Rollout Spending, Silicon, Entrepreneurship, Use Cases and Applications

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 EricssonHuawei, and Nokia, other beneficiaries of 5G network deployment include vendors exposed to the metro foundations and core cloud infrastructure. Cisco SystemsCiena, 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 DevicesMarvell 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 vehiclesUPS 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.”

Posted in 5G

Deputy PM: 5G Crucial to Vietnam’s Development; Viettel installs Vietnam’s first 5G base stations in Hanoi

Vietnam’s deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam has thrown his support behind the adoption of 5G in the nation, stating that 5G will be crucial to Vietnam’s development.

During the recent ASEAN Conference on 5G, the deputy prime minister acknowledged that the government will need to proactively support businesses to ensure they are more confident in investing in 5G, according to Nhan Dan Online, the official newsletter of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

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Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has stated that 5G, the next-generation of mobile communications standard, is crucially important to the development of Vietnam

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During the conference, Dam said the technology will not only provide major speeds improvements but involve changes in global production methods. He suggested that participants use the Vietnam-organized conference to discuss the pathway to 5G development in the ASEAN region.

Vietnam aims to become one of the world’s early adopters of 5G. Several Vietnamese operators have been allocated licenses to trial the technology in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City ahead of a commercial launch.

Also at the event, Vietnam’s ICT minister Nguyen Manh Hung also stated that 5G will be the most vital part of the infrastructure required for the future digital economy.  He told the delegates at the conference that Vietnam will be one of the first countries in the world to roll out the next-generation of wireless technology.  Several local carriers have been licensed to trial 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Minister Hung added.

The two-day ASEAN Conference on 5G is a Vietnamese initiative designed to foster regional cooperation in 5G policies, as well as 5G-based technology, service and application development.
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Update (April 10, 2019):

Viettel deploys Vietnam’s first 5G base stations

Vietnamese military-run operator Viettel has installed Vietnam’s first 5G base stations in Hanoi ahead of planned 5G trials.

The operator has deployed three test 5G base stations at various offices, and expects to switch them on for trials in early May, state news agency Nhan Dan Online reported.

Viettel plans to test 70 5G base stations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in June in preparation for a large-scale deployment, the report states.  The military run telecom group is targeting a 5G commercial launch in 2020. Viettel is taking the lead in the deployment of the technology in the market.

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Military-run telecommunications group Viettel has installed the first base transceiver station (BTS) of fifth generation (5G) in Vietnam on the roof of the Viettel Centre in Hoan Kiem District.

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At the recent ASEAN Conference on 5G in Vietnam, minister of information and communications Nguyen Manh Hung said 5G represents an opportunity for Vietnam to change its global rankings by stimulating growth in the digital economy.

http://english.mic.gov.vn/Pages/TinTuc/138840/Viettel-installs-first-5G-base-transceiver-stations-in-Vietnam.html

 

Posted in 5G

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