Verizon Selects Samsung for First “5G” Fixed Wireless Broadband Deployment in 2018

Verizon has chosen Samsung Electronics as a major supplier in the U.S. telco’s push to offer high speed fixed access internet and other services over its wireless network. Financial terms of this “5G” business relationship weren’t disclosed.  Samsung’s “5G” Fixed Wireless Access network products (including 5G home routers and 5G Radio Access units) will be used for commercial deployments.

Verizon says its “5G” fixed access network will launch in the second half of this year in Sacramento, CA, which is more than two full years before ITU-R WP5D completes its IMT 2020 standards.  Verizon plans to add the same “5G” fixed broadband access service in four other U.S. markets later in 2018.  It will use cellular antennas to beam high-speed internet into consumers’ homes. Samsung will make network equipment for Verizon—including the small boxes that will sit inside each home, receiving the signal and translating it into WiFi— the companies said Wednesday, January 3, 2018.  Verizon said last month it would also use “5G” network equipment made by Ericsson for commercial launches in other U.S. markets.

Verizon estimates the market opportunity for initial 5G residential broadband services to be approximately 30 million households nationwide. In addition, it says that the 5G commercial launch will not have a material impact on its consolidated Capex in 2018 and that it expects its full-year 2018 capital spending program to be consistent with the past several years.

Last year, Verizon began “5G” fixed access trials, focused on home broadband service, in 11 U.S. markets from New Jersey to California. Samsung will provide network gear for Verizon’s launch in Sacramento, where customers will be offered the option of purchasing the faster wireless access capability.  Verizon and Samsung collaborated on 5G trials in parts of California, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Texas, and Washington, D.C.  Verizon and Samsung said that those trials revealed that a single 5G radio could reach the 19th floor of a multi-dwelling unit, and that broadband service was achieved using line of sight, partial Line of Sight (LOS) and even non-LOS connections. They also claimed that “environmental factors” such as rain and snow, did not interrupt “5G” based broadband service.

“The industry has been discussing 5G connectivity for years, and through our joint collaboration with partners like Samsung, we are beginning to make it a reality for our customers,” Ed Chan, chief technology architect and network planning at Verizon, said in a statement. “Sacramento is an ideal place to begin deploying 5G broadband services, providing a progressive environment for creating future use cases.”

“Together with Verizon, we have explored the vast potential of 5G through market trials across the U.S.,” added Mark Louison, SVP and GM, networks division, at Samsung Electronics America. “At the same time, Samsung applied lessons learned from these real-world trials to ensure that our complete end-to-end 5G portfolio is ready for commercial service. We are delighted to work with Verizon on this journey to create unprecedented user experiences powered by 5G.”

[Note that there’s been no mention of when “5G” mobile service might be available from Verizon.]

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“5G” carries the potential to disrupt the broadband fixed access market for triple play services.  That market is currently dominated by cable/MSO providers like Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc, but AT&T is also there with its U-verse and AT&T Fiber offerings.

Companies globally are investing billions of dollars in 5G despite continued debate over its ultimate uses beyond faster download speeds.  The three main applications areas for IMT 2020 are:

1] Enhanced Mobile Broadband

2] Ultra-Reliable, Low Latency Communications

3] Massive Machine Communications, i.e. Internet of Things (IoT)

Note that fixed broadband Internet access is not one of them!

Here’s an ITU diagram of IMT 2020 5G Use Cases from from a September 2016 ITU presentation:

Arthur D. Little has written a report called “5G deployment models are crystallizing” in which it makes the case that telcos need to find use cases now, if not to reap the benefits of being early to market then as a defensive measure. Where in the past only other telcos had the wherewithal to roll out a new generation of wireless technology, ADL points out that that’s no longer true. Non-telecom players are moving into the 5G space, including Google, Facebook, Apple, Hitachi, Scania, NEC, Ericsson, and Comau. Government agencies and telecom operators expect broad “5G” availability in many markets by 2020, but again, that won’t be based on ITU-R ratified IMT 2020 standards.

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“5G is a reality,” said Kim Young-ky, president of Samsung’s networks business, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

South Korean technology giant Samsung, a fairly small player in the network equipment world, believes its knowledge making products and components could give it an edge with telecom customers seeking to sell connectivity to a wider range of devices.  Samsung’s network business generated some 2 trillion ($1.9 billion) to 2.5 trillion won in 2017, according to research firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research. It targets annual revenue of 10 trillion won by 2022, a Samsung spokesman said.

The average U.S. consumer uses about five gigabytes of mobile data a month, Mr. Kim said. But after 5G becomes more ubiquitous in the next few years, he believes consumers will eventually use closer to 100 gigabytes monthly on new services such as virtual or augmented reality programs—or even from driverless cars that will require greater data speeds to rapidly process traffic conditions.

About two years ago, Samsung combined about 1,000 workers from different divisions including handsets, network and its central research-and-development group, to create a “Next Generation Communications Business” team dedicated to 5G.

“With 5G, it’s going to be expanding beyond your phone,” Kim Woo-june, a senior vice president in Samsung’s network business, said in an interview. The industry’s first mobile phones with 5G capabilities aren’t likely to debut until 2019, he added.

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AT&T last month said it would launch a “5G” trial site in Texas, after tests in other markets. Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. have said they are working on nationwide “5G” networks, targeting late 2019 or 2020.

References:

https://news.samsung.com/us/verizon-5g-commercial-launch/

http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/platforms/samsung-gets-piece-verizon-s-5g-action/170867

https://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2018/01/verizon-partners-samsung-5g-fixed-wireless-launch

Related Articles on “5G” Deployments:

Verizon Exec: ‘Meaningful’ 5G Deployments to Start in 2018:
http://www.multichannel.com/news/finance/verizon-exec-meaningful-5g-deployments-start-2018/411354
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Verizon 5G to launch in Sacramento in 2018 | ZDNet
http://www.zdnet.com/article/verizon-5g-to-launch-in-sacramento-in-2018/
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Verizon Tips Launch of 5G-Based Residential Broadband Service

http://www.multichannel.com/news/finance/verizon-tips-launch-5g-based-residential-broadband-service/416824

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Verizon commits to residential fixed broadband as first 5G use case, but analysts call the plan “murky”

http://www.telecomtv.com/articles/5g/verizon-commits-to-residential-fixed-broadband-as-first-5g-use-case-but-analysts-call-the-plan-murky-16206/

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AT&T Targets 5G Rollouts in 2018 After 3GPP Standards Acceleration
https://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2017/03/t-targets-5g-rollouts-2018-after-3gpp-standards-acceleration
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AT&T Expects 5G in Late 2018 or Early ’19
http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/5g/atandt-expects-5g-in-late-2018-or-early-19/d/d-id/733953
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South Korea to launch first commercial 5G network in 2019
https://www.rcrwireless.com/20170525/5g/south-korea-launch-first-commercial-5g-network-2019

 

Verizon, Qualcomm, and Ericsson collaborate on successful Massive MIMO Trial

Verizon said in a press release that it completed the first successful FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) massive MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) trial with a fully compatible customer device thanks to its collaboration with Ericsson and Qualcomm.   The trial included the use of the latest Ericsson massive MIMO software and hardware along with a mobile test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with an X20 LTE modem.

According to the aforementioned press release:

Massive MIMO is a key technology component in the evolution towards 5G. It has the potential of greatly improving network capacity and the customer’s experience. To realize the gains, both the network and devices need to support new TM9 [1] functionality which leverages advanced beam forming schemes between the network equipment and the mobile device. This will raise network spectral efficiency and customer speeds.

Note 1.  In 3GPP Release-10 (LTE-Advanced) Transmission Mode 9 (TM9) was introduced.  TM9 is designed to help reduce interference between base stations to maximise signal stability and boost performance. The new TM-9 enables the enhancement of network capabilities and performance with minimum addition of overhead. More information on TM9 is here.

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Qualcomm introduced the 845 Mobile Platform at the Snapdragon Summit in Hawaii in early December.   The trial comes after Verizon and Ericsson deployed massive MIMO on the wireless carrier’s Irvine, Ca network in late October.

“We don’t wait for the future, we build it. And this is another great example of moving the industry forward,” Verizon Chief Network Engineer and Head of Wireless Networks Nicola Palmer said in the release. “Massive MIMO is a critical component of our 4G LTE Advancements and will play an important role in 5G technology that will result in single digit latency and scalability in the billions of connections,” he added.

Joe Glynn, vice president, business development at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. said: “This milestone further demonstrates Qualcomm Technologies’ leadership and commitment to continually bring innovative technologies to consumers to improve their mobile experiences. We look forward to continuing our work with Verizon and Ericsson to push the limits of LTE while ushering in a world of 5G.”

Massive MIMO is an LTE Advanced (4G) technology which has been described as being akin to a set of focused flashlights targeting users rather than a single floodlight. The high number of transmitters enables more possible signal paths and beam forming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is located, dramatically cutting down on interference.

Figure 1

Figure 1. Massive MIMO exploits large antenna arrays to spatially multiplex many terminals.

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Image result for images for massive MIMO

Figure 2. Active Phased Array Antenna (APAA) shown above right in 5G base stations. The combination of analog beam forming via APAA and digital MIMO signal processing for the multi-beam multiplexing is believed to be one of the promising approaches for reducing the complexity and power consumption of 5G base stations.  However, that has yet to be proven in a commercial 5G deployment.

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In October, Verizon and Ericsson announced they had achieved a milestone in LTE Advanced technologies by completing their first deployment of FDD massive MIMO on Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, California. Massive MIMO improves both spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for currently compatible devices in the market. Customers experience higher and more consistent speeds when using apps and uploading and downloading files.

Ericsson’s massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the market in the first half of 2018.

The past year saw a lot of talk around massive MIMO, which is considered by many to be a foundation technology for 5G. At the inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas in September, Sprint and Ericsson unveiled results of 2.5 GHz massive MIMO field tests conducted in Seattle and Plano, Texas, using Sprint’s spectrum and Ericsson’s radios.

  • In early September, Ericsson said massive MIMO was part of a trial with T-Mobile US using mid-band FDD spectrum on three sites in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • In February, Blue Danube Systems announced the completion of commercial trials using its massive MIMO technology in licensed FDD LTE spectrum with AT&T and Shentel.

Niklas Heuveldop, Head of Market Area North America, Ericsson, said: “Advanced Antenna Systems and Massive MIMO are key technology enablers for 5G, and 4G LTE service providers and end users will also benefit from the superior capacity and network performance these technologies enable. The latest trial is another important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon and Qualcomm Technologies to further evolve 4G and prepare the network for 5G.”

The Ericsson Massive MIMO portfolio is expected to be available next year, putting it well in line with commercial smartphones with the TM9 compatible chipset, which are expected to hit the markets in the first half of 2018.

References:

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-qualcomm-and-ericsson-collaborate-trial-latest-massive-mimo-advancements-path-5g

Verizon, Ericsson Team Up for Massive MIMO Deployment

http://www.samsung.com/global/business-images/insights/2017/Massive-MIMO-Comes-of-Age-0.pdf

http://www.ni.com/white-paper/52382/en/

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2017/10/17/mimo-starting-to-realize-its-full-potential-in-lte-networks/

http://techblog.comsoc.org/2015/06/30/separating-5g-fact-from-hype-is-massive-mimo-a-solution-or-dead-end/

https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/Workshops-and-Seminars/qos/201707/Documents/Rami%20Alnatsheh-%20Orchestrating%20the%20Performance%20of%205G.pdf

https://www.everythingrf.com/News/details/2639-zte-completes-massive-mimo-tests-for-imt-2020-5g

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1612.03993.pdf

http://www.analog.com/en/analog-dialogue/articles/massive-mimo-and-beamforming-the-signal-processing-behind-the-5g-buzzwords.html

 

India’s DoT Creates Dedicated 5G Technology Test Bed after Ericsson 5G Demonstration

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has firmed up plans to set up a 5G test bed that will be anchored by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, where this author presented several guest lectures in December 1990.  According to a DoT official, the test bed is expected to be operational within the next six months.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) too is soon expected to issue a set of recommendations to the Center that would enable companies wanting to conduct research experiments for the latest generation of mobile telephony to do so domestically. A senior TRAI official told the Indian Express newspaper that these recommendations would be a part of the suggestions on ease of doing business that the regulator is in process of issuing to the government.

“We need to have an ecosystem in India itself, which is simple so that experiments can be conducted. We should have sand-boxing, and licensing for experimentation on 5G technology here. For experiment purposes, we should have a light-touch system, where if some company wants to research, it should be able to get a license to do so,” the (unnamed) official said. “If these experiments were happening here, our officials would have been training here itself instead of China. We are soon going to give recommendations to the government on this issue,” the official added.

To accelerate research and development of technologies as well as specifications related to 5G, the Center has set up a high-level forum comprising officials from the DoT, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, and the Department of Science & Technology, with representatives from industry and academia. The high-level forum, set up in September, is expected to evaluate and approve roadmaps and action plans with a broader target of rolling out 5G in India by 2020, which is the aim for most global telecom companies for launch of commercial 5G services.

India has traditionally been behind the curve in adoption of mobile technologies, especially in when the global standards for 3G and 4G were being set. One of the key objectives behind setting up the high-level forum on 5G was for India to be able to participate in the process being undertaken by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)  in creating standards for 5G (IMT 2020), which is expected to be a key driver of technological growth in form of artificial intelligence, internet of things, etc.

The high-level forum will also work towards accelerated deployment of 5G for specific use cases in India, and these will include the development of road map related to emerging technologies, testing, and trials. It will also aim to strengthen domestic telecom equipment manufacturing necessary for the technology. As per a presentation prepared by the DoT, the targets set for the forum suggest that local manufacturers should be able to capture 50 per cent of Indian market and 10 per cent of global market over next five to seven years. The aforementioned DoT official said that the proposed 5G test bed at IIT Madras will play the role of a key enabler for research and development of domestic manufacturing of 5G equipment.

http://indianexpress.com/article/technology/tech-news-technology/telecom-infrastructure-dot-to-set-up-dedicated-ecosystem-for-testing-5g-technologies-5000303/

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Earlier in December, Ericsson demonstrated a 5.75Gbps “5G” network setup in Mumbai, India.  In their live demonstration at at a trade show, the company showcased “essential technologies on the road to 5G.”  One highlight was Gigabit LTE (1 GBPS download speeds) with License Assisted Access+ (LAA) technology. The LAA live demo highlighted the technology’s ability to leverage wireless network resources using higher frequency bands on a small cell architecture.  Other technology innovations presented in the Ericsson showcase included advancements in Radio Network Evolution, 5G Ready Transport and Network Slicing.

+License Assisted Access is a LTE feature that leverages the 5 GHz unlicensed band in combination with licensed spectrum to deliver a performance boost for mobile device users.  For more on LAA, please visit here.

Ericsson estimates that mobile data traffic in India will grow by 11 times by 2023.

Ericsson estimates that mobile data traffic in India will grow by 11 times by 2023.

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In a recently released Ericsson 5G Business Potential Report, 5G will enable a $27 billion revenue opportunity for Indian telecom operators by 2026. The largest opportunity will be seen in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities followed by public safety and health sectors. This will be over and above the revenue generated from traditional services which are expected to grow up to $63 billion by 2026.

Key findings from the Ericsson report:

  • Industry digitalization investments are growing and generating revenue for ICT players worth an estimated USD 3.3 trillion by 2026
  • Operators can benefit from an additional 34 percent revenue from 5G-enabled market opportunities by 2026
  • 5G has the potential to deliver unparalleled benefits to society and businesses
  • The time is now to start creating a 5G business

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/in-other-news/021217/ericsson-demonstrates-575gbps-5g-network-setup-in-india.html

 

Ericsson Forecast: 1 Billion Global 5G Subscriptions in 2023

Global 5G subscriptions will reach 1 billion by the end of 2023, with 5G covering more than 20% of the global population, Ericsson has predicted.

Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report predicts that the first 5G new radio deployments will go live in 2019, with major deployments from 2020. Early 5G deployments are expects in markets including South Korea, Japan, China and the US.

LTE will meanwhile become the dominant mobile access technology by the end of this year. But after reaching a peak in 2021, subscriptions are expected to drop off slightly as they are supplanted by 5G.

Global LTE subscribers are tipped to reach an estimated 5.5 billion subscriptions by the end of 2023, with a global LTE population coverage of 85%.

VoLTE subscriptions are also expected to reach 5.5 billion by end-2023, accounting for more than 80% of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.

The report also projects that global mobile data traffic will pass 100 exabytes per month in 2023, the equivalent of 5.5 million years of HD video streaming.

Mobile-subscriptions-by-technology

  • 5G will cover more than 20 percent of the global population six years from now, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report
  • Mobile data traffic continues to grow, primarily fueled by increased viewing of video content
  • LTE will be the dominant access technology by end of this year, driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks

“The latest report highlights trends in mobile subscription and data traffic growth, as well as the industry’s effort to tackle the increasing demands on mobile networks globally,” Ericsson chief strategy officer and head of technology and emerging business Niklas Heuveldop said.

“In addition, the report examines the emergence of new use cases as network capabilities evolve – smartwatches, IoT alarms, and augmented reality-assisted maintenance and repair, to name a few. As we prepare for 5G, these trends will continue to set the agenda for the mobile industry going forward.”

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2017/11/ericsson-predicts-1-billion-5g-subscriptions-in-2023

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/global-5g-subs-pass-1b-2023

Verizon, Ericsson Team Up for Massive MIMO Deployment

Verizon and Ericsson have deployed frequency division duplexing (FDD) Massive Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MIMO) technology on the Verizon’s wireless network in Irvine, Calif., a step forward in implementing “5G” wireless communications. Ericsson provided 16 transceiver radios and 96 antenna elements in an array for the deployment.

The two companies say the Massive MIMO deployment will improve spectral and energy efficiency, increasing network capacity for current devices in the market.  Other network enhancements are expected to provide higher and more consistent speeds for using apps and uploading and downloading files, clearing the pathway for “5G” deployment.

The massive MIMO deployment is running on a 20 MHz block of AWS spectrum.  Four-way transmit has been widely deployed throughout the Verizon network and has contributed to significant 4G LTE advancements, according to the announcement. The high number of transmitters from the Massive MIMO provides more possible signal paths.  It also enables beamforming, which directs the beam from the cell site directly to where the customer is, dramatically cutting down on interference.  Reduced interference results in higher and more consistent speeds for customers.

Image result for pic of massive MIMO

Note:  Massive MIMO is a candidate feature for IMT 2020 (standardized 5G).  Please see last references for authoritative status of IMT 2020.

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“While continuing to drive 5G development, the deployment of Massive MIMO offers very tangible benefits for our customers today.  As we innovate, we learn and continue to lay the groundwork and set the standards for 5G technology,” said Nicola Palmer, Verizon Wireless chief network officer, in a prepared statement. “Our collaboration with Ericsson on this new deployment continues to drive industry-wide innovation and advancements.”

“We have a tremendous excitement around 5G, and today we made a great announcement to our commitment of driving the 5G ecosystem,” Verizon SVP Atish Gude said

Niklas Heuveldop, Ericsson head of market area North America said: “Massive MIMO is a key technology enabler for 5G, but already today, 4G LTE service providers and end users can benefit from the superior capacity and network performance this technology enables.  The current trial is an important step in the collaboration we have with Verizon to prepare their network for 5G.”

Ericsson is active with massive MIMO deployments on other carrier networks, including Sprint, who announced a deployment last month.

References:

ABI Research: MIMO starting to realize its full potential in LTE Advanced networks

On the Path to 5G, Verizon, Ericsson Team Up for Massive MIMO Deployment

 

http://www.zdnet.com/article/verizon-and-ericsson-deploy-massive-mimo-on-irvine-lte-network/

IEEE ComSoc Webinar: 5G: Converging Towards IMT-2020 Submission

IMT 2020 workshop which includes hyperlinks to enable you to download the presentations:
Note: There were 4 organizations that presented their proposed IMT 2020 RAN (AKA RIT/SRIT) schemes at this workshop:
3GPP 5G, ETSI DECT, Korea IMT 2020 and China IMT 2020

Ericsson Survey: Network Operators Focus on New Markets for 5G Revenue

Survey Highlights:

Most network operators say they’re ready for “5G” even if they don’t know what it will actually deliver (the RAN and other key functions haven’t even been discussed by ITU-R WP5D for IMT 2020, let alone agreed upon), Ericsson found in a survey of wireless network operators around the world (see References and hyper-links below). Many expect the enterprise market and Internet of Things (IoT) applications to drive revenue growth from 5G technology.

More than three-quarters of the respondents said they were in the midst of 5G trials.  That corresponds with research from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association research which found 81 5G trials underway in 42 countries.

23% of survey respondents plan to migrate 4G subscribers to 5G with enhanced services and revenues (but when?).  Yet nearly two thirds (64%) of operators said they can’t pay for 5G by simply raising rates on consumers, because consumers are “tapped out.”  Eighteen percent of respondents said they expect to monetize 5G by “expanding to new markets—enterprise/ industry segments.”

“In 2016, 90% pointed to consumers as the central segment in their planning and only 34% focused on specialized industries,” the Ericsson researchers wrote in this year’s report.  An increased emphasis on the enterprise market is a key shift since a previous Ericsson 5G operator survey was conducted in 2016.

“This year, operators are seeing that the consumer market is saturated, so planning for 5G is more evenly split across specialized industry segments (58%), business users (56%) and consumers (52%),” the Ericsson researchers added.

Specific industry segments on which operators expect to focus 5G monetization efforts include media/entertainment (cited by 69% of respondents), automotive (59%), public transport (31%), healthcare (29%) and energy/ utilities (29%).

Providing industry-specific services to these industry segments will be important in 5G monetization, according to 68% of respondents. The single most important use case in the media/entertainment segment is high-quality streaming, respondents said. Other top use cases by segment included:

  • Automotive: autonomous vehicle control
  • Public transport: Smart GPS
  • Healthcare: Remote robotic surgery
  • Energy & utilities: Control of edge-of-grid generation

More than three quarters (77%) of respondents said third-party collaboration is an essential element in 5G monetization and 68% said they need to find new revenue-sharing models.

Chart courtesy of Ericsson’s 5G Readiness Survey

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Survey Questions and Methodology:

Some of the questions asked in the survey:

-Exactly how have preparations for 5G evolved over the past year?
-Where do telcos stand now in their 5G activities and developments?
-What actions are service providers taking now in anticipation of 5G?
-What priorities drive their initiative?
-How ready are they to take leadership positions in the 5G future?

The survey’s objective was to obtain a snapshot of the state of the industry in relation to next-generation mobile technology. Last year, we struggled to find 50 executives globally who were far enough along in 5G to answer the survey questions.

This year, Ericsson says they “easily identified 50 executives, both business and technical leaders, from 37 operators around the world. As leaders of their organizations’ 5G efforts, they are at the center of the 5G evolution. That increase clearly signifies the growing recognition among industry leaders of 5G’s importance.”s

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/assets/local/narratives/networks/documents/5g-readiness-survey-2017.pdf

5G Monetization Survey: Operators Look to IoT for Revenue Growth

 

 

SoftBank, Ericsson plan 5G Japan trial in 4.5GHz band

Japan’s SoftBank plans to work with Ericsson to conduct a joint trial of “5G” in the 4.5-GHz band in dense urban areas of Japan.  The end-to-end trial will involve two 5G new radios, a virtual RAN and EPC, beamforming, Massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) functionality and test support services.

The trial is set to commence once Softbank obtains an experimental 5G license, Ericsson said.

Editors Note: Of course, no one knows what the “5G” air interface/RAN will be for this trial, because it’s not even been considered by ITU-R WP 5D which is standardizing IMT 2020. That 5G standardization work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

The key question is where will the “5G” endpoints/handsets come from?  Ericsson doesn’t make ’em any more!  Neither does Nokia which is involved in several other “5G” trials.  Huawei and ZTE “5G” trials are in better shape, because both vendors make handsets/smartphones as well as base stations.

3GPP Progress on 5G can be found in this presentation. It’s crucial to note that 3GPP Release 15 (to be completed March 2018) will aim at a first phase of expected “5G” deployments in 2020 and is dependent on LTE.  3GPP Release 16 (true 5G) will target a submission to the ITU WP5D IMT-2020 standards committee.

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In March 2017, SoftBank was granted an experimental licence to conduct tests in the 28GHz millimeter wave band and teamed up with Ericsson for trials that were to be conducted in indoor and outdoor environments covering both mobile and stationary tests. That followed more basic tests in the 4.5-GHz and 15-GHz bands in Tokyo in 2016.

The operator also recently announced plans to deploy Ericsson’s Radio Dot system across Japan to improve indoor coverage in high-density urban areas. Softbank has been testing the technology since 2015.

SoftBank announced in June it was working with ZTE to run trials on the 4.5GHz band in areas of metropolitan Tokyo.

SoftBank also is planning tests on the 4GHz and 15GHz bands and began conducting pre-standard 5G field trials with Ericsson in August 2016.  It deployed Massive MIMO on its 4G network in the second half of 2016.

The wireless network operator, with a 19 per cent market share in Japan, aims to be one of the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services in 2020 or soon thereafter.  SoftBank wants to be one of the first global network operators to deploy 5G services once the standardization process is complete and seeks to position itself as a pioneer of 5G.

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2017/8/ericsson-and-softbank-trial-5g-in-4.5ghz-band

https://www.telecomasia.net/content/softbank-ericsson-trial-5g-45-ghz

https://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2017/08/31/softbank-ericsson-to-trial-5g-using-4-5ghz-band/

ftp://www.3gpp.org/Information/presentations/presentations_2016/3GPP%20RAN%20Progress%20on%205G%20-%20NetFutures.pdf

Telecom Italia “5G” trial to blanket San Marino in 2018

According to the Financial Times (on line subscription required):

Telecom Italia plans to test its home grown “5G” technology in the micro-state of San Marino next year, making it the first country in the world to boast a nationwide 5G network.  The state of San Marino, which has little more than 30,000 citizens, extends to only 61 sq km, making it the smallest republic in the world.

Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the tiny country to upgrade the existing 4G-LTE network in advance of a trial of “5G” services in 2018. It will double the number of mobile sites and will install a network of small cells in downtown San Marino, a Unesco heritage site, this year that will provide the backbone of the future commercial network. Investment in 5G network trials are taking place around the world with carriers in South Korea, China and the US among the most active in testing 5G technology. Giovanni Ferigo, head of technology for Telecom Italia Mobile, said San Marino’s 5G network would be the first in Europe “for sure.”

It was not revealed who created the specs for the Italian telco’s “5G” network or where Telecom Italia will procure the end point devices/handsets.  One would assume that Ericsson is supplying TIM with the “5G” base stations, based on a MOU signed between the two companies in March of this year.  TIM wrote in a press release on March 2, 2017:

TIM and Ericsson are committing to share skills, projects, laboratories and resources for designing, testing and building the technological components of the new 5G network needed to create a complete and open ecosystem around next-generation digital services.

In particular, the agreement will directly involve the research and innovation structures of the two companies, focusing on the design and testing of access infrastructure, the respective antenna systems and network virtualisation solutions, particularly through joint participation in Italian and European research projects and integration of service platforms for testing in the field of innovative Use Cases.

The 5G system will provide peak speeds of up to dozens of Gbps for UltraHD services and cloud computing solutions, a decrease in communication latency, reducing it to a few milliseconds, reliability for mission-critical services and service density with the ability to connect up to a hundred thousand terminals per cell. These characteristics mean that 5G will become the reference mobile network for next-generation digital services (such as virtual reality) and for the industrial Internet (robotics, manufacturing, health, environment, self-driving logistics).

The agreement is part of the “5G for Italy” initiative launched in 2016 by TIM and Ericsson for the establishment of an ecosystem of experimental industrial partners, confirming the commitment of the two companies to innovating technologies and networks in support of the socio-economic growth of the country.

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Telecom Italia is also testing “5G” in Milano and Torino, but has more freedom in San Marino to experiment because of fewer restrictions on the use of airwaves than in Italy.

“We need to experiment as soon as possible,” Mr Ferigo said.  The work done in San Marino would play a critical role in the future of 5G technology in Italy but was also crucial to the wider European sector as standards for the new network are refined.

“For 5G, our intention is a European leadership in standardization,” he said. The European Commission published a 5G action plan last year when it estimated that sectors such as healthcare, transport, cars and utilities would see economic benefits of €113bn by 2025 from the technology.  However, the European Commission does not generate any telecom standards.  For Europe, that’s ETSI which contributes to 3GPP and its members contribute to ITU-R WP 5D which is standardizing true 5G (as we’ve noted in numerous blog posts/articles).

Earlier this year, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) said LTE customers are expected to account for around 90% of its mobile broadband customers by 2019;  That’s due to almost blanket LTE coverage of Italy with network speeds up to 75 Mbps and peaks of 500 Mbps in the main cities via the use of LTE Advanced Carrier Aggregation.

The above referenced FT “5G” article states:

Some countries have committed to the first 5G launches in 2019 but the wider telecoms industry is still struggling to define exactly what 5G technology is and some have argued that it is not yet clear how they can justify spending billions on the new network.

Mr Ferigo said the San Marino launch would be “very important” in defining the use case for 5G that would transform all sectors from healthcare to robotics to public transport. Telecom Italia has started working with companies including Maserati and Ducati on the use of better wireless technology but also the makers of parmesan cheese who want to better monitor the cows in their fields. Small territories have been used in the past for telecoms testing. The first 3G trial in the UK took place on the Isle of Man, while the remote Isle of Bute in Scotland was used to test “white space” technology.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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References:

http://www.telecomitalia.com/tit/en/archivio/media/note-stampa/corporate/2017/TIM-Repubblica-San-Marino-MoU-5G-ENG.html

http://www.telecomitalia.com/tit/en/archivio/media/note-stampa/market/2017/PN-TIM-Turin-5G-Day.html

http://www.telecomitalia.com/tit/en/archivio/media/comunicati-stampa/telecom-italia/mercato/business/2017/10-03-17CS-TIM-Comune-di-Torino-5G.html

https://www.ericsson.com/assets/local/publications/white-papers/wp-5g.pdf

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news-and-events/press-center/media-kits/5g

 

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