T-Mobile in $3.5B deal with Ericsson for “5G” Equipment; Offers extended range LTE in U.S. and Puerto Rico

Ericsson has signed a $3.5 billion multi-year deal with T-Mobile to provide the “un-carrier” with “5G” network equipment. It’s the biggest 5G order that Ericsson has announced to date.  That is in addition to the $3.5 billion “5G” agreement that T-Mobile inked with Nokia back in July.

As it moves from LTE Advanced (true 4G) to whatever it envisions as 5G, T-Mobile will use the Ericsson portfolio of products.  Ericsson will be providing T-Mobile with 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and 3GPP-compatible software. Ericsson’s digital services like dynamic orchestration, business support systems and Ericsson cloud core will be used to help T-Mobile roll out “5G” services to its customers.

“We have recently decided to increase our investments in the U.S. to be closer to our leading customers and better support them with their accelerated 5G deployments; thereby bringing 5G to life for consumers and enterprises across the country,” Niklas Heuveldop, President of Ericsson North America, said in a statement. “This agreement marks a major milestone for both companies. We are excited about our partnership with T-Mobile, supporting them to strengthen, expand and speed up the deployment of their nationwide 5G network.”

The partnership with Ericsson implies that T-Mobile’s installed base of Ericsson Radio Systems will be able to run 3GPP release 15 spec. 5G NR with a remote software installation.

Ericsson increased its market share of the mobile networks market in the second quarter, partly due to faster network upgrades in the North American, where it ranks as the biggest supplier ahead of Nokia.

T-Mobile, the third biggest U.S. mobile carrier, said in February it was working with Ericsson and rival network vendor Nokia of Finland to build out 5G networks in 30 U.S. cities during 2018.

“While the other guys just make promises, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. With this new Ericsson agreement we’re laying the groundwork for 5G – and with Sprint we can supercharge the 5G revolution,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer.  (Note that the FCC says it needs more time to review the T-Mobile-Sprint merger).

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In an earlier announcement, T-Mobile says it has deployed 600 MHz (Band 71) Extended Range LTE in 1,254 cities and towns in 36 states, including the island of Puerto Rico. The Un-carrier’s furiously paced deployment of 600 MHz LTE is expanding network coverage and capacity, particularly in rural areas, and lays the foundation for nationwide 5G in 2020 with 5G-ready equipment. 

T-Mobile’s Extended Range LTE signals travel twice as far from the tower and are four times better in buildings than mid-band LTE, providing increased coverage and capacity. The Un-carrier has already deployed Extended Range LTE to more than 80 percent of Americans with 700 MHz (Band 12), and rapidly began deploying it with 600 MHz (Band 71) last year to expand coverage and capacity even further.

In April 2017, T-Mobile made its largest network investment ever, tripling its low-band spectrum holdings by purchasing spectrum sold in the US government’s 600 MHz auction. Those licenses cover 100% of the US, including Puerto Rico. Immediately after receiving the licenses, T-Mobile began its rapid 600 MHz Extended Range LTE rollout. To accelerate the process of freeing up the spectrum for LTE, T-Mobile is working with broadcasters occupying 600 MHz spectrum to assist them in moving to new frequencies.

Ericsson partners with Juniper, ECI for 5G transport equipment & will buy CENX

Ericsson has selected Juniper and ECI Telecom to provide 5G transport network gear, citing their expertise with optical and packet networks.

Alignment between the radio, core and transport layers of the network has never been more critical to meet the requirements of 5G use cases such as enhanced mobile broadband, fixed-wireless access, and massive and critical IoT. In this environment transport needs to keep pace with the rapid radio and architectural evolution in 5G networks.

With its focus on transport between radio and core functions, Ericsson delivers transport portfolios specifically for backhaul and fronthaul. Ubiquitous transport solutions for both 4G and 5G are gaining strong momentum with service providers and Ericsson’s flagship mobile backhaul product – Router 6000 – empowers close to 60 operators. More than 110 operators also use Ericsson’s 5G-ready microwave technology, MINI-LINK solutions.

Ercsson will use Juniper’s edge and core packet transport technologies (the MX and PTX series platforms) to support connectivity between radio cell sites and an operator’s core network. Ericsson will continue to offer its own Router 6000 and microwave products as packet backhaul options for 5G transport network deployments and will sell Juniper’s SRX Series Services Gateway network security system.   “With Juniper there is no overlap and a good fit,” says Nishant Batra, Ericsson’s global head of network products.

ECI Telecom Ltd. will provide optical transport gear for the metro market for service providers as well as so-called “critical infrastructure” customers of Ericsson.

Ericsson notes that the Juniper and ECI platforms are “fully interoperable with Ericsson’s transport portfolio and will be managed by the same Ericsson management and orchestration solution. This will simplify the overall management and control of 5G across the radio, transport and core network.” It adds that the “management and orchestration solution will also provide integrated software-defined networking (SDN) control for Ericsson, Juniper and ECI nodes, enabling automated network control for applications such as network slicing and traffic optimization, to ensure the best possible user experience.”

“The partnerships help us strengthen areas where we are not building organically,” says Batra. “Instead of making a blanket commitment to be in IP, we have segmented into radio near, core and edge, and it’s the radio-near part we’ll address with our own products.”

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks at Ericsson, says: “Our radio expertise and knowledge in network architecture, end-user applications and standardization work put us in an excellent position to understand the requirements 5G places on transport. By combining our leading transport portfolio with best-in-class partners, we will boost our transport offering and create the critical building blocks of next-generation transport networks that benefit our customers.”

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2018/9/ericsson-strengthens-end-to-end-transport-solutions-for-5g

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Separately, Ericsson will acquire service assurance firm CENX, saying the company’s closed-loop automation work will be a boon to Ericsson’s virtualization plans.

Mats Karlsson, Head of Solution Area OSS, Ericsson, says: “Dynamic orchestration is crucial in 5G-ready virtualized networks. By bringing CENX into Ericsson, we can continue to build upon the strong competitive advantage we have started as partners. I look forward to meeting and welcoming our new colleagues into Ericsson.”

Closed-loop automation ensures Ericsson can offer its service provider customers an orchestration solution that is optimised for 5G use cases like network slicing, taking full advantage of Ericsson’s distributed cloud offering. Ericsson’s global sales and delivery presence – along with its strong R&D – will also create economies of scale in the CENX portfolio and help Ericsson to offer in-house solutions for OSS automation and assurance.

Ed Kennedy CEO, CENX says: “Ericsson has been a great partner – and for us to take the step to fully join Ericsson gives us the best possible worldwide platform to realize CENX’s ultimate goal – autonomous networking for all. Our closed-loop service assurance automation capability complements Ericsson’s existing portfolio very well. We look forward to seeing our joint capability add great value to the transformation of both Ericsson and its customers.”

CENX, founded in 2009, is headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company achieved significant year-over-year revenue growth in the fiscal year that ended December 31, 2017. CENX employs 185 people.

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2018/9/ericsson-to-acquire-cenx-to-boost-network-automation-capability

Singtel, Ericsson to launch “5G” pilot network in Singapore this year

Singtel and Ericsson will launch what is touted as Singapore’s first “5G” pilot network later this year.  The 5G pilot network, scheduled to go live by the fourth quarter this year, will be deployed at one-north in Buona Vista, the city-state’s science, business and IT hub.  Later this year, the network will support trials of drones and autonomous vehicle wireless communications – applications where  very low latency is required.

Singtel and Ericsson will also work with enterprises at one-north to develop new 5G use cases and tap into the business potential of 5G.

NOTE:  The press release incorrectly states: “Ericsson’s 3GPP standards compliant 5G technology….”  As we have noted in many, many posts, 3GPP specifications are not standards and the 3GPP “5G” submission to ITU-R WP 5D for IMT 2020 won’t be completed till July 2019.
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“5G has the potential to accelerate the digital transformation of industries, as well as empower consumers with innovative applications,” Singtel CTO Mark Chong said.  “We are pleased to take another bold step in our journey to 5G with our 5G pilot network at one-north and invite enterprises to start shaping their digital future with us,”  Chong added.

He told The Straights Times (see photo below):

“The location is in line with the government’s initiative to designate one-north as a test bed for autonomous vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems. For a start, we plan to conduct a drone trial on the pilot network to showcase network slicing capability.”

Aileen Chia, deputy chief executive and director-general (Telecoms & Post) at  Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), described the 5G pilot network as “an encouraging step towards commercialization, with live 5G trial networks made possible with the regulatory sandbox IMDA has in place…IMDA will continue to work closely with mobile service providers such as Singtel in their journey to build communication capabilities of the future and complement Singapore’s efforts towards a vibrant digital economy.”

Last year, IMDA announced plans to let Singapore telcos test 5G services for free over two years and waived frequency fees for 5G trials until December 2019, as part of efforts to fuel 5G development in Singapore.

At the launch event on Monday, July 23rd,  Singtel and Ericsson demonstrated a range of potential 5G use cases, including cutting-edge 3D augmented reality (AR) streaming over a 5G network operating in the 28-GHz millimeter wave spectrum. Participants were able to view and interact with lifelike virtual objects such as a photorealistic human anatomy and a 360-degree image of the world. The immersive experience was then streamed in real-time to a remote audience via 5G.

“5G represents a key mobile technology evolution, opening up new possibilities and applications,” said Mr Martin Wiktorin, Country Manager for Ericsson Singapore, Brunei & the Philippines. “We believe that 5G will play a key role in the digital transformation of the Singapore economy. Demonstrating the possibilities in this showcase event will be a catalyst for engagements with Singapore enterprises.”

Image courtesy of Singapore Straights Times.

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The 5G pilot network is the result of a joint 5G initiative Singtel and Ericsson formed last year. In October 2017, the two companies set up a joint Certificate of Entitlement (CoE) to develop 5G technology, with an initial investment of $2 million to be deployed over three years.

Besides Singtel, Singapore’s other mobile carriers have also begun conducting their own 5G trials. M1 said last month it has partnered with Huawei to run tests in the 28-GHz mmWave spectrum, with plans to conduct the first 3.5-GHz non-standalone standards compliant field trial in Southeast Asia by the end of the year, and a 28-GHz and 3.5-GHz standalone field trial by mid-2019.  StarHub  is also working with Huawei on its 5G network trials.’

Reference:

https://www.singtel.com/about-Us/news-releases/journey-to-5g-singtel-and-ericson-to-launch-singapores-first-5g-pilot-network

Ericsson’s Deliverables and Take-aways from IoT World 2018 & Private Briefing

Ericsson is one of the top three wireless network equipment companies in the world (they were #1 until Huawei took that coveted spot).  Approximately 40% of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks.  The company has customers in 182 countries and offers comprehensive industry solutions ranging from Cloud services and Mobile Broadband to Network Design and Optimization.  Ericcson also has one of the most compelling IoT platforms in their IoT Accelerator, which we described earlier this year.

IoT platform ecosystem

Image above courtesy of Ericsson

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Ericsson had a huge presence at IoT World 2018 with an impressive exhibit floor booth, a Wednesday private briefing session at their Santa Clara, CA location and three presentations at IoT World 2018 conference sessions.

I attended the private briefing at Ericsson- Santa Clara, got a tour of some of the exhibits there, heard the talk by Shannon Lucas (VP. Head of Emerging Business Unit in North America) on Tuesday and met with Ericsson’s IoT expert Mats Alendal on Thursday for a one on one conversation about Ericsson’s IoT strategy and associated wireless WANs (e.g. NB-IoT, LTE-M, and “5G”).

Most surprising was that Mats claimed that the transition from 4G LTE to whatever the 5G RAN/RIT is will be ONLY A SOFTWARE UPGRADE OF ERICSSON’S BASE STATION.  He also said that if the 5G latency could be reduced to 1 or 2 ms, it would open up many new real time Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications that we haven’t thought of yet.  Such a low latency would require a controlled environment, typically in a manufacturing plant or similar, and mm wave radio.

Currently most IIoT applications rely on wired connectivity on a factory floor, manufacturing plant or test facility.  In a few cases wireless LANs (e.g. WiFi, Zigbee, proprietary) might be used.   Hence, wireless WAN connectivity represents a big shift for many industrial customers. IIoT use cases in manufacturing require a wireless WAN with  low latency, guaranteed delivery of messages/packets/frames, and instant control/feedback.

One of the best IIoT wireless WAN solutions is Private LTE.  It’s probably more robust than cellular LPWANs (NB-IoT and LTE-M) and provides cost benefits as well. In a Thursday afternoon session, Nokia recommended Private LTE for many of those IIoT applications (more information by emailing this author).  Ericsson is delivering Private LTE equipment via its 3GPP compliant, licensed and unlicensed bands for Private LTE.

IIoT use cases powered by Ericsson  include connected factory robots, manufacture of highly precise bladed disks (BLISKs) for turbines, and spherical roller bearings for SKF.  A case study for 5G trial for BLISKs may be viewed here.

Highlights of Shannon Lucas’ talk – Data Infrastructure: Mobile IoT: LPWAN & 5G:

  • 18B connected IoT devices are expected by 2022 (that’s down from earlier forecasts of 20B and more by 2020)
  • Edge computing network is needed for ultimate scalability and a great user experience (user might be a machine/device)
  • Hardware innovation platform can make LTE-M and NB-IoT easier to implement for network operators.  AT&T and Verizon are using Ericsson’s NB-IoT technology for their commercial offerings.
  • Ericsson has driven standards for cellular connectivity, and that effort is now naturally extending into setting standards for IoT, and more specifically, cellular IoT. With standardization, the IoT becomes a platform from which collaboration between organizations, both private and public, will benefit us all.
  • Ericsson’s standardized approach for connecting devices and sensors allows cities to collaborate and share data, regardless of legacy platforms. This helps engineers improve traffic flow, and allows emergency services to optimize response times.
  • A collaboration between Ericsson, Intelight and Teleste is helping to break up traffic and information gridlock. Four cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex have launched a regional system employing the Ericsson Connected Urban Transport ITS platform.

Wednesday Evening Private Briefing:

Ericsson Ventures (VC arm of Ericsson) is focused on driving innovation in areas that will accelerate Ericsson’s core business and generate strong financial performance.  Intent is to combine start-up solution with Ericsson’s technologies. 6 to 7 deals per year with average investment of $1.5M.  Ericsson likes to be part of a syndicate of VCs and corporate investors in the targeted start-up.  They are start-up stage agnostic.

Areas for Ericsson Ventures investment include:  IoT, analytics connected car, security, SDN, AR and VR, mobile advertising, wireless connectivity AI and ML.

Many new IoT applications will be enabled by 5G (so thinks everyone), including the connected car and real time control for IIoT.  This author is not so sure. We think that high bandwidth and/or low latency might be needed for at most 5 to 10% of IoT applications.

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References:

Ericsson IoT accelerator platform: https://www.ericsson.com/en/internet-of-things/solutions/iot-platform

Ericsson Technology Review (our most technical papers): https://www.ericsson.com/en/ericsson-technology-review

Cellular IoT Use Cases:  https://www.ericsson.com/en/networks/cases/cellular-iot

Enabling intelligent transport in 5G networks

Industrial automation enabled by robotics, machine intelligence and 5G

Ericsson white papers: https://www.ericsson.com/en/white-papers

  • 5G radio access – capabilities and technologies
  • Cellular networks for Massive IoT

Ericsson to demonstrate IoT Accelerator Marketplace at MWC 2018

Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator is a cloud-based horizontal offering composed of platform services and professional services, for service providers. It provides continuous incremental functionality offered as a Service to enable agile creation and deployment of solutions for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The telecom equipment and managed services provider is launching the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to help address the need for collaboration within the digital ecosystem community and benefit developers and service providers alike. It will be demonstrated this week at MWC 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

Key attributes of the IoT Accelerator are:

  • Enabling massive adoption of Massive IoT is a stepping stone to making 5G a reality
  • IoT Accelerator Marketplace boosts the potential for players in the Cellular IoT ecosystem to deliver value
  • Easy on boarding of partners and customer applications for service providers advancing to enterprise IoT. Application developers and application partners can easily and efficiently join the ecosystem and scale their business in a cost-efficient way

For service providers, it is a catalog to find IoT apps from the global ecosystem to offer enterprise customers and provides shorter time to market for new offerings to their enterprise customers.

For application developers and application partners it is a window to an IoT ecosystem to connect with service providers through one single platform, exposing global cellular connectivity APIs. It also includes monetization and settlement capabilities to facilitate monetization and billing across the ecosystem.

Ericsson’s latest IoT solution covers all the 3GPP cellular technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE-M, NB-IOT and emerging 5G, an Ericsson representative confirmed to Fierce Wireless.

Carrie MacGillivray, Group Vice President, Internet of Things & Mobility at Market Intelligence firm IDC:

“Communications service providers are racing to scale and differentiate in the fast moving IoT market. It’s necessary for these service providers to have a robust developer ecosystem that helps them compete. For developers working across multiple service provider networks and platforms, the challenges of fragmentation are addressed by utilizing APIs that apply globally and are consistent across all mobile networks.”

Jeff Travers, Head of IoT, Ericsson:

“The launch of IoT Accelerator Marketplace will unlock the potential for different players in the value chain to deliver value. It is another stepping stone to make 5G a reality by enabling massive adoption of massive IoT. This supports service providers as they seek to expose network connectivity IoT APIs and monetize these assets.”

Application developers can benefit from a new go-to-market exposing their offering globally through Ericsson. This will enable app developers to scale their business and at the same time develop applications based on cellular connectivity APIs with added value for enterprises, such as fast and automated device and subscription onboarding, higher security, ubiquitous cellular coverage around the world improved for indoor utilization, and superior handling of battery life.

Service providers and application developers can request access to the IoT Accelerator Marketplace here: IoT Accelerator Marketplace.

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Osvaldo Aldao, head of IoT solutions for Ericsson, talked to TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox about the new accelerator from his home base of Stockholm, Sweden.

The IOT Accelerator is our platform for acceleration of creation of applications and connection of devices to our service providers. And Ericsson have decided that 3GPP is an extremely competitive technology for IOT. If you think about how in the new tech standards of technology is evolving from narrow band IoT to all the way to 5G, I think what we want is to work with service providers to bring value to enterprises in removing some of the hurdles that we have seen in the market for IoT. And that’s why we have created this IoT Accelerator which is our IoT platform.

And as part of that platform we have now launched the IoT Marketplace and that is the place for being able to connect the application developers with device vendors, with service providers as well, and to enable the collaboration across these different players in the ecosystem.

How Ericsson is using the IoT Accelerator Marketplace to unlock the IOT ecosystem?

 What we work on in this marketplace is to connect application developers and one of the things that we will demonstrate in Barcelona [at Mobile World Congress] is we have two levels of applications developers. We will help the application developers that will have access to certain capabilities connected to this mobile technology, and also we will work with them to develop applications, that those applications can become something that can be taken at some point and offered to enterprise. We have a partnership program in place as well for bringing those applications into the marketplace where in a global scale we will enable that service providers to have access to this kind of global pool of application developers. And the role that Ericsson is doing here is more in the kind of matchmaking between opportunities in local market with service providers and enterprise and how to support or how to deliver value into those opportunities with the ecosystem of application developers.

One of the things that it’s we think very passionate for doing this is the opportunity for being able to remove some of this fragmentation in the market and friction that we see. I think there is a lot of fragmentations around different type of access and service providers and I think what we are doing with this is to have a global ecosystems scale where we could work with those, build applications and build concrete solutions for IoT and then we bring those into somebody else or clients or service providers, but also with a purpose of bringing that kind of innovation closer from service provider to enterprises.

Is massive adoption of IoT a stepping stone toward making 5G a reality?

Correct. What we see is that there is a lot of concurrent opportunities here now with IoT and those are based on narrow band IoT as we could have a much better penetration coverage in indoor areas and also we could have a use case where we could have ten years of battery lifetime. That kind of technology will evolve. We are looking at that evolution as we speak now and so we have steps like Cat-M where we could have mobility and more data functionality. And also there’s a lot of work ongoing for bringing that technology to the next step, is what we see with the 5G.

And I think this activity we are doing here now with narrow band IoT and Cat-M is a extremely important starting point for service providers to build solutions and business in the IoT space, which is really closely connected to what we are doing in the 5G.

During the MWC  we will open up the platform and then we will start to register application developers to be part of our developer community. This is something that we will support them for a number of months to build applications and then we will have a process for how we will move from this incubation into production.

 

References:

 

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2018/2/ericsson-unlocks-iot-ecosystem-with-iot-accelerator-marketplace

https://www.ericsson.com/en/networks/cases/cellular-iot

https://www.ericsson.com/en/events/mwc/live

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

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