Greg Wyler- OneWeb Satellite-Internet CEO- Telecom Man of the Year + $500M more from Softbank

Greg Wyler, the entrepreneur and CEO of satellite internet company OneWeb, has won the Fierce Wireless “Most Powerful Person In Telecom” tournament for 2017, just edging past T-Mobile CEO John Legere during this weekend’s final matchup and beating other industry notables like Ericsson’s Borje Ekholm, Apple’s Tim Cook and Verizon’s Lowell McAdam.

This past  Sunday afternoon, Legere urged his almost 5 million Twitter followers to vote for OneWeb’s Wyler instead of himself:

Join me in voting for Greg as the Most Powerful Person in Wireless! We have until tomorrow morning to put Greg_Wyler (and his mission) on top, where he belongs! https://www.fiercewireless.com/wireless/john-legere-vs-greg-wyler-vote-for-most-powerful-person-u-s-telecom-industry-2017 

“This has been an amazing public statement about the need for global connectivity. Our mission is to enable affordable access for the world’s unconnected. While we still have a lot of work to do, with the support of partners, friends, governments, and customers, I know we will get there,” Wyler said in a statement issued shortly before voting ended on Tuesday morning.

OneWeb appears to have recently received another vote of confidence from Japan’s SoftBank. According to a Wall Street Journal report, SoftBank has increased its investment in OneWeb by another $500 million, bringing its total to $1.5 billion.

Wyler also told the WSJ that the company’s initial fleet of more than 700 low-altitude satellites is “generally on schedule” for launches beginning in 2018. The company plans to start offering service in Alaska by 2019 and expanding worldwide by the end of 2020, Wyler told the Journal. Further, he said that OneWeb plans to deploy 900 second-generation, higher-orbiting satellites by the mid-2020s, which he said would allow the company to offer speeds of 2.5 Gbps.

Mr. Wyler’s project has final approval from the Federal Communications Commission to turn on domestic service within two years, barring major technical or manufacturing problems. The approval also is contingent on other conditions.

According to Mr. Wyler, his team also is “trying to lead the charge” in reducing orbital debris stemming from potential satellite collisions or failures. OneWeb’s satellites, weighing hundreds of pounds and expected to cost less than $1 million apiece, are designed to be “as high or higher in quality and reliability” than much larger models costing $150 million or more, he said.

An early financial backer of some of the largest internet companies on both sides of the Pacific, SoftBank continues to seek synergies with mobile-phone businesses and the portfolio of assorted technology companies it has assembled over the years. SoftBank also has created the world’s biggest tech investment fund, worth nearly $100 billion. The Vision Fund has been roiling the venture community with its sheer scale, lifting valuations and helping entrepreneurs bypass usual fundraising rounds.

Since its official launch in May with the backing of investors such as Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, the fund has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in companies that SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son believes will corner key technologies in a future of smarter, interconnected, and automated devices. OneWeb’s satellites are geared to help serve as the backbone for those applications, Mr. Son has said.

SoftBank, which has a 40% stake in OneWeb based on a prior investmentwalked away from merger talks between its U.S. wireless carrierSprint Corp. and rival T-Mobile US Inc., unwilling to relinquish control as the top shareholder of a spectrum Mr. Son believes will be valuable as everyday objects from cars to refrigerators increasingly communicate with one another.

Mr. Wyler, for his part, has long advocated the advantages of combining satellites circling the earth at different altitudes, arguing such synergies dramatically increase capacity and efficiencies. But unlike Mr. Musk’s concept, he doesn’t favor laser links between satellites on the grounds that such add-ons unduly increase weight and complexity.

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 Conclusions:

According to Fierce’s readership, Wyler is not only the industry’s top rising starfor 2017, he’s also the industry’s most powerful person. And that comes after Softbank reportedly  invested another $500M in One Web- his satellite Internet start-up company!

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

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