SNS Telecom & IT‘s latest research report indicates that annual spending on LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS network infrastructure – which includes RAN (Radio Access Network), mobile core and transport network equipment – will account for more than $1.5 Billion by the end of 2026.
After many years of regulatory, standardization and technical implementation activities, the United States’ dynamic, three-tiered, hierarchical framework to coordinate shared use of 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) band has finally become a commercial success. Although the shared spectrum arrangement is access technology neutral, the 3GPP cellular wireless ecosystem is at the forefront of CBRS adoption, with more than half of all active CBSDs (Citizens Broadband Radio Service Devices) based on LTE and 5G NR air interface technologies.
LTE-based CBRS network deployments have gained considerable momentum in recent years and encompass hundreds of thousands of cell sites – operating in both GAA (General Authorized Access) and PAL (Priority Access License) spectrum tiers – to support use cases as diverse as mobile network densification, FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) in rural communities, MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) offload, neutral host small cells for in-building coverage enhancement, and private cellular networks in support of IIoT (Industrial IoT), enterprise connectivity, distance learning and smart city initiatives.
Commercial rollouts of 5G NR network equipment operating in the CBRS band have also begun, which are laying the foundation for advanced application scenarios that have more demanding performance requirements in terms of throughput, latency, reliability, availability and connection density – for example, Industry 4.0 applications such as connected production machinery, mobile robotics, AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) and AR (Augmented Reality)-assisted troubleshooting.
Examples of 5G NR-based CBRS network installations range from luxury automaker BMW Group’s industrial-grade 5G network for autonomous logistics at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina and the U.S. Navy’s standalone private 5G network at NAS (Naval Air Station) Whidbey Island to mobile operator Verizon’s planned activation of 5G NR-equipped CBRS small cells to supplement its existing 5G service deployment over C-band and mmWave (Millimeter Wave) spectrum.
SNS Telecom & IT estimates that annual investments in LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS RAN (Radio Access Network), mobile core and transport network infrastructure will account for nearly $900 Million by the end of 2023. Complemented by an expanding selection of 3GPP Band 48/n48-compatible end user devices, the market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 20% between 2023 and 2026 to surpass $1.5 Billion in annual spending by 2026. Much of this growth will be driven by private cellular, neutral host and fixed wireless broadband network deployments, as well as 5G buildouts aimed at improving the economics of the cable operators’ MVNO services.
The “LTE & 5G NR-Based CBRS Networks: 2023 – 2030 – Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts” report presents a detailed assessment of the market for LTE and 5G NR in CBRS spectrum including the value chain, market drivers, barriers to uptake, enabling technologies, key trends, future roadmap, business models, use cases, application scenarios, standardization, regulatory landscape, case studies, ecosystem player profiles and strategies. The report also provides forecasts for LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS network infrastructure and terminal equipment from 2023 to 2030. The forecasts cover three infrastructure submarkets, two air interface technologies, two cell type categories, five device form factors, seven use cases and 11 vertical industries.
The report comes with an associated Excel datasheet suite covering quantitative data from all numeric forecasts presented in the report, as well as a database of over 800 LTE/5G NR-based CBRS network engagements – as of Q3’2023.
The report has the following key findings:
SNS Telecom & IT estimates that annual investments in LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS network infrastructure will account for nearly $900 Million by the end of 2023. Complemented by an expanding selection of 3GPP Band 48/n48-compatible end user devices, the market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 20% between 2023 and 2026 to surpass $1.5 Billion in annual spending by 2026.
LTE-based CBRS network deployments have gained considerable momentum in recent years and encompass hundreds of thousands of cell sites to support use cases as diverse as mobile network densification, fixed wireless broadband in rural communities, MVNO offload, neutral host small cells for in-building coverage enhancement, and private cellular networks for vertical industries and enterprises.
Commercial rollouts of 5G NR network equipment operating in the CBRS band have also begun, which are laying the foundation for Industry 4.0 and advanced application scenarios that have more demanding performance requirements in terms of throughput, latency, reliability, availability and connection density.
By eliminating the entry barriers associated with exclusive-use licensed spectrum, CBRS has spurred the entry of many new players in the cellular industry – ranging from private 4G/5G network specialists such as Celona, Betacom, Ballast Networks, Kajeet and BearCom to neutral host solutions provider InfiniG.
The secondary market for leasing and monetizing CBRS PAL spectrum rights is starting to get off the ground with the availability of spectrum exchange platforms – from the likes of Federated Wireless and Select Spectrum – which connect license holders with prospective third-party users to streamline transactions of under-utilized PAL spectrum.
Summary of CBRS Network Deployments
Summarized below is a review of LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS network across the United States and its territories:
Mobile Network Densification: Verizon has progressively rolled out CBRS spectrum for its LTE service across thousands of cell sites and is in the final stage of activating 5G NR-equipped CBRS small cells to supplement its existing 5G service deployment over C-band and mmWave (Millimeter Wave) spectrum. Claro Puerto Rico and several other mobile operators are also using CBRS to expand the capacity of their networks in high-traffic density environments.
Fixed Wireless Broadband Services: Frontier Communications, Mediacom, Midco, Nextlink Internet, Mercury Broadband, Surf Internet, Cal.net, IGL TeleConnect, OhioTT and MetaLINK are some of the many WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) that have deployed 3GPP-based CBRS networks for fixed wireless broadband services in rural and underserved markets with limited high-speed internet options.
Mobile Networks for New Entrants: Comcast and Charter Communications are leveraging their licensed CBRS spectrum holdings to install RAN infrastructure for targeted wireless coverage in strategic locations where subscriber density and data consumption is highest. The CBRS network buildouts are aimed at improving the economics of the cable operators’ MVNO services by offloading a larger proportion of mobile data traffic from host networks.
Neutral Host Networks: Among other neutral host CBRS network installations, social media and technology giant Meta has built an in-building wireless network – using small cells operating in the GAA tier of CBRS spectrum and MOCN (Multi-Operator Core Network) technology – to provide reliable cellular coverage for mobile operators Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile at its properties in the United States.
Private Cellular Networks: The availability of CBRS spectrum is accelerating private LTE and 5G network deployments across a multitude of vertical industries and application scenarios, extending from localized wireless systems for geographically limited coverage in factories, warehouses, airports, rail yards, maritime terminals, medical facilities, office buildings, sports venues, military bases and university campuses to municipal networks for community broadband, distance learning and smart city initiatives. Some notable examples of recent and ongoing deployments are listed below:
Education: Higher education institutes are at the forefront of hosting on-premise LTE and 5G networks in campus environments. Texas A&M University, Purdue University, Johns Hopkins University, Duke University, Cal Poly, Virginia Tech, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Stanislaus State, West Chester University and Howard University are among the many universities that have deployed cellular networks for experimental research or smart campus-related applications. Another prevalent theme in the education sector is the growing number of private LTE networks aimed at eliminating the digital divide for remote learning in school districts throughout the United States.
Governments & Municipalities: The City of Las Vegas is deploying one of the largest private cellular networks in the United States, which will serve as an open connectivity platform available to local businesses, government, and educational institutions for deploying innovative solutions within the city limits. Local authorities in Tucson and Glendale (Arizona), Santa Maria (California), Longmont (Colorado), Shreveport (Louisiana), Montgomery (Alabama), and Dublin (Ohio) and several other municipalities have also deployed their own private wireless networks using CBRS spectrum.
Healthcare: During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, regional healthcare provider Geisinger took advantage of CBRS spectrum to deploy a private LTE network for telemedicine services in rural Pennsylvania while Memorial Health System utilized a temporary CBRS network to provide wireless connectivity for frontline staff and medical equipment in COVID-19 triage tents and testing facilities at its Springfield (Illinois) hospital. Since then, healthcare providers have begun investing in CBRS-enabled private wireless networks on a more permanent basis to facilitate secure and reliable communications for critical care, patient monitoring and back office systems in hospital campuses and other medical settings.
Manufacturing: German automotive giant BMW has deployed an industrial-grade 5G network for autonomous logistics at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. Rival automaker Tesla is migrating PROFINET/PROFIsafe-based AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) communications from Wi-Fi to private 5G networks at its factories. Agricultural equipment manufacturer John Deere is installing private cellular infrastructure at 13 of its production facilities. Dow, another prominent name in the U.S. manufacturing sector, has adopted a private LTE network to modernize plant maintenance at its Freeport chemical complex in Texas. FII (Foxconn Industrial Internet), Del Conca USA, Logan Aluminum, OCI Global, Schneider Electric, Bosch Rexroth, CommScope, Ericsson, Hitachi and many other manufacturers are also integrating private 4G/5G connectivity into their production operations.
Military: All branches of the U.S. military are actively investing in private cellular networks. One noteworthy example is the U.S. Navy’s standalone private 5G network at NAS (Naval Air Station) Whidbey Island in Island County (Washington). Operating in DISH Network’s licensed 600 MHz and CBRS spectrum, the Open RAN-compliant 5G network delivers wireless coverage across a geographic footprint of several acres to support a wide array of applications for advanced base operations, equipment maintenance and flight line management.
Mining: Compass Minerals, Albemarle, Newmont and a number of other companies have deployed 3GPP-based private wireless networks for the digitization and automation of their mining operations. Pronto’s off-road AHS (Autonomous Haulage System) integrates private cellular technology to support the operation of driverless trucks in remote mining environments that lack coverage from traditional mobile operators.
Oil & Gas: Cameron LNG has recently implemented a private LTE network for industrial applications at its natural gas liquefaction plant in Hackberry (Louisiana). Chevron, EOG Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources and Oxy (Occidental Petroleum Corporation) are also engaged in efforts to integrate LTE and 5G NR-based CBRS network equipment into their private communications systems.
Retail & Hospitality: Private cellular networks have been installed to enhance guest connectivity and internal operations in a host of hotels and resorts, including the Sound Hotel in Seattle (Washington), Gale South Beach and Faena Hotel in Miami (Florida), and Caribe Royale in Orlando (Florida). The American Dream retail and entertainment complex in East Rutherford (New Jersey) and regional shopping mall Southlands in Aurora (Colorado) are notable examples of early adopters in the retail segment.
Sports: The NFL (National Football League) is utilizing CBRS spectrum and private wireless technology for coach-to-coach and sideline (coach-to-player) communications during football games at all 30 of its stadiums. HSG (Haslam Sports Group) and other venue owners have installed 3GPP-based private wireless infrastructure at stadiums, arenas and other sports facilities for applications such as mobile ticket scanning, automated turnstiles, POS (Point-of-Sale) systems, digital signage, immersive experiences, video surveillance, crowd management and smart parking. FOX Sports and ARA (American Rally Association) have employed the use of private 4G/5G networks to support live broadcast operations.
Transportation: Private cellular networks have been deployed or are being trialed at some of the busiest international and domestic airports, including Chicago O’Hare, Newark Liberty, DFW (Dallas Fort Worth), Dallas Love Field and MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul), as well as inland and maritime ports such as SSA Marine’s (Carrix) terminals in the ports of Oakland and Seattle. Other examples in the transportation segment range from on-premise 4G/5G networks at Amazon’s FCs (Fulfillment Centers), CalChip Connect’s Bucks County distribution center and Teltech’s Dallas-Fort Worth warehouse to Freight railroad operator’s private LTE network for rail yard workers at its outdoor rail switching facilities.
Utilities: Major utility companies spent nearly $200 Million in the CBRS PAL auction to acquire licenses within their service territories. Southern Linc, SDG&E (San Diego Gas & Electric), SCE (Southern California Edison) and Hawaiian Electric are using their licensed spectrum holdings to deploy 3GPP-based FANs (Field Area Networks) in support of grid modernization programs while Duke Energy has installed a private LTE network operating in the unlicensed GAA tier of CBRS spectrum. Among other examples, Enel has deployed a CBRS network for business-critical applications at a remote solar power plant.
Other Verticals: LTE and 5G NR-ready CBRS networks have also been deployed in other vertical sectors, including agriculture, arts and culture, construction and forestry. In addition, CBRS networks for indoor wireless coverage enhancement and smart building applications are also starting to be implemented in office environments, corporate campuses and residential buildings. Prominent examples include the Cabana Happy Valley residential complex in Phoenix (Arizona) and Rudin Management Company’s 345 Park Avenue multi-tenant commercial office building in New York City.
The 5G spectrum auction in the Netherlands has been delayed again, much to the local telecom companies’ frustration. “An auction this year is no longer a possibility,” a spokesperson for the National Digital Infrastructure Service (RDI) confirmed to NU.nl. “A new date for the auction has yet to be announced.”
KPN, Vodaphone, and Odido, formerly T-Mobile, are eagerly awaiting the chance to bid on frequencies so they can offer 5G mobile services. Mobile internet traffic in the Netherlands is growing by 30 to 50 percent per year, and consumers expect faster internet on their phones.
The RDI intended to release the 5G spectrum on the 3.5GHz band before the end of the year. But an adjustment to the National Frequency Plan (NFP) has thrown a spanner in the works. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, several parties have appealed against the adjustment. “The court will hear the appeal on October 11 and 12,” a spokesperson for the ministry told NU.nl. “Only then can we provide more clarity about when the auction can take place.”
The Dutch telecom companies were disappointed by this new delay. “This auction should have taken place a long time ago,” a KPN spokesperson told the newspaper. “We are several years out of step with other countries in Europe, and there is still a lot of uncertainty.”
“The 3.5GHz band is particularly important to us and an essential part of the development of our network,” a spokesperson for Vodafone said. “We hope that this will be available for national mobile communications in the short term.”
The Netherlands is at risk of losing its position as the country with the best mobile networks in the world, Odibo said. The new frequencies are desperately needed to handle the ever-increasing mobile internet traffic and enable faster mobile internet traffic. The latter is especially vital for Dutch industry, the Odido spokesperson told the newspaper. Mobile internet traffic is expected to grow by 30% to 50% per year in the country.
Ericsson has announced an expansion of its successful and long-standing partnership with Google Cloud to develop an Ericsson Cloud RAN solution on Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) [1.] that offers integrated automation and orchestration and leverages AI/ML for additional communications service providers (CSP) benefits. The companies have successfully demonstrated the full implementation of the Ericsson vDU and vCU on GDC Edge and the solution is running live in the Ericsson Open Lab in Ottawa, Canada, with joint ambition for market development.
Note 1. GDC is a portfolio of fully managed hardware and software solutions which extends Google Cloud’s infrastructure and services to the edge and into your data centers.
Deploying Ericsson Cloud RAN on GDC Edge enables the delivery of a fully automated and very large-scale distributed cloud, resulting in an efficient, reliable, highly performant and secured software centric radio access network infrastructure. In this setup, the on-premises GDC Edge is managed using functions such as fleet management from the public cloud through a dedicated secure connection between on-prem hardware and the cloud, while also addressing sovereignty and privacy requirements of the CSP customers. This architecture ensures the clear path for CSPs toward the implementation of a fully hybrid cloud solution for RAN.
Cloud RAN comprises a mobile switching center, a BBU hotel and a remote radio head
C-RAN networks comprise three primary components:
- A BBU hotel. This is a centralized site that functions as a data or processing center. Individual units can stack together without direct linkage or interconnect to dynamically allocate resources based on network needs. Communication between units has high bandwidth and low latency.
- A remote radio unit (RRU) network. Also known as a remote radio head, an RRU is a traditional network that connects wireless devices to access points.
- A fronthaul or transport network. Also known as a mobile switching center, a fronthaul or transport network is the connection layer between a BBU and a set of RRUs that use optical fiber, cellular or mmWave communication.
Running Ericsson Cloud RAN on GDC Edge will enable CSPs to utilize Google Cloud Vertex AI, BigQuery and other cloud services, to improve the usability of the massive data sets being provided by Cloud RAN applications. This in turn, will open a number of opportunities for CSPs to control, inspect, configure, and optimize their RAN infrastructure.
Ericsson Cloud RAN provides CSPs additional choice for creating networks based on open standards and interfaces using multiple vendors. The Ericsson Cloud RAN solution is infrastructure agnostic, allowing RAN applications to be deployed on any infrastructure chosen by the CSP. Ericsson is continuously collaborating with ecosystem partners and adapting its Cloud RAN applications to work on different infrastructures and configurations.
To further a cloud-native automation approach to network workloads, Ericsson and Google Cloud are jointly enhancing the solution through the Linux Foundation open-source project Nephio (a Kubernetes-based automation platform for deploying and managing highly distributed, interconnected workloads such as 5G network functions), where we jointly drive standardization of critical functionality.
Mårten Lerner, Head of Product Line Cloud RAN, Ericsson, says: “This partnership enables us to deepen and expand our valuable collaboration with Google Cloud, and it opens new opportunities for operators to utilize the benefits of cloud-native solutions and automation. Ericsson remains committed to ensuring the adaptability of its Cloud RAN applications on diverse cloud infrastructures, offering operators enhanced flexibility and choice in deploying Cloud RAN as well as supporting the evolving hybrid cloud architectures together with Google Cloud.”
Gabriele Di Piazza, Senior Director, Telecom Products, Google Cloud, says:
“We’re proud to enable Ericsson Cloud RAN to run on Google Distributed Cloud Edge infrastructure, which includes access to our AI/ML capabilities as well as cloud-native automations. We’re delighted to recognize Ericsson as a distinguished Google Cloud Partner and look forward to a continued strong partnership in support of our mutual customers.”
Cloud RAN with Google Distributed Cloud Edge; Strategy: host network functions of other vendors on Google Cloud
Omdia and Ericsson on telco transitioning to cloud native network functions (CNFs) and 5G SA core networks
AST SpaceMobil announced its latest satellite-based connectivity milestone, making “5G” voice and data connections between a standard smartphone and a satellite. We say “5G” because there are no 5G satellite standards – only ITU-R M.2150 for terrestrial 5G. 3GPP Rel 17-20 will specify 5G SatCom.
Using the BlueWalker 3 test satellite and its 693-square-foot array — the largest such commercial telecommunications array in low Earth orbit — engineers at AST SpaceMobile made history on September 8, 2023, by demonstrating the first-ever 5G cellular connectivity from space directly to everyday smartphones. The company proved the feat using AT&T cellular spectrum in Maui, Hawaii, to make a voice call to Vodafone in Madrid, Spain. The call was facilitated by Nokia’s network core. The company also recently achieved other firsts in space-based cellular broadband, an industry it pioneered: voice calls, 4G data downloads of more than 14 Mbps, and 4G video calls.
AST SpaceMobile has included a YouTube link of its own in its latest announcement.
The two new milestones come in the wake of AST SpaceMobile’s announcement in April that it had completed the first ever space-based voice calls using normal smartphones.
It has, of course, come under scrutiny for that claim. In July Lynk, which is building an LEO constellation to create what it terms ‘cell towers in space,’ also claimed to have completed the world’s first voice calls over its network. Lynk seemed to hang much of its claim on the fact that it had a video as proof, although opinions vary on how conclusive such a video could be.
“Once again, we have achieved a significant technological advancement that represents a paradigm shift in access to information. Since the launch of BlueWalker 3, we have achieved full compatibility with phones made by all major manufacturers and support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G,” said AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan. It’s worth noting that BlueWalker 3 is a test satellite; AST Space Mobile plans to launch its first five commercial satellites in the first quarter of next year.
“Making the first successful 5G cellular broadband connections from space directly to mobile phones is yet another significant advancement in telecommunications AST SpaceMobile has pioneered,” Avellan declared. Vodafone, AT&T and Nokia also contributed – slightly less self-congratulatory – statements about their own roles in proceedings and the potential of the technology to connect the unconnected.
It’s hard to argue with that last point, which is part of the reason why satellite-based connectivity is having something of an extended moment in the spotlight, with AST SpaceMobile, Lynk, Sateliot and others talking up their various achievements.
AST SpaceMobile describes itself as “the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones.”
AST SpaceMobile completes 1st ever LEO satellite voice call using AT&T spectrum and unmodified Samsung and Apple smartphones
China’s answer to Starlink: GalaxySpace planning to launch 1,000 LEO satellites & deliver 5G from space?
Private wireless network provider Betacom today announced a partnership with UScellular to deliver the industry’s first private/public hybrid 5G networks, advancing Industry 4.0 initiatives across the United States. The service provides security and control over business data, both on-premises and while roaming among company facilities. This seems to be similar to the “hybrid cloud” concept where a public cloud is used for general computing while a private cloud is used for mission critical applications and secure storage.
The private/public hybrid 5G network service allows organizations with multiple sites across numerous locations to maintain connectivity between locations. Enterprises working to modernize their operations across dispersed locations now have a cohesive mobility strategy with trusted partners for Industry 4.0. Uptime and performance are assured for improved operational efficiency and productivity with Betacom-backed Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
“This relationship with Betacom helps to establish a new bar for how the entire wireless industry thinks about, builds, delivers and utilizes wireless networks,” said Kim Kerr, senior vice president, enterprise sales and operations for UScellular. “These new capabilities significantly accelerate the return on investment for digital transformation and modernization initiatives for organizations of all types, from enterprise to retail to government, and move the industry as a whole forward, faster.”
UScellular’s network and extensive access agreements give customers connectivity across the United States. UScellular also provides data backhaul between sites. Enabling devices to use a single SIM with profiles for both Betacom private CBRS networks and the UScellular network ensures mobility, while integrated communication and coordination between the two companies’ 5G network cores enables seamless roaming across the country.
“Betacom and UScellular are breaking new ground for their customers and setting new precedents for the industry,” said Joe Madden, Founder and President, Mobile Experts Inc. “Enabling device mobility from facility to facility with a transition from CBRS to cellular in both directions has never been solved. This makes private/public hybrid 5G networks extremely valuable for a wide range of industries.”
Michael Davies, VP of business partner strategy and 5G-as-a-service at Betacom, explained in an interview that Betacom’s authentication system is the “secret sauce” to securing this seamlessness within an “island” environment. “We have joined together to provide a single SIM that is authenticated within the static network and then is accepted, secured and maintained throughout the mobile network into the next static environment of the island,” Davies said.
David Allen, director of emerging technologies at UScellular, added that this approach also is key to how the operator segments the private network service. “We treat that private cellular network as a peer of ours, and so when we see that SIM in the public cellular domain, whether it’s on our native network or it’s on one of our roaming partners network, we will authenticate against that private [home subscriber server], that private cellular network, get the corresponding authentication, accept or deny and then that device can proceed with the policy controls that that private network has put in place for it,” Allen said.
“You may see other people claim hybridization. We’ve been early in that messaging of hybridization of networks, the public-private hybrid networks. Others have started saying that as well, but it’s really when you peel back the layers it’s typically a two-SIM solution. That’s for the most part, historically, the way that solution’s gone. We’re working together to drive toward that single-SIM solution so that we’re authenticating a private SIM and a private device that happens to be in the public network against that private network.”
Improved Security and Control:
The solution establishes and maintains end-to-end security, utilizing virtual private networks (VPNs) to ensure that all data effectively remains on the customer premises while devices and sensors are in transit between locations. It also provides unmatched resiliency by using the cellular network for failover in cases where the CBRS network or local internet service providers (ISPs) suffer an outage. The new network architecture utilized for this service facilitates mission-critical Command, Control, Communication, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) services and solutions which require the highest degrees of data and device security. Reducing dependency on public clouds for data transfer by creating a private network through the carrier network results in fewer vulnerabilities and fewer attacks.
“The service we are announcing today recognizes that the wireless world is changing, and that connectivity, in all of its forms, must change with it,” said Betacom CEO Johan Bjorklund. “Organizations today need seamless mobility with incredibly high densities of sensors and devices to accelerate their Industry 4.0 initiatives. This new service acknowledges and uniquely meets that need.”
Betacom offers the first fully-managed private 5G network, building on its long history as a wireless infrastructure provider to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, the company has regional offices throughout the country. Having completed more than 800 large-scale design and deployment projects, Betacom inspires confidence among their customers who have worked closely with them to meet their pressing high-performance connectivity needs. Its secure private 5G wireless service is the first managed service of its kind in the United States.
Betacom earlier this year expanded the ecosystem around its platform with more than a dozen partners. This included mobile edge compute work with Google Cloud, Ingram Micro and Intel; application work with ADB SAFEGATE Americas, Evolon, Ingram Micro and Solis Energy; industrial IoT devices from Axis Communications, Ingram Micro, Qualcomm Technologies, SVT Robotics and Vecna Robotics; 5G work with Airspan, Druid Software, FibroLAN and Qualcomm; and system integration work with CDW, Ingram Micro and QuayChain.
The vendor at that time said the expanded ecosystem alleviates ongoing concerns by enterprise IT departments that they will need to manage a disparate combination of equipment, services and connectivity to deploy a private network. This should be beneficial to those enterprise IT staffs that have so far eschewed potential network complexity by going with a private network platform.
For more information, visit https://www.betacom.com.
Ooredoo Qatar announced that it has become the first operator in the world to deploy 50G PON (Passive Optical Network) connectivity, the 50 Gbps-capable fiber-based access connection for consumers. According to Ooredoo, the 50G PON technology, which has been adopted as an ITU standard, delivers fiber-based access connections with speeds of up to 50 Gbps on a single connection.
The 50G-PON system capitalizes on fundamental advances in the optical transceiver components working in conjunction with enhanced error correction and coding. It also introduces key innovations in activation procedures, contention-based operation, and expanded cryptographic features. With these improved capabilities, the 50G-PON system is ready to meet the new, and demanding, requirements of emerging services.
This new technology enables consumers to use high-bandwidth latency-sensitive applications such as 8k-interactive video applications, online collaboration and coordination solutions, 3D cloud design, high-graphic/high-quality AI applications, etc.
Dell’Oro Group believes total 50G-PON equipment revenue will increase from less than $3M in 2023 to $1.5B in 2027. Much more significant growth is expected after 2027, as operators begin to evolve their 10Gbps PON networks to next-generation technologies.
Sheikh Ali Bin Jabor Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer, Ooredoo Qatar, said: “We’re proud to be the first operator globally capable of deploying such powerful technology, which aligns perfectly with our overarching aim of upgrading our customers’ worlds. We have long had a strategic commitment to partnering with global leaders in technology and innovation, enabling us to leverage both our expertise and experience and our partners’ capabilities. This latest launch is an excellent example of the benefits we, and our customers, enjoy as a result of such partnerships. We look forward to further enhancing our offering as technology develops ever further in the years to come.”
Ooredoo’s 50G PON technology can meet the bandwidth requirements of both consumers and enterprises. Initial deployment will be for B2B customers and areas that require high-speed connectivity, with roll-out to consumers – for 8k content and AR/VR gaming, as an example – to follow.
ITU-T standards for 50G PON:
In April 2021, the ITU-T reached a major mile-stone, consenting the first three Recommendations defining a 50G PON system:
- General Requirements (G.9804.1): The legacy features linked to deployed fiber infra-structure are complemented by support for new services requiring high capacity, efficiency, low latency, and security. Coexistence with, and migration from, the installed PON systems are essential.
- Common Transmission Convergence Layer (ComTC) specification (G.9804.2): This is defined in a line rate agnostic way and thus applicable to future single-wavelength time-division multiplexing (TDM) and multi-wavelength time-and-wavelength-divi-sion multiplexing (TWDM) PON systems.
- The single-wavelength 50G-PON PMD (G.9804.3) specification is the first in the HS-PON PMD family.
New research from Juniper Research forecasts that network operators will generate $17 billion of additional revenue from 3GPP‑compliant 5G satellite networks between 2024 and 2030.
Editor’s Note: There is no serious work in ITU-R on 5G satellite networks as we’ve previously detailed. The real SatCom air interface specifications work is being done by 3GPP, under the umbrella term of NTN (Non-terrestrial Networks), in Release 17 and the forthcoming Release 18.
ITU-R WP5D is responsible for terrestrial IMT radio interfaces (IMT-2000, IMT-Advanced and IMT-2020/M.2150 as well as IMT for 2030 and Beyond), so it won’t be involved in standardizing radio interfaces satellite networks.
ITU-R Working Party 4B (WP 4B) is responsible for recommendations related to: Systems, air interfaces, performance and availability objectives for FSS, BSS and MSS, including IP-based applications and satellite news gathering.
The market research firm urges network operators to sign partnerships with SNOs (Satellite Network Operators) which will enable operators to launch monetizable satellite-based 5G services to their subscribers. SNOs possess capabilities to launch next-generation satellite hardware into space, as well as being responsible for the operation and management of the resulting networks.
The new report, Global 5G Satellite Networks Market 2023-2030 offers the most reliable source of data for the market.
Operators Hold the Key Billing Relationship:
The research predicts the first commercial launch of a 5G satellite network will occur in 2024, with over 110 million 3GPP‑compliant 5G satellite connections in operation by 2030. To capitalise on this growth, the research urges operators to prioritise immediate partnerships with SNOs that can launch GSO (Geostationary Orbit) satellites. These satellites follow the rotation of the earth to always be located above the country that the operator serves; providing consistent connectivity.
Additionally, operators must leverage their pre-existing billing relationship with mobile subscribers and enterprises as a platform to grow 5G satellite connectivity revenue over the next seven years. The report anticipates this existing billing relationship will enable operators to rapidly drive the adoption of satellite connectivity by integrating satellite services into existing terrestrial networks.
3GPP Releases related to SatCom:
3GPP Rel-17 is enabling the launch of satellite-based communications. Unlike traditional telecommunications ecosystems, the development of this market will be defined by the entrance of a new category of players – satellite vendors. These vendors will work with network operators to deploy NTNs (Non-terrestrial Networks) that side alongside terrestrial networks.
NTNs are a joint development between network operators and satellite vendors to drive growth of telecommunications services. In the future, NTNs will integrate directly with satellite-based networks to provide connectivity with comprehensive services.
However, the development of NTN specifications is far from complete, the 3GPP roadmap includes provisions in 3GPP Releases 18 and 19 for enhancements to satellite services. 3GPP Release 20 includes the provision of satellite-based standards for future 6G networks. It is only with these standards that satellite networks can progress past traditional use cases, such as weather monitoring, global positioning services and broadcasting, which require low-to-medium throughput rates and do not need low latency.
Additionally, satellites have not been required, as the low data rates provided by previous iterations of satellite technologies, combined with the high costs of satellite connectivity, have not been able to compete with the service provided by terrestrial networks.
These will be the most immediate benefits of satellite-based services for 5G networks:
• Increased network coverage: Satellites will provide increased coverage to areas where terrestrial networks are financially unviable. This is most notable in rural areas where there is little demand for cellular connectivity; leaving operators with no return on investment into the needed backhaul infrastructure and base stations.
• Increased support of backhaul infrastructure: Given the data-intensive nature of 5G services, satellite infrastructure will be used to carry data in a similar fashion to fibre services in terrestrial networks.
• Increase network capacity and throughput: Satellites can offload data from terrestrial networks. As the number of 5G connections increases, so will the data generated. In turn, satellites can not only provide coverage in areas where there is little support for 5G services, but they can also alleviate geographical areas that require high throughput and support for a large number of connections.
• More network resilience: Satellites will provide an additional layer of network redundancy for communication services during natural disasters or network outages. When terrestrial networks are inoperable, satellites will be used for connectivity in the absence of terrestrial network.
Preparation for 6G Networks:
However, the research predicts operators will increasingly rely on SNOs for service provision as 6G development accelerates. Research author Sam Barker commented:
“Operators must not only think of 5G satellite services when choosing an SNO partner, but also the forward plan for 6G networks, including coverage and throughput capabilities.”
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Samsung and VMware are continuing their collaboration to offer a powerful and comprehensive 5G solution—combining Samsung 5G Core and VMware Telco Cloud Platform 5G [1.]. This partnership makes it easier for telecom operators using the VMware platform to deploy Samsung’s 5G components. The validation supports Samsung’s ongoing attempts to boost its 5G core market share and further enhances VMware’s telecom efforts.
Note 1. VMware’sTelco cloud is a next-generation network architecture that combines software-defined networking, network functions virtualization, and cloud native technology into a distributed computing network. Since the network and the computing resources are distributed across sites and clouds, automation and orchestration are required.
Joining Samsung’s expertise in 5G Core with the power of the VMware Telco Cloud, the combined 5G solution improves the performance and reliability of core networks. In addition, the collaboration offers increased agility and scalability for network infrastructure, enabling operators to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions and customer demands.
The companies have been involved in continuous testing, certification and validation efforts to ensure that Samsung’s 5G Core network functions are fully compatible with VMware Telco Cloud Platform 5G. After validation, Samsung received certification for its 5G Core network functions by the VMware Ready for Telco Cloud program, ensuring compatibility and reliability with VMware technology.
VMware Ready for Telco Cloud certification has been granted to Samsung’s Core network functions, including UPF, NSSF, SMF, AMF, and NRF. The Ready for Telco Cloud certification ensures that network functions are ready for deployment and lifecycle operations with VMware technology. These certified network functions will deliver improved performance, enhanced security features and increased agility and scalability for core networks.
VMware initially rolled out its overarching Telco Cloud Platform in early 2021, which itself was an expansion of its reorganized and repacked stack of technologies for network operators. It has since updated that specific platform as well as expanded its reach into other 5G markets like private 5G and mobile edge compute.
Specific to its work with Samsung, VMware began those efforts in late 2020. That move called for Samsung to integrate its network core, edge, and radio access network (RAN) offerings with VMware and for Samsung to extend its support for cloud-native architecture by adapting its suite of products for containerized network functions (CNFs) and virtual network functions (VNFs) on VMware’s software stack and network automation services.
earlier this year announced the first commercial collaboration with Samsung, which involved integrating Samsung’s virtualized RAN (vRAN) with VMware’s Telco Cloud Platform as part of Dish Network’s ongoing 5G network deployment.
That work built on Dish Network’s plan to deploy 24,000 Samsung open RAN-compliant radios and 5G vRAN software systems running on VMware’s platform that underlines Dish Network’s nascent 5G network.
The companies’ continued collaboration will accelerate the advancement of 5G Core networks and help operators to introduce innovative services that will lead to revenue growth and enhanced customer experiences.
AT&T and Comcast have become “founding partners” of the 5G Open Innovation Lab, which invests in 5G use case development. The companies essentially replaced T-Mobile, which is no longer participating in the lab it helped to launch in 2020. The Lab now also includes Dell, Nokia, Intel, Microsoft, and Deloitte. It is currently assisting 118 startups in search of “5G Killer Apps.”
“As evidenced by the 118 startups in our ecosystem, the combination of 5G and edge is unlocking a massive wave of collaborative innovation in Cloud, Edge and AI across every industry from agriculture and power generation to manufacturing, logistics and medicine,” said Jim Brisimitzis, Founder and General Partner of the 5G Open Innovation Lab in in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome AT&T and Comcast as founding partners to help drive our vision to bring industry experts together and, collectively, drive innovation into overlapping ecosystems. 5G and edge are new foundations that can be used to drive new business models and technology across segments and companies,” he added.
Those startups could stand to benefit from the two companies. AT&T was one of the first carriers to launch a 5G network (based on 3GPP Release 15 in December 2018) and has been working on this technology for a long time.
“Collaboration is the key to innovation,” Jay Cary, VP, Strategic Alliances, Corporate Strategy at AT&T said in a statement. “As we continue forging ahead to realize 5G’s full potential, it is important to work with the nimble startup and innovation community so we can move faster and solve real-world technology challenges more holistically and effectively for our customers.”
While Comcast doesn’t have a 5G network, the company has increasingly gotten into the wireless business through a reseller agreement with Verizon. It’s also talked about small network build outs that would increase the coverage for customers in its territories.
“The cycle of innovation often begins in small companies where a new idea can challenge existing ones, and Comcast has had success taking risks and embracing these new ideas,” Tom Nagel, senior vice president of wireless strategy at Comcast, said. “Engaging with the startup community through our own Lift Labs or with organizations like the 5G Open Innovation Lab is an important factor not only in our own efforts but to push the industry forward in exciting new ways.”
On Monday, AT&T said it’s adding thousands of new customers every day to its standalone 5G network along with subscribers to Internet Air. So far, the home broadband system has launched in 16 markets and boasts 40-140 Mbps down and 5-25 Mbps up, costs about $55 a month with no data caps. Internet Air will provide DSL customers with faster internet without having to replace copper lines, which more companies are starting to shut down.
Yesterday, Comcast said in a Securities Exchange Commission filing agreed to sell some, if not all, of its 600MHz spectrum holdings to T-Mobile. The deal is valued between $1.2 and $3.3 billion, depending on how much spectrum T-Mobile acquires. Comcast has also flirted with the idea of building its own mobile network for markets inside its cable footprint.
Batch #8 welcomes 17 new startups to 5G OI Lab’s open ecosystem bringing the total number of participating companies to 118. The multi-stage startups selected for the Lab’s Fall Batch #8 hail from around the Globe and represent cutting-edge enterprise solutions in fields such as real-time logistics and tracking, robotics, private mobile network security and IoT enablement.
Since the 5G Open Innovation Lab’s program inception in 2020, participating startups and alumni have raised a lifetime total of $2.088B with several exits valued at $200+M.
The startups selected to join the 5G Open Innovation Lab’s Fall Batch #8 include:
- Airspace – At Airspace, we believe in the potential drones have to positively impact the ways in which we do business, deliver services, and respond to emergencies. In order for that to happen, drones need to be flown safely.
- ASOCS – ASOCS provides a fully virtualized Private 5G Network solution, along with 5G Positioning Services for enterprises that require mission-critical, data-driven applications. ASOCS products are delivered on a scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) model.
- Clevon – Clevon develops and manufactures autonomous robot carriers, making last-mile delivery more innovative, environmentally friendly and efficient.
- Cumucore – Cumucore is a light mobile core with Industry 4.0 specific feature set to enable affordable next-generation mobile private networks.
- Eridan – Eridan is building the world’s first digital sampling radio for 4G, 5G, and beyond.
- Expanso – Expanso, building upon their open-source project Bacalhau, offers a platform for distributed compute. They orchestrate jobs to run where the data is generated and stored, providing a fast and secure solution for large-scale data processing.
- Golioth – Golioth is uniquely positioned to enable custom IoT hardware to scale easily from one device to millions.
- HeadSpin – HeadSpin enables testing and monitoring of mobile, web, audio/video applications in real-time with AI-based insights.
- Intuitive Robotics – Intuitive Robotics leverages cutting-edge technologies, including 5G, edge computing, computer vision AI, generative AI, IoT, data analytics, and cloud computing, to deliver innovative SaaS solutions capable of addressing complex challenges across diverse industries such as agriculture, renewable energies, oil and gas, mining, and public safety.
- Kallipr – Kallipr are experts in remote monitoring IoT solutions that automate data generation at the extreme edge, allowing industries to increase operational efficiency, reduce operating costs and improve sustainability.
- Namla – Namla Cloud provides a platform that allows companies of any size to automatically deploy & manage thousands of edges in the best-optimized way.
- Nubix – Nubix is an edge native application platform that makes it easy to build, deploy and manage IoT and edge applications.
- OneLayer – OneLayer provides zero trust security and full asset management capabilities to IoT and other devices connected to a private cellular network.
- Orion Labs – Orion provides edge-optimized voice collaboration for frontline workers with encrypted, secure Push-to-Talk (PTT), location and media, and Voice AI Commands, Queries and Workflows for process automation.
- Pratexo – Pratexo brings the benefits of hybrid and distributed cloud computing to the edge of power systems that drive the energy transition.
- Real Life Robotics – Real Life Robotics is changing the way companies manage their labor. With our customizable cargo robotics platform, BUBs, we help clients fill the labor gap and focus their people on more value-added tasks.
- Reelables – Reelables smart labels automate data collection with real-time visibility into supply chain operations and performance.
About 5G Open Innovation Lab
The 5G Open Innovation Lab is a global innovation ecosystem that brings together multi-stage startups, enterprise and global technology platforms and investors to connect and collaborate on developing disruptive new enterprise technologies and solutions that capitalize on the power of edge computing connected to public and private 5G networks.
In just 4 years, the Lab has attracted a roster of world-class corporate and industry partners as well as 118 multi-stage enterprise startups who have collectively raised $2.088B of venture capital. Through 5G OI Lab’s unique model of open collaborative innovation, corporate partners work directly with ecosystem startups to accelerate commercialization through proof of concept, go-to-market, and other engagements and opportunities.
This June, we noted that the FCC was exploring shared use of the 42 GHz band using in 500 megahertz of spectrum. Recently, T-Mobile and Charter voiced support for some kind of spectrum sharing scenario.
“While wireless carriers continue to require additional spectrum that is licensed on an exclusive-use basis, T-Mobile agrees that the technical characteristics of the 42GHz band, along with its separation from other millimeter wave spectrum that has already been licensed, means that the commission may wish to consider a different approach here,” T-Mobile wrote in an August 30th FCC filing.
“The commission, however, should avoid applying untested, novel sharing approaches to the 42GHz band. Instead, it should implement the nationwide non-exclusive licensing framework currently used in the 70/80/90GHz bands, with a few modifications to ensure that the spectrum will be used efficiently and may be deployed for [a] variety of advanced communications services.”
Charter has long eyed the 37GHz band as a way to bolster mobile operations in its planned 3.5GHz CBRS network. The MSO/cableco has said it could offer speeds up to 1 Gbit/s via concurrent operations in the CBRS and 37GHz bands.
Charter’s FCC filing is similar to T-Mobile’s, as it supports a “unified nationwide, non-exclusive simple shared licensing regime.” The company urged the FCC to implement the same spectrum sharing design across both the lower 37GHz band and the 42GHz band.
“Allocating the lower 37GHz band for non-exclusive use would offer 600 megahertz for innovative new wireless connectivity in the United States,” Charter noted. “The allocation of the 42GHz band alongside the lower 37GHz band would of course increase the total spectrum available for innovative new deployments by 500 megahertz.”
The 42GHz band resides in what is known as millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum. 5G transmissions in those bands are at very high speeds, but they typically travel just a few thousand feet, and generally cannot pass through obstructions like walls, trees, glass or concrete, i.e. they require line of sight communications.
WRC 19 identified mmWave frequencies for 5G, but ITU-R WP 5D did not complete and agree on the frequency arrangements for same (revision 6 of ITU-R M.1036) until very recently. WRC 19 identified the frequency bands: 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz for the deployment of 5G networks and the frequency arrangements for them is in draft recommendation ITU-R M.1036 which is expected to be approved this November. Note that 42GHz is not included!
Some analysts are quite positive on mmWave communications. For example, “mmWave 5G offers a way to improve on the current situation because the bands have extremely high capacity that are able to support very large amounts of data traffic and users, although in a small area,” wrote OpenSignal analyst Ian Fogg in a post on the network-monitoring firm’s website.
Qualcomm is also an advocate of spectrum sharing in mmWave bands since at least July 2022.
Image Credit: Qualcomm
Qualcomm’s filings to open the Lower 37 GHz band to shared licensed access ask the FCC to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to allocate six 100-MHz-wide priority licenses in the Lower 37 GHz band and allow each priority operator—which may be a federal government or a commercial operator—to use the rest of the band on a secondary basis. To enable these secondary operations on an interference-free basis, each priority operator would implement a technology-neutral, equipment-based rule to provide coordinated, periodic listening of the channel, referred to as long term sensing (LTS), to determine whether its secondary operations on spectrum outside its priority licensed spectrum may cause harmful interference to the priority license holder of that swath of spectrum.
Secondary operations are only allowed for communications links that sensing determines will not cause interference to the priority licensee. The coordinated sensing procedure allows each priority license holder to access all other channels (i.e., the other 500 MHz) on a secondary – and interference-free – basis, increasing overall spectrum utilization while not degrading the QoS for the priority licensee.