T-Mobile U.S. profit beats estimates; Plan to launch 5G on 600 MHz in 2H-2019

T-Mobile USA, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier by subscriber count, beat Wall Street analysts estimates for first-quarter revenue and profit, as competitive pricing lured new subscribers to its monthly cellphone plans.  Net income surged to $908 million, or $1.06 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from $671 million, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier.  Analysts had expected the company to earn 91 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.   Revenue rose nearly 6 percent to $11.08 billion, in line with estimates.

T-Mo added a net 656,000 phone subscribers in the first quarter, up from 617,000 additions a year earlier and substantially more than the 612,000 new subscribers analysts had expected, according to research firm FactSet.

The wireless telco is awaiting approval of its $26 billion deal to buy smaller rival Sprint Corp, which it has said will give it scale to compete with market leaders Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc.

T-Mobile US Chief Executive John Legere said during a post-earnings call with analysts that he remained “optimistic and confident” that U.S. regulators would recognize the merger as good for consumers, and said he still expects deal approval in the first half of this year.

Reuters reported last week that the U.S. Justice Department has told T-Mobile and Sprint it has concerns about the merger in its current structure.  At a meeting on Wednesday, U.S. regulators questioned Sprint and T-Mobile executives about the deal.

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile said: “We’re off to a fast start in 2019 with customer growth that accelerated year-over-year, record low churn and we expect to lead the industry in postpaid phone growth. We’re executing on our business plan and our guidance shows that we expect our momentum to continue.”

On the earnings call, Legere added:  “And even with Charter and Sprint left to report. T-Mobile still took an estimated 88% of the industry’s postpaid phone growth. We also put up a customer growth number that accelerated year-over-year, extended our streak of more than 1 million total net per quarter to six years and delivered an all time record low postpaid phone churn results of 0.88%, by the way, that churn number is better than AT&T and within 4 basis points of Verizon.”

The company claims they have Industry Leading Network Performance:

  • 99% of Americans now covered with a 4G LTE network that is second to none
  • Fastest combined average of download and upload speeds for 21 quarters in a row
  • Aggressive deployment of 600 MHz using 5G ready equipment, now reaching nearly 3,500 cities and towns
  • On track to have the first nationwide 5G network available next year

Legere speaking on the earnings call:

“We continued to expand our 4G LTE coverage and deliver industry-leading network performance. Our network now covers approximately 326 million Americans with 4G LTE. And now we have 600 megahertz and 700 megahertz low band spectrum deployed to 304 million people across the country. In terms of 4G LTE speeds for 21 quarters in a row, we delivered the fastest combined average of download and upload speeds.

Our engineering team is hard at work building the foundation for America’s first real nationwide 4G network with an aggressive build out of 600 megahertz spectrum, which we expect to be ready next year as well as millimeter wave. Our 600 megahertz LTE deployment is on equipment that’s 5G ready. And we continue to make incredible progress since getting our hands on the spectrum. Almost 3,500 cities and towns in 44 states and Puerto Rico alive with LTE on 600 megahertz today, well ahead of expectations.

And we have 4,600 megahertz capable devices in our lineup today including the new iPhones. We plan to launch 5G on 600 megahertz as soon as we have compatible smart phones in the second half of this year. And if our merger with Sprint is approved, we will get access to unmatched available mid-band spectrum for 5G, which will result in a uniquely powerful 5G network with eight times the capacity by 2024 of the combined standalones today and 15 times average speeds by 2024 verses today.

We certainly watched Verizon’s 5G launch experiment on millimeter wave spectrum in tiny pockets of two cities with interest. Not surprisingly, customers are having a hard time finding a signal. And probably not just because Verizon won’t publish a coverage map. And I won’t even get into that trickery AT&T is using with customers on 5GE. While they both are pursuing 5G BS, we think 5G should be for everyone, everywhere. Having 5G on 600 megahertz in terms of coverage and adding Sprint spectrum for broad capacity will be a true game changer and will turn New T-Mobile into the undisputed 5G leader, not only in the U.S. but around the world. We remained very confident in our outlook for 2019 and it’s reflected in our guidance that Braxton will review in a minute.”

CTO Neville Ray answers a spectrum question from Simon Flannery of Morgan Stanley on the earnings call:

“As we’re rolling out 600 megahertz, we’re using 5G capable radio (3GPP Rel 15 “5G NR”). So obviously we’re taking new software on a regular basis, the 5G softwares coming in heavy and fast.

But here we are today, we’ve got over 1 million square miles of 600 megahertz LTE rolled out for across.  It’s working in 44 states and Puerto Rico. And we have a 100 million covered POPs on 600 megahertz LTE. So we’ve said that in 2020, we’ll have a nationwide footprint on 5G. And as we look at our launch environment, when we get the terminals in the second half of 2019, we’re going to be lighting up an enormous footprint on 5G, an enormous footprint on 600 megahertz.

And we have a lot of spectrum as you point out. We were incredibly successful in the auction, which seems like yesterday, that was two years ago. And we intend to put down a very large three, four lane highway across the U.S. with 600 megahertz. And I think it’s going to be in stark contrast to the pockets of 5G that are out there today and very, very limited from AT&T and Verizon. And Verizon maybe doing more cities, but it seems to be a handful of sites in very urban environments with very limited range.

And we’re not sitting there just throwing rocks at millimeter wave. We believe in millimeter wave, but – and we will launch millimeter wave services ourselves. But I can tell you now the software is not mature. We continue to work with the same equipment and software as the Verizon guys have decided to launch and even have the goal to ask their customers to pay $10 bucks more a month to access wherever they could find it. I believe they pulled that back today. They’ve pulled back the $10 price like they were trying to force on people, but comparing contrast tens of millions of covered POPs with 5G to handfuls. That’s the excitement and scale of what we love to do with 5G. Not in 2020, but in 2019. And as soon as we can get those devices onto – and into our customer’s hands, we will.”

John Legere:

“I just editorialize, I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve never seen a team move as fast to deploy spectrum as an excellent team that moved on this 600 MHz. Yes, we use to think that we are now across 3,500 cities and towns in 44 states and Puerto Rico, 1 million square miles of territory with 600 and all of that already 5G compatible. We talk about being the first one to be nationwide next year, a lot of times that’s defined as 200 million, maybe we’ll march past that. But here we are in April of 2019 already having accomplished that kind of a milestone. It’s amazing.”

Ray answers a multi-part question from Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson LLC:

“I talked the lengths are about what we can do with 600 megahertz and obviously, as we light up, think about just on a standalone basis, lighting up 30 megahertz nationwide on top of the assets that we’ve deployed today. So speeds are absolutely going to move from the 30, 35 net averages, they that exist in the network today, into the 60s and 70s peak speeds are going to move well north probably not quite doubling where we are today, but into the hundreds of megabits per second.

That’s achievable, right. As you combine an aggregate, the 600 megahertz in with the mid-band spectrum that we have. So that’s a very interesting proposition. But it fails in comparison to what we can do with the New T-Mobile. And the rollout that we can achieve with 2.5 gigahertz and especially the amount of spectrum mid-band spectrum that we can push into 5G early, and address this need of mid-band 5G, which the world – the rest of the world is running with. Craig as you know, here in the U.S., we have this mid-band dilemma. We can solve that with the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint, and really move forward with a tremendous 5G experience with breadth and depth and all of the data and the fact points that John pointed out earlier in the messaging.

So that’s the piece I’m focused on. Obviously on a standalone basis, it’s a different world. But then that’s us and AT&T and Verizon and everybody else trying to figure out how do we move to that next level of performance with 5G in a world where the mid-band spectrum that’s needed to really drive that is not coming from auctions or from other sources in any real timeframe that’s comfortable for anybody.

But the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint creates that mid-band opportunity in a way that cannot be created in the U.S. marketplace over the coming years. That’s what’s so unique and exciting about the opportunity. And Craig, that’s where I spend my time. I’m thinking about that piece. I know we’ve got a very strong network. I’m adding a lot of 600 megahertz, a new spectrum to the asset that we have. So a lot of confidence there, but the excitement and the thing that we long for and look forward to is this combination of the Sprint.”





Waiting for 5G? Researchers want early development of 6G telecom technologies in South Korea

by Lim Chang-won; email : [email protected]

South Korea has become a front runner in disseminating 5G mobile services, but researchers were not complacent, calling for the early and pre-emptive development of next-generation technologies for market advantage as it did in code-division multiple access (CDMA), a second-generation channel access method used in mobile phone standards.South Korea started providing 5G services for ordinary consumers on April 4, claiming to be “industry-first.” 5G is ten times faster than 4G. Although 6G is still seen as an illusion, researchers at the University of Oulu think the future-generation mobile network can transfer terabits per second, creating near-instant microsecond connectivity between societies.

“We have begun to discuss the development of 6G mobile communication technologies,”Kim Myung-joon, president of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), told reporters on April 24. “I think securing intellectual property rights is more important than anything.”

ETRI is a major state-funded body in wireless communication domain that has played a crucial role in the history of South Korea’s telecom industry by commercializing CDMA technologies in the 1990s. The institute has been working on Terahertz (THz) band for 6G. THz is a unit of frequency defined as one trillion cycles per second.

Because 6G is 100 times faster than 4G LTE and five times faster than 5G, scientists say it will open a completely new era. China has already disclosed a roadmap to develop 6G for commercialization in 2030.

“Not only China but also other countries such as the U.S. and Japan are scrambling to develop 6G technologies.” said a mobile telecom industry official on condition of anonymity. “In order to secure a voice in national security or the international telecom market, preempting 6G-based technology is an essential task.”

In January, LG Electronics opened a 6G research lab through cooperation with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), a prestigious state science school, to secure core technologies for 6G mobile communication. “It is meaningful to start the development of 6G mobile communication technology ahead of others,” said Cho Dong-ho, a KAIST professor who heads LG‘s research lab.



6G Research Centre (Center) in South Korea:

In January 2019, LG Electronics and KAIST opened a 6G research centre to ‘lead in next-generation mobile telecommunications’, the pair said.

The LG-Electronics-KAIST 6G Research Centre will be housed at Daejeon, which is home to the university’s KAIST Institute research complex.

KAIST Institute was set up in 2006 and focuses on convergence research. LG Electronics said it will use the institute’s personnel and infrastructure to preemptively secure technology for 6G.

“We want to secure core technologies for sixth generation wireless network ahead of time,” the company said.

5G is yet to be commercialised but Asia already has its eyes on 6G as the competition heats up among them. China has said it will begin 6G research from 2020.




With no 5G standard (IMT 2020) China is working on 6G!


AT&T Earnings Disappoint; 5G pricing ~ broadband fixed line & LAN replacement for business customers?

AT&T reported 2019 Q1 net income of $4.1 billion, or 56 cents per share, down from $4.66 billion, or 75 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before.  Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 86 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimate by 1 cent.  AT&T earnings  continued its streak of either missing or just hitting analyst expectations.  EPS was in line with expectations, while revenues were off $270M despite growing 17.8% Y/Y fueled by the Time Warner acquisition.  Revenue grew 18 percent to $44.83 billion in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $45.09 billion.

The U.S.’s second-largest wireless carrier after Verizon added 80,000 cellphone customers who pay a monthly bill, the more lucrative type of wireless customer. AT&T also added “prepaid” cellphone customers.

During AT&T’s earnings call, CEO Randall Stephenson said that he anticipates that there is a chance 5G mobile plans could more closely resemble broadband internet plans versus current LTE plans. For example, with LTE plans, it is priced based on how much data you need, but other than that, a customer on a 1GB data plan versus a customer on a 50GB data plan will experience the same speeds.

However, with 5G, Stephenson said, “I will be very surprised if, as we move into wireless, the pricing regime in wireless doesn’t look something like the pricing regime you see in fixed line. If you can offer a gig speed, there are some customers that are willing to pay a premium for 500 meg to a gig speed, and so forth. So I expect that to be the case. We’re two to three years away from seeing that play out.”

“Right now, from 5G what we’re seeing is exclusively businesses,” said Stephenson. “It’s serving as a LAN replacement product.” Business customers are installing a 5G router, but when more devices start showing up on the market with embedded 5G modems, “then you don’t even need the router,” he said.

AJW Comment: A 5G private LAN competes with private LTE and IEE 802.11ax.  It’s hardly a slam dunk commercial success and is not even a use case for IMT 2020.  ONCE AGAIN, THERE IS NO STANDARD FOR 5G UNTIL IMT 2020 HAS BEEN APPROVED!


3GPP Rel 15 “5G NR” (not a standard)  is being deployed in two distinct sets of spectrum, with very different characteristics


Stephenson noted that business customers pay more for higher speeds in AT&T’s fixed line offerings, and the company expects the same to hold true with 5G. Ultimately, the company expects a 5G “pricing regime” that will look similar to its fixed-line pricing regime. But it doesn’t expect that to play out for two to three years.

“We’ll have 5G coverage nationwide next year. We’ll offer 5G to both businesses and consumers.”

The AT&T CEO was also very bullish on the company’s FirstNet business for emergency services. FirstNet “has passed the halfway mark,” he said, adding that it serves 7,000 agencies with 570,000 subscribers. And he reiterated his point that FirstNet is helping AT&T speed the build-out of 5G.

AT&T CFO John Stephens elaborated, “We’re at 53% of our network buildout for FirstNet. For 5G we’re operational in 19 markets today, using that 39GHz mmWave spectrum.”

Stephenson added, “Turning up FirstNet is having exactly the impact we hoped it would have. The value proposition is now one of quality and speed and delivery of video.”  FirstNet is driving a non-inconsequential impact on subscriber gains. In addition, it’s giving AT&T more penetration in rural communities and allowing the company to take market share. “FirstNet is going to be strategic for us for a number of years,” said Stephenson.

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Will Hyperscale Cloud Companies (e.g. Google) Control the Internet’s Backbone?

Rob Powell reports that Google’s submarine cable empire now hooks up another corner of the world. The company’s 10,000km Curie submarine cable has officially come ashore in Valparaiso, Chile.

The Curie cable system now connects Chile with southern California. it’s a four-fiber-pair system that will add big bandwidth along the western coast of the Americas to Google’s inventory.  Also part of the plans is a branching unit with potential connectivity to Panama at about the halfway point where they can potentially hook up to systems in the Caribbean.

Subcom’s CS Durable brought the cable ashore on the beach of Las Torpederas, about 100 km from Santiago. In Los Angeles the cable terminates at Equinix’s LA4 facility, while in Chile the company is using its own recently built data center in Quilicura, just outside of Santiago.

Google has a variety of other projects going on around the world as well, as the company continues to invest in its infrastructure.  Google’s projects tend to happen quickly, as they don’t need to spend time finding investors to back their plans.

Curie is one of three submarine cable network projects Google unveiled in January 2018. (Source: Google)


Powell also wrote that SoftBank’s HAPSMobile is investing $125M in Google’s Loon as the two partner for a common platform, and Loon gains an option to invest a similar sum in HAPSMobile later on.

Both companies envision automatic, unmanned, solar-powered devices in the sky above the range of commercial aircraft but not way up in orbit. From there they can reach places that fiber and towers don’t or can’t. HAPSMobile uses drones, and Loon uses balloons. The idea is to develop a ‘common gateway or ground station’ and the necessary automation to support both technologies.

It’s a natural partnership in some ways, and the two are putting real money behind it. But despite the high profile we haven’t really seen mobile operators chomping at the bit, since after all it’s more fun to cherry pick those tower-covered urban centers for 5G first and there’s plenty of work to do. And when they do get around to it, there’s the multiple near-earth-orbit satellite projects going on to compete with.

But the benefit both HAPSMobile and Loon have to their model is that they can, you know, reach it without rockets.


AWS’s Backbone (explained by Sapphire):

An AWS Region is a particular geographic area where Amazon decided to deploy several data centers, just like that. The reason behind a chosen area is to be close to the users and also to have no restrictions. At the same time, every Region is also connected through private links with other Regions which means they have a dedicated link for their communications because for them is cheaper and they also have full capacity planing with lower latency.

What is inside a Region?

  • Minimum 2 Availability Zones
  • Separate transit centers (peering the connections out of the World)

How transit centers work?

AWS has private links to other AWS regions, but they also have private links for the feature AWS Direct Connect – a dedicated and private & encrypted (IPSEC tunnel) connection from the “xyz” company’s datacenters to their infrastructures in the Cloud, which works with the VLANs inside (IEEE 802.1Q) for accessing public and private resources with a lower latency like Glacier or S3 buckets and their VPC at the same time between <2ms and usually <1ms latency. Between Availability Zones (inter AZ zone) the data transit there’s a 25TB/sec average.

From AWS Multiple Region Multi-VPC Connectivity:

AWS Regions are connected to multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as well as to Amazon’s private global network backbone, which provides lower cost and more consistent cross-region network latency when compared with the public internet.  Here is one illustrative example:


From Facebook Building backbone network infrastructure:

We have strengthened the long-haul fiber networks that connect our data centers to one another and to the rest of the world.

As we bring more data centers online, we will continue to partner and invest in core backbone network infrastructure. We take a pragmatic approach to investing in network infrastructure and utilize whatever method is most efficient for the task at hand. Those options include leveraging long-established partnerships to access existing fiber-optic cable infrastructure; partnering on mutually beneficial investments in new infrastructure; or, in situations where we have a specific need, leading the investment in new fiber-optic cable routes.

In particular, we invest in new fiber routes that provide much-needed resiliency and scale. As a continuation of our previous investments, we are building two new routes that exemplify this approach. We will be investing in new long-haul fiber to allow direct connectivity between our data centers in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.

As with our previous builds, these new long-haul fiber routes will help us continue to provide fast, efficient access to the people using our products and services. We intend to allow third parties — including local and regional providers — to purchase excess capacity on our fiber. This capacity could provide additional network infrastructure to existing and emerging providers, helping them extend service to many parts of the country, and particularly in underserved rural areas near our long-haul fiber builds.


Venture Beat Assessment of what it all means:

Google’s increasing investment in submarine cables fits into a broader trend of major technology companies investing in the infrastructure their services rely on.

Besides all the datacenters AmazonMicrosoft, and Google are investing in as part of their respective cloud services, we’ve seen Google plow cash into countless side projects, such as broadband infrastrucure in Africa and public Wi-Fi hotspots across Asia.

Elsewhere, Facebook — while not in the cloud services business itself — requires omnipresent internet connectivity to ensure access for its billions of users. The social network behemoth is also investing in numerous satellite internet projectsand had worked on an autonomous solar-powered drone project that was later canned. Earlier this year, Facebook revealed it was working with Viasat to deploy high-speed satellite-powered internet in rural areas of Mexico.

While satellites will likely play a pivotal role in powering internet in the future — particularly in hard-to-reach places — physical cables laid across ocean floors are capable of far more capacity and lower latency. This is vital for Facebook, as it continues to embrace live video and virtual reality. In addition to its subsea investments with Google, Facebook has also partnered with Microsoft for a 4,000-mile transatlantic internet cable, with Amazon and SoftBank for a 14,000 km transpacific cable connecting Asia with North America, and on myriad othercable investments around the world.

Needless to say, Google’s services — ranging from cloud computing and video-streaming to email and countless enterprise offerings — also depend on reliable infrastructure, for which subsea cables are key.

Curie’s completion this week represents not only a landmark moment for Google, but for the internet as a whole. There are currently more than 400 undersea cables in service around the world, constituting 1.1 million kilometers (700,000 miles). Google is now directly invested in around 100,000 kilometers of these cables (62,000 miles), which equates to nearly 10% of all subsea cables globally.

The full implications of “big tech” owning the internet’s backbone have yet to be realized, but as evidenced by their investments over the past few years, these companies’ grasp will only tighten going forward.

China Unicom to launch 5G consumer services May 2019 in 7 Chinese cities

China Unicom on Tuesday announced that it would offer 5G services for a selected group of users to try the ultra-fast wireless network, becoming the first Chinese telco to offer 5G services to the public and marking the start of consumer 5G in the country.  At a conference in Shanghai, the carrier also announced other plans for 5G, including devices and global cooperation, boosting its advances in the rollout of the ultra-speed network. But analysts said that despite the progress, final commercialization could take more time to be realized.

China Unicom launched its 5G trial services on Tuesday at its global partner conference in Shanghai, saying that it is the first telecom carrier in China to offer the public 5G trial services, according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times.  As part of the program, China Unicom will provide selected users 5G services as well as handsets that are capable of running on 5G networks, the statement said.  With China Unicom’s move to offer consumer 5G, China will become one of the first countries to launch commercial 5G, following launches in the US, South Korea and some in Europe.

At the conference, the company also announced that it would launch 5G services in seven Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong Province, and it displayed five mobile devices that support 5G connections.  Although other companies, including China Mobile, have conducted tests on 5G networks, China Unicom’s move shows that China might be near the final rollout of the network, analysts said.


People walk past outside the China Unicom office building in Beijing, October 9, 2013.

“China is making a lot of progress in developing 5G-related technologies. With the software and hardware ready, we can expect that 5G licenses will soon be granted to operators, such as China Telecom and China Unicom,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Xiang noted that the readiness in the “key parts of the 5G industrial chain” means that hardware, including 5G base stations and 5G devices, as well as software, including the provision of stable 5G networks, are both ready for commercialization.

Overall deployment of 5G in China is moving forward smoothly, and it is expected to see more application of the next generation of mobile technologies in the Internet of Things, healthcare, smart manufacturing and others, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Tuesday.

“The most challenging thing is how to use 5G technologies well,” Wen Ku, director of the telecom department at the ministry, told a press briefing in Beijing, noting that the most mature applications so far are in the consumer and auto sectors.

China Unicom said it has formed an alliance on innovative 5G applications with dozens of companies in areas such as media, the industrial internet, automobile, healthcare and education.

“The application of any technology becomes mature through trial and error,” Xiang said. “The trial application in the seven cities will provide the operator with important feedback so that the 5G service can be improved when it’s in official use.”

Still, there could be a way to go before the final commercialization of 5G in China, according to Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom analyst.  “There is still so much to be explored in terms of how 5G can be applied in different areas like education, entertainment or transportation,” Fu said. “Yes it can increase downloading speed, but it will take time for people and companies to adapt and make full use of it.”  Fu estimates that with steady steps of development of applications, 5G technologies will be widely used with smart devices by the beginning of next year.

5G is “a very different scenario,” Qualcomm 5G marketing director Ignacio Contreras tells VentureBeat, and is “coming fast” to the country. Instead of lagging behind, China will offer 5G at the beginning of its lifecycle, though it’s unclear just how geographically widespread the high-speed, low-latency networks will actually be at first. The carrier says it will offer initial service in seven cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, and Xiong’an New Area.

China Unicom’s launch will be backed by numerous Qualcomm Snapdragon X50modem-based 5G devices from Chinese companies, most notably including OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE. Initially, many of these devices will be fairly similar to one another thanks to their use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855chipset, but there will be variations in both form factor and pricing.

For instance, flexible-screened Alpha smartwatch maker Nubia is releasing a “mini 5G” smartphone designed to be smaller than the roughly 6.4-inch-screened 5G phones other carriers have shown. And Xiaomi is expected to offer Chinese consumers a 5G phone in the sub-$700 price range, well below the $1,000 and up premium pricetags favored by LG’s and Samsung’s South Korean smartphones.

Other companies will offer 5G-ready devices for the Chinese market. Domestic manufacturer Huawei has promised to offer aggressively priced 5G devices with its own Balong 5000 modems, as well as a $2,600 foldable tablet-phone called Mate X. Taiwan’s MediaTek is planning to supply chips for mid-range and premium phones for Chinese consumers, as well.



China Unicom moves first Chinese 5G launch up to May


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CB Insights: What’s next for 5G

As expected, there is no mention of 5G standards or IMT 2020 in this entire 31 page report.  This is an unedited excerpt:

As numerous wireless carriers plan to offer 5G service in the coming year, the entire telecom industry is hard at work to capitalize on this shift to higher radio wave frequencies:
• Qualcomm recently unveiled the Snapdragon 855 chipset, which grants smartphones 5G capabilities. The Snapdragon 855 will roll out in early 2019.
• Verizon launched its first 5G broadband internet networks in 4 cities during late 2018 and plans to release 5G wireless service in 2019 after its first 5G-ready phones hit the market.
• AT&T rolled out 5G mobile hotspots in a dozen cities in 2018 and will be adding at least 9 more in 2019.
• Sprint and LG plan to release the first 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019. Sprint will have its 5G network in place in at least 9 cities by the time the smartphone launches.
• Motorola unveiled its new 5G Moto Mod in 2018; the mod snaps onto the back of the Moto Z3 and turns it into a 5G-capable device. The 5G mod will be available for purchase
in 2019.
• Companies like Zayo are helping to lay the necessary fiber to support these 5G networks, while others like Siklu are providing fixed wireless antennas and small cells.
• Manufacturers of 5G devices also play one of the more important roles in 5G adoption: device manufacturers need growing coverage, while wireless networks need a growing number of compatible devices.



Verizon’s Earnings Beat; CEO:”We are leading the world in development of new technologies”

Verizon (VZ) posted earnings per share of $1.22, up from $1.17 per adjusted share in the comparable year-ago quarter. Revenues were $32.1 billion, versus $31.8 billion in the first quarter of 2018. Analysts in a Bloomberg consensus forecast expected the company to post earnings per share of $1.17 on revenues of $32.15 billion.  Hence, the company beat earnings forecasts.

The company added 61,000 retail net postpaid additions, a key metric of how many users lock in a contract, which included 174,000 postpaid smartphone net additions. Verizon’s service revenues rose 4.4% during the first 3 months of 2019, helped in part by customers added higher-priced plans and new connections, the company said. Separately, Verizon added a net of 52,000 Fios Internet connections, but lost a net 53,000 Fios Video connections.

Verizon, which has begun its mobile 5G rollout in Chicago and Minneapolis (the only supported device is the Motorola Z3 with the 5G Moto Mod), said that its 5G mobile network buildout was part of its $4.3 billion in capital expenditures.

“2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Verizon,” said chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg  in a statement. “We are leading the world in the development of new technologies with the launch of our 5G Ultra Wideband network. Our ambition remains unchanged to provide the most advanced next-generation networks in the world.”

AJW Comment:

What’s really interesting, is that as far as we know, Verizon doesn’t even participate in ITU-R WP 5D meetings.  That is where IMT 2020 (5G radio aspects) is being standardized, with 3GPP contributing the input documents supported by most ITU-R delegates.  An AT&T rep chairs that committee and another AT&T rep chairs the sub working group on IMT frequency aspects.  Yet both companies falsely claim they’ve deployed “standards based” mobile 5G despite the FACT that the IMT 2020 Radio Interface Technology (RIT) won’t be selected by the evaluation groups till the fall of 2020.

Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Dish are the other U.S. network operators that regularly attend ITU-R WP 5D meetings.  Qualcomm, Apple, Intel and a few other U.S. member companies also attend those meetings.

So we wonder if Ericsson ONLY gets their IMT 2020 information from their network equipment vendors rather than obtain it directly by attending ITU meetings?


Update on April 25. 2019:

U.S. cities with Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband

  • Chicago
  • Minneapolis

U.S. cities that will get Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband in 2019

  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Charlotte
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Des Moines
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Little Rock
  • Memphis
  • Phoenix
  • Providence
  • San Diego
  • Salt Lake City
  • Washington D.C.

Verizon wants its mobile 5G to offer impeccable speeds with low latency. To meet those demands, Verizon will initially deploy its 5G Ultra Wideband network on millimeter wave spectrum (mmWave).  While mmWave will undoubtedly offer the fastest 5G experience, it has its flaws.

One of the notable challenges with the implementation of new “small cell” towers is the fact that they require local government approval — essentially meaning that carriers need approval in every city they want to install these new towers. To attempt to speed that up, Verizon is encouraging customers to lobby their elected officials. The new “Let’s 5G” website is aimed at both informing people about 5G and what it could offer, and informing users on how they can speed up the process of 5G deployment.

Verizon will initially roll out its 5G service on 28 GHz spectrum. One of the challenges with using the high-band spectrum is that it does not easily cover a large area, and penetration is a serious challenge. Over the next several years, Verizon will build out its 5G network around the country using small cells, and will eventually deploy service on a mid- and low-band spectrum.

In a real-world demonstration of the network at CES 2019, CEO Hans Vestburg showed speeds of 900 Mbps, as well as a crystal-clear video conference with the first fixed-wireless customer in Texas.

For the next several years Verizon’s 5G service will piggyback off its massive 5G network. Expect to see 5G service in larger cities and busy places like airports and stadiums, but you will be unlikely to see the service in the suburbs and rural areas for years to come.


SOURCE:  https://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/verizon-5g-rollout/


Shenzhen Telecom and Huawei deploy 5G smart hotel in China

InterContinental Shenzhen, Shenzhen Telecom Engineering and Huawei have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to create the world’s first 5G smart hotel.  By introducing the hotel industry’s first end-to-end 5G network with integrated terminals and cloud applications, the project will enable InterContinental Shenzhen to provide guests with an innovative luxury experience and open the door for digital transformation of entire hotel industry through 5G technology.

Shenzhen Telecom is deploying Huawei’s 5G network equipment in the InterContinental Shenzhen to achieve continuous indoor and outdoor 5G coverage, which will serve as the platform for a new generation of hotel services.  Hotel guests will experience 5G hotel applications through 5G smartphones and customer-premises equipment (CPE) terminals, including 5G welcome robots, 5G cloud computing terminals, 5G cloud games and 5G cloud virtual reality (VR) rowing machines.

For the project’s kick-off ceremony, Shenzhen Telecom and Huawei jointly deployed a 5G Digital Indoor System on the hotel’s first floor and in the presidential suites.  In the hotel lobby, guests can access the 5G network through CPEs or their smartphones to experience high speed 5G downloads and uploads. Service efficiency is improved with 5G intelligent robots that provide services including guest information, destination guidance, and delivery. The presidential suites covered by the new network provide guests with 5G hotel services such as cloud VR rowing machines, cloud games and 4K movies.

Dr. Peter Zhou, chief marketing officer of Huawei Wireless Solution, said: “5G is here – from the 4K ultra high-definition live broadcast of CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala early this year to today’s 5G entertainment and business transformation of the InterContinental Shenzhen’s presidential suites, 5G technology has penetrated into different industries.”

Golden Sun, General Manager of Shenzhen OCT Hotel Development Co Ltd, said: “the hotel always puts the guest experience first. Since consumer spending is continuously increasing, consumers are craving higher quality and better consumer experiences.

“Guests expect new things and new experiences. The joint venture with Shenzhen Telecom and Huawei has brought more possibilities to the hotel. Riding on the advanced technology, we can imagine our future and fly with it freely. We are excited to see the 5G experience zone in InterContinental Shenzhen as this is the first step for our three parties to build 5G hotels.

“On the other hand, we also hope to realize the comprehensive transformation of smart hotels and digital hotels by introducing 5G technology. We are willing to further cooperating with Shenzhen Telecom and Huawei to explore more in-depth application of 5G in the hotel scene, we hope that our experience can help the digital construction of the hotel industry and tourism.”

“InterContinental Shenzhen is a reputable scenario for Shenzhen Telecom. The good number of VIP customers, high user experience standard, short delivery period and high construction environment requirements, all pose great challenges to network deployment and operation and maintenance.” Feng Wei, Deputy General Manager of China Telecom Shenzhen Branch, said.




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Bangkok Post: Struggling to get 5G right -Doubts remain over whether Thailand is prepared?

by Komsan Tortermvasana and William Hicks of the Bangkok Post

As Thailand’s telecom operators race to develop 5G infrastructure in a timely manner, the government is finding ways to subsidize development by delaying payments for past auctions and changing the sales process for the next round.  This has sparked debate on the efficacy of such actions and whether Thailand is falling behind in creating infrastructure that will set the standard for future technological advancement.

Thai telecoms have been reluctant to invest and develop 5G, as some see the country as unprepared for the new generation and do not see adequate demand for pricey infrastructure. The companies lobbied the government through the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to extend their last payment of licence fees to provide relief from exorbitant payments in exchange for joining the bid for the 5G spectrum auction.

The government’s Section 44 decision gave both telecoms and digital TV operators financial relief and room to adapt to a rapidly changing digital economy.  Some experts are skeptical of the government’s action, saying the move could cost the state as much as 19.7 billion baht in lost revenue, too great a cost to the public.


Through the use of Section 44, the last term of licence payments for Advanced Info Service (AIS) and True Move H Universal Communication (TUC), at 60 billion baht each for 900MHz due in 2020, will be due in 2025 — adding another five-year installment period.

“In exchange, the winning bidders must participate in the planned 700MHz spectrum allocation for sales scheduled in June,” the government said.

Total Access Communication (DTAC), through subsidiary DTAC Trinet, also had the last term of its 900MHz licence payment of 30 billion baht delayed from 2021 to 2026. DTAC Trinet won the 900MHz licence in an auction last year.

DTAC’s licence comprises 5MHz of spectrum bandwidth on the 900MHz range, compared with 10MHz each for AIS’s and TUC’s licences.  In 2015, the winning prices in the 900MHz auction were the highest winning prices in Asia and the second highest in the world, after only the US, a country with almost five times the population and 40 times the GDP.

Section 44 also eases the financial burden of TV operators through two assistance initiatives, by waiving the remaining two terms of digital TV licence payments at 13.6 billion baht, as well as subsidizing the rental fee for broadcasting networks (MUX) worth 18.7 billion baht for the remaining nine-year licence terms.

More importantly, Section 44 lets existing digital TV operators walk away from the business without any obligations to the state.

Digital TV operators that want to exit the segment will have to submit a proposal to the NBTC by May 10, or 30 days after Section 44 was invoked.

“The failure of terrestrial digital TV businesses in the country mainly came from the delay of free set-top-box distribution to viewers for six months after broadcasting, impractical MUX networks and an oversupply of channels,” said Suphap Kleekachai, president of the Association of Digital Television Broadcasting.

He said the system was also impacted by fast-changing communication technologies, especially other broadcasting platforms, particularly social media networks such as YouTube and Facebook.


“The assistance to both digital TV operators and telecom operators is reasonable, not only because it will resolve deadlock in both sectors, but it’s in line with Section 27 of the amended Frequency Allocation Act [NBTC law],” Mr Suphap said.  He said Section 27 rules that the regulator must recall spectrum slots, many of them held by state agencies, that are not efficiently being used, for reallocation.  The new law lets the regulator pay compensation to spectrum holders to facilitate greater arrangement of spectrum as a national resource.  The 700MHz range, which is being used by digital TV operators, would be recalled and moved to the 470-510MHz range, opening up the 700MHz band to be used for 5G.

“The adoption of 5G needs direct investment from telecom operators to install all related infrastructure, devices and systems, as well as proper spectrum ranges, not only state investment,” Mr Suphap said.

He added that assistance from Section 44 could attract major telecom operators to buy 700MHz bandwidth in exchange for longer payment terms of their 900MHz licences.


The NBTC is scrambling to draft conditions on how best to allocate the 700MHz spectrum to the top three mobile operators, which must submit their proposals to the NBTC by May 10.

After the NBTC completes the draft, mobile operators could still withdraw their proposal to buy the 700MHz licences if they aren’t happy with the sale’s terms and conditions.

If they withdraw the proposal to acquire the 700MHz licence, they will have to pay the 900MHz licence payment under the original time frame.

Weerawat Kiattipongthaworn, chief corporate officer of AIS, said the company is likely to submit a proposal by May 10 because the NBTC provides the option to withdraw later, but it will have to be approved by the company’s board.

“Financial burden is one major factor affecting operators’ decision for infrastructure development,” he said.

Additionally, commercial 5G implementation in the country may have to wait another two years because there needs to be a functioning system including business use cases related to 5G tech in the Thai market. This is because 5G is not just business-to-consumer (B2C) through mobile phones, but business-to-business (B2B) as well, in which various industries will be buying access to the 5G network in order to run 5G connected devices in factories farms and offices.

Adhiruth Thotaveesansuk, vice-chairman of the executive committee of True Corporation, the parent firm of TUC, said the company cannot give a clear answer but True’s board will form a resolution.

Previously, Vichaow Rakphongphairoj, co-group president of True Corporation, said challenges to 5G adoption in the country included spectrum availability, regulatory policy, business use cases and fragmentation.

Specifically, 5G adoption needs at least 100MHz of bandwidth to make the service work efficiently, meaning 5G spectrum cost should not be an excessive financial burden to operators.

Each operator has spent abundantly for nationwide 3G and 4G network roll-outs, and high spectrum costs in the future will create a barrier to 5G adoption.

Mr Vichaow gave the example of China, where mobile operators have no critical burden for investment but the Chinese government gave away 160MHz of bandwidth to operators providing 5G, another 100 MHz to China Telecom and 100MHz to China Unicom.

The move was to enable 5G adoption in China ahead of other countries.

Rajiv Bawa, chief corporate affairs and business development officer of DTAC, said the company will start a dialogue with the NBTC to seek more clarity on the order before deciding the next step.

As previously stated, DTAC urged the NBTC to publish a clear spectrum roadmap, including time for allocation and fair valuation of available spectrum, before discussing any further auctions.


Pisut Ngamvijitvong, a senior analyst with Kasikorn Securities Co, said KS recommends all mobile incumbents agree to buy 700MHz spectrum licences, even at a higher-than-expected price of 25 billion baht per licence for 15MHz of bandwidth.

Although the savings from 900MHz payment deferrals may not offset the sale price, the market should not ignore the value of retaining the three-player market structure at least throughout the 5G era.

“We expect the market to penalise any telecom operators that do not accept this allocation,” he said.

KS’s positive sector view assumes that mobile phone players accept the 700MHz allocation. True remains the top sector pick because it should be the prime beneficiary of the Section 44 scheme.

“The preliminary price of 25 billion baht for a 700MHz licence with 15MHz per licence is 67% higher than our initial guess of 15 billion baht,” Mr Pisut said. “We believe such a high price will guarantee enough funds to bail out digital TV operators.”

Jesada Sivaraks, head of government and industry relations at Ericsson Thailand, the local arm of the telecom infrastructure giant, said the government should worry less about making money from the 700MHz auction and more about how to best serve the economic development of the nation.

“The spectrum is not just a way to make money; the government should be looking at the best way to use the spectrum,” he said. “Thailand has good 4G coverage, but speeds are very slow, especially in rural areas.”

Mr Jesada said that instead of using the 700MHz for 5G, telecom companies should instead use the extra spectrum to improve speeds on their 4G networks, especially in rural areas where speeds are lagging behind.

Development of 5G can wait because the government still needs to put out a proper spectrum roadmap and the business ecosystem around 5G must further develop to make the costly infrastructure worth the expense, he said.


Some academics and the Consumer Protection Party strongly oppose the Section 44 telecom move, saying it would cost the state 19.7 billion baht because the three companies benefit from reduction of capital costs via the extension of their last payments for the 900Hz licences for another five years.

The reduced cost of capital comes with no interest to the three operators throughout the new payment term. The companies also benefit from suffering no costs from equity financing, as the operators would not need to raise capital through the sale of shares for the original payment term.

Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the Thailand Development Research Institute, said AIS would benefit to the tune of 8.3 billion baht under the new payment terms, True Move would be helped by 8.7 billion, and DTAC would benefit 2.5 billion.  “The interest cost and cost of equity financing could be called as weighted average cost of capital [WACC] based on present value year-on-year,” he said.

Mr Somkiat said AIS’s WACC is 9.2%, True Move’s is 9.7% and DTAC’s is 9.5%, according to telecom analysts.  He said the people and the state will lose out on the deal, while business tycoons and investors have the most to gain. Section 44 may also be a breach of power by the government, which has already been flaunting its authority before and after the election, he said.

Saree Aongsomwang, secretary-general of the Foundation for Consumers, said Section 44 will hurt competition and further cement the big three mobile operators as the only players in town.



Huawei Announces “Four-Engines” Brand Strategy for Intelligent IP Networks

At the Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2019 this past week in Shenzhen, China, Huawei announced its new brand strategy for IP networking and unveiled four new engine series products for the IP network in the intelligence era. These announcements signify Huawei’s efforts to build ubiquitous connectivity, release 100 percent AI computing power by using an ultra-broadband lossless network, and help users march rapidly into a fully connected, intelligent world.

Kevin Hu, President of Huawei Data Communication Product Line, said: “Huawei has more than 20 years of expertise in the IP field. We are committed to building differentiated innovative products and continuously applying digital technologies, such as 5G, cloud computing, and AI to IP networks. We believe that the intelligent IP networks built with the four engine series products can continuously empower users with business intelligence.”

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“The intelligent world is already here. We can touch it,” Hu said. “As an industry, we’re at the threshold of enormous opportunity. Huawei is determined to build a world with ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive intelligence, delivering intelligent experiences across all scenarios, and make sure that every person, home, and organization has access to the benefits,” he added.

With the advent of 5G, cloud, and AI, hundreds of billions of production and office terminals will collaborate and unite with each other, 100 percent of enterprise services will migrate to the cloud and, with AI adoption expected to reach an estimated 86 percent by 2025, there will be many potential security issues to be addressed. All these trends are posing greater challenges for digital transformation of enterprises. The network is the basis of enterprises’ digital transformation, but needs to overcome some core challenges, such as how to carry and flexibly deploy enterprise services, how to ensure uncompromised experience for migrating these services to the cloud, and how to ensure ICT security. Huawei believes that the future network must be simple and AI-capable, so that it can proactive detect service changes and predict network risks in time. These expectations will drive enterprise ICT infrastructure transformation, helping enterprises reshape business models and continually improve the customer experience for optimal outcomes in the future.

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Huawei’s four new engine series products for the IP network are AirEngine, CloudEngine, NetEngine, and HiSecEngine.

  • AirEngine: Huawei first Wi-Fi 6 commercial product builds on 5G strengths of Huawei. It has passed the highest performance verification of the Tolly Group, an international authoritative test organization. Huawei 5G smart antenna and intelligent application acceleration technologies increase the Wi-Fi coverage area by 50 percent, shorten the Wi-Fi network latency to 10 milliseconds, and achieve an optimal mobile experience.
  • CloudEngine: Huawei’s embedded AI chip and unique AI algorithm enable zero packet loss and the fastest forwarding performance in the industry, successfully leading data center networks into the AI era. Huawei campus switches stand out with the highest forwarding performance, and they build on AI-powered application identification and dynamic network algorithms to build a packet loss-free, high-quality campus network. The distributed AI O&M architecture can reduce fault identification from minutes to seconds, shorten automatic fault location from hours to minutes, and reduce OPEX by 40 percent.
  • NetEngine: Huawei NetEngine intelligent metro routers have the largest capacity in industry, are SRv6 ready, and offer full-lifecycle intelligent automation. With NetEngine, one network can carry B2B, B2C, and B2H services. It provides intelligent connections and application-level SLA assurance for many vertical industry applications, building a solid digital foundation for the 5G era. Huawei next-generation NetEngine AR6000 series SD-WAN routers use a brand-new architecture and are designed with rich hardware acceleration engines and unique Ultra-Fast forwarding algorithms, improving SD-WAN performance to three times the industry average. All these merits make them ideal WAN edge routers with the fastest speeds and optimal experiences.
  • HiSecEngine: Based on core concepts of Huawei’s HiSec security solution, this high-performance network security engine accurately identifies unknown threats to ensure always-on core services. It provides an intelligent defense system to protect the fully connected, digital world.

At the Summit, China CITIC Bank shared innovative practices on how to build their intelligent data center network with Huawei CloudFabric Solution. China CITIC Bank successfully reinvents their IT and data center network systems, paving the way for fast FinTech innovation and intelligent operations. CloudFabric assists the Bank with one-click disaster recovery switchover and fast completion of the network configuration in minutes. With an AI-based intelligent O&M platform, the solution ensures 99.999 percent service continuity and security of financial transaction systems.

Guo Xiaodong, Director of Guarantee Department of Qingdao Campus, Shandong University, introduced the joint innovation project between Huawei and Shandong University on campus network practices. Huawei’s all-scenario Wi-Fi is deployed in multiple campuses, such as the central campus of Jinan. The network intelligent analyzer CampusInsight is also used to improve the campus teaching experience. CampusInsight monitors the user experience in real time to ensure zero authentication failure and zero network faults. This technology allowed the 8,000 people at the 2018 graduation ceremony, held at stadium in Shandong University, to simultaneously have wireless access.

In the data communication field, Huawei will continue to build more intelligent connections, bringing digital to every person, home, and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Meanwhile, Huawei will collaborate with more enterprise customers in network innovation design and in-depth service practices. We believe that Huawei Intent–Driven Network (IDN) will help more enterprises succeed in digital transformation for the AI and cloud era in the future.






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