IHS Markit: 5G Market Set to Boom, but clarity needed; Japanese Telcos: $14.4B in 5G spending

IHS Markit:  5G Market Set to Boom, but clarity needed

As global 5G capabilities expand, alignment of what 5G is, what end users should expect and how it should be measured will be critical to adoption

As the first commercial deployments of (pre-standard) 5G start to appear, the stage is set for consumers finally to find out what the powerful next-generation mobile standard promises can bring: an ambitious and far-reaching technological advance that transforms virtually all aspects of human activity—how we experience life, conduct business, create goods, and build societies. In its latest complimentary white paper, “The Promise and Potential of 5G,” business information provider IHS Markit explores the opportunities and challenges surrounding the upcoming global rollout of new 5G wireless networks.

Without question, 5G is helping set the stage for incredible change, but it remains a confusing landscape, with varied and sometimes conflicting interpretations of what 5G is and what to expect from it. This confusion is impacting not just consumers but also complicating the industry’s ability to measure itself against a standard set of 5G expectations and requirements.

To optimize short-term and long-term 5G adoption, it is imperative that clarity regarding what 5G is and when each capability will be available is established for both consumers and the ecosystem. To that end, IHS Markit follows the official 3GPP definition of 5G [1]but also believes that this description needs to be understood within the context of everyday experience and concepts.

[1.] ITU considers 5G to be based on its forthcoming IMT 2020 recommendations.  Those are the only official standards for 5G.

https://news.itu.int/5g-fifth-generation-mobile-technologies/

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According to the previously referenced IHS Markit 5G white paper, 5G will improve existing services and enable new use cases, such as driverless cars, immersive entertainment, zero-delay virtual reality, uninterrupted video and no-latency gaming. On the industrial front, 5G will be key to expanding and realizing the full promise of the internet of things (IoT), with the technology’s impact to be felt in smart homes, smart cities and smart industries.

“The marketplace implicitly understands 5G represents an unprecedented growth opportunity, with the initial smartphone rollout set to generate record shipment volumes,” said Francis Sideco, vice president, technology  at IHS Markit. “However, fewer people understand the iterative nature of major technology rollouts such as the one we are going through now with 5G—a process involving multiple major updates that will add new capabilities in the coming years. With each of these updates having the potential to significantly disrupt the market’s competitive dynamics, it’s critical for companies to clearly understand the implications of each rollout or risk falling behind the competition.”

Following initial sales of 37 million first-generation 5G smartphones this year, with initial shipments only now commencing, worldwide shipments will surge to 120 million devices in 2020, IHS Markit forecasts. This rollout will be the fastest ever for a new wireless generation, generating six times more unit shipments than previous record-holder LTE, over a similar timeframe. Benefitting from strong industry momentum and alignment, global 5G smartphone shipments will continue to rise in the coming years, reaching over 525 million devices in 2023. “Despite strong growth, the level of success among individual competitors in the smartphone and infrastructure market will hinge on their ability to shift their business strategies in parallel with the evolution of 5G,” Sideco said.

New 5G technical standards (i.e. IMT 2020 from ITU) will eventually enable the creation of applications that could open new opportunities, inform new business models and transform everyday life for multiple industries and billions of users throughout the world. However, many of these capabilities won’t be available in initial 5G rollouts, but instead will arrive in subsequent releases of the standard to be implemented over the next few years.  Each of the releases will deliver new challenges and opportunities not only for the wireless industry but also every industry for which the new use cases are envisioned. To fully realize the potential of these opportunities, competitors will need to understand and capitalize on new capabilities even before they are fully introduced.

The 5G standard’s next release is already on the horizon, with the expected introduction of Release 16 in late 2019. The upcoming release will deliver highly desirable enhancements, including far greater reliability and peak data rates of 20 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) downlink and 10 Gbps uplink. “This next phase of implementation and rollout will trigger a race among mobile network operators to meet and take advantage of these performance enhancements,” Sideco said. “The winners of this race are likely to gain a competitive advantage as they gear up for the next wave of growth.”

Future revisions will spur similar competitive battles, as 5G adds major new capabilities and expands into other markets beyond mobile communications, such as mission-critical applications and massive internet of things (IoT) deployments. “For companies throughout the technology supply chain—from network operators, to smartphone brands, to industrial and automotive device manufacturers and electronics suppliers—it will become increasingly important to understand the changes brought by each phase of the 5G deployment and to be ready to capitalize on the latest capabilities to gain a competitive advantage,” Sideco said.

To learn more about managing the complexities of the 5G era, download the free white paper, “The Promise and Potential of 5G.”

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In other 5G related news today….

Japan’s carriers plan $14.4bn spending blitz for nationwide 5G:

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has approved the allocation of spectrum after determining that the companies’ applications met the conditions of the allocation, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.  Japan’s telecom ministry has allocated 5G mobile spectrum to incumbent operators NTT DocomoKDDI, and Softbank, as well as local e-commerce giant Rakuten.

The four companies plan to invest heavily in 5G, spending a combined 1.6 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) over the next five years. Docomo is planning the largest spend, with goals to invest at least 795 billion yen in 5G over this time.

Japan’s mobile operators have set aside $14 billion to invest in 5G networks over five years. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

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The four Japanese wireless carriers plan to commence commercial 5G services in 2020, with KDDI and SoftBank planning to commence advertising for its services in March.  Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s upcoming newest market entrant, plans to commence 4G services in October 2019 and 5G services in June 2020.

The conditions for the allocation of spectrum included commitments to commence services in every prefecture of the nation within two years, and set up 5G base stations in at least half the country within five years.

According to the report, Docomo and KDDI are each targeting more than 90% 5G population coverage by the end of the five years, while SoftBank is targeting 64% coverage while Rakuten is aiming for 56%.

The Japanese government wants industry to build out 5G infrastructure widely, from big metropolitan areas to rural regions. It expects the technology, which offers speeds up to 100 times as fast as 4G, to enable self-driving buses and telemedicine, and to help Japan combat its worker shortage.

The conditions required for receiving 5G spectrum included starting services in every prefecture within two years. The communications ministry also divided Japan into 4,500 blocks, requiring operators to set up base stations in at least half of them within five years. Docomo and KDDI each plan to achieve coverage of more than 90% in that time. SoftBank and Rakuten set less ambitious goals, at 64% and 56%, respectively.  The requirement will force mobile operators to balance making heavy investments with attaining profits.

 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/5G-networks/Japan-s-carriers-plan-14bn-spending-blitz-for-nationwide-5G

4 thoughts on “IHS Markit: 5G Market Set to Boom, but clarity needed; Japanese Telcos: $14.4B in 5G spending

  1. Japan’s three big wireless carriers — NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank — along with new entrant Rakuten, received spectrum from the telecoms ministry.

    The technology, which can provide data speeds at least 20 times faster than 4G, is seen as essential for emerging technologies from self-driving cars and smart cities to augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

    Japan is lagging other countries such as South Korea and the United States that have already begun rolling out 5G services.

    One of the conditions from the telecoms ministry was to “take sufficient cybersecurity measures including responding to supply chain risk.”

    The condition effectively prevents the telecom providers from using network equipment from China’s Huawei and ZTE, and follows a de facto ban implemented last year on Japanese government purchases from the manufacturers.

    Huawei and ZTE are under intense scrutiny from Washington over their ties to the Chinese government, driven by concerns they could be used by Beijing for spying.

    The four Japanese telcos will cumulatively spend just under 1.7 trillion yen ($15.29 billion) over five years building their networks. That is seen as a conservative estimate likely to rise over time.

    The financial burden on the telcos comes as they face government pressure to lower carrier fees, with the start of 4G services by Rakuten in October expected to increase price competition.

    https://venturebeat.com/2019/04/10/japan-allocates-5g-spectrum-to-carriers-blocks-huawei-and-zte-gear/

  2. How China’s Huawei took the lead on 5G –Washington Post:
    As U.S. officials have pressured allies not to use networking gear from Chinese technology giant Huawei over spying concerns, President Trump has urged American companies to “step up” and compete to provide the next generation of high-speed, low-lag wireless service known as 5G.

    “We cannot allow any other country to outcompete the United States,” Trump said Friday at a White House event to unveil the administration’s next steps on 5G – a massive airwaves auction and a proposed $20 billion broadband infrastructure fund.

    There’s just one problem: Barely any U.S. companies manufacture the technology’s most critical components.

    The absence of a major U.S. alternative to foreign suppliers of 5G networking equipment underscores the growing dominance of Huawei, which has evolved into the world’s biggest supplier of telecom equipment, sparking fears within the Trump administration that a 5G network powered by Huawei’s wireless parts could endanger national security. And it throws into sharp relief the years-long retreat by U.S. firms from that market.

    Carriers such as Sprint and Verizon have moved swiftly to launch 5G services for consumers. But the wireless networking gear the industry relies on still comes from foreign suppliers: four companies – Sweden’s Ericsson, Finland’s Nokia and China’s Huawei and ZTE – account for two-thirds of the global market for telecom equipment, according to analyst estimates.

    Some U.S. technology giants such as Cisco sell switches and routers that reside in the innermost parts of a carrier’s network. But despite its size, Cisco doesn’t compete in the market for “radio access,” or the wireless infrastructure that allows cell sites to connect with smartphones and other mobile devices.

    “There is no U.S.-based wireless access equipment provider today that builds those solutions,” said Sandra Rivera, a senior vice president at Intel who helps guide the chipmaker’s 5G strategy.

    It’s this part of the Internet ecosystem that is increasingly important as more devices and appliances gain wireless connectivity and smart capabilities. 5G is expected to shape technological innovation for years to come, providing mobile data connections for virtual-reality headsets, driverless cars and more. Proponents say 5G eventually will support download speeds of 1,000 megabits per second, roughly 100 times faster than today’s 4G standard.

    The rising global demand for 5G equipment highlights how the United States, a technology leader in other respects, is largely absent from the wireless networking industry. It reflects the decline of a once vibrant ecosystem of American companies that formerly went toe-to-toe with the likes of Nokia and Ericsson. And it puts a focus on Chinese firms such as Huawei, whose rise to prominence has come at the expense of Western networking titans and sparked a global campaign by U.S. officials eager to persuade allies not to allow Chinese equipment into their networks.

    At the dawn of the wireless age 30 years ago, U.S. companies jostled for primacy in wireless networking. Companies such as Motorola and Lucent – an offshoot of the old AT&T monopoly – were sources of innovation, exploring new ways of delivering voice and data wirelessly. It was Lucent, for example, that helped introduce Code Division Multiple Access, or CDMA, a mobile technology that promised to improve the capacity of wireless carriers.

    But their fortunes declined around the turn of the century as they failed to keep pace with a changing market. No U.S. company stepped in to fill the gap as those companies faded – partly because of the growing strength of foreign alternatives and partly because of the immense scale required to survive in that line of business, according to industry experts.

    “Lucent basically collapsed because they didn’t have a big enough wireless arm to keep them afloat when the Internet backbone [business] collapsed” in the dot-com bust, said Roger Entner, a telecom analyst at Recon Analytics. “Motorola, over time, simply became less competitive because the other vendors had more economies of scale.”

    Motorola and Lucent’s wireless infrastructure businesses were soon gobbled up by Finland’s Nokia and France’s Alcatel, respectively. One reason the European companies proved so successful, Entner said, was because the European industry agreed from the start to develop a common standard for wireless communication, known as GSM, that all European telecoms would share. By contrast, the industry in North America took a looser approach, with some carriers backing network technologies that weren’t mutually compatible.

    Take CDMA. First developed for mobile use in the 1990s, the standard was technologically superior, allowing carriers such as Verizon to pump more traffic through their cell sites over the same amount of time compared with alternative standards. But the technology created headaches for consumers who found they couldn’t keep their phones when they switched from Verizon to a network like T-Mobile’s, which ran on GSM.

    While the American approach allowed for more technological experimentation and innovation, a fragmented market based on competing standards made it more challenging for U.S. wireless equipment sellers to amass a large customer base.

    Today, Nokia and Ericsson are the top providers of telecommunications networking gear in North America and are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in the world. The two companies each recorded revenue of about $25 billion last year.

    But both have been surpassed by Huawei, which in the span of three decades has become the world’s largest provider of telecom equipment.

    “I do think the Western companies did underestimate how credible Huawei was,” said Paul de Sa, a telecom industry analyst and co-founder of the advisory firm Quadra Partners. “There were executives who basically laughed [at the idea] that Huawei or ZTE could compete.”

    Founded in the late 1980s by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer for the Chinese military, Huawei began as a technology supplier for Chinese customers. But by the early 2000s, Huawei had begun selling globally, and now does a robust business not only in network equipment but also in consumer smartphones and enterprise services. Last month, the privately held company reported that it had finished 2018 with revenue of $107 billion, up 20 percent despite the U.S. campaign. Profits rose 25 percent, the company said, to $8.8 billion.

    To give another perspective on Huawei’s enormous influence, the company’s chief rivals, Nokia and Ericsson, account for 17 percent and 13 percent of the global market for telecom equipment, respectively, according to figures compiled by the research firm Dell’Oro Group.

    Huawei’s market share, at 28 percent, is nearly as large as both of them combined.

    Despite an early reputation for cheap knockoff hardware, Huawei today is recognized for low prices, reliable equipment and engaging customer service, analysts say. As Huawei has invested in its own research and development, even Western telecom companies acknowledge that Huawei’s products are as good as – if not better than – competing equipment from Nokia or Ericsson.

    “About 25 percent of our members have Huawei or ZTE” in their networks, Carri Bennet, an attorney for the Washington-based Rural Wireless Association, told lawmakers at a recent House Judiciary subcommittee hearing.

    Gordon Smith, the chief executive of Sagent, a network intelligence and analytics company formerly known as Clover Telecom, estimated that Huawei gear typically costs “tens of percents” less than the competition’s.

    With the support of China’s state-owned development bank, Huawei also has been able to undercut competitors with attractive financing for its products. In February alone, Huawei announced partnerships with wireless carriers in eight countries, including Iceland, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    It doesn’t hurt that Huawei serves a massive domestic market in China, which grants it tremendous advantages of scale that many tech companies, including American ones, are hungry to access themselves. China is so critical to Apple, for example, that the iPhone maker blamed the country’s economic slowdown for a downward revision in Apple’s recent quarterly sales estimates – the company’s first such warning in 15 years.

    Huawei’s success, however, has been clouded by allegations of intellectual property theft.

    The U.S. government accused two Huawei units this year of trying to copy a robotic arm used by T-Mobile to test smartphones. (Huawei has pleaded not guilty.) In the past, Huawei has also been accused of stealing technology from Cisco; the two firms became locked in a legal dispute in 2003 and settled months later, after Huawei conceded that Cisco-made code had ended up in a Huawei product. The code was later removed.

    Then there is Nortel Networks’ discovery in 2004 that hackers – traced to IP addresses in Shanghai – had stolen nearly 1,500 sensitive files from the Canadian telecom giant’s computer systems. The company’s subsequent investigation failed to prove China’s direct involvement, much less Huawei’s. But after analyzing the stolen files – which bore cryptic names such as “Photonic Crystals and Large Scale Integration,” “Eco_Strategy.ppt” and “HDX R2 Standard Reconfigurations Test Plan – Draft 0.2†³ – and a months-long probe, Nortel’s security adviser at the time, Brian Shields, became convinced Huawei benefited indirectly from the breach. The file names, a list of which Shields provided to The Washington Post, have not been previously reported.

    “Nobody would be interested in these kinds of documents other than a competitor,” Shields said. “In my opinion, looking at what the hackers went after, it is likely these documents made it to Huawei.”

    That seemingly ancient history is newly relevant, as U.S. officials argue that incorporating Huawei gear into U.S. carriers’ 5G networks poses a significant spying risk.

    At an industry conference in Barcelona in February, U.S. officials urged allies in bilateral meetings not to use Huawei equipment over concerns that it could enable eavesdropping by authoritarian regimes. U.S. partners largely acknowledge the risk but have asked for more concrete evidence to back up the case.

    “The Europeans really keep pushing for this concept of, ‘Where’s the smoking gun?’ ” said a person familiar with the discussions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak more freely about the closed-door meetings. “They say, ‘Hey, we don’t want security threats, either . . . but you can’t just come in here and tell us that there is a unity of interest between Beijing and Huawei and have that be the end of your presentation.’ ”

    Some analysts say that in a previous era, America’s allies might have been more sympathetic to the Trump administration’s message. But Trump’s conduct, they say – berating NATO allies, canceling a visit to a World War I memorial because of rain, calling Europe a “foe” on trade – has not helped.

    “In a world where the U.S. had more soft power,” Entner said, “I’m pretty sure the Europeans would be a lot more receptive.”

    brian.fung@washpost.com

  3. Ukraine to test 5G on motorways, Friday 19 April 2019:

    Ukraine plans to test 5G on motorways, reports BizLigaNet citing a statement from the Ministry of Infrastructure. The technology will be used for IoT services and will form the basis for the launch of smart roads.

    The project will be implemented in three stages. The first stage includes testing a pilot section of one of motorways. One of main country‘s motorways will be connected in the second stage. All motorways will be covered in the third stage.

  4. Exhaustion of LTE will push migration towards 5G: Nokia
    Romita Majumdar from Mumbai (Bombay), India. Business Standard

    The internet data boom and rising consumption of content and related services will eventually lead 4G LTE resources to exhaust, leaving operators no choice but to adopt 5G networks, said Alexander Tikhonov (vice-president and global head of customer solutions architects at Nokia).

    Last week, Nokia confirmed its position with 42 commercial 5G deals (more than any other wireless telecom equipment vendor has announced) in place with operators around the world, 22 with named customers such as T-Mobile, Telia Company, and Softbank. Including these deals, Nokia’s 5G deals, trials and demos total over 100 5G customer engagements to date.

    “The data consumption (in India and globally) is video centred on internet devices at very high quality. That will exhaust LTE spectrum at a point in time in near future, that is, between 2021 and 2023 as per studies across most countries. And they will need to shift to 5G to satisfy consumer demand,” said Tikhonov.

    According to a recent Assocham-PwC report, data consumption in India will grow from 7.2 million MB in 2017 to 1.09 billion MB (megabytes) in 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 72.6 per cent. While internet penetration is increasing in India, with mobile internet penetration set to reach 56.7 per cent in 2022, from a mere 30.2 per cent in 2017, with video-on-demand driving usage.

    In fact, according a Nokia report last year, video streaming constitutes up to 75 per cent of the data traffic. According to telecom experts, the humongous video streaming levels is also a reason for rising network congestion (even for voice services) in the country.

    While incumbent telecom operators like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (VIL) have been up in arms against 5G spectrum auction in the near future due to a financial crunch in the sector, Reliance Jio has been quite vocal about going ahead with 5G trials.

    Bharti Airtel hopes that the Centre will bring down the proposed base price for the 5G auctions for the company to consider participating in the airwave sale. In a recent investor conference call Gopal Vittal, chief executive officer of Bharti Airtel, said that since 5G requires large quantity of spectrum and investments in the range of ~50000-55,000 crore and “clearly these are prices we can’t afford as they are exorbitant, we hope the government will bring down pricing and then we will look seriously at 5G”.

    While spectrum cost is a concern, telecos are also bidding on data usage as a means to grow revenue and usage over voice services.

    Airtel currently has 115 million data subscribers compared, to 306 million of Reliance Jio and 146 million of Vodafone Idea. Airtel, however, has the highest data usage at 11 GB per subscriber per month, compared to 10.9 GB for Jio and 8.8 GB for Vodafone Idea.

    “ With 4G penetration for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea still at 25-30 per cent of the subscriber base, limited use cases of 5G at present, and a nascent 5G ecosystem, we believe it will be negative for operators to spend over $7 billion on a project offering limited returns,” noted Deepti Chaturvedi, research analyst at CLSA, in a note to investors.

    Further, with 275MHz spectrum available in 3.4-3.6GHz band and only three operators in play, there is enough supply. So, even if Reliance Jio bids in current auctions, incumbents led by Bharti Airtel can purchase spectrum in subsequent auctions.

    Deferring purchase will likely also lead to a cut in price of spectrum. Historically, the govt has cut spectrum prices by 30-40 per cent if it saw no demand in the previous auction, Chaturvedi wrote.

    Operators in South Korea, Japan and China have been granted 100-200MHz spectrum each in the 3.5-3.7GHz band for 5G services. Over past few months, commercialisation of 5G has also started with Korean operators introducing 5G plans and Samsung launching the first commercial 5G smartphone.

    In USA, Verizon launched its mobile 5G service called 5G Ultra Wideband in April in a couple of cities and plans to expand this to another 20 cities in 2019.

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