Ericsson: U.K. Telecom Rules May Hinder Country’s 5G Opportunity

Bloomberg reports that the U.K. risks missing the benefits of fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks, because of policies that could lead to an expensive and inefficient roll-out, according to Swedish telecommunications equipment giant Ericsson AB.

“Decisive action is needed — uncertainty is not good for business and it could delay the roll-out of the U.K.’s 5G network, putting the country’s long-term competitiveness at risk. The U.K. was late in adopting 4G and largely missed the economic opportunity that came with it. There is a real possibility of history repeating itself.” said Arun Bansal, head of the wireless equipment supplier’s European and Latin American operations.

Bansal identified several concerns with U.K. policy. He said there’s a risk the airwaves (frequency spectrum) owned by different carriers could be fragmented and inefficient. International cooperation is required so the same frequency bands are used within the country.

NOTE:  It is the job of ITU-R WP5D to update ITU-R M.1036 Frequency arrangements for implementation of the terrestrial component of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) in the bands identified for IMT in the Radio Regulations.   WP 5D gets spectrum recommendations inputs from WRC 19 meeting outputs from last Fall.  A new version of M.1036 must be completed before IMT 2020 (5G) RIT/SRIT specs are approved.

The telecom regulator in each country is then responsible for assigning frequencies to each IMT service, e.g. 4G and 5G within their country.  The U.K. telecom regulator is OFCOM.  In the U.S. it’s the FCC.

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Bansal also noted the country’s required planning approvals are slowing engineers’ work and making it more expensive, Bloomberg reported  He urged the government could do a better job at supporting 5G as a potential replacement for landline broadband, the report said.

Britain’s government rejected the criticisms and said reforms have made network deployment cheaper and easier.

In a statement, the U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport told Bloomberg that the country’s campaign to roll out gigabit-capable broadband nationwide “is technology neutral, and we would be happy to meet with the supplier to discuss the role of 5G.”

Ericsson has been positioning itself to supply British carriers with billions of pounds’ worth of 5G equipment. With U.K. officials now looking to curtail the role of its Chinese rival Huawei Technologies Co. amid growing tensions with Beijing, that potential opportunity has grown — as long as Ericsson can show it’s able to match Huawei’s technological edge.

Bansal didn’t mention Huawei by name. However, he denied claims that Ericsson was technologically behind any other player, and said it’s ready for whatever approach Britain chooses.  “We ship enough 5G-ready radios to cover the greater London area every single day,” he said.

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Bansal’s allegations comes one week after O2, the London-based telecommunications services provider owned by Telefónica, selected Ericsson to deploy its 5G across the UK and upgrade the existing 2G/3G/4G sites as part of a major network modernization program.

In April, BT said it would use Ericsson equipment for the core of its 5G network.  Ericsson would provide a “cloud native, containerized” core for 4G, non-standalone 5G, and eventually 5G standalone services, which will become a converged IP network.

NOTE that there are no standards or specifications for such a core network.  The only 5G core spec we know of is 3GPP Release 16 specification TS.23501 5G Systems Architecture-V16.4.0 (27 March, 2020) which does not specify how to build a cloud native containerized core network.

“The containerization of core network functions will enable BT to benefit from greater industry innovation in many areas, including automation, orchestration, network resilience, security, and faster upgrade techniques,” Ericsson said at that time.  “This means increasing overall network availability for customers and services while being cost-effective.”

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Last month, PYMTS reported COVID-19 has prompted Ericsson to update its forecast for worldwide 5G subscriptions to 2.8 billion by 2025 from 2.6 billion, the company said in a webinar.

“We’re witnessing transformative changes just in the last two months,” Patrik Cerwall, Ericsson’s head of strategic marketing, said in the “Unboxed Office” event that was broadcast live on Periscope.

Amy McCune, Ericsson North America’s vice president and chief operations officer, told PYMNTS in May that shifts in lifestyle, work and healthcare are accelerating the demand for the next generation of wireless communications technologies.

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References:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-19/ericsson-says-u-k-telecom-rules-risk-undermining-5g-opportunity?srnd=technology-vp&sref=zNmRQ0gk

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2020/4/bt-and-ericsson-join-up-to-deliver-cloud-native-dual-mode-5g-core

 

Ericsson Says UK Telecom Rules Are Slowing 5G Installs And Driving Up Costs

Frequency arrangements for implementation of the terrestrial component of International Mobile Telecommunications in the bands identified for IMT in the Radio Regulations

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