Frontier’s FTTP to reach 10M locations by 2025; +192,000 FTTP passings in 4Q-2021

Frontier Communications says it’s on track with a plan to add 1 million fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) locations in 2022.  Under the plan, Frontier expects to expand its FTTP footprint to 10 million locations by 2025, up from about 4 million today.  However, fiber-related revenue growth has yet to match up to recent fiber subscriber and NPS gains. Frontier reported Q4 2021 fiber revenues of $675 million, down from $684 million in the year-ago period.

“We’ve got good supply resilience. We’ve expanded the number of vendors in every category, and we’ve got good forward cost visibility as well,” Nick Jeffery, Frontier’s president and CEO, said Wednesday on the company’s 4th quarter 2021 earnings call.

But he acknowledged that Frontier, which has taken on a “fiber first” posture, was “lucky,” in that the company started to accelerate its fiber build ahead of many other telcos and cable operators.

“We’re in relatively good and insulated position because, frankly, we got there first and we signed up the terms before anyone else had a chance to do so,” Jeffery said.

Supply chain constraints didn’t slow Frontier’s fiber build in Q4 2021, as the company added a record 192,000 FTTP passings in the quarter, improving on the 185,000 new fiber passings built in Q3 2021.  Last month Frontier announced that it added a record 45,000 fiber broadband subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2021, beating its prior record in Q3 2021 by more than 50%. That was also enough to overtake subscriber losses from Frontier’s legacy copper broadband business, as the company posted a Q4 net gain of 14,000 consumer broadband subs. Frontier ended 2021 with 1.33 million fiber broadband customers, up 8% year-over-year. About half of Frontier’s consumer broadband sub base is now served by fiber.

Frontier, which launched a symmetrical 2-Gig fiber service on February 22nd, is seeing solid penetration in its existing “base” FTTP markets and positive signs in newer fiber buildout areas. Penetration in Frontier’s relatively mature base-fiber footprint rose to nearly 42%, and the company expects that to eventually increase to 45%.

In its FTTP expansion effort, Frontier is seeing penetrations of 22% at the 12-month mark, expecting that to rise to 25% to 30% at 24 months. In later years, the company expects the percentage to jump to a terminal penetration of 45%.

“We’re now, I believe, gaining market share in all of our fiber markets against every single one of our competitors,” Jeffery said. “That is not a moment in time or an aberration. That’s the result of strong operational execution across many different dimensions, and I think we’ll see that carry forward into the future.”

Frontier said its fiber-related net promoter score (NPS) went positive for the first time in November 2021, while fiber churn dropped to 1.32% in Q4 2021, improved from 1.56% in the year-ago quarter.

Scott Beasley, Frontier’s CFO, said Frontier expects fiber revenues to reach positive territory as 2022 progresses, driven by the growth of its consumer fiber segment and a stabilization of the company’s business and wholesale units.

MoffetNathanson analyst Nick Del Dio had this to say in a research note to clients:

“Large scale network upgrade projects take years to complete. Achieving targeted levels of penetration once the network in a given geography has been upgraded takes years, too. By our estimates, it will be about a decade before Frontier’s potential will be fully realized.”

“Frontier’s operating metrics continue to move in the right direction. Total consumer broadband net adds were positive for the first time in many, many years; copper losses were stable, while the company gained fiber subscribers in both new and existing markets. Fiber gross adds and churn both improved in Q2. Frontier’s fiber NPS scores have improved dramatically over the past year, going from -24 in January 2021 to +9 in December 2021, a 33 point swing, with NPS scores associated with new customers better than those associated with old customers. The company expects continued strength in fiber and better churn in copper in coming periods. Consumer fiber broadband ARPU declined about $1 sequentially, which management attributed to promoting autopay adoption and giving gift cards for new customers.”


Frontier’s plan to bring FTTP to 10 million locations by 2025 includes what the company calls Wave 1 and Wave 2 builds. Wave 3 includes another 5 million locations that might be built out using supplemental government funding and partnerships, or could be tied to potential divestments or system swaps. Frontier’s analysis of the Wave 3 section continues, and the company should have some specific guidance in the coming months, said John Stratton, Frontier’s executive chairman of the board.

Q4 2021 was the last quarter in which Frontier received subsidy revenues from the Connect America Fund (CAF) II program. Yet they hope President Biden’s infrastructure bill passes and directs revenues to telcos to help them build out their networks.

“It’s complicated,” Stratton said with respect to government stimulus funding, noting that Frontier expects to be an active participant in the new infrastructure bill. “The rules of engagement, both at the federal and state level, are still being worked… Our thought process is that this a 2023 and onward in terms of it becoming something that starts to scale.”


Frontier Communications reports added 45,000 fiber broadband subscribers in 4Q-2021 – best in 5 years!

Verizon, AWS and Bloomberg media work on 4K video streaming over 5G with MEC

Verizon, Bloomberg Media, Zixi and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are working together to test how 5G and mobile edge computing (aka Multi-access Edge Computing or MEC) can transform how global business news is produced, delivered and consumed. Using Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, Bloomberg Media will be able to package and deliver live 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) content without the need for satellites, allowing for fast and efficient content delivery.

Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, a real-time cloud computing platform, brings AWS compute and storage services to the edge of Verizon’s wireless network. This, coupled with Zixi’s SDVP and ZEN Master control plane, shows that it is possible to change the way broadcast content is packaged and delivered. This combination of Zixi software minimizes the latency and simplifies the networking required to connect from hosted software services on 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength to the end user’s device while ensuring a high quality broadcast signal is maintained.

Media consumption today has its challenges for content providers. Broadcasters are looking to simplify their distribution workflows being driven by a ubiquitous content economy and consumers who want more live streamed 4K content, with quick start times and minimal buffering. To accomplish this, Bloomberg Media sends UHD video using Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength coupled with Zixi’s software to quickly process the video into multiple streams for broadcast across various platforms.

The companies also plan to test streaming Bloomberg TV+ 4K UHD content direct to consumers’ 5G-connected devices, via Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, allowing users to access data rich content on market news and business insights on the go. This will be followed by another trial that will involve near real-time native translation of Bloomberg TV+ content for transcripts, captioning and subtitles distributed globally.

“5G and edge compute have the potential to revolutionize the media and entertainment space and reinvent how global business news is produced and consumed,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “By leveraging Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength and Bloomberg Media’s premium 4K UHD service, we’re testing how we can potentially reimagine the future of media delivery and the viewer experience.”

“Bloomberg Media is committed to continuous innovation and experimentation of technologies to better reach our global audience of business leaders with the insights, information and solutions they need,” said Roman Mackiewicz, Chief Information Officer at Bloomberg Media. “This proof of concept trial combines Verizon’s 5G and mobile edge computing capabilities with Bloomberg TV+ premium 4K UHD content to create a modern streaming news experience with the potential for true industry disruption.”

“It has been fantastic working with Verizon, Bloomberg Media and AWS to deliver pristine 4K UHD quality content over 5G while leveraging edge compute” said Gordon Brooks, Executive Chairman and CEO of Zixi. “Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength and Zixi can potentially transform the M&E industry.”

Last May, Verizon demonstrated 4K video on a camera connected to its 5G Ultra Wideband network in Verizon’s 5G Lab in Los Angeles, CA.  With 5G, Verizon was able to record and stream TheHxliday’s performance in a visually lossless way, nearly eliminating the side-effects of image compression that’s visible to the naked eye.

The premise behind the 4K over 5G is that there’s a great demand for 4K streamed content over a cellular network.  However, 4K resolution is only really noticeable on large screens and those are usually connected via WiFI- not cellular.  5G has been desperately searching for killer apps since it’s inception, but it remains highly debatable whether 4K streaming will provide one.

Launched in August 2020, Verizon 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength is currently available in 17 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Learn more information about Verizon 5G Edge and Verizon’s 5G technology.


Verizon and AWS team up over 5G powered 4K streaming

Deutsche Telekom demos end to end network slicing; plans ‘multivendor’ open RAN launch in 2023

DT and Ericsson recently demonstrated an impressive proof of concept implementation: they established connectivity with guaranteed quality of service (QoS) between Germany and Poland via 5G end-to-end network slicing. With an SD-WAN solution from Deutsche Telekom, the data connection can be flexibly controlled and managed via a customer portal. The solution ensures that different service parameters in the network can be operated across country borders. At the same time, network resources are flexibly allocated. This approach is being presented for the first time worldwide. It is particularly advantageous for global companies that operate latency-critical applications at different, international locations.

End-to-end network slicing, which requires a 5G SA core network, is a key enabler for unlocking 5G opportunities. It’s been highly touted to drive business model innovation and new use cases across various industry segments. 5G slicing will enable use cases that require specific resources and QoS levels. Globally operating enterprise are more and more seeing the need for uniform connectivity characteristics to serve their applications in different markets. Some of the latency-critical business applications that demand consistent international connectivity performance are related to broadcasting, logistics, and automotive telematics.

In this trial, the QoS connectivity was extended from Germany to Poland using a 5G slicing setup that is based on commercial grade Ericsson 5G Standalone (SA) radio and core network infrastructure and a Deutsche Telekom commercial SD-WAN solution. The home operator-controlled User Plane Function (UPF) is placed in Poland as the visited country and the entire setup is managed by an Ericsson orchestrator integrated with a Deutsche Telekom business support system via open TM Forum APIs. Combining 5G slicing and SD-WAN technology allows flexible connectivity establishment and control, while traffic breakout close to the application server in visited countries enables low latency.


According to Light Reading, Deutsche Telekom (DT) has already issued a request for quotation (RFQ) to Open RAN vendors and is currently selecting partners for a commercial rollout next year.  NEC – a Japanese vendor of radio units (among other things)- and Mavenir -a U.S. developer of baseband software-were mentioned as Open RAN Town participants (and likely DT RFQ respondents). “It is a multivendor setup,” said DT’s Claudia Nemat.

However, there are obstacles that Open RAN must overcome to be widely deployed. In particular, energy efficiency. Deutsche Telekom, along with most other big operators, is determined to reduce its carbon footprint and slash energy bills. Open RAN “is less energy efficient than today’s RAN technology,” Ms. Nemat said.  The use of x86 general-purpose microprocessors in virtualized, open RAN deployments seems to be responsible for this inefficiency.

“If you have an ASIC [application-specific integrated circuit] for baseband processing, it is always cheaper than using a general-purpose microprocessor like an Intel processor,” said Alex Choi, Deutsche Telekom’s head of strategy and technology innovation, two years ago.

One option is to use ASICs and other chips as hardware accelerators for more efficient baseband processing. Companies including Marvell, Nvidia and Qualcomm all have products in development for sale as merchant silicon in open RAN deployments. Nemat, noted a breakthroughs with Intel.

“We achieved a reduction of electricity consumption of around minus 30%.  For us, that is a big step forward for commercial deployment.”

Light Reading’s Iain Morris, provided this assessment:

Even so, a commercial open RAN deployment involving companies like NEC and Mavenir is hard to imagine. Any widespread rollout of their technologies would mean swapping out equipment recently supplied by Ericsson or Huawei (DT’s current 5G network equipment vendors), unless Deutsche Telekom plans to run two parallel networks. Either option would be costly.

Far likelier is that a 2023 deployment will be very limited. Other operators including the UK’s BT and France’s Orange have talked about using open RAN initially for small cells – designed to provide a coverage boost in specific locations.

A private network for a factory is one possible example. Outside Germany, of course, there may be a bigger short-term opportunity in Deutsche Telekom markets where 5G has not been as widely deployed.

In late June 2021, Deutsche Telekom switched on its ‘O-RAN Town’ deployment in Neubrandenburg, Germany. O-RAN Town is a multi-vendor open RAN network that will deliver open RAN based 4G and 5G services across up to 25 sites. The first sites are now deployed and integrated into the live network of Telekom Germany. This includes Europe’s first integration of massive MIMO (mMIMO) radio units using O-RAN open fronthaul interfaces to connect to the virtualized RAN software.

Ms. Nemat said at the time, “Open RAN is about increasing flexibility, choice and reinvigorating our industry to bring in innovation for the benefit our customers. Switching on our O-RAN Town including massive MIMO is a pivotal moment on our journey to drive the development of open RAN as a competitive solution for macro deployment at scale. This is just the start. We will expand O-RAN Town over time with a diverse set of supplier partners to further develop our operational experience of high-performance multi-vendor open RAN.”


In November 2021, Deutsche Telekom announced it was taking the lead in a new Open lab to accelerate network disaggregation and Open RAN. The German Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) is financing the Lab with 17 million Euros and that’s to be matched by approximately a 17 million Euro investment from a consortium under the leadership of Deutsche Telekom (DT).

The lab will furthermore be supported by and working closely with OCP (Open Compute Project), ONF (Open Networking Foundation), ONAP (Open Network Automation Platform), the O-RAN Alliance and the TIP (Telecom Infra Project). Partners and supporters together form the user forum, which is open for participation by other interested companies, especially SMEs, working on applications as well as equipment and development. As an open lab it is built for collaboration within the wider telecommunications community. The i14y Lab Berlin will be the central location and core node of satellite locations such as Düsseldorf and Munich.  Other highlights:

  • Testing and integrating components of disaggregated networks in the lab to accelerate time to market of open network technology for the multi-vendor network of the future.
  • The lab has already started operations at DT Innovation Campus Winterfeldtstraße
  • Important foundation for building a European and German ecosystem of vendors and system integrators

A recent Research Nester report predicts a market size of $21 billion for O-RAN in 2028.



GSA: Private Mobile Networks Summary-2022


The demand for private mobile networks based on 4G LTE (and increasingly 5G) technologies is being driven by the spiralling data, security, digitisation and enterprise mobility requirements of modern business and government entities. Organisations of all types are combining connected systems with big data and analytics to transform operations, increase automation and efficiency or deliver new services to their users. Wireless networking with LTE or 5G enables these transformations to take place even in the most dynamic, remote or highly secure environments, while offering the scale benefits of a technology that has already been deployed worldwide.

The arrival of LTE-Advanced systems delivered a step change in network capacity and throughput, while 5G networks have brought improved density (support for larger numbers of users or devices), even greater capacity, as well as dramatic improvements to latency that enable use of mobile technology for time-critical applications.

Private mobile networks are often part of a broader digital transformation programme in an organisation. This could include the introduction or development of cloud networking and other digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and data analytics. More and more applications of the private mobile network will use these capabilities combined with mobile connectivity.

In addition to companies looking to deploy their own private mobile network for the first time, there is a large group of potential customers that currently operate private networks based on technologies such as TETRA, P25, Digital Mobile Radio, GSM-R and Wi-Fi. Many of these customers are demanding critical broadband services that are simply not available from alternative technologies, so private mobile networks based on LTE and 5G could eventually replace much of this market.

The exact number of existing private mobile network deployments is hard to determine, as details are not often made public. To improve information about this market, GSA is now maintaining a database of private LTE and 5G networks worldwide.

Since the last market update, GSA has been working with Executive Members Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia on harmonising definitions of what counts as a valid private mobile network, and on harmonising sector definitions. That work has led to a restatement of some of GSA’s market statistics.

The definition of a private mobile network used in this report is a 3GPP-based 4G LTE or 5G network intended for the sole use of private entities, such as enterprises, industries and governments. The definition includes MulteFire or Future Railway Mobile Communication System. The network must use spectrum defined in 3GPP, be generally intended for business-critical or mission-critical operational needs, and where it is possible to identify commercial value, the database only includes contracts worth more than €100,000, to filter out small demonstration network deployments.

Private mobile networks are usually not offered to the general public, although GSA’s analysis does include the following: educational institutions that provide mobile broadband to student homes; private fixed wireless access networks deployed by communities for homes and businesses; city or town networks that use local licences to provide wireless services in libraries or public places (possibly offering Wi-Fi with 3GPP wireless backhaul) which are not an extension of the public network.

Non-3GPP networks such as those using Wi-Fi, TETRA, P25, WiMAX, Sigfox, LoRa and proprietary technologies are excluded from the data set. Furthermore, network implementations using solely network slices from public networks or placement of virtual networking functions on a router are also excluded. Where identifiable, extensions of the public network (such as one or two extra sites deployed at a location, as opposed to dedicated private networks), are excluded. These items may be described in the press as a type of private network.

GSA has identified 58 countries and territories with private network deployments based on LTE or 5G, or where private network spectrum licences suitable for LTE or 5G have been assigned. In addition, there are private mobile network installations in various offshore locations serving the oil and gas industries, as well as on ships.

GSA has collated information about 656 organisations known to be deploying LTE or 5G private mobile networks. Since the last update of this report in November 2021, some organisations have been removed from the database and this analysis, owing to a lack of evidence that they met the definition criteria. These examples may be added again in the future.

GSA has counted over 50 equipment vendors that have been involved in the supply of equipment for private mobile networks based on LTE or 5G. Commercial availability of pre-integrated solutions from several equipment providers increased in 2021; these solutions aim to simplify adoption of private networks, which should add market impetus. In addition, GSA has identified more than 70 telecom network operators (counting national operators within the same group as distinct entities) involved with private mobile network projects. Also, global-scale cloud providers (often referred to as “hyperscalers”) are offering private mobile network solutions, sometimes in partnership with mobile operators or network suppliers. Their ability to exploit mass-scale cloud infrastructure and their existing presence in commercial enterprises is likely to drive additional growth in the private mobile network market.

GSA has been able to categorise 656 customers deploying private mobile networks, which as Figure 1 shows, are located all around the world. Where organisations have subsidiaries in different countries or territories deploying their own networks, each subsidiary is counted separately. LTE is used in 78% of the catalogued private mobile network deployments for which GSA has data; 5G is being deployed in 38% of networks.

Dell’Oro Group forecasts a much smaller private wireless market share for 5G. They say LTE is dominating the private market in 2021 and 5G NR still on track to surpass LTE by the outer part of the forecast period, approaching 3 percent to 5 percent of the total 5G private plus public RAN market by 2026.

GSA also tracks the spectrum bands being used for deployments assigned specifically for local or private network purposes. Figure 4 shows that, including known spectrum assignments and deployments, C-band spectrum is the most widely assigned; TDD spectrum at 1.8 GHz comes second and is associated with the greatest number of identified deployments (more than 100 separate metro rail deployments in China). After that comes CBRS spectrum (also technically within the C-band but split out owing to the unusual way it has been assigned in the US).

There are more than 200 CBRS licensees, although they have not all been counted within the licence data, as it is not certain whether the spectrum will be used for public or private networks.

Telecom regulators are also showing signs of making increased allocations of dedicated spectrum available for private mobile networks — typically small tranches in specified locations. This could be acquired directly by organisations instead of by mobile operators, giving industries an alternative deployment model. Dedicated spectrum of this sort has already been allocated in France, the US, Germany and the UK, for example, and GSA expects this trend to be followed in other countries in 2022.

Note that owing to the removal of projects not meeting the new size requirement of at least €100,000, the counts are not directly comparable with those in the previous issue, although the patterns are the same.

GSA will be publishing further statistical updates covering the private mobile sector during 2022.


Acknowledgement: GSA would like to thank its Executive Members Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia for sharing general information about their network deployments to enable this dataset and report to be produced.


Dell’Oro: LTE still dominates private wireless market; will transition to 5G NR (with many new players)



Nokia and Mavenir to build 4G/5G public and private network for FSG in Australia

Australian rural carrier Field Solutions Holdings (FSG) has selected Nokia and Mavenir as its primary technology vendors to build Australia’s fourth mobile network.

As part of the deal, the technology partners will supply 4G and 5G radio access networks and the mobile core network.  Mavenir will provide 4G/5G Converged Packet core, as well as IMS voice and messaging services.

FSG plans to deliver 4G and 5G services in rural, regional and remote areas of the country. FSG will also be delivering private 4G LTE and 5G service offerings.  FSG, has secured 5G spectrum holdings to ensure that rural, regional and remote Australia is not left behind in the rollout of 5G services.

FSG CEO Andrew Roberts, said FSG’s 5G service will cover 85% of Australia’s landmass.

“FSG has run a comprehensive 6-month RFP process to select the most appropriate technology partners for the rollout of the Regional Australia Network.  FSG has selected these partners to ensure we have the cost-effective, future proof and globally proven technology platform needed to deliver Australia’s 4th mobile network.”

“The demand for private 4G and 5G networks is gaining momentum, FSG will be delivering cost-effective, carrier-grade private solutions for agri-business, mining and government. We expect to be announcing several private 4G and 5G private network deployments in the coming weeks,” said FSG CEO Andrew Roberts.

“Together with our new partners, Nokia and Mavenir, FSG is primed to deliver connectivity to regions, whilst offering capability for carriers to join the solution using Active Neutral host RAN, inbound roaming or ‘old school’ passive co-location on our purpose-built infrastructure,” Roberts added.

By embracing new models, the cost to deliver these solutions can be kept to a minimum, further supporting the committee’s desire to ensure that affordability is not forgotten. FSG are in the process of delivering 19 new place-based networks across Australia.  These networks, comprising over 100 sites, each of which will be 4G and 5G capable, Neutral Host and Roaming ready when delivered in FY 23/24. “The Regional Australia Network is a dedicated network supporting rural Australia.    Today, we operate Australia’s largest non-NBN fixed wireless network, which delivers fixed wireless broadband across rural, regional and remote Australia. The Regional Australia Network (RAN(TM)) will see these current and all new networks being enabled to delivery 4G and 5G data and voice services, fixed wireless broadband together with NB-IoT and CatM1 services”, Roberts stated.

FSG also said that the company is in the process of delivering 19 new “place-based” networks across Australia. These networks comprise more than 100 sites, each of which will be 4G and 5G capable, neutral host and roaming-ready when delivered in fiscal year 2023/24.

Anna Perrin, Nokia’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said, “As a world-leading provider of mobile technology, we have championed the development of Neutral Host networks around the world and we’re excited to bring this global expertise to our partnership with FSG. Supporting the creation of new and innovative solutions and business models for rural and remote coverage across Australia.”

“Mavenir is excited to partner with FSG to deliver a cost-effective, future proof and globally proven 4G/5G Cloud-native Converged Packet Core, IMS and messaging services to enable Australia’s 4th mobile network,” said Dereck Quinlan, Mavenir regional VP.

“Mavenir continues to drive forward with advanced cloud-native solutions that our customers and the industry recognise. Our Cloud-native Converged Packet Core solution embraces a disruptive technology architecture and business model that drive network agility, deployment flexibility, and service velocity,” Quinlan added.

Over the next 18 months, FSG, in partnership with the Australian Federal Government and mobile operator Optus, will be trialing the deployment of what it says is Australia’s first “Active Neutral Host” network. The neutral-host model enables FSG to build and operate infrastructure and a single set of electronics that all mobile network operators in Australia can utilize and will be ready for PSMB services, the company says.

“The more carriers subscribe to the model, the more valuable and impactful it is for Australian Rural communities and Australia as a whole. We look forward to welcoming the other Australian Carriers to the program, to make the neutral host model a reality for rural, regional and remote Australia,” Roberts added.


FSG selects Nokia, Mavenir to rollout Australia’s fourth mobile network

FSG making sure country people receive 5G service

Explaining the 5G SA Core network as distinct from 5G RAN (5G NR)

At this week’s ITU-R WP5D meeting, a Russian contribution (5D/998) proposed a liaison statement to Global Core Specification (GCS) Proponents to clarify 5G NSA (Non-Stand Alone) and 5G SA (Stand Alone) architectures in Recommendation ITU-R M.2150 (formerly know as IMT 2020.specs). Those architectures are described in 3GPP TR 21.915 (Summary of Rel-15 Work Items).  While 5G NSA uses LTE for everything other than the RAN (5G NR), 5G SA introduces the 5G Core network which facilitates new 5G features and functions.  3GPP has decided NOT to liaison their 5G SA Core network TR’s to ITU-T for consideration as ITU recommendations for 5G non radio aspects.

Here’s the functional split between the 5G RAN (5G NR) and the 5G core network, as per 3GPP Release 15:

From 3GPP TR 21.915:

5.5.2 The 5G Core Network Main Network Functions (NFs)

The AMF (Access and Mobility management Function) support UEs with different mobility management needs. It performs the following main tasks:

– The Non-Access Stratum (NAS) signalling termination;

– The NAS signalling security;

– The Access Stratum (AS) Security control;

– Inter CN node signalling for mobility between 3GPP access networks;

– Idle mode UE Reachability (including control and execution of paging retransmission);

– Registration Area management;

– Support of intra-system and inter-system mobility;

– Access Authentication;

– Access Authorization including check of roaming rights;

– Mobility management control (subscription and policies);

– Support of Network Slicing;

– SMF selection.

The SMF (Session Management Function) can support, together with the AMF, customized mobility management schemes such as “Mobile Initiated Connection Only” (MICO) or RAN enhancements like “RRC Inactive” state. It performs the following main tasks:

– Session Management;

– UE IP address allocation and management;

– Selection and control of UPF;

– Configures traffic steering at UPF to route traffic to proper destination;

– Control part of policy enforcement and QoS;

– Downlink Data Notification.

The UPF (User Plane Function) performs the following main tasks:

– Anchor point for Intra-/Inter-RAT mobility (when applicable);

– External PDU session point of interconnect to Data Network;

– Packet routing & forwarding;

– Packet inspection and User plane part of Policy rule enforcement;

– Traffic usage reporting;

– Uplink classifier to support routing traffic flows to a data network;

– Branching point to support multi-homed PDU session;

– QoS handling for user plane, e.g. packet filtering, gating, UL/DL rate enforcement;

– Uplink Traffic verification (SDF to QoS flow mapping);

– Downlink packet buffering and downlink data notification triggering.

The other main Network Functions are:

– The “Network Repository Function” (NRF): it provides support for NF services management including registration, deregistration, authorization and discovery.

– The “Network Exposure Function” (NEF): it provides external exposure of the capabilities of the network functions. External exposure can be categorized as Monitoring capability, Provisioning capability, Application influence of traffic routing and Policy/Charging capability.

– The “Unified Data Management” (UDM): the 5GC supports Data Storage architecture for Compute and Storage separation. The Unified Data Repository (UDR) is the master database. The Unstructured Data Storage Function (UDSF) is introduced to store dynamic state data. Specificities of the 5G Core Network and associated NFs Local hosting of services and Edge Computing Network slicing Unified access control Support of 3GPP and non-3GPP access Policy framework and QoS support Other specific services

The following services are also supported by 5G SA core network:

Short Message Service (SMS). This is supported by “SMS over NAS” (including over non-3GPP access).

IP-Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and its services, although, this might not be available in all initial 5G deployments. If IMS services are invoked by a UE connected to an IMS-less 5GS, this triggers a network-based handover towards an appropriate RAT and related EPS. This applies also to the support of IMS emergency services.

Multi-Operator Core Network (MOCN), in which a RAN is shared by multiple core networks.

Public Warning System (PWS). This is supported by either using Service-based interfaces between the Cell Broadcast Centre (CBC) Function (CBCF) and the AMF, or using an interworking function between the CBC and the AMF.

Multimedia Priority Services (MPS). They are supported by MPS-specific exemptions for 5GS mobility management and 5GS session management.

Mission Critical Services (MCS). They are supported by having a subscription in place for both 5G QoS profile and the necessary policies. Some standardized QoS characteristics are defined for MCS.

PS Data Off. The 5G’s “PS data off” functionality is backward-compatible and provides Control Plane Load Control, Congestion and Overload control. This includes AMF Load balancing, AMF Load-rebalancing, TNL (Transport Network Layer between 5GC and 5G-AN) Load (re-)balancing, as well as AMF Overload Control, SMF Overload Control.

It should be noted that, in 5GS Phase 1 (3GPP Release 15), Location Services are optional and restricted to regulatory (emergency) services.  5GS Phase 2 (3GPP Release 16) was frozen in June 2020 without either URLLC in the RAN or URLCC in the Core specs completed.


IMT 2020: Concept of Global Core Specification (GCS) and Transposing Organization(s)

Move to distributed cloud networks, edge cloud and smart city services

Last week Akamai announced that it had acquired infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform provider Linode for $900 million. As a result it can bundle its edge cloud network with Linode’s services aimed at developers and their applications. Linode is a cloud computing specialist, offering its infrastructure-as-a-service platform across 11 global markets from data centres around the world. It operates its own network, with APIs, services and educational resources to enable developers and businesses to build, deploy, and scale applications more easily and cost-effectively in the cloud.  The deal appears aimed at smaller developers and the bigger rival AWS.

“If you are a large enterprise and need the ability to customize your infrastructure, AWS is a good fit. But if you’re a small business owner or independent developer, having access to all of that advanced cloud technology comes at a cost: unnecessary complexity, risk of lock-in to Amazon’s ecosystem, and frequent billing surprises.”

AWS was also active last week in the edge cloud area, focusing on applications in need of single-digit millisecond latency. It’s completed 16 Local Zones in the US to serve customers such as Netflix and Fox and plans to add another 32 zones around the world in the next two years.

In Europe, 28 companies (including Deutsche Telekom, TIM, KPN, United Groep and Vivacom) confirmed plans for the Lighthouse Structura-X Project. That project will develop cloud services compatible with the aims of the EU’s Gaia-X project.

Canadian network operator Telus is partnering with Google Cloud to develop smart city services. Telus will rely on its 5G network and NXN Digital platforms.

The French start-up InterCloud raised EUR 100 million for its interconnection service supporting all the big cloud platforms.


Credit Suisse: Metaverse to push data usage by 20 times worldwide by 2032

Even moderate usage of metaverse will increase global data usage by 20 times over a decade and firms such as India telcos Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are poised for “suitable benefits” from this surge, as per a Credit Suisse report released on February 17th. However, the Metaverse technology might not be mature till 2030.

“Internet traffic is already 80 percent video and has been growing at a 30 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Our team projects that even modest metaverse usage could drive a further 37 percent CAGR in the next decade to 20x current data usage,” the Credit Suisse report said.

Metaverse enables individuals to immerse in a virtual world through augmented reality and virtual reality. AR and VR are also expected to boom and metaverse has “enormous potential to further expand screen time and drive more bandwidth consumption”, the report added.5G will support the metaverse ecosystem and emergence of “6G” will enhance use cases, Credit Suisse said, adding that the gaming segment is expected to be an early adopter of metaverse.  According to the survey, gaming is in its early stages in India, and mobile gaming is now being pushed by mobile phones as a result of the introduction of inexpensive smartphones and 4G broadband services.

“Mobile internet remains the key medium for Indian users to go online, given relatively low fixed broadband penetration. The share of mobile gaming in online games is expected to increase.”

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are projected to grow because these are the technologies essential for accessing the Metaverse, augmented reality and virtual reality are projected to grow. While 5G services (?) will sustain the Metaverse environment, the introduction of 6G (undefined ?) will expand Metaverse use cases, according to the report.

“Given the low fixed broadband penetration, mobile internet remains the primary way for Indian people to connect to the internet. The proportion of mobile gaming in online games is predicted to grow in the future.”

The report did acknowledge that it is “too early” to determine the impact of metaverse on revenues of Indian telecom companies, but “Airtel (with 17% of revenues from fixed line) and Jio are well placed to benefit from the surge in data usage driven by metaverse in the latter half of this decade”.

The report says fixed broadband penetration in India will increase to 9% in the current fiscal from 6.8% in FY2020, and rise to 12.6% by FY2025 driven by continued demand for data and telcos’ push to improve use of their fiber infrastructure.



Cox Communications commits to symmetrical 10-Gig; many upgrade paths are possible

Cox Communications is the latest U.S. cable operator to formally announce a commitment to “10G,” the cable industry’s initiative focused on delivering symmetrical 10-Gig speeds over multiple types of access networks, including hybrid fiber/coax (HFC), fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) and fixed wireless.  Comcast is definitely on board that train, an executive told this author. Both Comcast and Charter Communications have announced lab tests of DOCSIS 4.0, and CableOne formed a partnership to pursue FTTP deployments and is preparing for DOCSIS 4.0 upgrades as it begins to boost the capacity of its HFC networks to 1.8GHz.

Cox estimates it has invested more than $19 billion in network and product upgrades over the past decade.   The company promises to deliver on their 10G plan through a mix of upgrades to DOCSIS 4.0 on HFC and deployments of FTTP. The company has previously made some FTTP headway under a “Gigablast” initiative focused on extending 1-Gig capabilities across the bulk of its footprint.  The privately held network operator said it will make a “multibillion-dollar annual infrastructure investment over the next several years to build a 10-Gigabit-capable, fiber-based network.”

“Connectivity is at the heart of everything we do. With new applications of technology from virtual reality classrooms to autonomous vehicles to the metaverse, people will require increased bandwidth to power their digital futures,” said Mark Greatrex, president of Cox Communications. “Included in this investment is our commitment to bring robust and reliable services to underserved communities and to be the internet provider customers count on to make those valuable connections a reality,” he added.

In addition to faster speeds, Cox also continues to provide secure and reliable WiFi connections covering the whole home. Cox’s Panoramic WiFi offers the latest gateway technology to deliver the most advanced experience with reliable speed, coverage, control and security that can be easily updated as technology changes. Customers also have personal control and security through the Panoramic WiFi app with Advanced Security, protecting every device connected to their network.

“Our intent is to remind the market that we are going to continue to aggressively invest in the communities we serve to maintain and build highly competitive networks,” a Cox spokesman wrote in an email to Telecompetitor.

Multiple Upgrade Paths are Possible:

A typical upgrade involves deploying XGS-PON equipment on the same infrastructure that supports widely deployed GPON technology.  A key question for cable companies is whether to invest in DOCSIS 4.0 and in augmenting HFC infrastructure to obtain speeds that might reach 6 Gbps symmetrically, or whether it would be more prudent to deploy XGS-PON. All the major cable companies – including Cox – seem to be wrestling with that issue.  XGS-PON can support speeds approaching 10 Gbps in both directions.


Supporting multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds is challenging for cable companies’ traditional hybrid fiber coax (HFC) infrastructure. Although the cable industry’s DOCSIS 3.1 and DOCSIS 4.0 specifications call for speeds up to 10 Gbps downstream, upstream bandwidth is more limited.  DOCSIS 3.1 and DOCSIS 4.0 are just part of the CableLabs 10G initiative which  aims to enable cable companies to support multi-gigabit speeds. Maximizing symmetrical speeds – and the number of customers who can obtain those speeds – will require other network upgrades, such as taking fiber closer to the customer and/or splitting nodes and moving to a DAA approach to reduce the number of customers served from each node.

It appears that not all cable operators will pursue DOCSIS 4.0 aggressively. Altice USA, as one example, announced this week it will accelerate its deployment of FTTP upgrades in both its Optimum and more rural-facing Suddenlink footprints. In Europe, Liberty Global will take multiple upgrade paths using both FTTP and HFC/DOCSIS 4.0, but building fiber overlays is the primary focus at Virgin O2 in the UK, Virgin Media (Ireland) and Telenet (Belgium).


As a private company, Cox Communications does not publicize financial data, but the company has in the neighborhood of 6 million residential broadband customers, and nearly 7 million when business customers are included. A company official told Light Reading that Cox continues to grow total customers, with nearly all new customers taking broadband.

The Cox multi-gigabit press release references a “fiber-based network to more than 100,000 homes and businesses in communities near [the company’s] existing footprint.”  In doing this, Cox said it expects to leverage federal funding opportunities – a potential reference to the BEAD program created in the infrastructure act adopted late last year, although the spokesman declined to confirm that.

Cox declined to say what percentage of its network will head down the road of D4.0 or all-fiber, but did note that its current investment commitment includes bringing broadband to underserved communities. Cox came away with a small piece of the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction – about $6.63 million for 8,212 locations in nine states. The company said it hopes to partner with local cities and towns in pursuing these funding opportunities, but here, too, the spokesman declined to provide specifics.

This won’t be the first time Cox has pursued rural broadband opportunities. The company won funding in the 2020 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to cover some of the costs of deploying fiber broadband in unserved rural areas, and the company received final authorization of that win in December.

About Cox Communications:

Cox Communications is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through technology. The largest private broadband company in America, we proudly serve nearly seven million homes and businesses across 18 states. We’re dedicated to empowering others to build a better future and celebrate diverse products, people, suppliers, communities and the characteristics that make each one unique. Cox Communications is the largest division of Cox Enterprises, a family-owned business founded in 1898 by Governor James M. Cox.



Cox Plans Multi-Billion Dollar Symmetrical Multi-Gigabit Upgrade

Cable One joint venture to expand fiber based internet access via FTTP

KDDI claims world’s first 5G Standalone (SA) Open RAN site using Samsung vRAN and Fujitsu radio units

Japan’s KDDI is claiming to have turned on the world’s first commercial 5G Standalone (SA) Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) site, using equipment and software from Samsung Electronics and Fujitsu. KDDI used O-RAN Alliance compliant [1.] technology, including Samsung’s 5G virtualized CU (vCU) and virtualized DU (vDU) as well as Fujitsu’s radio units (MMU: Massive MIMO Units).

Note 1.  O-RAN Alliance specifications are being used for RAN module interfaces that support interoperation between different Open RAN vendors’ equipment.

The first network site went live in Kawasaki, Kanagawa today.  KDDI, together with its two partners, will deploy this Open RAN network in some parts of Japan and continue its deployment and development, embracing openness and virtualization in KDDI’s commercial network.  Note that both Rakuten-Japan and Dish Network/Amazon AWS have promised 5G SA Open RAN but neither company seems close to deploying it.

Virtualization and O-RAN technology replaces dedicated hardware with software elements that can run on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. This brings flexibility and agility to KDDI’s network, allowing the operator to offer enhanced mobile services to its users. KDDI says this architecture will deliver reliability, while accelerating deployment of Open RAN throughout Japan, including in rural areas. Meanwhile, 5G SA will deliver superior performance, higher speeds and lower latency and make possible advanced services/applications, such as network slicing, automation, service chaining and Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).

Traditional RAN vs. Open RAN Configuration.  Source: KDDI

Characteristics of this site:

This Open RAN site leverages fully-virtualized RAN software, provided by Samsung, that runs on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers. Furthermore, by pursuing an open network approach between radio units and baseband unit, KDDI used Samsung’s baseband and Fujitsu’s Massive MIMO Units, which are connected with an open interface.

  • Fully-virtualized 5G RAN software can be swiftly deployed using existing hardware infrastructure, which brings greater flexibility in deployment. New 5G SA technologies―such as network slicing, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and others―powered by 5G vRAN, will deliver superior performance, higher speeds and lower latency, allowing KDDI users to experience a range of new next-generation services and immersive applications.
  • Using an open interface between radio units and baseband unit, Open RAN not only ensures security and reliability but also enables operators to implement best-of-breed solutions from different partners and build an optimal network infrastructure for maximized performance.
  • The virtualized network allows the use of general-purpose hardware (COTS servers) across the country, which will greatly increase deployment efficiencies. Additionally, by leveraging system automation, fully-virtualized RAN software can reduce deployment time, enabling swift nationwide expansion, including rural areas.

Comments from Kazuyuki Yoshimura, Chief Technology Officer, KDDI Corporation:

“Together with Samsung and Fujitsu, we are excited to successfully develop and turn on the world’s first commercial 5G SA Open RAN site powered by vRAN. Taking a big step, we look forward to continue leading network innovation and advancing our network capabilities, towards our vision of delivering cutting-edge 5G services to our customers.”

Comments from Woojune Kim, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics:

“Leveraging our industry-leading 5G capabilities, we are excited to mark another milestone with KDDI and Fujitsu. Samsung stands out for its leadership in 5G vRAN and Open RAN with wide-scale commercial deployment experiences across the globe. While KDDI and Samsung are at the forefront of network innovation, we look forward to expanding our collaboration towards 5G SA, to bring compelling 5G services to users.”

Note: Samsung released its first 5G vRAN portfolio in early 2021 following its blockbuster RAN deal with Verizon, which was the first operator to commercially deploy the new equipment. Samsung also gained a foothold in Vodafone’s plan to deploy 2,500 open RAN sites in the southwest of England and most of Wales. Samsung’s open RAN compliant vRAN hardware and software were previously deployed in 5G NSA commercial networks in Japan and Britain, but this is the first 5G SA deployment.  We wonder if it is “cloud native?”  Hah, hah, hah!

Comments from Shingo Mizuno, Corporate Executive Officer and Vice Head of System Platform Business (In charge of Network Business), Fujitsu Limited:

“The Open RAN-based ecosystem offers many exciting possibilities and this latest milestone with KDDI and Samsung demonstrates the innovative potential of next-generation mobile services with Massive MIMO Units. Fujitsu will continue to enhance this ecosystem, with the goal of providing advanced mobile services and contributing to the sustainable growth of our society.”

The companies will continue to strengthen virtualized and Open RAN leadership in this space, bringing additional value to customers and enterprises with 5G SA.


Addendum:   As of December 31, 2021 there were only 21 known 5G SA eMBB networks commercially deployed.

5G SA eMBB Network

Commercial Deployments

Rain (South Africa)

Launched in 2020

China Mobile

China Telecom

China Unicom

T-Mobile (USA)

AIS (Thailand)

True (Thailand)

China Mobile Hong Kong

Vodafone (Germany)

Launched in 2021

STC (Kuwait)

Telefónica O2 (Germany)

SingTel (Singapore)

KT (Korea)

M1 (Singapore)

Vodafone (UK)

Smart (Philippines)

SoftBank (Japan)

Rogers (Canada)

Taiwan Mobile

Telia (Finland)

TPG Telecom (Australia)


































SOURCE: Dave Bolan, Dell’Oro Group.



Samsung Electronics wins $6.6B wireless network equipment order from Verizon; Galaxy Book Flex 5G

Mobile Core Network (MCN) growth to slow due to slow roll-out of 5G SA networks



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