Germany and France to fund private 5G projects with ~EUR 18 million

The German and French governments are funding four 5G projects with a total of EUR 17.7 million.

  • The 5G-OPERA project will create a Franco-German ecosystem for private 5G campus networks with open and virtualized hardware and software based on an open architecture. Partners for this project include Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer HHI, IABG, NXP and Smart Systems Hub, among others.
  • The 5G4BP project aims to implement a European set-up for sovereignty and establish open 5G networks in business parks and communities that are not yet covered by public mobile networks. The 5G networks are based on an open architecture (?).  The partners in the project include Highstreet Technologies, Xelera Technologies, 6Wind, Alsatis, AW2S and Spectronite.
  • Under the 5G OR project, the partners will work on developing wirelessly connected operating theatres in a private 5G network environment for minimally invasive surgery. The partners in the project are the Mannheim Hospital, Charite Hospital in Berlin, Institute Fraunhofer IPA, Karl Storz, Sectorcon, IHU Strasbourg, IRT b-com and RDS.
  • Finally, under the 5G FORUM project, French and German industrial and academic parties will develop 5G wireless systems for operating theatres. Partners include RWTH Aachen University, Surgitaix, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, AMA and Haventure. The goal of the projects is to reinforce the European ecosystem for private networks in 5G telecommunications using innovative methods.

5G private network architectures:

Under the program, the selected consortia will work on projects to make progress in 5G private networks, thus taking another big step towards digital sovereignty of 5G in Europe, said German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck.

“I am looking forward to an intensive collaboration between France and Germany,” said Robert Habeck.  “This is an important step in order to drive the economy forward with the help of state-of-the-art technologies,” he added.

“The constitution of a Franco-German sovereign ecosystem on 5G and future telecommunications network technologies will play a key role to position Europe at the forefront of innovation in 5G and its evolutions,” France’s Minister for the Economy, Finance and Recovery Bruno Le Maire said.

References:

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/german-french-governments-fund-private-5g-campus-projects-with-eur-18-million–1411477

https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/france-germany-to-support-projects-on-5g-applications-for-pvt-networks-122012200098_1.html

Strand Consult: Open RAN hype vs reality leaves many questions unanswered

by John Strand, CEO of Strand Consult with Alan J Weissberger

A recent Dell’Oro Group report suggests that “total Open RAN revenues, including O-RAN and OpenRAN radio and baseband, surprised on the upside both in 2020 and during 2021, bolstering the thesis that Open RAN is here to stay and the architecture will play an important role before 6G.”

The Dell’Oro Group report author Stefan Pongratz added, “So, given where we are today, we can safely conclude that the movement has come much further than expected both from a commitment perspective and from a commercialization perspective.”

I respectfully disagree.  The OpenRAN story is not driven by commercial demand for equipment. Instead, it is driven by people who make a living from hype.  There is probably more money being made in generating hype about OpenRAN than in the actual purchase of OpenRAN equipment.

While there’s a lot of talk about OpenRAN, it’s still a technology that operators are testing – not deploying.

The hype cycle likely explains the Dell’Oro Group’s recent report that the OpenRAN market will increase. However, for all their unique expertise, Dell’Oro has not committed to publishing how many sites will use OpenRAN in the future (% of installed base) and other vital specifics like what proportion of the mobile companies’ traffic and revenue will go through OpenRAN sites and how much shareholders may gain by operators switching to OpenRAN.

Over 200 5G networks have gone live globally. All of these use 3GPP release 15 and 16 compliant  network equipment. None use OpenRAN gear.

Note that neither 3GPP release 15 or 16 5G RAN specs or ITU-R 5G standard (ITU-R M.2150) include any reference to OpenRAN specifications (from either the O-RAN Alliance or TIP OpenRAN project).  In fact, the 3GPP website calls out the conundrum of multiple OpenRAN-like specifications:

Open RAN is made possible through standardized (???)open network interfaces, defined in 3GPP, O-RAN Alliance, IEEE (???), and other SDOs (???) and industry fora (e.g. TIP Open RAN project). To cater to all the diverse 5G use cases and operator’s deployment constraints, the standards define multiple NG-RAN architecture options and the associated open network interfaces. While these options are crucial in making 5G suitable to address all the requirements and challenges of the next generation mobile network, figuring out which option fits a particular practical use case is sometimes challenging. This is further exacerbated by the fact that relevant standards are scattered across multiple SDOs.

Rakuten is the only deployed, purpose-built OpenRAN network (4G now, 5G later), and it uses proprietary network equipment, which is not interoperable with any other 4G/5G network.  The much advertised 4G/5G OpenRAN Dish Network continues to be delayed with a launch date of sometime in 2022.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stories about OpenRAN, but they don’t focus on these key questions: 

  1. How much do telecom stakeholders gain by you switching from classic 3GPP RAN to OpenRAN? At what point does it make sense to shift? In other words, how much do operators save and how does that translate to the bottom line? Strand Consult’s research shows that the operators’ RAN costs make up about 3% of ARPU. In practice, even the most optimistic savings from OpenRAN will not meaningfully affect the mobile operator’s earnings.
  1. If OpenRAN products win market share of 15% in 2026, what share of that installed base will be OpenRAN in 2025 and 2030? Strand Consult believes that OpenRAN will struggle with market share, barely reach 3% of the installed 5G sites by 2030. 
  1. How will mobile subscribers experience the shift towards OpenRAN? Will they gain access to more features on their smartphones as a result? If OpenRAN achieves 3% market share of mobile sites, what incentives are there for application developers to build for OpenRAN? Imagine that voice and SMS were services that were available on only 3% of an operators’ mobile sites.

There is a need for greater transparency in the OpenRAN market, including testing, operator trials, units sold etc. While it is one thing for an operator to conduct  OpenRAN trials and tests, it is quite another for the operator to purchase the equipment. To fuel the hype, some stories have suggested that a trial of OpenRAN equipment was a purchase.

OpenRAN benefits, however good they sound now, remain to be seen. We have yet to see any actual benefits created from the mix and match of OpenRAN modules/components.  Moreover, we have yet to see how easy it will be to replace one OpenRAN vendor with another in a large scale commercial 4G/5G network.

For 25 years, Strand Consult has been the opposite of hype. We make our living being critical of pie in the sky scenarios. Our clients are executives and boards members of mobile operators who want credible and critical knowledge.

Strand Consult’s report Debunking 25 Myths of OpenRAN, analyzes the 25 myths that OpenRAN hype machine loves to cultivate.  Close to one thousand people have requested that new report. Outside of three emails noting minor typos in our report, Strand Consult has yet to receive feedback to dispute the report’s analyses and conclusions.

John Strand founded Strand Consult in 1995. Since then, hundreds of companies in the telecom, media and technology industries have attended Strand Consult’s workshops, purchased reports, consulted with the company to develop strategy, launch new products, and conduct a dialogue with policymakers.

John Strand sits on the advisory board of a number of Scandinavian and International companies and is a member of the Arctic Economic Council Telecommunications Working Group. He served on the Advisory Board for the 3GSM World Congress, the event known as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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References:

Dell’Oro Group, Kenneth Research and Heavy Reading’s optimistic forecasts for Open RAN

Debunking 25 Myths of OpenRAN

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran/open-ran-moving-faster-than-expected—-delloro/d/d-id/774780?

https://www.3gpp.org/news-events/2150-open_ran

O-RAN Alliance tries to allay concerns; Strand Consult disagrees!

Strand Consult: What NTIA won’t tell the FCC about Open RAN

44 Chinese companies have joined the O-RAN Alliance

Strand Consult: 5G in 2019 and 2020 telecom predictions

 

 

Telenor expands cloud-based core network with AWS to deliver 5G and edge services for customers

Nordic network operator Telenor signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to help expand its 5G core transformation, the telco said in a press release.

Telenor said that the new deal will allow it to deliver new 5G and edge services to enterprise customers worldwide.  As part of the agreement, Telenor and AWS will invest in joint go-to-market activities in select industries—such as manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, and automotive—to enable more 5G and edge services for customers. Working with existing customers to demonstrate the possibilities of cloud-based resources, Telenor will scale its cloud footprint, while innovating to develop new services that use a combination of the most advanced and secure cloud technologies from AWS.

The agreement further expands the existing collaboration between both companies, with Telenor also becoming a member of the AWS Partner Network. Working with AWS, Telenor has already implemented an entire mobile core, running in the cloud, for Vimla, which is Telenor’s virtual mobile network operator (MVNO) brand in Sweden.

Running on AWS, Vimla’s mobile core is scalable, programmable, and employs self-service APIs, enabling Vimla to create new services for its customers. Vimla uses a wide range of AWS services, including Amazon ElastiCache, AWS Lambda and AWS Transit Gateway, among others.

The new cloud-based mobile core at Vimla is developed and managed as-a-service by Working Group Two, a company incubated by Telenor. The Nordic operator also said it plans to expand the work at Vimla to other areas in the company’s worldwide network.

As part of their collaboration, Telenor and AWS will continue to innovate in the areas of 5G edge for mobile private networks (MPNs) and edge computing. For example, Telenor 5G enabled a “network on wheels (NOW)” prototype powered by AWS. The NOW gives customers the ability to set up an autonomous private 5G network wherever it is needed. The NOW prototype is currently being used by the Norwegian defense material agency and the Norwegian Public Service broadcaster Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) for critical communication and remote production use cases, respectively. Internationally, Telenor’s Thailand brand dtac, launched a 5G private network proof-of-concept for Thai enterprises based on edge computing and the AWS Snow Family. This solution helps customers process real-time, artificial intelligence (AI)-based video analytics and other applications in remote locations.

Working with AWS, Telenor has already implemented an entire mobile core, running in the cloud, for Vimla—Telenor’s virtual mobile network operator brand in Sweden. Running on AWS, Vimla’s mobile core is scalable, programmable, and employs self-service APIs, enabling Vimla to create simple, innovative and valuable services for its customers. Vimla uses a wide range of AWS services, including Amazon ElastiCache, AWS Lambda, AWS Transit Gateway, and others to help scale elastically and provide a better service to more customers. The new cloud-based mobile core at Vimla is developed and managed as-a-service by Working Group Two, a company incubated by Telenor. As a result of driving network transformation on AWS, Telenor plans to expand the work at Vimla to other areas in the company’s worldwide network.

“Working with AWS, we are continuing to advance and modernize  the telecoms industry—digitalizing and expanding our offerings beyond connectivity. Together, we are building on our individual strengths and scaling secure, robust, and advanced cloud services, alongside the latest networking technology, for our customers much faster than we could ever do before. Our shared ambition is to use scalable and flexible building blocks from AWS to continuously raise the bar for what’s possible,” said Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group.

“Telenor is pushing the boundaries of innovation by running their Vimla core on AWS. Cloud technology is allowing Telenor to scale their network in a way that was not possible before and is allowing them to experiment and develop new experiences for customers to keep them engaged, entertained, and online. We are pleased to collaborate with Telenor as they continue to expand this innovative work to other parts of their business,” said Adam Selipsky, CEO of AWS.

In addition to its home market in Norway and MVNO in Sweden, Telenor has operations in Denmark, Finland, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia (and Myanmar, but it is trying to exit that market), but currently Telenor is not disclosing the details of which markets will be next or when the next deployment might happen.

Telenor and AWS have developed what they call a ‘Network On Wheels’ (NOW), which “gives customers the ability to set up an autonomous private 5G network wherever it is needed.” This model is already being used by the Norwegian Defence Material Agency for critical communications needs and by Norway’s public service broadcaster, Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK), for remote production use cases.

In Thailand, Telenor group operator dtac has developed a 5G private network proof-of-concept for local enterprises using AWS Snow Family edge compute devices.

“This solution helps customers process real-time, artificial intelligence (AI)-based video analytics and other applications in remote locations, even in areas with intermittent connectivity,” Telenor said.

Ray Le Maistre of Telecom TV wrote:  “Telenor has clearly identified AWS as the cloud partner that can help it with its specific need in both the consumer and enterprise markets, so this will be a relationship well worth tracking as the operational models are innovative.”

This author wonders what has become of Telenor’s deal with Nokia to launch a new cloud-native core solution in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.  When it was announced in May 2020, Nokia said the deployment will “enhance performance and reliability and drive mobile broadband service agility as Telenor prepares for the introduction of 5G.”

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References:

https://www.telenor.com/media/press-release/telenor-teams-with-aws-to-accelerate-modernisation-of-telecommunications

https://www.telecomtv.com/content/cloud-native/telenor-embraces-cloud-based-core-private-networks-with-aws-43398/

https://technologymagazine.com/cloud-and-cybersecurity/nokia-and-telenor-group-launch-cloud-native-core-solution-scandinavia-prepare-5g

 

China’s answer to Starlink: GalaxySpace planning to launch 1,000 LEO satellites & deliver 5G from space?

Chinese state media is reporting that start-up satellite Internet firm GalaxySpace is planning to launch 1,000 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, ultimately aiming to compete with SpaceX’s high-profile Starlink constellation.

GalaxySpace was founded in 2016. The company says it’s “committed to mass produce low-cost, high-performance small satellite through agile and fast-iterative development mode, and build the world’s leading LEO broadband satellite constellation and a global coverage with 5G communication network. Our mission is to improve the network connection condition of all regions and individuals, and to provide cost-effective, efficient and convenient broadband networks and services.Providing more accessible knowledge, more equal and extensive information, simpler and convenient communication and more development opportunities for everyone.  The mission of GalaxySpace is to Creating global converged 5G communication network.”

Image Credit: GalaxySpace

According to the South China Morning Post (via Yahoo), the first batch of six satellites have already been produced, tested, and delivered to an undisclosed launch site. Beijing-based start-up GalaxySpace, has said it wants to extend China’s 5G coverage around the world and compete with Starlink, owned by Elon Musk’s firm SpaceX, in the market for high-speed internet services in remote areas.  Of course, GalaxySpace’s new constellation of satellites will have quite a bit of catching up with Starlink, which has already launched around 2,000 LEO “birds,” with plans to increase the constellation size to 42,000.  Starlink says they offer speeds of up to 110Mbps for consumer use.

According to Chinese media reports, GalaxySpace’s differentiating factor is that it will be the first constellation to deliver 5G connectivity to consumers, potentially offering download speeds of over 500Mbps.  That’s an interesting claim, as there are no standards or implementation specs for 5G from anywhere in space.  ITU-R M.2150 (formerly IMT 2020.specs) only covers terrestrial 5G services.

Naturally, like all satellite connectivity services, the quality of service will potentially be reduced significantly by poor weather. However,  GalaxySpace claims that they will be able to deliver at least 80Mbps second even in the worst possible weather, according to their research.

5G is already prolific throughout China, according to the CCP (if you believe them). Recent figures suggest that by the end of 2021 there were 730 million 5G subscribers in China, over half the total population. As a result, GalaxySpace’s 5G services will likely be offered primarily to overseas companies as well as Chinese government and military activities.

But GalaxySpace is not China’s only growing broadband constellation. Both the Hongyan and Hongyun projects – owned by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, respectively – have been launching test satellites since as early as 2018.

Hongyan is aiming for 324 total satellites in its constellation, while Hongyun will have 157, with the two constellations operating at different altitudes and with different frequencies.

In 2021, with Starlink’s rise to prominence, Chinese authorities were reportedly considering making “major changes” to both the Hongyan and Hongyun projects. What these changes might be is unclear, but it seems likely to be some sort of acceleration in deployment and perhaps scale; China has said repeatedly in recent month that it fears Starlink’s dominance of this emerging industry could represent a threat to national security, especially if these devices are being used clandestinely by the US military.

Last year, Zhu Kaiding, a space engineer from the China Academy of Space Technology, which is working with GalaxySpace on the project, wrote in an academic article that the rise of Starlink had caused a Chinese satellite production line to increase its productivity by more than a third.

In addition to commercial LEO satellite Internet service rivalry, China has identified Starlink, which has signed multimillion dollar contracts with the U.S. military, as a threat to China’s national security. In 2020, researchers with the Chinese National University of Defense Technology estimated that it could increase the average global satellite communication bandwidth available to the U.S. military from 5Mbps to 500Mbps.  The researchers also warned that existing anti-satellite weapons technology would find it virtually impossible to destroy a constellation the size of Starlink.

Zhu Kaiding, a space engineer from the China Academy of Space Technology, which is working with GalaxySpace on the project, said the Chinese project was struggling to keep pace with Starlink, which according to Musk is producing six satellites a day.

Zhu did not disclose how quickly China was producing satellites, but in a paper published in domestic journal Aerospace Industry Management in October last year, he said the Starlink program had forced a satellite assembly line in China to increase its productivity by more than a third.  Zhu and colleagues have said that more than half the routine checks carried out at the launch site of high-frequency operations have been cancelled to save time.

The new satellites also use many components produced by private companies that have not previously been involved in Chinese space projects – a move that helped reduce the total hardware price of a high-speed internet satellite by more than 80 per cent.

Zhu said that the race against Starlink had put enormous pressure on China’s space industry, because “the technology is complex, the competition fierce, the deadlines tight and the workloads heavy.”

It is likely that the number of civilian users of satellite internet service in China will be limited – most urban residents can access 5G through their phone and broadband services are available in most rural areas – so the most likely customers are overseas companies or the Chinese government and military.

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Stepping away from the geopolitical dimension of the satellite broadband space race, it is worth noting that the potential negatives for introducing such an enormous number of satellites into LEO could have for society, from Kessler syndrome caused by the build-up of space debris to the obstruction of terrestrial observatories.   In fact, just this week there was a new study, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests that Starlink satellites are hindering the detection of near-Earth asteroids.

“There is a growing concern about an impact of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellations on ground-based astronomical observations, in particular, on wide-field surveys in the optical and infrared,” explained the study.

In 2020, SpaceX had responded to astronomers initial concerns about Starlink disrupting their imagine technology by attaching visors to their new satellites to dampen their brightness. This new study, however, would suggest that this problem is only going to be further exacerbated as the various players continue to launch devices into orbit throughout this year.

References:

https://www.totaltele.com/512227/Is-GalaxySpace-Chinas-answer-to-Starlink

https://www.yahoo.com/now/china-start-building-5g-satellite-093000905.html

http://www.yinhe.ht/aboutusEn.html

Starlink’s huge ambition and deployment plan may clash with reality

Ookla: Q3 2021 Satellite Internet performance finds Starlink still #1 but average download speed decreased

 

Ookla: Starlink’s Satellite Internet service vs competitors around the world

Starlink Internet could be a game changer with 100 megabytes per second download speed

PCMag Study: Starlink speed and latency top satellite Internet from Hughes and Viasat’s Exede

Starlink to explore collaboration with Indian telcos for broadband internet services

 

 

Dell’Oro Group, Kenneth Research and Heavy Reading’s optimistic forecasts for Open RAN

Dell’Oro Group recently published the January 2022 edition of its Open RAN report.  Preliminary findings suggest that total Open RAN revenues, including O-RAN and OpenRAN radio and baseband, surprised on the upside both in 2020 and during 2021, bolstering the thesis that Open RAN is here to stay and the architecture will play an important role before 6G (this author disagrees).

Open RAN revenues are expected to account for around 15 percent of the overall 2G-5G RAN market by 2026 (see chart below), reflecting healthy traction in multiple regions with both basic and advanced radios.
“The Open RAN movement has come a long way in just a few years, surprising both proponents and skeptics,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President and analyst with the Dell’Oro Group. “While challenging comparisons will weigh a bit on the market over the short-term, it is unlikely that these divergences between the greenfields and the brownfields will leave lasting imprints on the long-term prospects,”  Pongratz added.
Additional highlights from the Dell’Oro Open RAN Advanced Research Report:
  • The Asia Pacific region is dominating the Open RAN market in this initial phase and is expected to play a leading role throughout the forecast period, accounting for more than 40 percent of total 2021-2026 revenues.
  • Risks around the Open RAN projections remain broadly balanced, though it is worth noting that risks to the downside have increased slightly since the last forecast update.
  • The shift towards Virtualized RAN (vRAN) is progressing at a slightly slower pace than Open RAN. Still, total vRAN projections remain mostly unchanged, with vRAN on track to account for 5 percent to 10 percent of the RAN market by 2026.
The Dell’Oro Group Open RAN Advanced Research Report offers an overview of the Open RAN and Virtualized RAN potential with a 5-year forecast for various Open RAN segments including macro and small cell, regions, and baseband/radio. The report also includes projections for virtualized RAN along with a discussion about the market potential and the risks. To purchase this report, please contact us by email at [email protected].
Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT markets. Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions. For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit www.delloro.com.
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Separately, Kenneth Research has recently released a report on “Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) Market: Global Demand Analysis & Opportunity Outlook 2020-2028” which focuses on the latest market insights, including the key market dynamics, and the strategies of the players operating in the market. The report also utilizes various analytical tools, such as SWOT and PESTEL analysis to better analyze the different market parameters that would help the readers of this report make meaningful decisions for their businesses.
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With the growing demand for 5G technology worldwide, the need for open radio access network (O-RAN) is expected to increase significantly, and in turn, drive the growth of the global open radio access network (O-RAN) market in the coming years. The market registered a revenue of $180 Million in the year 2020 and is further expected to reach a revenue of $22500 Million by the end of 2028, by growing with a CAGR of 85% during the forecast period.

The global open radio access network (O-RAN) market is segmented by region into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Amongst the market in these regions, the market in the Asia Pacific generated the largest revenue of $70 Million in the year 2020 and is further expected to hit $8200 Million by the end of 2028.  The market in the region is further segmented by country into Japan, South Korea, India, and the Rest of Asia Pacific. Amongst the market in these countries, the market in India is expected to grow with the highest CAGR of 102% during the forecast period, while the market in Japan is projected to garner the second-largest revenue of  $1900 Million by the end of 2028. Additionally, in the year 2020, the market in Japan registered a revenue of $60 Million.

The market in North America generated a revenue of $50 Million in the year 2020 and is further expected to touch $7000 Million by the end of 2028. The market in the region is further segmented by country into the United States and Canada. Out of these, the market in the United States is expected to display the highest market share by the end of 2028, whereas the market in Canada is projected to grow with the highest CAGR of 137% during the forecast period.

Key companies covered in the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) Market Research Report are: Metaswitch Networks, Mavenir, NTT DOCOMO, INC., Sterlite Technologies Limited, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Radisys Corporation, Casa Systems, VIAVI Solutions Inc., Parallel Wireless, Inc., NXP Semiconductors, and other key market players.

Reference:

https://www.kennethresearch.com/report-details/open-radio-access-network-o-ran-market/10352259

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The latest Heavy Reading Open RAN Operator Survey indicates a positive outlook with real signs of momentum over the past year.  Network operators and the wider RAN ecosystem are making steady progress, according to the survey results.

The first question in the survey was designed to help understand how operator sentiment toward open RAN has changed over the past year, in light of better knowledge of the technology, experience from trials, the increased maturity of solutions and changes in the policy environment. The figure below shows just over half (54%) of survey respondents say their company has not changed the pace of its planned open RAN rollout in the past year. There has been movement in the other half, split between those accelerating their plans (20%) and those slowing down (27%). This volatility essentially cancels out, and the overall finding is therefore that operators as a group are working at a steady, measured pace toward open RAN.

A steady outlook is a positive outlook at this stage of the market because it recognizes that open RAN is a major change in RAN architecture and is a long-term, multiyear exercise. After several years of inflated expectations, it is encouraging to see a measured perspective on open RAN coming to the fore.

n=82                                 Source: Heavy Reading

Another area of interest that helps gauge sentiment toward open RAN development relates to operators’ preferred use cases. The figure below reveals that operator intentions for how they will use open RAN are varied. Asked to select their top three use cases, 81 respondents representing 39 operators placed a total of 294 votes for an average of 3.6 per respondent, showing that there is no single open RAN use case or deployment scenario that stands out. Urban small cells (62%), private enterprise networks (57%) and venues and other gathering spots (also 57%) lead the responses.

n=81                                 Source: Heavy Reading

A positive way to interpret this finding is that open RAN is being pursued across a broad base of mobile communication scenarios. Once these models solidify and become “product ready,” then the market might see widespread adoption. Over time, open RAN could become the predominant mode of operation.

A less positive analysis, but one nevertheless worth considering, is that open RAN is a technology still in search of a solution. That is, the industry has committed to open RAN, and now it needs to find ways to make it work. Pursuing a diversity of use cases will help identify which are most promising and warrant investment and deployment at a wider scale.

It is notable that operator preferences for open RAN use cases have not changed much since Heavy Reading’s first survey in 2018; the same three use cases also led at that time. This reinforces the key message that open RAN progress is steady and consistent.

To download a copy of the 2021 Heavy Reading Open RAN Operator Survey, click here.

— Gabriel Brown, Principal Analyst, Heavy Reading

Reference:

https://www.lightreading.com/open-ran-steady-as-she-goes-/a/d-id/774765?

 

Ziply Fiber deploys 2 Gig & 5 Gig fiber internet tiers in 60 cities – AT&T can now top that!

Ziply Fiber has launched two multi-gigabit, symmetrical broadband Internet tiers– at 2 Gbit/s and 5 Gbit/s – in 60 cities and towns in parts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.  The two new fiber Internet service plans will initially be available to nearly 170,000 physical addresses in those three states.  This comes after Ziply conducted a successful small market test in Kirkland, Washington. Customers in Montana will gain access to the multi-gig options later this quarter, with availability expected across most of the company’s existing footprint by the middle of the year.

Pricing for the 2-Gig tier runs $120 per month while the 5-Gig tier costs $300 per month. Both multi-gig tiers will require users to get a special router that includes WiFi 6 compatibility, a 10G WAN port and either a 2.5G LAN port for the 2-gig plan or a greater than 5G LAN port for the 5-gig option.

Ziply is the first among regional and national residential providers — those with a customer base of more than 1% of the US population — to deliver these speeds. By doing so, Ziply has become the fastest major internet provider not only in the Northwest, but across the entire U.S.

Ziply Fiber, formed in 2020 via the acquisition of Frontier Communications’ operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, expects to launch the new multi-Gig tiers to the rest of its footprint by the second quarter of 2022, and to make them available in every new fiber market launched thereafter, said Harold Zeitz, Ziply Fiber’s CEO.

Zeitz told Fierce Telecom that more than half of Ziply’s customers already take its 1 Gbps plan, “so we already have customers who seem to want faster speeds compared to others.”  He added the December trial covered five markets across Washington and Oregon and included a sample group of “tens of customers” who proactively sought access to the faster speed tiers. “There were no problems whatsoever,” Zeitz said of the trial. “We were able to demonstrate measured speed and it gave us confidence to go ahead and launch it broadly.”

Ziply Fiber’s new uncapped and no-contract tiers follow the company’s ongoing deployment of a 10-Gig capable XGS-PON access network and underlying core network.  Zeitz said the launches prove that consumers don’t have to live in a big city to get big speeds. “It’s a revitalization opportunity,” he said. “It demonstrates the future-proof element of the technology.”

The company also sells a 50Mbit/s tier for $20 per month and a 200Mbit/s service for $40 per month. Zeitz estimates that “well over half” of Ziply Fiber’s broadband customers choose the 1-Gig tier.

Zeitz said offering broadband without a cap or a contract puts welcome pressure on the company. “Yes, we think it’s a differentiator, but I also think it helps motivate us to make sure we’re delivering great service, he said.

Other Gig FTTP Internet competitors:

Ziply Fiber’s 5-Gig service appears to raise the bar on a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) residential broadband offering offered in multiple states.  With the exception of Google Fiber and Xfinity, none of the top internet providers have dared to push the internet speed limit past a single gig. Google Fiber offers a 2-gigabit plan throughout most service areas while a limited few Xfinity customers can sign up for 3 gigs, but no 5 Gig yet.  Among smaller regional players,  EPB of Chattanooga, Tennessee, currently offers a residential 10-Gig service starting at $299 per month in select areas.North Dakota’s MLGC debuted a 5 Gbps service tier in 2020, while TDS rolled out a 2-gig offering and Dobson Fiber launched a 10 Gbps offering last year.

Here’s the current competitive status from nationwide FTTP providers:

  • Comcast’s targeted residential FTTP service, Gigabit Pro, was recently upgraded to deliver speeds of 3 Gbit/s for $299.95 per month (with a two-year contract).
  • Google Fiber has been expanding the availability of a fiber-based service that delivers 2 Gbit/s down by 1 Gbit/s up.
  • AT&T has hinted that a multi-gigabit service is in the works, but has not announced pricing or launch timing.

Analysis:

The burning question this author has is how will Zipply customers use even a fraction of their allotted 2 Gig or 5 Gig upload and download speeds?  I have over 10 connected WiFi devices in my home where my 100 Mb/sec download speed is sufficient.

“This is for people to develop new use cases, et cetera,” Zeitz concluded. “I think we don’t know all the things that people will do and so we’re an enabler.”

Also, the extra gear needed won’t be cheap. To open up any potential in-home bottlenecks, Ziply Fiber is recommending an Asus AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 router or a similar device. Customers will also need an SFP+ (enhanced small form-factor pluggable) with an RJ-45 connector that’s compatible with the router to deliver up to 5-Gig.  Ziply Fiber is also selling such products online – an Asus router for $449.95, and the SFP+ for $42.99, or both bundled together for $492.94.

For the full 5-Gig, customers will need a wired Ethernet connection to the router. Depending on the performance capabilities the computer, a customer on Ziply Fiber’s multi-gig service will likely need an Ethernet adapter/dongle that supports 2.5-Gig or 5-Gig.

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24 January 2022 Update:  AT&T can now equal 2 Gig and 5 Gig FTTP speeds

AT&T has boosted its existing fiber in parts of more than 70 metro areas around the U.S. to offer 2-Gig and 5-Gig symmetrical upload and download speeds.

“Where we’re launching 2-Gig and 5-Gig, we previously had 1-Gig speeds available,” said AT&T’s SVP of Broadband Product Development Cheryl Choy. The upgrades announced today affect about 5.2 million people out of about 16 million households that AT&T currently passes with gigabit speeds.

Asked why AT&T isn’t increasing speeds for all 16 million households that it passes with fiber, Choy said it’s because the company is “on a PON evolution.” It is in the process of moving from GPON to XGS PON via card upgrades and software improvements. These upgrades allow it to boost speeds above 1-Gig.  Choy said that since 2019 all of AT&T’s newly laid fiber has been capable of multi-gig speeds.

Although the news of multi-gig fiber today did not require any new fiber to be laid, the company is also laying new fiber, and its goal is to cover 30 million customer locations with fiber by year-end 2025.

Pricing:

AT&T also announced it’s rolling out “straightforward pricing” across its AT&T Fiber portfolio. The 2-Gig fiber service costs $110 per month plus taxes with autopay; and the 5-Gig service costs $180 per month plus taxes with autopay.

Prices are a little higher for businesses at $225 per month for 2-Gig; and $395 per month for 5-Gig.

The company will not charge any equipment fees, nor will it require an annual contract or implement any data caps. The service also includes Wi-Fi.

Choy said, “We’ve amped up our Wi-Fi technology.” In late 2020 AT&T launched its Wi-Fi 6 enabled gateway, which provides more capacity for more connected devices. Those Wi-Fi devices will be able to take advantage of the new multi-gig speeds. AT&T’s Wi-Fi currently uses 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz spectrum.

According to a survey conducted in 2021 by Recon Analytics on behalf of AT&T, the average consumer has 13 connected devices in their home. But that’s expected to boom in the coming years, which will require more bandwidth.

Finally, as part of today’s news, AT&T said it has achieved up to 10-Gig speeds on fiber in its labs.

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/broadband/att-upgrades-its-fiber-network-offer-2-gig-5-gig-speeds

Ziply Fiber References:

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/broadband/ziply-debuts-2-gig-5-gig-internet-tiers-60-cities

https://www.broadbandworldnews.com/author.asp?section_id=733&doc_id=774718&

https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/ziply-fiber-rolls-out-multi-gig-service-to-170000-homes/?ftag=CAD-03-10abf2b

https://ziplyfiber.com/news/release/735

 

New Findings in Aryaka’s 2022 State of the WAN Report: Cloud Adoption, Hybrid Workplaces, Convergence of Network and Security with SASE

Overview:

Aryaka®, a leader in fully managed Cloud-First WAN solutions, today published its 2022 State of the WAN Report, offering a compendium of insights into global SD-WAN and SASE planning. 1,600 information technology (IT) enterprise decision makers across global enterprises answered the survey, the largest response to the survey since its inception.

Key trends identified in this year’s report include:

  • A quarter of the respondents state they have closed 25-50% of their office sites, dovetailing into overall hybrid work initiatives where 75% state that at least a quarter of their employees will remain remote permanently post-pandemic.
  • Accelerating digital transformation initiatives also impact legacy data centers, with 51% planning to eliminate their use within the next 24 months as they move to the cloud.
  • The surveyed group says Microsoft Teams (58%) and Office 365 (55%) are among the most widely adopted SaaS applications, followed by Zoom and Google Docs (35%).
  • A quarter of respondents expect budgets to grow by 25% or more in the next year, with a full three-quarters projecting at least a 10% growth. Investment appears to be accompanied via cost savings.
  • A move to simplify, adopting a more cloud-centric and agile approach, is driving convergence. In the context of network and security, trends include the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), with 64% deploying or planning to deploy over the next year. Over two-thirds will opt for a managed SASE to help address complexity and costs, but challenges include complexity at 40%, a single or dual-vendor approach at 39%, and developing a phased migration strategy at 33%. Observability and control should help with deployments, identified by over two-thirds as a top imperative.
  • 29% state that they are already deploying what they consider to be a SASE architecture, with another 56% planning to deploy in the next 12-24 months.
  • What capabilities do the respondence require?  The top responses are SD-WAN at 34%, a Cloud Secure Web Gateway (SWG) at 30%, and Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) at 17%.

“This year’s Aryaka State of the WAN includes many valuable insights backing up trends we see in the industry. These include the effects of hybrid work, with 75% projecting a quarter of their employees to remain at least part-time remote, and cloud connectivity demands skyrocketing with 51% planning to move away from traditional data centers over the next two years. Both initiatives will require more sophisticated network-as-a-service (NaaS) solutions with integrated security offerings,” said Scott Raynovich founder and chief analyst of Futuriom.

“The sixth edition of the Global State of the WAN (SOTW) is one of the largest such surveys in the world,” said Shashi Kiran, CMO of Aryaka. “It packages an enormous number of insights from decisions makers from all over the world, drawn from CIOs, CISOs as well as network, security and cloud practitioners. The 2022 edition reveals new enterprise trends on workplaces, cloud adoption, convergence and several other areas putting a spotlight on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the process. We hope this resource serves as a handy companion for enterprise architects engaged in planning their WAN, security and cloud infrastructure for years ahead.”

SD-WAN vendors have long touted the technology’s application- and policy-based routing capabilities as the antidote to network performance and complexity. However, customers are increasingly looking for ways to offload that complexity and consolidate services under a single roof. “There’s a fragmented value chain for SD-WAN, which we’ve seen before and now for SASE as well,” Kiran said.

Of those surveyed, 45% said they were considering a consolidated SASE architecture, up from 39% last year. However, enterprises’ desire for managed services doesn’t stop at SD-WAN or SASE. Respondents expressed a desire for managed last-mile and multi-cloud connectivity. “There is inherent complexity in all of these areas and having something that is managed and delivered as a service appears to be important,” Kiran said.

Year-on-Year Trends and Shifting Priorities:

In Aryaka’s 2021 State of the WAN Report, 21% indicated that half of their workforce would be working remote post-pandemic. This year that number increased by 11%, with 32% reporting that at least half of their workforce would be permanently remote.

Collaboration and Productivity suites have gained traction. The Microsoft suite has gained momentum, with Teams identified by respondents as the most deployed application, growing its footprint by over half, from 34% in 2021 to 58% this year. Conversely, Google Docs dropped from 41% last year to 35% today with Microsoft 365 now at 55%.

For China, basic connectivity concerns dropped noticeably from the last report, at 45% in 2021 to 30% today. In contrast, compliance and regulatory issues are now in the lead at 50%.

A renewed interest in ROI was reflected in this year’s report, with 36% of those responding having cost concerns, an increase of 16% compared to last year. Though budgets are expected to increase by 25%, both for networking and security, the focus on ROI implies that these increases must be spent judiciously.

IT professionals were less concerned vs previous years about the newness of the technology (28% vs 31% in 2021), and whether applications will perform properly (29% vs 36% in 2021), speaking to a greater confidence in application support. As change management takes priority, there is an increased focus on observability and control, increasing by 9% (69% vs 60% last year).

Aryaka 6th Annual State of the WAN 2022 – Four Themes:

1.  Acceleration of Remote and Hybrid Work: The report looks at challenges in supporting the hybrid workforce, hybrid work trends, and investments planned to support this new environment. 75% state that at least a quarter of their employees will remain hybrid post-pandemic, aligned with the closure of physical facilities, with a quarter stating they have closed 25-50% of their office sites. Effectively managing worker movement between on-premises and remote requires dynamic bandwidth reallocation, identified by 61% as very important.

2. Application Performance and Consumption: In addition, the report dives into the diversity of applications in use and resulting challenges, how enterprises plan to address these, and potential concerns. As noted earlier, collaboration and productivity applications like Microsoft Teams and Office 365 experienced some of the strongest growth, but there was an overall uptick in SaaS application adoption including Zoom (35%), Salesforce (28%), and SAP/HANA (25%). Performance still must improve, with 42% identifying slow performance for remote and mobile users a key issue, followed by 37% calling out slow performance at the branch.

3. Managing Complexity and Managed Services Adoption: The report addresses what managed services enterprises expect, including SD-WAN and SASE implementation plans and budgets, as well as perceived barriers to adoption. This section also looks at MPLS migration. In evaluating managed services, enterprises continue to demand more from their providers, and are looking for a wider set of offers, an all-in-one SD-WAN and SASE that includes the WAN (45%), security (67%), application optimization (40%), last mile management (29%), and multi-cloud connectivity (27%). The movement to SD-WAN and SASE also follows the movement away from MPLS, with 46% planning to terminate some or all contracts over the next year. Enterprises are generally bullish on their budgets, with a quarter expecting it to grow by 25% or more, and a total of three quarters expecting at least 10% growth.

4. Networking and Security Convergence Including a SASE Architecture: SASE represents a promise of a converged Cloud-First architecture, but there are concerns on complexity and adoption. 42% state that lackluster application performance is a time sink, and 34% consider security to be a major priority. This path to SASE adoption includes setting a strategy (35%), phasing out of legacy VPNs (32%), as well as consolidating cloud security with zero-trust (29%).

Top desired capabilities include a SWG (47%), SD-WAN (36%), and FWaaS (28%). Implementation concerns identified earlier are balanced by expected advantages that include time and cost reduction (37%), as well as agility (33%), while decision-making is still mostly distributed across networking and security, 41% state it is now consolidated. Finally, over two-thirds plan to consume SASE as a managed offer.

What are the biggest challenges you’re facing with your WAN?

Total Responses 1,386

  • High complexity/difficult to manage or maintain     37%
  • Slow access to cloud services & SaaS applications  33%
  • Slow performance of on-premises applications       32%
  • Long deployment times to bring up new sites         29%
  • Lack of adequate security                                     28%
  • Poor voice or video quality                                    23%
  • High cost                                                             20%
  • Lack of visibility                                                   20%

*Respondents chose maximum three responses

–>­The WAN continues to be a challenge, impacting manageability, performance, security, agility, and cost.

Study Methodology:

The Sixth Annual Global Aryaka 2022 State of the WAN study surveyed over 1600 enterprise decision makers and practitioners including CIOs, CTOs, as well as IT, network, and security managers. Respondents were based in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC, with their companies representing every vertical, led by technology, software, manufacturing, financial, and retail. The survey asked respondents about their networking and performance challenges, priorities, and their plans for 2022 and beyond.

Download the Report:

Download Aryaka’s 6th Annual State of the WAN Report here.

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MPLS to SD-WAN Migration (Source: Aryaka):

Aryaka’s fully managed SD-WAN and SASE solution leverages a flexible core architecture, FlexCoreTM, optimized for per-site and per-application performance requirements. It offers full per customer resource reservation, end-to-end, at a global level. The HybridWAN solution also leverages direct MPLS and public internet connectivity options.

Aryaka manages the last-mile internet link performance with patented technology to eliminate packet loss and deliver on superior latency and jitter performance. By leveraging a private global L2 network, Aryaka eliminates the issue of guaranteeing deterministic QoS when multiple service provider administrative domains are involved (which is almost always the case in a global network).

Aryaka customers rely on its architecture to deliver on better-than-MPLS performance at a global level and at reduced cost, either augmenting the existing MPLS infrastructure or replacing it altogether over time.

Source: Aryaka

References:

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220120005248/en/Aryaka-Releases-6th-Annual-State-of-the-WAN-Report-1600-Global-Enterprises-Surveyed-Presents-New-Findings-on-Cloud-Adoption-Hybrid-Workplaces-and-the-Convergence-of-Network-and-Security-with-SASE

MPLS to SD-WAN Migration

Shift from SDN to SD-WANs to SASE Explained; Network Virtualization’s important role

Dell’Oro: SD-WAN market grew 45% YoY; Frost & Sullivan: Fortinet wins SD-WAN leadership award

MEF New Standards for SD-WAN Services; SASE Work Program

VSG Global SD-WAN Leaderboard Rankings and Results

Futurium: 2020 SD-WAN market set to accelerate

 

 

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

The slow uptake of 5G Standalone (SA) networks is decreasing the growth for the overall Mobile Core Network (MCN), which also includes IMS Core and 4G Core (EPC).  Dell’Oro Group [1.] forecasts worldwide MCN 5-year growth will be at a 3% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR).

“The cumulative revenue forecast for the period 2022 to 2026 is over $50 billion. The overall revenues and the CAGR have been dampened by the muted uptake in 5G SA networks,” according to Dave Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “5G SA network deployments have not matched the hype, with only 19 networks launched to date,” Bolan added.
“CSPs (Communication Service Providers) have three choices for offering 5G: Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS), 5G Non-standalone (5G NSA with LTE signalling and 4G EPC), and 5G SA. Only 5G SA requires the new 5G Core and many CSPs seem content for the time being to stick with DSS and 5G NSA. At the same time, CSPs are evaluating the option of moving 5G workloads to the public cloud, which is delaying the market uptake for 5G SA,” Bolan added.
Via email Dave noted that the MCN market doesn’t shrink, it just isn’t going to grow very much as shown in this chart (right vertical axis):

Source: Dell’Oro Group
Additional highlights from the Dell’Oro MCN report:
  • 5G MCN, IMS Core, and Multi-Access Network Computing (MEC) will have positive growth rates for the forecast period while 4G MCN will experience negative growth.
  • By 2026, 99% of the revenue for network functions will be from cloud native Container-based CNFs.

Via email, Dave wrote: The journey for network virtualization started in 2015 with ETSI NFV. We went from Physical Network Functions (PNFs) to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) to cloud-ready VNFs, to Cloud- Native VNFs (CNF), to Container-Based Cloud-Native VNFs. Container-Based (CNF) enable microservices.

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Separately, the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) recently wrote that only 99 operators in 50 countries are investing in 5G standalone (SA) core network, which includes those planning/testing and launched 5G SA networks.

The GSA said at least 20 network operators (Dell’Oro says 13) in 16 countries or territories are believed to have launched public 5G SA networks. Another five have deployed the technology, but not yet launched commercial services or have only soft-launched them.  So only 20.6% of the 481 5G network operators (investing in 5G licenses, trials or deployments of any type) have deployed 5G and that percentage is lower if you go by Dell’Oro’s 13 5G SA network operators.

From GSA’s The Power of Standalone 5G – published 19th January 2022:

Importantly, the 5G standalone core is cloud-native and is designed as a service-based architecture, virtualizing all software network functions using edge computing and providing the full range of 5G features. Some of these are needed in the enterprise space for advanced uses such as smart factory automation, smart city applications, remote control of critical infrastructure and autonomous vehicle operation. However, 5G standalone does mean additional investment and can bring complexity in running multiple cores in the network.

This will be a potential source of new revenue for service providers, as digital transformation — with 5G standalone as a cornerstone — will enable them to deliver reliable low-latency communications and massive Internet of things (IoT) connectivity to customers in different industry sectors. The low latency and much higher capacity needed by those emerging service areas will only be feasible with standalone 5G and packet core network architecture.

In addition, the service-based architecture opens up the ability to slice the 5G network into customized virtual pieces that can be tailored to the needs of individual enterprises, while maximizing the network’s operational efficiency. Advanced uses for 5G NR aren’t backward- compatible with LTE infrastructure, so all operators will eventually need to get to standalone 5G.

Standalone 5G metrics:

  • Volume: Gbps per month
  • Speed: Mbps (peak), Mbps (guaranteed)
  • Location: Network Slice, service per location
  • Latency per service or location (dependent on URLLC in the 5G RAN and 5G Core)
  • Reliability or packet loss
  • Number of devices per square km
  • Dynamic service-level agreements per location
  • Full end-to-end encryption and authentication

Source: CCS Insight

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Note 1.  Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, networks, and data center IT markets. Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions. For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit www.delloro.com.

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References:

Slow Uptake for 5G Standalone Drags on Mobile Core Network Growth, According to Dell’Oro Group

GSA: 200 global operators offer 5G services; only 20 (Dell’Oro says 13) have deployed 5G SA core network

Dell’Oro: Mobile Core Network Market 5 Year Forecast

Why It’s Important: Rakuten Mobile, Intel and NEC collaborate on containerized 5G SA core network

T-Mobile US: 5G SA Core network to be deployed 3Q-2020; cites 5G coverage advantage

Rakuten Symphony Inc. to provide 4G and 5G infrastructure and platform solutions to the global market

Heavy Reading: “The Journey to Cloud Native” – Will it be a long one?

 

 

 

 

 

Starlink’s huge ambition and deployment plan may clash with reality

Starlink’s first mission of 2022 launched another 49 satellites into orbit, extending its grand total to nearly 2,000. But since completing its first orbital shell of about 1,600 satellites last May, “Starlink’s launch frequency has slowed dramatically with only four rocket launches over the past seven months, or roughly one every seven weeks,” explained Craig Moffett, principal analyst at MoffettNathanson in a note to clients.  Craig wrote:

Starlink’s ambition is huge (a constellation of as many as 42,000 satellites). And the implied valuation for the still-private company is huge ($100B+ for all of SpaceX).

This “hugeness” has captured investors’ imaginations and no doubt hugeness itself is very much part of its appeal. But we haven’t yet seen investors come to grips with all of the implications of this bigness. We were struck by Elon Musk’s recent tweet conceding a “genuine risk of bankruptcy” – immediately dismissed by some as hyperbole – and it got us thinking about scale, and risk, in ways we really hadn’t considered before.

Moffett notes  that the new Starlink V1.5 satellites are heavier, leading to fewer satellites per launch. “At a payload of 50 satellites per launch for Falcon 9 rockets – down from 60 per launch for V1.0 satellites – SpaceX would need to drastically increase launch frequency to once every seven days for five consecutive years just to launch the satellites required for their planned constellation of ~12,000 by their FCC deadline in 2027.”

In low-Earth orbit, satellites will drift back to Earth and burn up on re-entry. Assuming the satellites have an average lifespan of five years, the number of launches to simply replace expiring satellites will, by year five, be as large as the number of launches required over the next five years to grow the constellation. By the end of 2030, just nine years from now, they would have had to launch nearly 23,000 satellites in support of a 12,000 bird constellation. Assuming a Falcon 9 payload of 50 satellites, that would imply 48 launches each year – roughly one every seven days – just to sustain a constellation of 12,000 satellites even after the constellation is “finished.”

Privately held SpaceX (Starlink’s owner) will also need to strongly increase manufacturing capacity and manage tricky supply chain logistics to meet the needs for Starlink, as well as for SpaceX’s clients.

Based on $30 million per launch, Moffett estimates that it would cost about $15 billion to build a constellation of 30,000 satellites, with satellite replacement (production and launch) alone costing more than $3.6 billion per year.  Please see chart below.

Starlink hopes to beef up its capabilities with Starship, a larger launch vehicle that’s had its share of problems, with an orbital test flight that could take place as soon as March. However, Craig suggests that Starship isn’t necessarily the answer to the problem, considering that new V2.0 satellites will be perhaps four times as massive as previous generation Starlink LEO satellites.

In November 2021, Elon Musk distributed a companywide email stating that a production crisis centered on the Starship rocket engine puts SpaceX on a path to “genuine risk of bankruptcy if we cannot achieve a Starship flight rate of at least once every two weeks next year.”

However, the costs will be very high.  Moffett says the “sustenance” cost of the constellation, before considering any costs associated with overhead, engineering, ground facilities, network operations centers, or end-user support, installation, and/or maintenance, could tally $5B per year as per this chart:

Satellite projects are, by their very nature, huge. A defining characteristic of big infrastructure investments is that they demand that investors be confident about the success and payoffs from infrastructures that may take as much as a decade to build.

Moffett is concerned that investors [1.] have yet to “come to grips with all of the implications” of the audaciousness of the Starlink’s huge ambitions.

Note 1.  It’s important to note that Starlink is part of SpaceX, which is still a privately owned company.  As of October 2021, Barron’s said that “Elon Musk owns roughly 50% of SpaceX.” It is not known who or whom owns the other half of SpaceX

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References:

https://www.lightreading.com/satellite/starlinks-daunting-deployment-plan-leaves-no-margin-for-error—analyst/d/d-id/774665?

https://www.barrons.com/articles/elon-musk-net-worth-trillionaire-51634679420?tesla=y

NGMN Alliance: Green benchmark for mobile networks

The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN Alliance) [1.] announced plans to create a new ‘green’ benchmark for mobile networks. The industry standard will be based initially on high-level sustainability indicators, with more detailed assessments to follow. It creates a new way to compare mobile networks, alongside service quality and user experience metrics.

Note 1.  The NGMN Alliance (Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance) is an open forum founded by world-leading mobile network operators. Its goal is to ensure that next generation network infrastructure, service platforms and devices will meet the requirements of operators and, ultimately, will satisfy end user demand and expectations.

NGMN seeks to incorporate the views of all interested stakeholders in the telecommunications industry and is open to three categories of participants (NGMN Partners): Mobile network operators (Members), vendors, software companies and many other leading industry players (Contributors), and research institutes contributing substantially to mid- to long-term innovation (Advisors).

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The new initiative is part of the alliance’s ‘Green Future Networks‘ program, set up in 2020 to help the mobile industry address the need to reduce carbon emissions while network traffic continues to grow. The project aims to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of recyclable materials. The project will be guided by recommendations made in the NGMN 5G White Paper 2, which focuses on four main areas: on-board metering to control energy consumption; network energy efficiency; eco-design of equipment and products; and end-to-end services footprint.

The general objectives of this NGMN initiative are:

  • to establish globally applicable KPIs and methodologies,
  • to define a global evaluation methodology, and
  • to define the data sources for the assessment and how such data are obtained

With the new benchmark, operators will have an incentive to work on sustainability, as well as a tool to verify and market their credentials to customers and public authorities.

The NGMN initiative plans to establish globally applicable KPIs and methodologies, defining data sources, data collection methods and a global evaluation methodology. Interested industry players are invited to join the project to help develop the new benchmark.

Arash Ashouriha, SVP Group Technology Innovation, Deutsche Telekom and Chairman of the NGMN Board states: ”Implementing concrete actions to mitigate climate action is a key priority for our industry. At Deutsche Telekom, our goal is to make sure that everyone can #takepart and connect over a green network. We are committed to ambitious net zero targets and are continuously optimizing our network to ensure the best quality for our customers while striving to systematically reduce the energy consumption. The Global Green Networks Benchmark from NGMN will certainly help the entire telco industry by providing transparency regarding the operator’s sustainability. In addition, it offers operators a unique opportunity to prove their sustainability credentials towards their customers and be recognized for the positive environmental and societal impact.”

Anita Döhler, CEO at NGMN, emphasizes: “There is a clear need for a Global Green Networks Benchmark. Being recognized for the operation of Green Networks will encourage Mobile Network Operators to engage even more in exploring innovative methods and solutions to implement their networks in an energy efficient manner and to increase the focus on reducing the E2E services’ environmental footprint, for instance, through improved eco-design of products and the implementation of new business models fostering a circular economy. Such efforts will also stimulate supplier innovation.”

NGMN invites interested industry players to join this new endeavor for the benefit of the global ecosystem.

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References:

NGMN Defines Industry Standard for a “Global Green Networks Benchmark”

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ngmn-alliance-to-create-sustainability-benchmark-for-mobile-networks–1410888

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ngmn-alliance-launches-new-green-futures-network-initiative–1359503