Nokia & Vodafone Turkey new milestone in optical transmission speed; Nokia -UScellular 5G SA/Core Network agreement

Nokia claims a new speed record with Vodafone Turkey with a regional demonstration of a 1 Tbps per channel coherent transmission over a live optical network. The companies proved a capacity increase of 150 percent over a single channel coherent transmission, and the ability to scale network capacity up to 70 Tbps per fiber. This capacity milestone is part of an ongoing modernization effort with Nokia to future-proof Vodafone Turkey’s optical network architecture.

This optical transmission test builds upon an earlier trial conducted by Nokia and Vodafone Turkey that validated a 1Tbps clear channel IP router interface, further preparing the operator’s network for the future.

The optical network speed test showcased 1 Tbps capacity over 130 GHz bandwidth without any errors on Vodafone Turkey’s live optical network between its data centers. The trial was conducted over the operator’s in-service optical network, based on Nokia’s wavelength routing technology, which includes its non-blocking CDC-F ROADM optical switch architecture. Supporting operation over C+L bands, Nokia’s optical line system also enables a doubling of the total fibre capacity of Vodafone Turkey’s network.

Nokia’s photonic service engine (PSE) technology, providing maximum performance and spectral efficiency. The Nokia PSE coherent optics are deployed in Vodafone Turkey’s network using the 1830 PSI-M (Photonic Service Interconnect-Modular) compact modular optical networking platform, optimized for data center interconnect applications over metro, regional and long-haul distances.

Thibaud RerolleCTO at Vodafone Turkey, said: “At Vodafone Turkey, we are committed to using next generation technology to provide the most convenient services to our customers – uninterrupted and reliably. Our fiber optic backbone is an important step on the way to 5G and, with Nokia, we continue to equip our optical network with the latest technologies and innovations for our services today and in the future.”

James Watt, Head of Optical Networks Division, Nokia, said: “Our field-proven optical technologies and solutions are enabling service providers like Vodafone Turkey to meet growing capacity demand and provide the best end-user experience. We are pleased to complement our deployment of advanced optical transport solutions with the successful and timely completion of this crucial trial to modernize Vodafone Turkey’s optical network. Together, we are accelerating their digital transformation with solutions that can be easily scaled to meet 5G demands.”

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2021/09/09/nokia-and-vodafone-turkey-achieve-maximum-optical-transmission-capacity/

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/nokia-vodafone-turkey-achieve-new-milestone-in-optical-transmission-capacity–1396592

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Separately, Nokia today announced that it has been selected to roll out UScellular’s standalone 5G core network with deployment expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

  • UScellular will deploy Nokia’s portfolio of hardware, software and services to enable its 5G standalone (SA) core network
  • UScellular’s 5G SA network will provide its 5 million customers with superior service, capacity, and reliability

By implementing Nokia’s 5G SA core, UScellular will be able to unlock the full potential of 5G for its customers, delivering the high speeds and low latencies that will power new applications such as virtual and augmented reality. UScellular will also be able to leverage Nokia’s cloud-native, open modular structure to rapidly introduce and scale future network functions for new revenue opportunities.

UScellular’s deployment of Nokia’s 5G core adds to its existing support for the Radio Access Network (RAN) where Nokia is supplying its AirScale radios for both low-band and mmWave 5G.

Mike Irizarry, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, UScellular:

“As we continue to expand and enhance our 5G network, we value the innovation and support that Nokia provides to help us deliver a superior wireless experience to our residential and business customers. As we deploy 5G SA core, Nokia brings expertise, technology excellence and the right mix of hardware, software and services to meet our requirements for high performance and low latency.”

Ed CholertonPresident of Nokia North America

“We are thrilled to be selected by UScellular to deliver a full 5G experience to its customers. Our 5G SA core and 5G radios provide not only new capabilities, scale, operational efficiencies, and revenue opportunities, but drive a far better user experience that customers expect. Working with UScellular to provide the core network function software and cloud infrastructure continues our momentum in the North American standalone 5G core market.”

Nokia’s 5G SA core is a cloud-native architecture with network functions deployed as microservices that can be moved to the network edge to meet low latency requirements for software-driven services, like network slicing. Globally, Nokia has already deployed over 250+ cloud core networks and 70+ 5G standalone core networks.

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Nokia said its 5G SA core is currently deployed in more than 70 networks globally, but very few of those are commercially available.

Nokia also sold its 5G SA core to T-Mobile US, the first operator to deploy a 5G SA core. It remains the only U.S. operator with a commercially available standalone 5G network.

5G SA cores remain incredibly scarce. Most of the 141 live 5G networks at the end of April 2021 were still operating in non-standalone mode (5G NSA), Stéphane Téral, chief analyst at LightCounting, noted during a panel discussion at MWC Barcelona 2021.  As of the end of July, there were only nine standalone networks globally, he said. The latest was KT Corp.’s 5G SA core deployment using Samsung’s technology.

A 5G SA core introduces many unique 5G features, including higher data throughput and performance, lower latency, network slicing. It separates the data and control planes which is required for mobile edge computing and many industrial applications.

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2021/09/09/nokia-extends-uscellular-relationship-with-5g-standalone-core-agreement/

https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/nokia-wins-u-s-cellular-5g-standalone-core-contract/2021/09/

NEC expands partnership with AWS for global 5G, digital government, hybrid cloud

NEC Corp. expanded its collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in areas that include global 5G, digital government, and hybrid cloud in support of accelerating digital transformation for business customers.

In November 2020, NEC and AWS concluded a corporate-level strategic collaboration agreement and have been developing offerings and strengthening delivery functionalities since then. NEC will now expand this collaboration and strengthen efforts in the following areas: global 5G, digital government, and hybrid cloud as follows:

1. Global 5G

NEC aims to develop an end-to-end 5G offering and to provide it globally by combining NEC’s high-performance cloud-native open 5G mobile core, OSS/BSS solutions, local 5G use cases etc., and AWS cloud and edge solutions. NEC will accelerate telecom carriers’ cloudification of network workloads and enhance digital transformation for enterprises by deploying 5G-based infrastructure and applications at the network edge. This combined solution stack will be supported by NEC’s system integration services to enable customers to efficiently deploy and scale 5G networks, enhance automation and drive significant improvement in operational economics.

2. Digital government

NEC has been certified as an AWS Government Competency Partner based on the strategic collaboration that started last year and its achievements for governments to date. Going forward, NEC will further strengthen its relationship with AWS and focus on developing and providing a menu of offerings to accelerate the digital transformation for government activities in Japan.

3. Hybrid cloud

By collaborating with AWS, NEC aims to develop and provide a menu of offerings that connects on-premises and cloud environments securely, at high speed, and with low latency. This will contribute to the acceleration of digital transformation through modernization that utilizes the customer’s existing information technology (IT) assets.

To accelerate these initiatives, the NEC Group has increased the number of AWS-certified engineers to 2,000 at present, aiming for 3,000, double the number from the start of collaboration in 2020, and firmly maintains one of Japan’s largest delivery capabilities for cloud projects. Going forward, NEC will continue to strengthen these positions and to ensure that it responds to customers’ digital transformation demands.

NEC also intends to enhance its hybrid cloud offering with support from AWS, providing services that connect both on-premises and cloud environments in order to support enterprise digital transformation strategies.  NEC has already been building up expertise in this field. The Japanese IT vendor has increased the number of AWS-certified engineers to 2,000, up from 1,500 in November 2020, and is aiming for 3,000 in three years.  Furthermore, NEC has been certified as an AWS Government Competency Partner and said it will focus on “developing and providing a menu of offerings to accelerate the digital transformation for government activities in Japan.”

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Comments from both companies on this collaboration are as follows:

“NEC is pleased to announce the expansion of its strategic collaboration with AWS. Last year, NEC announced this global collaboration as the first of its kind between AWS and a Japanese company. It has been a great year, seeing many successes in the areas of government, modernization and in the skill enhancement of NEC engineers. NEC is now expanding the collaboration with AWS in the areas of global 5G, digital government and in enhanced hybrid cloud offerings. With the strong global support from AWS, NEC will help drive digital transformation in the government sector and across industries as part of orchestrating a brighter world,” says Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation.

“We are delighted to deepen our relationship with NEC. AWS welcomes NEC’s commitment and delivery of solutions built on AWS to deliver high-quality solutions that accelerate customers’ digital transformations. We look forward to NEC’s continued expansion of offerings and further expansion of delivery capabilities to optimize these transformations,” says Doug Yeum, Global Head of Alliances & Channels at Amazon Web Services, Inc.

Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation and Matt Garman, Senior Vice President at Amazon Web Services Inc.

NEC and its Netcracker subsidiary have already deployed their 5G core and full stack digital BSS/OSS on AWS cloud infrastructure to orchestrate and automate 5G digital services. The service was demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2021, when NEC deployed its 5G core control plane on an AWS Region and its 5G UPF on an AWS Outposts’ edge location.

Other NEC cloud related partnerships:

  • NEC’s collaboration with Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s disruptive open RAN and cloud-native 4G/5G wireless service provider, has certainly raised its open RAN and 5G Core profile. In May, Rakuten Mobile signed MoUs with Fujitsu and NEC to try and accelerate “global expansion” of Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
  • In June, NEC and Rakuten Mobile said they would jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be utilized in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud native 5G network.
  • Later in June, Rakuten Mobile, NEC and Intel announced that they have achieved a performance of 640 Gbps per server for the containerized User Plane Function (UPF) on the containerized 5G SA core network jointly developed by Rakuten Mobile and NEC running on the Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP).
  • In July, NEC expanded its “multi-year strategic partnership” with Microsoft whereby NEC adopted Microsoft Azure as its preferred cloud platform provider.  (But now it’s in bed with AWS?)
  • In August, NEC announced a collaboration with Fujitsu on interoperability testing for 5G base stations that conform to specifications from the O-RAN Alliance.

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About NEC Corporation:

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.

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References:

To view and hear the comments from Toshifumi Yoshizaki, Executive Vice President at NEC Corporation and Matt Garman, Senior Vice President at Amazon Web Services Inc (pictured above), please visit: https://www.nec.com/en/press/202109/global_20210908_01.html

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/nec-expands-aws-tie-up-to-gain-5g-edge/d/d-id/771938?

Rakuten Mobile, Inc. and NEC to jointly develop the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network

 

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

 

TPG Telecom & Ericsson partner for 5G SA core network; Ericsson’s Intelligent Deployment

Australia’s TPG Telecom and Ericsson have announced the completion of the virtualization of TPG Telecom’s core network and a new partnership to deploy its 5G standalone core network.

With the virtualization of TPG Telecom’s core network, the telco will become the first operator in Australia to have its entire 4G and 5G customer base on a virtualized platform. Virtualization of TPG Telecom’s core network is the result of a multi-year partnership between TPG Telecom and Ericsson.

Building on the success of the virtualization program, TPG Telecom has extended its partnership with Ericsson to include the deployment of its 5G Core for standalone network. Ericsson’s cloud native dual-mode 5G Core will drive service and technology innovation for TPG Telecom’s customers.

The completion of TPG Telecom’s 5G standalone Core Network will assist the operator to cover 85 per cent of the population in ten of Australia’s largest cities and regions with its 5G network by the end of this year, whilst enabling it to deliver innovative services and emerging industry 5G applications with greater flexibility and scalability.

The 5G Core network is based on future-proof network architecture that will enable TPG Telecom to combine 4G and 5G technologies on one platform, delivering tailored services for its customers through network slicing, network exposure, and edge capabilities. The new cloud-native 5G Core network will deliver the full benefits of automation and enhance 5G customer experience through improved network speed, latency, and coverage.

TPG Telecom Executive General Manager Mobile and Fixed Networks Barry Kezik, said: “The virtualization of our core network has enabled us to fast-track our 5G rollout without disrupting 4G services.

“By introducing our new 5G Core network, we are ensuring that we can significantly expand our 5G coverage whilst introducing new and innovative 5G industry applications that are tailored to enterprises.”

Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson, Australia and New Zealand, said: “This achievement is a testament to the strong and ongoing partnership that we have with TPG Telecom. The virtualisation of its core network will be critical in unleashing the potential of 5G using Ericsson’s market leading 5G Core solutions.”

“I am looking forward to continue building our partnership with TPG Telecom as we support the deployment of a 5G standalone that will truly enable everyday consumers and enterprise to harness the potential of 5G.”

The successful virtualization of TPG Telecom’s Core network was enabled by the Telco Cloud Transformation partnership between TPG Telecom and Ericsson which delivered a leading-edge horizontal NFVI platform to virtualize TPG Telecom’s Core network and a range of multi-vendor network functions. This partnership has now been expanded to evolve the NFVI platform to a Cloud-native, container based environment, which will allow TPG Telecom to deploy Cloud-native Network Functions (CNFs) , including Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core.

The mobile network owned by TPG Telecom provides services to Vodafone, TPG, iiNet, Lebara, felix and Kogan mobile customers. TPG Telecom’s 5G services are available in selected areas in more than 700 suburbs around Australia and the company currently has around 1,600 sites in the planning and design phase. TPG Telecom’s plan is to cover 85% of the population in ten of Australia’s largest cities and regions by the end of 2021 for customers with a compatible 5G approved device.

Image Credit: Ericsson

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In semi-related news, Ericsson has announced the launch of Intelligent Deployment, a suit of tools and services designed to help operators with network rollout and upgrade. As the name implies there’s lots of emphasis on AI and generally doing this sort of thing in a smarter way. This means addressing the needs of a cell site according to its specific circumstances and the particular needs of the network at a given time.

“With our Intelligent Deployment solution, we are vastly improving the way we deploy networks, making it more agile, flexible and responsive to customer needs,” said Nello Califano, Head of Strategy and Portfolio Management, Ericsson Business Area Networks. “This means we can deliver parts of our portfolio to service providers based on their specific requirements.

“We use extensive data insights to offer new services as well as pre-empt problems when introducing intelligent monitoring of the network even after end of deployment. By investing more in our network services, we create better solutions for our customers.”

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/7/2021/tpg-telecom-and-ericsson-announce-5g-core-partnership-for-standalone-5g-networks

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2021/9/ericsson-launches-intelligent-deployment-network-solutions

Singtel discloses new 5G SA uses cases for enterprises and residents in Singapore

At its ‘Powering Up Singapore With 5G’ event, Singtel (the leading network operator in Singapore) revealed a number of 5G Standalone (SA) use cases, according to a press release.  The new use cases span a variety of sectors from entertainment to mobility and bring to life the benefits of 5G by redefining live, work and play experiences with blazing fast speeds and near-instantaneous response times.

Singtel said it continues to expand its 5G network, which now covers over two-thirds of Singapore, adding sites in densely populated areas like Choa Chu Kang, Punggol, Sembawang and Tampines. In addition, it has expanded its 5G indoor coverage to more major shopping malls island-wide such as Funan, West Mall, Tampines Mall, Northpoint City and Waterway Point.

Minister for Communications and Information Mrs Josephine Teo highlighted the role of 5G, “Mobile networks and data exchanges are key building blocks for the digital infrastructure. 5G, which promises to be ultra-fast and supports near-zero latency, can change the way we live and work in profound ways, and become essential for the digital developments of the future. Building a digital future is certainly about the hardware, software, systems and standards. It is equally about the people and skills. For that, the Government will continue to invest in reskilling and upskilling our people so that they can achieve not just digital literacy but digital mastery. This way, everyone can benefit from the infrastructure.”

Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO of Singtel said: “With the maturing of 5G technology, we’re excited to unlock the benefits of a 5G-enabled reality for consumers and enterprises. Its potential to transform business models and deliver enhanced products and services on a scale like never before, will spur Singapore’s digital economy as the country moves into post-COVID recovery. As part of our strategic reset to focus on 5G, we are accelerating our roll-out and the creation of new services.”

Ookla® recently declared Singtel the ‘Fastest 5G mobile operator in Singapore’ in H1 2021 for clocking in the highest median mobile network speed.

Singtel said the arrival of 5G has proved timely against a backdrop of accelerated digital adoption as a result of safe distancing and remote working. With more people using digital channels to go about their lives, there has been a corresponding increase in demand for fast and reliable connectivity. This is reflected in a recent Singtel survey, in which majority of consumers indicated that 5G-enabled services such as augmented reality books and virtual reality entertainment events appeal to them.

The new use cases powered by Singtel’s 5G SA network include:

  • 5G-powered Remote Racing: Partnering with Formula Square to deliver an immersive, lag-free experience racing remote-controlled cars powered by 5G at Southside, Sentosa;
  • 4K Live Streaming: Working with S.E.A. Aquarium to bring Singapore’s first underwater 5G livestream of the S.E.A. Aquarium to UNBOXED, Singtel’s unmanned pop-up retail store, where visitors can immerse themselves in the aquatic wonders of the aquarium, viewing manta rays, sharks and shoals of fishes in vivid 4K resolution;
  • Enhancing the Arts and Culture Experience: Collaborating with the National Gallery Singapore and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay to deliver cultural and art experiences over 5G, from the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery and the Singtel Waterfront Theatre when it opens officially next year. This will enable more people with opportunities to get up close and personal with local artists and performers amid prevailing safe distancing measures;
  • Co-creating the future of hybrid work: Teaming up with Samsung and Zoom to introduce a Productivity Data Pass plan offering data-free usage of Zoom, enabling customers to connect to family and colleagues seamlessly and lag-free. This, coupled with Samsung devices such as DeX, will enable customers to set up virtual workstations easily.

Singtel has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ericsson and global industry partners to collaborate on the development and deployment of advanced 5G enterprise solutions in Singapore.  The agreement will allow companies to leverage Ericsson’s technology expertise and Singtel’s 5G network, test facilities and capabilities to innovate solutions and scale them up for global deployment.

Singtel launched its 5G SA network in May, via a partnership with South Korea’s Samsung. The 5G SA sites run on 3.5 GHz spectrum.  Singtel had initially launched its 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) network in September of 2020, using spectrum in the 3.5 GHz frequency as well as existing 2.1 GHz spectrum.

As part of its 5G SA deployment, Singtel has already deployed over 1,000 5G sites across Singapore in strategic locations such as Orchard Road, the Central Business District, Marina Bay, Harbourfront and Sentosa, as well as major residential areas including Sengkang, Punggol, Pasir Ris, Jurong East and Woodlands.

Singtel also demonstrated at the event how 5G is empowering industries and businesses with greater productivity and operational efficiency. Key to this is multi-access edge computing (MEC), an infrastructure that maximizes 5G’s low latency, high bandwidth benefits and enables functions like real-time computing, data storage, data analytics and AI services at the edge. MEC supports massive and faster connectivity of devices, bringing to life more mission critical enterprise applications than before, such as real-time asset tracking and automated quality inspection in factories and smart city planning.

During the event, Guest of Honor Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information and IMDA’s Chief Executive Mr Lew Chuen Hong were ‘teleported’ into the venue via Singtel’s 5G network, in which their high-resolution likeness were beamed from a separate location. The network’s ultra-low latency meant that Minister Teo and Mr Lew could ‘interact’ seamlessly with Mr Yuen on stage.

Singtel aims to intensify its 5G SA deployment across the island in the coming months as handset manufacturers progressively roll out 5G SA software updates for existing 5G handsets and launch more 5G SA-compatible models in Singapore later this year.

References:

https://www.singtel.com/about-us/media-centre/news-releases/singtel-ramps-up-5g-roll-out-across-singapore

https://www.singtel.com/personal/products-services/mobile/5g#5g1

https://www.rcrwireless.com/20210830/5g/singtel-unveils-new-use-cases-5g-sa-technology-singapore

Singtel starts limited deployment of 5G SA; only 1 5G SA endpoint device; state of 5G SA?

Singtel and Ericsson 5G NR SA and dual mode 5G core network

Singapore’s M1 launches True 5G SA network market trial

 

Dell’Oro: 5G SA indecisions slowing 5G Core network growth

Revenues for the Mobile Core Network (MCN) [1.] market slowed to 6% year-over-year growth in 2Q 2021 after four quarters of double-digit growth, according to a new report by Dell’Oro Group.

Communication Service Providers (CSPs) indecisions about moving forward with 5G Standalone (5G SA/core network are slowing 5G Core market growth (except in China).  It is now expected to decelerate over the next four quarters dropping to 17% year-over-year in 2Q 2022.

Note 1.  The Mobile Core Network is in a transitional stage from 4G to 5G and a new type of core network called the 5G Core Service Based Architecture (SBA). The 5G Core SBA is designed to be a universal core that can be the core for mobile and fixed wireless networks, wireline networks, and Wi-Fi networks. This includes the ability to be the core for 2G/3G/4G, so only one core is necessary for the long term. In addition, the IMS Core will migrate into the 5G Core SBA.

With Network Function Virtualization (NFV) the 5G Core SBA is best served with Cloud-native Network Functions that disaggregates the hardware from the software and operates in a stateless function with the data separated from the control function among other things.

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“We attribute the slowdown to the slow uptake of 5G Standalone (SA) networks. CSPs need to make decisions about which direction to take for 5G SA deployments. CSPs have several options to mull over, with new choices that were not available during the switch from 3G to 4G,” stated David Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “One decision CSPs need to make is about the selection of Network Function Virtualization Infrastructure (NFVI). NFVI can be procured from a 5G core vendor, a third-party, the public cloud, or another platform like the Rakuten Communications Platform.”

Additional highlights from the 2Q 2021 Mobile Core Network Report:

• The Asia Pacific region accounted for 70% of the revenues for 5G Core as the Chinese SPs continue to build and Japanese SPs begin their buildouts.

• Top vendor ranking remains unchanged based on the four trailing quarters ending in 2Q 2021: Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, and Mavenir.

• 4G MCN (EPC) revenues are now in continual decline, but still represented 70% of the mix between 4G and 5G.

About the Report:

The Dell’Oro Group Mobile Core Network Quarterly Report offers complete, in-depth coverage of the market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, shipments, and average selling prices for Evolved Packet Core, 5G Packet Core, Policy, Subscriber Data Management, and IMS Core including licenses by Non-NFV and NFV, and by geographic regions.

To purchase this report, please contact  at dgsales@delloro.com.

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Closing Comments:

The slowdown in 5G SA/core network growth should come as no surprise to IEEE Techblog readers.  We’ve pounded the table for a very long time, stating that in the absence of an ITU standard or 3GPP IMPLEMENTATION spec, the 5G SA/core network growth would be slow with many different versions implemented by CSPs.  That will inhibit interoperability and portability of 5G endpoints which have 5G SA software.

Equally important is that ALL 5G services and features (e.g. network slicing, automation, MEC, etc) require a 5G Core network while almost all 5G deployments today are 5G NSA which has a 4G core (EPC) network.

 

References:

CSPs’ Indecisions Slow 5G Core Growth Except for China, According to Dell’Oro Group

Mobile Core Network

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

RootMetrics touts 5G performance in Korea while users complain; No 5G SA in Korea!

AT&T 5G SA Core Network to run on Microsoft Azure cloud platform

 

AT&T and Google Cloud Expand 5G and Edge Collaboration

Dell’Oro: MEC Investments to grow at 140% CAGR from 2020 to 2025

 

Telcos Loss: Private 5G & MEC/5G SA Core Network – Cloud Giants Take Market Share

T-Mobile Announces “World’s 1st Nationwide Standalone 5G Network” (without a standard)

Evaluating Gaps and Solutions to build Open 5G Core/SA networks

 

Dell’Oro: MEC Investments to grow at 140% CAGR from 2020 to 2025

Dell’Oro Group has published an update to its Multi-Access Edge Computer (MEC) 5-year forecast report. According to Dave Bolan, Research Director, Dell’Oro has lowered their expectations from the previous forecast, because of the slower start than anticipated for 5G SA buildouts, especially for federated MEC capability.

MEC investments are expected to increase at a 140% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) in Servers and Packet Core User Plane Functions over the next five years. However, MEC specifications need to evolve for federated MEC networking to address broader requirements in the market.
“The cumulative five-year investment in MEC is expected to be $11B.  Approximately 60% of the revenues will come in 2025. Though it looks lopsided in terms of 2025 revenues, when you look at units, the MEC servers are split almost 50/50 between Public MEC and Private MEC (on-premises), wrote David Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group.
“Though the CAGR is the same as our previous forecast, the cumulative forecast has decreased due to a slower than anticipated wide-scale launches of 5G Standalone (5G SA) networks. This may be due to 5G service providers (SPs) investigating the role that Public Cloud SPs could play in their networks.”
Image Credit:  Dell’Oro Group (Dave Bolan)
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“Another factor may be the need for specifications for federated MEC networking,” commented Bolan. “European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) MEC committee and GSM Association (GSMA) Operator Platform Group just released their requirements for federated MEC networking, identifying seven uses cases that the SP community needs,” added Bolan.
ETSI Model of MEC:
“While MEC can be done for both 4G and 5G, 4G networks need to be upgraded with control and user plane separation. That separation is inherent in 5G.  Another inherent characteristic of 5G is lower latency than 4G LTE. While the forecast has some 4G MEC, the vast majority is based on 5G standalone for MEC to reach its full potential.”
Dell’Oro Group’s Multi-Access Edge Computing Advanced Research Report offers a complete overview of the market opportunity for the Infrastructure Edge to reduce latency. MEC is a new networking technology designed to capitalize on the opportunity. The market is segmented by Public MEC and Private MEC, and offers a worldwide view of the total available market in revenue and units. The MEC Report includes Definition and Scope, Market Drivers, Use Cases, System Architecture, Vendor Ecosystem, US MEC System Deployment Model, and a 5-year MEC Revenues and Shipments Forecast for Servers and the packet core User Plane Functions.
To purchase the report, please email dgsales@delloro.com.
References:

Singapore’s M1 launches True 5G SA network market trial

Singapore operator M1 has launched its True 5G network in an exclusive market trial, allowing both its existing and new mobile customers to access the 5G Standalone technology in Singapore. As part of an exclusive market trial, customers can now access the True 5G service by adding on a booster pack to their existing mobile plan.  However, a trial is NOT commercial service.
True 5G is an enhancement to M1’s cellular network, built on 5G standalone hardware. The Singapore operator claims it offers:
  • 4x FASTER SPEEDS THAN 5G NON-STANDALONE NETWORKS
  • 10X FASTER SPEEDS THAN EXISTING 4G NETWORKS
  • 2X BETTER NETWORK RESPONSE, WITH INCREASED RELIABILITY

Image Credit: M1
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As the first telco in Singapore to embark on 5G trials in 2018, M1 Limited has been a front-runner in the development of Singapore’s 5G SA network. Unlike the 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) launched in 2020, True 5G SA operates independently of 4G-LTE network infrastructure (like the 4G Evolved Packet Core/EPC). M1 says that with 5Go Boosters starting as low as $5 per month, customers can enjoy an enhanced and secured suite of capabilities.
M1 says that given its enhanced capabilities, innovative and diversified digital experiences such as 5G cloud gaming, real-time interactive streaming and entertainment, as well as immersive Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications can be enjoyed very soon (no date given).
M1 says the True 5G experience will support revolutionary applications and new business opportunities across a range of industries from robotics to maritime.

M1 customers can enjoy an elevated call experience via the world’s first Voice over 5G New Radio (VoNR) service [1.] on M1’s 5G SA network that reinforces the experience of crystal clear high-definition voice calls, improved productivity with 5G speeds on data-driven activities throughout the duration of the calls as well as faster call setup time.

Note 1.  Deutsche Telekom claims to have completed VoNR call this past June, which we documented here.

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M1 is working closely with some of Singapore’s most exciting enterprises and SMEs to reimagine and redefine how businesses can leverage 5G to boost efficiency, fast-track innovation, and meet customer demands. Working in close synergy with its key shareholder, Keppel Corporation, M1 will continue to explore and develop more 5G-enabled business opportunities and collaborations across the Keppel group of businesses and open up limitless possibilities for corporations.

About M1:

M1, a subsidiary of Keppel Corporation, is Singapore’s first digital network operator, providing a suite of communications services, including mobile, fixed line, and fiber offerings to over two million customers.

Since the launch of its commercial services in 1997, M1 has achieved many firsts – becoming one of the first operators to be awarded one of Singapore’s two nationwide 5G standalone network licences, being the first operator to offer nationwide 4G service, ultra-high-speed fixed broadband, fixed voice, and other services on the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN).

M1’s mission is to drive transformation and evolution in Singapore’s telecommunications landscape through cutting-edge technology and its made-to-measure offerings.

References:

Samsung’s Voice over 5G NR (VoNR) Now Available on M1’s 5G SA Network

Singapore network operator M1 and Samsung have demonstrated a Voice over 5G New Radio (VoNR) capability on M1’s 5G Standalone (SA) network.
Leveraging Samsung’s 5G services and M1’s engineering team and 5G SA use cases and trials, M1 and Samsung achieved the deployment of VoNR service on M1’s 5G SA network. This partnership validates 5G VoNR interoperability – said to be a world’s first, M1 said.

The VoNR call service fully utilizes 5G SA architecture for an improved high definition quality call experience, while providing 5G speeds for data-driven activities throughout the duration of the voice calls In comparison to calls made on the 5G non-standalone (NSA) network, which rides on existing 4G networks, the VoNR service boasts faster call setup time and seamless voice call continuity, presenting M1 customers with the true 5G experience. M1 customers will be able to enjoy the benefits of VoNR service as M1 gears up for its 5G SA market trial launch on the 27th of July.

The two companies said that VoNR service will open up numerous 5G SA-enabled data services and provide the baseline for quality video conferencing or augmented and virtual reality features, offering a glimpse into the possible connectivity solutions 5G SA will enable M1 to bring to its subscribers.  This author is quite skeptical of that claim.

The underlying technology relies on the network having a 5G Core and IMS architecture (IP Multimedia Subsystem, a standard used for voice over LTE (VoLTE) and now voice over 5G networks). M1 also said it was the world’s first to implement VoNR, although that claim also was made by Deutsche Telekom, who implemented VoNR using multiple 5G vendors.

According to M1, VoNR offers faster call setup times, more seamless voice call continuity, and an improved high definition quality call experience when compared to calls made via 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) networks.  [5G NSA technology relies on a 4G- LTE anchor for everything except data transmission.]

The new VoNR feature will be available as an over-the-air update to compatible 5G Samsung devices on M1’s 5G Booster Plan, on top of getting data speeds “almost five times faster than 4G.”

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, S21+ and S21 customers on M1 network will be amongst the first in the world to enjoy the benefits of the VoNR network via an over-the-air software update on M1’s 5G Booster Plan.  Customers can also look forward to seamless connectivity with an ultra-fast data speed rate that is almost five times faster than 4G. Furthermore, paired with Samsung’s 5G compatible devices, multi-tasking is possible with remarkable productivity improvement.

“We have once again reached a groundbreaking milestone in our 5G SA journey – to be the first in the world to successfully support VoNR service on our 5G SA network. We are glad to work with a like-minded partner like Samsung to achieve high quality call and better 5G experience for our customers. With M1’s imminent market trial of the 5G SA network, we are excited to leverage 5G SA’s low latency, ultra-responsive, highly secured and high-throughput mobile connectivity to deliver high performance and reliable 5G services for our consumers and enterprises. This step in our 5G implementation journey is in line with the Keppel Group’s Vision 2030, which includes enhancing connectivity for communities,” said Mr. Denis Seek, Chief Technical Officer, M1.

“Samsung is proud to play a pioneering role in placing Singapore at the forefront of network technology innovation, turning on next-generation service in the country. Committed to inspiring the world and shaping the future with transformative ideas and technologies, we are taking a meaningful step in realising the full potential of 5G for consumers and industries. With VoNR, we look forward to delivering more transformative experiences to customers and businesses with M1,” said Ms. Sarah Chua, Vice-President, IT and mobile, Samsung Electronics Singapore.

References:

Dell’Oro: Mobile Core Network Market 5 Year Forecast

In a revision of its Mobile Core Network 5-Year Forecast report, Dell’Oro Group predicts the Mobile Core Network (MCN) to have an overall revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% from 2020 to 2025.  MCN includes 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC), IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem (IMS) and the 5G SA Core Network.

The Dell Oro report estimates the 5G portion of the MCN market to have a 33% CAGR. Strong growth in 5G Core network offsets corresponding declines in 4G and IMS core revenue.

Report Highlights:

  • The cumulative investment is expected to be over $50B from 2021 to 2025, with regional shares in the range for North America – 18% to 23%; Europe, Middle East, and Africa –   30% to 35%; Asia Pacific – 40% to 45%; and Caribbean and Latin America – 5% to 10%.
  • By the year 2025, MCN functions associated with 5G are expected to represent over 70% of the revenue mix between 4G and 5G MCN functions.
  • 5G Core builds by the three incumbent service providers for 5G Standalone (5G SA) networks in China are continuing to exceed our expectations. In addition, in 2021, the new Chinese communications service provider, China Broadcasting Network (CBN)  will be beginning construction of its 5G SA network.
  • Deployments of more 5G SA networks are expected in the latter half of 2021 in Australia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. AT&T and Verizon should begin in earnest in 2022 and 2023 with their 5G SA networks. Geographic coverage is minimal at launch and is expected to grow throughout the forecast period.

“China was all the action in 2020,” Dave Bolan, research director at Dell’Oro Group for MCN, told Light Reading via email. He expects that trend to continue, especially in the first half of the forecast period. Bolan points out that phase one of the 5G SA rollout in China amounted to over $1 billion in 5GC contracts, and the pace of rollout is accelerating with phase two. Phase three is now being readied.

Dell’Oro does not yet provide vendor market share for MEC (Multi-Access Edge Computing formerly known as Mobile Edge Computing), but Bolan said Huawei and ZTE, given the size of China’s market, are currently in the lead.

In an email to this author, Bolan wrote:

“All of 5G Core network will be Cloud-Native [1.], mostly Container-based. Except there are different cloud-native versions and container versions, not making it truly open. Anyone that wants to put their core on the public cloud will have to customize it for each cloud platform.

Same may be true for the NFVI ((network functions virtualization infrastructure) if it runs on – x86,  AMD, ARM, or Nvidia processors – and couple that with the different 5G UPF (user plane function) acceleration techniques, it gets complex very quickly.”

Image Courtesy of OPNV

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Note 1. Cloud native, in essence, means the MCN software has been designed for cloud deployment. The software is built up of independent microservices and can run on a container platform, like Kubernetes.  In addition to the traditional cloud service providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud), many IT vendors have developed 5G cloud native software.  The list includes, VMware, Oracle, Cisco, HPE, Mavenir, Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, NEC, and Dell Technologies (partnering with either Affirmed Networks or Nokia).

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“The basic network to get the 5G core up and running is the focus today,” Bolan told Light Reading. “NSSF [network slicing service function] and NEF [network exposure function] will come in the second half of the forecast.”

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References:

5-Year Forecast: Mobile Core Network Market Revenues CAGR Projected at 3 Percent from 2020 to 2025

https://www.lightreading.com/the-core/5g-core-spend-is-on-roll-says-delloro/d/d-id/771043?

https://www.opnfv.org/resources/5g-cloud-native-network

Mobile Edge Computing: What is Mobile Edge Computing?

Nokia and TPG Telecom launch 5G SA 700MHz network in Australia; 700MHz 5G status report

Nokia and TPG Telecom today announced that they have switched on a live 5G standalone (SA) network in Australia on the 700MHz spectrum band – the first time this has happened in the world. Low band 5G coverage at 700MHz, which is the lowest 5G frequency band deployed in Australia with the largest range, will enable TPG Telecom to provide wide outdoor 5G services, as well as deep indoor 5G coverage in urban and suburban areas to its customers.

Under the partnership, Nokia is supplying equipment from its latest ReefShark based AirScale product range including its unique triple band remote radio unit that supports 700, 850 and 900 MHz bands. The unit also supports 3G, 4G and 5G simultaneously across all TPG Telecom’s low-band frequencies. TPG Telecom’s 5G SA service is now successfully activated in parts of Sydney and this means that the operator’s customers will benefit from having 5G available in more places.

Low band 5G goes further outdoor and deeper into buildings than existing 5G deployments and will allow operators like TPG Telecom to bring 5G to even more customers.  TPG Telecom may be targeting the Internet of Things (IoT) with its 700MHz service, because that frequency provides a broader coverage area.  Australian homes  will contain over 47 million smart devices by 2022, estimates the country’s National Science and Technology Council.

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Other network operators are pursuing 700MHz 5G service.

  • Japan’s KDDI said in March that it is using Samsung equipment operating in the 700MHz spectrum as part of its goal of covering 90% of Japan’s population by early 2022.
  • CBN/China Mobile have put out tender requests bids for 480,397 5G macro base stations in the 700 MHz band. China granted a 5G license for use of the 700 MHz frequency to CBN, the country’s fourth telecoms operator, in June 2019.
  • AT&T’s 5G “low band” network mostly uses 850MHz, but its 700 MHz FirstNet public safety network uses hardware “that can be upgraded to 5G with a simple software release.” AT&T has not publicly announce when that might be done.

The 700MHz spectrum provides “deep indoor penetration, a reliable uplink and large coverage,” notes a Nokia white paper.  700Mhz spectrum was referred to as “beachfront property” in 2007-2008.

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Barry KezikExecutive General Manager Mobile and Fixed Networks at TPG Telecom, said: “We’re excited to be the first network in the world to realize the true potential of low band 5G SA at 700MHz. TPG Telecom’s low band 5G will expand our 5G coverage, supporting our goal of reaching 85% of the population in Australia’s top six cities by the end of the year and changing the way people and things connect to the TPG Telecom 5G network.”

Dr Robert Joyce, Chief Technology Officer at Nokia Oceania, said: “Nokia is proud to support another 5G world first. We have a long-standing partnership with TPG Telecom, and we have jointly developed our unique triple band radio solution specifically for them. Today we get to see the result of that joint effort and collaboration which will deliver premium wide area 5G SA coverage for TPG Telecom and its customers.”

Other 5G networks in Australia: Telstra’s 5G covers 200 towns and cities, and Optus recently announcing it has connected 1 million 5G devices to its network

References:

https://www.nokia.com/about-us/news/releases/2021/07/05/nokia-and-tpg-telecom-launch-worlds-first-live-5g-standalone-700mhz-service-in-australia/

https://www.rrt.lt/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Nokia_5G_Deployment_below_6GHz_White_Paper_EN.pdf

Other Resources:
Activate massive 5G capacity with Nokia AirScale
AirScale baseband | Nokia
AirScale Active Antennas | Nokia
AirScale Radio | Nokia