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 MCN, 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



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, Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, ZTE, etc.


“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.”



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

Intel working with Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel on 5G for India

Intel said that it is helping Reliance Jio make the transition from 4G to 5G as part of their 5G infrastructure deal. Intel and Jio are collaborating in the areas of 5G radio, core, cloud, edge and artificial intelligence.

“…our collaboration spans those areas, and it’s co.innovation. So, we have got our engineering and business unit teams working closely with Reliance Jio in those areas. And we are committed towards helping customers and partners like Reliance Jio to make the transition from 4G to 5G,” Prakash Mallya, vice president and MD of sales, marketing and communications group at Intel told ET.

Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital, had in 2020 invested Rs 1,894.50 crore to buy a 0.39% equity stake in Jio Platforms.

Separately, Bharti Airtel Wednesday said it is collaborating with  Intel for working towards 5G network development by leveraging Virtualized Radio Access Network (vRAN) and O-RAN technologies.

This is Intel’s second 5G-related partnership in India.  As per the above, Intel is collaborating with Reliance Jio to help India’s #1 telco with its 5G network development, including in the areas of 5G radio, core, cloud, edge, and artificial intelligence.

Airtel will deploy Intel’s 3rd-generation Xeon Scalable processors, FPGAs, and eASICS, and Ethernet 800 series across its network to build a foundation for rolling out wide-scale 5G, mobile edge computing (MEC) and network slicing which requires a 5G SA core network.

The partnership will also allow Airtel to tap into the hyperconnected world where Industry 4.0, cloud gaming, and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) become an integral part of daily lives, according to an official statement.

Earlier this year, Airtel became the first telecom operator in India to demonstrate 5G over a live network in Hyderabad using liberalized spectrum.

The Sunil Mittal-led Bharti is also conducting 5G trials in major cities such as Gurgaon’s Cyber Hub in the Millennium city and in Mumbai’s Phoenix Mall in Lower Parel, in partnership with Swedish Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia, respectively, ET previously reported.

Airtel also entered into a partnership with Tata Sons and Tata Consultancy Services to deploy OpenRAN 5G solutions, including radio and core. It plans to begin pilot in January 2022.

Jio has developed and tested its homegrown 5G solutions together with its partners in India and plans to export the solutions to global markets once proven at a pan-India scale.

Prakash Mallya, vice president and MD of sales, marketing and communications group at Intel recently told ET that the company is helping Indian telecom operators. On Jio partnership, he said that Intel is helping the Mukesh Ambani-led telco transition from 4G to 5G as part of their 5G infrastructure deal.

Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital, had in 2020 invested India Rupees 1,894.50 crore to buy a 0.39% equity stake in Jio Platforms.

Randeep Sekhon, CTO – Bharti Airtel said, “Airtel is delighted to have Intel as a part of its rapidly expanding partner ecosystem for 5G. Intel’s cutting-edge technologies and experience will contribute immensely to Airtel’s mission of serving India with world-class 5G services. We also look forward to working with Intel and home-grown companies to unlock India’s potential as a global 5G hub.”

“Airtel is delivering their next-generation enhanced network with a breadth of Intel technology, including Intel Xeon Scalable processors and FlexRAN software to optimize RAN workloads with embedded intelligence, to scale their infrastructure and deliver on the promise of a connected India,” Dan Rodriguez, Intel corporate vice president, Network Platforms Group said in a joint statement.



Ericsson & MediaTek near 500 Mbps upload in mmWave carrier aggregation tests

Ericsson announced a new upload speed record with 5G on mmWave spectrum – double the current upload speeds and the fastest recorded to date.

In a four-component carrier uplink aggregation tests with MediaTek, a peak throughput rate of 495 Mbps was achieved. This included 425 Mbps on 5G New Radio (5G RAN) test and a 70 Mbps on 4G-LTE test.

The demo performed in June used pre-commercial software on a device containing a MediaTek M80 5G chipset. The lab tests used Ericsson RAN Compute baseband 6648 with the AIR 5331 millimeter wave radio. Four carriers of 100 MHz each in the 39 GHz band were used for non-standalone 5G, along with 20 MHz in the 1,900 MHz band for LTE (more in Tech Details below).

Ericsson said the test of uplink carrier aggregation is the first of its kind, as the industry previously focused more on boosting download speeds. The increased adoption in the past year of home working and schooling has driven the use of applications like videoconferencing that require also fast upload speeds.

Upload speed dictates how quickly data is sent from the computer or handheld device to the internet. This includes uploading files, such as photos and videos to social media or collaborative worksites. Upload speeds are also crucial to the image and sound quality of video conferencing. Strong uplink means less or even none of those frozen screens, or broken audio, when using apps like Skype or Microsoft Teams. Similarly, faster uplink improves voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls and online gaming experience.

Hannes Ekström, Head of Product Line 5G RAN at Ericsson, said: “We continue to build on our previous successes, breaking our own record in upload speed. With a peak rate of close to 500 Mbps, we’ve demonstrated in this latest milestone with MediaTek how unprecedented data speeds can be delivered in uplink using mmWave and carrier aggregation. This means our customers can enhance their 5G offerings with higher uplink data rates, vastly improving user experience.”

JS Pan, General Manager of Wireless Communication System and Partnership at MediaTek, said: “This world’s first demonstration of an industry-leading mmWave uplink technology in partnership with Ericsson, shows MediaTek is again establishing 5G milestones and pushing the envelope of its capabilities. 5G mmWave connectivity helps boost network coverage and capacity, faster performance, and introduces more diverse use cases.”

This latest technology milestone follows a single user multiple input multiple output (SU-MIMO demo in April 2021 when Ericsson delivered a single user uplink data rate of 315 Mbps, 15-20 times faster than current typical uplink speed.

Tech details: 

Ericsson and MediaTek integrated four component carrier, each of 100 MHz, in the uplink using non-standalone architecture (aggregating 8x100MHz in the downlink and 4×100 MHz in the uplink). The integration carried out in a lab setting resulted in a throughput of 495 Mbps (425 Mbps in 5G plus 70 Mbps in 4G), doubling the current uplink speed on the market.

The test was done using the 39 GHz spectrum of NR (400 MHz) and combining it with a single carrier of LTE 1900 MHz spectrum (20 MHz). The whole bandwidth was then aggregated using the LTE and NR links, realizing a total throughput of close to 500 Mbps.



Ericsson and Telia said to provide lower 5G latency & power dissipation/longer battery life

Ericsson and Swedish telco Telia have joined forces with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to jointly test a claimed “industry-first feature” in Telia’s commercial 5G network.

This industry initiative adds to Telia and Ericsson’s 5G alliance with the purpose to enable better 5G for both smartphone users and advanced and emerging 5G use cases for consumers and enterprises.

The new 5G Standalone* (5G Core network) – the inactive state of Radio Resource Control (RRC Inactive) – reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions, making it possible to significantly lower both latency and battery consumption, which are crucial requirements for many Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G use cases, including critical control of remote devices, enhanced mobile broadband, and smart transport.

* 5G Standalone (5G SA) is the eventual architecture of 5G networks, increasing efficiency and helping develop new use cases. Many 5G networks have been deployed in Non-standalone (NSA) mode where the underlying 4G network layer supported the necessary signaling. 5G SA removes this 4G dependency. With 5G SA faster network connection times, simpler mobility management and immediate access to wide 5G bands provide an even better user experience.


RRC Inactive was implemented using Ericsson’s software and 5G Standalone network nodes and a test device powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X60 Modem-RF System. The two companies were able to demonstrate the successful transition between a connected state and inactive state without the device falling back to idle.

The transition to this new inactive state reduces the amount of signaling required during state transitions, significantly lowering latency for the end user, as was seen in this test where the access latency was shortened by up to 3x. This shortened transit delay time could have a big impact in user experience in applications such as cloud gaming where fast multi-player interactions require 20-30ms end-to-end latency. For an immersive VR gaming experience, the latency and reliability requirements are even more demanding.

Since the shorter latency makes it possible to reduce the inactivity timer, the partner companies were also able to see battery savings of up to 30 percent for the modem compared to not activating the feature. While the screen and its associated electronics are the most power-consuming components in a mobile device, implementing the feature will result in a longer battery life for a 5G smart phone user, too.

“Latency has now become a critical issue,” says Kester Mann, Director of Consumer and Connectivity at CCS Insights. “Speed and latency were always offered as the twin advantages of 5G, but now my perception is that latency has now  become more important than speed.”

Latency management for applications will require a whole new set of control-points and techniques, such as segment routing to be applied right across the network (including the fixed parts) up to and including the end-user device – especially if there still any ambition to get to ‘sub-millisecond’ transmission for some applications (as in the above diagram).

It’s critically important to note that 1 way latency includes the 5G RAN, 5G Edge and Core networks.  Also, that neither ITU-R 2150 recommendation or 3GPP Release 16 meet the URLLC latency performance requirements for the RAN, which is: <=1 msec for the data plane and <=10msec for the control plane as per ITU-R M.2410.

Image Credit: Thales Group

Image Credit:  Broadband Library


Ericsson claims the development of the ‘inactive state’  has largely been driven by the growing field of Machine-type Communication (MTC), part of 3GPP’s specifications program, where Ericsson claims  a leading role. In most MTC scenarios, the amount of data that wireless devices typically exchange with the network is small and usually not urgent enough to justify the high battery consumption required to handle all the signaling involved in the legacy idle-to-connected transition.


Stefan Jäverbring, CTO, Telia Company, said: “We’re excited to be able to provide new and enhanced experiences for our customers through our close partnership with Ericsson. Our partnership has enabled this industry- and world-first feature, and this technology milestone is fundamental in making more efficient use of mobile network resources and meeting critical requirements with effective solutions.”

Jenny Lindqvist, Head of Ericsson Northern and Central Europe, said: “We’re proud to jointly with Telia and Qualcomm Technologies demonstrate a world-first innovative solution that will provide a significant boost in 5G benefits for a better mobile experience. This is already a huge milestone in taking 5G technology to the next level, and Radio Resource Control will continue to play a critical role for 5G networks for years to come.”

Enrico Salvatori, Senior Vice President and President, Qualcomm Europe/MEA, Qualcomm Europe, Inc., commented: “We are proud to have worked with Ericsson and Telia on bringing this key feature to commercialization. Reduced latency, shorter-time-to-content and increased battery life are high on the must-have lists for users and RRC Inactive helps to deliver them all.”

The development of the inactive state has largely been driven by the growing field of Machine-type Communication (MTC). This is part of 3GPP standardization where Ericsson has had a leading role in defining the functionalities. In most MTC scenarios, the amount of data that wireless devices typically exchange with the network is small and usually not urgent enough to justify the high battery consumption required to handle all the signaling involved in the legacy idle-to-connected transition. For current and future 5G use cases with a large and growing number of devices, improved connection, state, and mobility handling have been identified as key elements of efficient support.

5G skeptic William Webb said, “It’s a good practical development, but I think there is a dash of 5G-style confusion in there too. It’s not clear what or who this is aimed at. Is it aimed at (IoT/MTC) machines or mobile game users?”




AT&T to be the primary network services provider for DISH MVNO customers

Dish Network has announced a long-term Network Services Agreement (NSA) with AT&T, making the carrier the primary network services partner for Dish MVNO [1.] customers, including retail mobile brands such as Boost Mobile, Ting Mobile and Republic Wireless, in addition to its own new Dish 5G network.
Note 1. MVNOs do not own physical networks, but rent capacity from established mobile network operators to sell services to their customers.

The ten-year agreement, which CNBC said was worth at least $5 billion, will serve as a back-up while the company rolls out its own mobile network. Dish has relied to date mainly on the T-Mobile network, as part of the deal signed last year to acquire Boost Mobile and other assets from T-Mobile following its merger with Sprint.

AT&T will also provide transport and roaming services, to support Dish’s 5G network roll-out. Dish said it is committed to becoming the fourth facilities-based carrier in the U.S. and is aiming to bring its cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network to 70% of the population by 2023.

“With an MVNO deal past 2027, Dish can focus on denser markets and leave rural to AT&T,” said MoffettNathanson principal analyst Craig Moffett. “Dish desperately needs an MVNO to fall back on past 2027, because the economics of building to rural are awful, and a network that doesn’t have rural isn’t tenable.”

Tammy Parker, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offered her opinion:

This deal is highly beneficial to AT&T as the company not only gains at least $5bn in revenue streams over the term of this ten-year agreement from new MVNO subscribers, it will also have access to DISH’s spectrum holdings to support DISH customers on the AT&T network. The NSA is not exclusive for either party, so both can go out and find new dance partners; however, given the depth and breadth of this agreement, that would appear both unlikely and unnecessary.

Both companies are poised to ride the US wireless industry’s ongoing growth wave. This is increasingly driven by the rollout of 5G, which enables faster network speeds, lower latency and new use cases, including Internet of Things services, that will result in many users having multiple wireless subscriptions. According to GlobalData’s latest forecasts, the number of unique mobile users in the US will increase by 5% over the next five years. Furthermore, total mobile subscriptions in the US will expand by more than 30% during that time and there will be nearly 692.6 million US mobile subscriptions by year-end 2026.

A fascinating part of this new arrangement is that it provides a glimpse into AT&T’s concerns regarding the possibility that DISH could sell out to another entity, perhaps even Amazon or Google. Rumors have abounded, even before DISH agreed to build its 5G network on Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) cloud platform, about possible negotiations between Amazon and DISH regarding the former’s potential use of DISH’s forthcoming 5G network to offer new services. Though there is nothing new to report there, this NSA stipulates that AT&T will be allowed to terminate the NSA in the event of a qualifying change of control of DISH. This could include a rival wireless provider, US cable company or ‘certain large technology companies’ taking over 50% more of the voting power or economic value of DISH. AT&T would still have to support DISH’s MVNO customers for up to two years after such a termination. “T-Mobile, and its Sprint network, is currently the primary MVNO partner for Boost and Republic. Ting operates on every nationwide network except AT&T. However, although DISH’s involvement saved T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint, the relationship between DISH and T-Mobile appears to have been fraught from the start. T-Mobile’s plans to shutter its 3G network by January 2022, leaving many of DISH’s customers without network service, has created an especially contentious standoff between the two companies, which likely helped pave the way for DISH’s new agreement with AT&T.”

Dish has 8.89 million retail wireless subscribers as of its last quarterly earnings report, while AT&T has more than 186 million mobile subscribers.

CNBC said that the pact is a potential precursor to a DirecTV-Dish merger since it brings AT&T and Dish closer together.  Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst at New Street Research, said in a note to clients that one of the biggest obstacles to a merger has been the notion that “AT&T hates Dish.” Some of those bad feelings stem from the botched 2007 merger, when AT&T felt Ergen had reached a handshake deal and negotiated in bad faith, according to people familiar with the deal who asked not to be named because the discussions were private.

But the telecommunications world has dramatically shifted from 2007. AT&T is no longer run by Randall Stephenson, who stepped down as CEO last year. The wireless giant is reorganizing itself around 5G and fiber networks.  AT&T could use the $5 billion Dish will give it over the next 10 years to pay down debt from its two enormous acquisitions of WarnerMedia and DirecTV.

While AT&T’s MVNO pact allows Dish to be a stronger competitor to AT&T, “getting access to Dish’s spectrum could help improve AT&T’s competitive position,” noted Chaplin, and facilitating a merger between DirecTV and Dish will help both companies.

Bringing together two competing satellite-TV providers — especially as both companies lose pay-TV customers each quarter as the world shifts to digital streaming television — would unlock billions in synergies, as satellites can be retired, duplicative jobs eliminated and competitive costs eradicated.

Still, regulators would need to feel comfortable that a Dish-DirecTV would be beneficial for consumers. While that remains uncertain, “it is a hurdle, not a barrier,” wrote Chaplin.



Optimistic 5G Market forecasts by GlobalData and Research&Markets

The number of 5G mobile subscriptions worldwide is forecast to reach 3.9 billion by the end of 2026, according to new research from data and analytics company GlobalData. 5G will be 35.1% of all global mobile subscriptions at that time.  Other predictions:
  • Global 5G service revenues will total $609 billion (€517bn).
  • 5G is forecast to generate monthly ARPU of $14.15 in 2026, more than double 4G’s monthly ARPU of $5.48.
  • 5G is expected to bring down the per-bit cost for carriers. The basic cost efficiencies that 5G brings will enable operators and developers alike to create new applications for the technology as it becomes to mature and develop.
5G has yet to make a significant mark in terms of the faster data speeds, latency and other hallmarks that will enable advanced features such as self-driving cars and cloud gaming.  A number of 5G operators are beginning to sell cloud gaming services. Telia in Sweden and EE in the UK are selling Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate memberships that include cloud gaming. Telia customers can also buy a dedicated cloud gaming promotion featuring an Android phone, Telia data plan and a free Razer Kishi universal Android controller and the Xbox Game Pass in one bundle.

“Although we have not yet seen all that 5G is capable of in early deployments, the technology has a multitude of future opportunities for telecom operators,” said Lynnette Luna, Principal Analyst with GlobalData. “Not only will capacity bring down the per-bit cost for carriers, the basic cost efficiencies that 5G brings will enable operators and developers alike to create new applications for the technology as it becomes to mature and develop.

[We believe that those 5G telco opportunities will ONLY be realized via deployment of a 5G SA Core network.]

“This growing innovation will contribute to an expected rise in 5G mobile subscriptions worldwide. At the end of 2026, GlobalData predicts there will be 3.9 billion such subscriptions, representing 35.1% of total subscriptions.”

Some revenue-generating strategies seen in the US and Europe on 4G networks also resonate on 5G networks. Within the US postpaid wireless market in particular, operators have always enticed users to sign up for premium plans through service bundles, such as video streaming and gaming.

In some markets, we are beginning to see more advanced bundles marketed with 5G, said GlobalData. Vodafone is in the process of rolling out Nreal smart glasses in its 5G markets across Europe, offering an interest-free hardware bundle and an app called Vodafone 5G Reality AR.

“Operators will continually improve their bundles with new 5G features. Eventually they will take advantage of ultra-low latency and consistent gigabit data speeds,” Luna concludes.


Separately, Research & Markets new report, 5G In Defense Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth and Change forecasts that the global 5G in defense market is expected to grow from $39.62 million in 2020 to $71.24 million in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 79.82%.Major players in the 5G in defense market are Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Networks, Samsung, NEC, Thales Group, L3Harris Technologies Inc., Raytheon Technologies, Ligado Networks, Wind River Systems Inc., AT&T, and Qualcomm Technologies Inc.

The 5G-Defense Market growth is mainly due to the high speed, low latency (?) offered by 5G and growing adoption of autonomous and connected defense devices. The market is expected to reach $646.61 million in 2025 at a CAGR of 73.57%.

The 5G in defense market consists of sales of 5G technology and services by entities (organizations, sole traders, and partnerships) that are engaged in providing 5G technology and services for military and homeland security uses. 5G for defense is expected to improve reconnaissance, intelligence, and surveillance systems and processing, streamline logistics systems for increased efficiency and enable new methods of control and command. 5G in defense is used to transfer video, text, image, and voice data with faster bandwidth of 300 GHz to create data on demand for the battlefield.

The main types of communication infrastructure for 5G in defense are small cell, macro cell, radio access network (RAN). Small cell infrastructure uses wireless receivers and transmitters to provide network coverage to smaller areas. Macro cell provides radio coverage for cellular networks through large towers and antennas across a wider area. Radio Access Network (RAN) connects individual devices to other parts of a network through radio connections.

The various network technology in 5G in defense include software-defined networking (SDN), fog computing (FC), mobile edge computing (MEC), network functions virtualization (NFV). The different types of network used comprises enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), ultra-reliable low-latency communications (URLLC), and massive machine type communications (MMTC). 5G in defense are used in areas such as military and homeland security.

North America was the largest region in the 5G in defense market in 2020. Asia Pacific region is predicted to record fastest growth over the forecast period. The regions covered in this report are Asia-Pacific, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, North America, South America, Middle East and Africa.

The countries covered in the 5g in defense market report are Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Korea, UK, and USA.


We haven’t even begun to see 5G’s capabilities, says GlobalData – GlobalData—


Are there any new services/apps leveraging 5G network capabilities?

At the Asia Tech X conference this week in Singapore, telco executives and analysts shared some lessons in building 5G networks.  In a panel discussion session titled, “New Services Leveraging on the Capabilities of 5G Networks,” the consensus was that 5G doesn’t offer much value for traditional operators.  At least not until 5G SA core network is widely deployed and available.

Note that 95% or more of deployed 5G networks use Non Stand Alone (NSA) mode, which requires a 4G LTE/EPC anchor for everything except the RAN (which uses 5G NR).

This panel session was supposed to address the following:

  • How can telco operators further monetize 5G networks?
  • Emerging technologies to differentiate from competitors
  • Maximizing opportunities with new IoT consumer products to generate revenue

Once you register (free), you can watch a replay of the session here.

Olivier Rival, a Boston Consulting Group partner based in Singapore, said a breakdown of the 5G value chain did not make for happy reading for telcos. “Connectivity is about 12% to 18% of the total value of 5G – not much more than that,” Rival said.

Julian Gorman, head of GSMA Asia-Pacific, said APAC is the leading region for 5G. He said that 4G revenue would peak in 2023 at which time 5G would take over. With respect to consumer services, video streaming, high speed Internet access at large sports arenas are the most popular to date.  However, 5G users are looking for lower cost service and find that early coverage is spotty.  Gorman told the audience that the industry needs to do a lot of work in managing 5G expectations:

“For three years we’ve been saying [5G will deliver] 1ms latency, 10Gbit/s peak data rate, ‘enterprise is going to change overnight.’ Those peak technology speeds are not what we should be talking about. We should be talking about how you’re going to change lives and what people are going to use it for.  We can play a big part in that value chain and step above connectivity. But we need to act with a better story as an industry.”

Manjot Singh Mann, CEO of Singapore’s M1, said his company is transitioning from 5G NSA (launched in September 2020) to SA, but didn’t say when that might happen. He said that 5G NSA is really 4G+ only providing eMBB service at a faster speed than 4G-LTE.  On the other hand, 5G SA is a “game changer.”  It provides a rich set of capabilities like lower latency, faster speeds, network slicing, B2B services, B2B2C, etc. There needs to be one driving factor that makes 5G technology relevant but that hasn’t been identified yet.  Singapore government and regulator is looking at 5G in terms of its smart nation objective.  That puts telcos in that country in a good position to realize the 5G vision.

“As long as telcos keep talk about 5G in terms of speeds as a differentiator, there’s no value in it.  You have to find a value addition (for 5G) to succeed.  Where will that value add come from?  You’re always putting more and more into CAPEX on diminishing (revenue) from xG’s deployed.  If we don’t create value from 5G we’ll always be asking this question. The value in Singapore will come from B2B and B2B2C applications which M1 is now monetizing to create value.”

M1 has undergone a digital transformation over the past 18 months.  It has changed its IT stack and restructured itself to become a digital service platform. It was now “92% in the cloud” with a fully cloud-native BSS/OSS, he said.

“That allows you to have quick integration with partners that you bring onto your ecosystem so you can provide services to your consumers that are contextualized and real-time. I think that is where our future lies because we have been able to create this digital platform. We are now onboarding our partners so we are able to deliver those services to our customers.”

Changing people and processes has been another challenge.  M1 has been trying to build a more innovative, risk-taking culture. “It takes a lot to get that culture going,” he added.

Indosat Ooredoo (Indonesian) COO Vikram Sinha said his company was trying new ways of working, setting up teams that break the functional silos and embrace risk and reward. No one function can solve all these problems, Sinha said.  “As leadership team, we need to tell our teams it’s OK to fail, but fail fast and move on. I’m happy to say we have seen some change,” he added.  Augmented reality, via a Snapchat partnership is being pursued for B2B applications.  “5G is a journey.  For telcos is about getting the ecosystem right, with partners and developers.”

Ian Watson CEO of Cellcard (a Cambodian network operator) said his company is working with GSMA to deploy 5G.  Currently, Cellcard has more than 3100 4G-LTE cell sites deployed.  Content creation, AR and VR for consumers are targeted 5G use cases for Cellcard.  B2B market will be a longer investment for Cellcard, which is not a business hub like Singapore that has many businesses.


A fireside chat session titled, “Real Life 5G Applications in Asia,” was to address these points:

  • Consumer 5G Applications taking place in Asia
  • Delving into consumer pick up rates and expectations in Asia
  • Enticing consumers through new devices and services at attractive price points

The participants were Aps Chikhalikar, Head of TMT, Asia Pacific Japan for Service Now; and Nicole McCormick Senior Principal Analyst Omdia.

Once you register (free), you can watch a replay of that session here.

Separately, Singapore plans to invest $50 million in a program to support research on AI and cybersecurity for future communications structures, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced this week.  As part of the Future Communications Research & Development Program, Singapore plans to set up new communications testbeds in 5G and beyond-5G, support technology development, and build up a local talent pool.


Posted in 5G

AT&T’s network expansion is giving its customers “the full 5G experience” (?)

AT&T reports reaching at least 250 million people with low-band 5G, beating its milestone for its 5G network by six months. The carrier is also extending its 5G millimeter-wave infrastructure to 20 venues and areas in 38 cities. AT&T  aims to deploy mmWave in 40 instances of each category this year, and has formed partnerships with companies such as Boingo Wireless to further 5G efforts in airports and other large indoor locations.

Source:  AT&T

AT&T says it hopes its newly acquired 5G C-band spectrum (AT&T acquired 80 MHz of it during the most recent FCC auction) will cover 70 to 75 million Americans by the end of 2022, with the goal of increasing that number to 200 million by the end of 2023. Currently, AT&T says its standard 5G (aka sub-6GHz 5G) network covers more than 250 million people in the U.S., while its faster 5G+ network (aka mmWave 5G) is available in parts of 38 cities along with 20 stadiums and venues across the country. AT&T’s new mid-band spectrum will be faster than its low-band 5G, but slower than its lightning fast (but hard to find) 5G+.

AT&T says it’s completing the first successful C-band field test call. The carrier hopes to quickly deploy C-band spectrum when the first 40 MHz is made available to them later this year.

Source:  AT&T

“Sports fans love watching the game, as well as the experiences surrounding it. AT&T 5G+ is advancing the fan experience by enabling enhancements that help make the games and their favorite players come alive. And when it comes to entertainment, our 5G network will allow viewers to be immersed like never before. Just like the thrill of a last second victory, bringing to life experiences that matter to our customers is an incredible feeling – that’s the power of advanced networks enabling advanced fandom.”

– Mo Katibeh, SVP, AT&T Network Infrastructure and Build

Some of AT&T’s most collaborative and innovative partners include the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas CowboysMiami HEAT and the NBA and the WNBA where we serve as the Official 5G Innovation Partner.

“It’s crucial for us to align with partners who share similar core values. We couldn’t be more in-sync as we are with AT&T. We can’t wait to give HEAT Nation a premiere fan experience through AT&T’s network and technology.”

– Eric Woolworth, President of Business Operations, The HEAT Group

AT&T says it’s giving its customers the full 5G experience now “through our continued network build, dynamic partnerships, drive to innovate and combination of spectrum. We’re providing the coverage, reliability, security and speeds that our customers deserve along with the ability to deliver the experiences and enable the innovation that’s important to them. AT&T’s 5G network is already giving our customers the full experience. And we’re just getting started.”


The true 5G experience can only be realized via 5G services, features and functions which are ONLY available with a 5G SA core network.  AT&T, along with almost every other 5G network operator, has deployed 5G NSA which utilizes 4G LTE for everything other than the RAN (3GPP’s 5G NR).  In particular, every 5G NSA deployment uses the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC) which can only deliver 4G services, features and functions.



Mediatek Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture to power new 5G smartphones

Taiwan based Mediatek has announced the Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture that provides brands with more flexibility to customize key 5G mobile device features to address different market segments.  The open resource architecture gives smartphone brands closer-to-metal access to customize features for cameras, displays, graphics, artificial intelligence (AI) processing units (APUs), sensors and connectivity subsystems within the Dimensity 1200 chipset.   Devices powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture customized chipsets will hit the global market this month (July 2021).

Mediatek is one of only two semiconductor companies (Qualcomm is the other) that have developed and are selling 5G silicon on the merchant market (Huawei, Samsung and soon Apple will have 5G silicon for internal product use).   The company’s 5G chip sets are intended for 5G endpoint devices (like smartphones), rather than for base stations or small cells (where the equipment vendor designs their own ASICs).

“MediaTek is collaborating with the world’s largest smartphone brands to unlock customized consumer experiences that differentiate flagship 5G smartphones,” said Dr. Yenchi Lee, deputy general manager of MediaTek’s Wireless Communications Business Unit. “Whether it’s novel multimedia features, unmatched performance, brilliant imaging or more synergy between smartphones and services, with our architecture device makers can tailor their devices to complement a variety of consumer lifestyles.”

Key ways that brands can customize the Dimensity 5G Open Resource Architecture includes multimedia experiences that allow access to the in-chip, multi-core AI and display processors. 5G smartphone brands can tailor multimedia experiences and unlock more synergy between the chipset and the smartphone’s display and audio hardware.  Brands will be able to sync the latest Bluetooth features with profiles to match their wireless accessories, such as headsets or gaming peripherals.

Hybrid multiprocessing is included.  It is the open resource architecture that gives 5G brands the freedom to fine-tune a device’s performance and power-efficiency.

Samsung partners with GBL to deploy 5G testbed for U.S. Army

Samsung has teamed up with GBL Systems Corporation [1.] to deploy new 5G testbeds at U.S. Army military bases for Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality. The testbeds are part of a broader initative announced by the Department of Defense in October, which awarded $600 million in contracts for 5G testing at several US military test sites. GBL and Samsung have been contracted to support one of the largest testbeds, demonstrating the use of AR and VR over 5G networks for training applications.

Note 1. GBL Systems Corporation (GBL) is a leading provider of systems engineering, software services, advanced technology solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

Under the deal, GBL will be responsible for prototype creation, technology integration, and aligning the system with DoD requirements. Samsung will deliver its 5G end-to-end system and technical expertise, including network products such as its Massive MIMO Radios, cloud-native 5G Standalone (SA) Core, and Galaxy 5G mobile devices. The goal is to deploy a scalable, resilient and secure 5G network for AR/VR-based mission planning and training.

The testbeds will support AR for live field military training exercises. Simulated scenarios include virtual obstacles found in the combat theater, and overlays of data and instruments relied on by military personnel. Testing will start in a lab environment using Samsung’s mmWave and mid-band 5G radios. Field testing will then follow at two U.S. Army training bases that will support a live and simulated Army brigade.

Samsung Networks and GBL Systems deploy 5G testbeds for the U.S. Department of Defense, enabling evaluation of AR/VR applications in mission planning and training. U.S. Army trainees will use AR/VR goggles to see enhanced digital content overlaid onto real-world environments.


“GBL is excited to work with Samsung to rapidly field a 5G network that is scalable, resilient, and secure to create a prototype test bed in support of a new DoD 5G-enabled AR/VR training capability,” said Jim Buscemi, CEO. “This effort has the potential to revolutionize how the DoD performs distributed training exercises that are more combat-like to significantly advance warfighter readiness.”

“Samsung is pleased to collaborate with GBL to deliver a reliable, resilient and secure 5G network for the DoD to evaluate new capabilities for our U.S. troops,” said Imran Akbar, Vice President and Head of New Business Team, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics America. “We believe in the transformative power of 5G and look forward to assisting the U.S. Department of Defense as they use this technology to increase training safety and strengthen the Nation’s defense capabilities.”

Samsung’s 5G solution enables quality, real-time imagery to be shared by many participants simultaneously. The Army trainees will use AR/VR goggles to see enhanced digital content overlaid onto the real world, and can use this digital imagery to interact with and acquire information about their real environment. This expands what’s possible in military training today, and provides a competitive advantage against adversaries.

Samsung pioneered the successful delivery of the first 5G end-to-end solutions in 2018, including chipsets, devices, radios, and the core network. Through ongoing research and development, Samsung drives the industry to advance 5G networks with its market-leading product portfolio from fully virtualized RAN and Core to private network solutions and Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered automation tools. The company is currently providing network solutions to mobile operators that deliver connectivity to hundreds of millions of users worldwide, including customers of leading U.S. operators.