Ericsson focuses on private 5G in China due to national directives

Ericsson will shift its focus towards helping Chinese businesses to build their own private 5G networks, according to an excerpt from a report by Caixin Global. The news outlet cited remarks by Fang Ying, president of Ericsson’s China operations, at a news briefing on 22 June. Fang said there are growth opportunities in the private 5G networks sector after the aggressive pace of construction in 5G infrastructure nationwide over the past three years.

Dell’Oro Group’s Stefan Pongranz explains this increased focus on private 5G in China are stimulated by several key national directives:

(1) The Made in China 2025 Initiative, which pushes for greater usage of industrial robotics and automation in 10 key strategic sectors,

(2) The Internet Plus Plan, an initiative to transform, modernize, and equip traditional industries with more advanced technologies, and

(3) Set Sail Action Plan for 5G Applications, which targets 3,000 private industrial networks and a 35% 5G penetration rate in large industrial enterprises by 2023.

Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia are all reporting some initial success with private 5G industrial opportunities.  Verizon has explored multiple solutions and found that Celona’s 5G LAN technology is easy to scale downward, could be setup in hours, and straight-forward to integrate with the existing LAN.

Perhaps more importantly, the RAN is just one piece of the private 5G puzzle. While there is limited data at this juncture to suggest that the average private RAN network as a share of total cost of ownership (TCO) will be materially different than the public RAN share (10% to 15% of total TCO), it is safe to assume that the value, the role and the importance of the RAN will differ significantly depending on the segment and the use cases.

In short, it is still early days when it comes to private 5G. But the opportunity is large and private 5G is projected to surpass $1 billion by 2025. Optimized private solutions and services will play an important role simplifying and accelerating private LTE and 5G. And if Cisco and AWS are right, it will be interesting to see how the private 5G ramp will impact the RAN vendor dynamics.

References:

https://www.caixinglobal.com/2022-06-23/ericsson-to-drive-growth-in-china-through-private-5g-network-plan-101903257.html

https://www.fiercewireless.com/private-wireless/private-5g-ecosystem-improves-especially-china-pongratz

June 2022 Ericsson Mobility Report: 5G subscriptions increased by 70 million in Q1-2022 to reach 620 million

Ericsson new Mobility Report [1.] states that mobile network data traffic grew 10% between the 4th quarter of 2021 and the 1st quarter of 2022. For the year-over-year comparison, growth reached 40%.  “In absolute numbers, this means that it has doubled in just two years (since Q1 2020),” the company wrote in its Mobility Report, released June 20th.  “Over the long term, traffic growth is driven by both the rising number of smartphone subscriptions and an increasing average data volume per subscription, fueled primarily by increased viewing of video content,” the company added.

The figures are important considering that mobile network operators are rushing to add new spectrum to their networks while upgrading their networks to support 5G, especially 5G SA Core Network. Purchasing both spectrum and 5G equipment is expensive. In the US, for example, mobile network operators are collectively spending an estimated $275 billion to improve their networks with more spectrum, cell sites and 5G.

Note 1. The Ericsson Mobility Report started in 2011, when Ericsson decided to share data and insights openly to all those interested in understanding our industry’s development. Since then, the report and featured articles have seen a continuous evolution and an expanding scope.

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Speaking during a webinar to discuss the report’s findings, Richard Möller, senior market analyst at Ericsson, noted that the number of 5G subscribers worldwide had been expected to reach 660 million by the end of 2021.  It now seems that the figure was less than forecast: Ericsson is now saying that 5G subscriptions increased by 70 million in Q1 2022 to reach 620 million.  The 40 million shortfall is due to changes in how China’s mobile operators are reporting their 5G subscriber figures. Indeed, it has become noticeable over the past year that the Chinese operators are starting to split out “5G package customers” from actual 5G network customers.

“Now we have official numbers and we’ve adjusted our estimates accordingly,” Möller said. “China is early and so large that it affects the global number.”   He noted that this adjustment does not “materially affect” the five-year growth forecast. Ericsson is therefore sticking to its estimate of 4.4 billion 5G subscribers by the end of 2027, meaning that 5G will account for almost half of all mobile subscriptions by that point.  5G subscriber growth is expected to accelerate in 2022, reaching around one billion subscribers by the end of the year. The report noted that North America and North East Asia currently have the highest 5G subscription penetration, followed by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Western Europe.  In 2027, it is projected that North America will have the highest 5G penetration at 90%. In India, where 5G deployments have yet to begin, 5G is expected to account for nearly 40% of all subscriptions by 2027.

At the same time, Möller warned that the war in Ukraine, supply chain constraints and rising inflation will affect future growth.  “That’s made us take 100 million subscriptions off the current forecast.  However, history has shown that mobile telephony is one of the things that people hang on to … even if the economic world turns negative,” he said.

The report’s executive editor Peter Jonsson said the current uncertainties mean that Ericsson has to be especially careful with its forecasts. However, he reiterated the point that global 5G uptake “is about two years ahead of 4G” on a comparative basis. In addition, 5G rollout “reached 25% of the world’s population about 18 months faster than 4G.”

Global mobile network data traffic and year-over-year growth:

According to Ericsson, mobile subscribers are making use of the additional network capacity and faster speeds provided by those investments. The company said that, globally, the average smartphone user is expected to consume 15GB per month in 2022.  Indeed, the 5G share of mobile data traffic is growing, but not as fast as FWA (3G/4G/5G).  Continued strong smartphone adoption and video consumption are driving up mobile data traffic, with 5G accounting for around 10 percent of the total in 2021.

In North America, the company estimated that average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone could reach as high as 52GB in 2027. “The data traffic generated per minute of use will increase significantly in line with the expected uptake of new XR and video-based apps,” the company wrote. “This is due to higher video resolutions, increased uplink traffic, and more data from devices off-loaded to cloud compute resources.”

Also, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) in on the rise as per this graphic:

Over 100 million FWA connections in 2022:

More than 75 percent of service providers surveyed in over 100 countries are offering fixed wireless access (FWA) services. Around 20 percent of these service providers apply differential pricing with speed-based tariff plans.

OpenVault, another vendor that tracks data traffic on wired networks in North America, recently reported similar findings. According to OpenVault, the average wired Internet customer consumed a total of 536.3GB in the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 165% over the firm’s findings from the fourth quarter of 2017, when consumption was 202.6GB.

Taken together, the companies’ findings paint a picture of a dramatic expansion in data demand on wired and wireless networks in North America and globally. Indeed, such increases have already sparked unprecedented demand in vendors’ networking equipment to keep pace with demands. Further, such demand has already withstood several price increases among many leading vendors.

The situation reflects the importance of telecom networks globally following a pandemic that pushed many to work and school remotely from home. And in response to the situation, governments globally have begun pushing network operators to construct networks in underserved areas, and to Internet users themselves who may struggle to afford such connections.

 

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/reports-and-papers/mobility-report

https://www.ericsson.com/49d3a0/assets/local/reports-papers/mobility-report/documents/2022/ericsson-mobility-report-june-2022.pdf

https://www85.lightreading.com/5g/global-mobile-network-data-traffic-doubles-in-two-years-ericsson-finds/d/d-id/7783?

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/china-effect-dampens-interim-5g-subs-says-ericsson/d/d-id/778394?

https://www.ctia.org/the-wireless-industry/the-5g-economy

Will 2022 be the year for 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) or a conundrum for telcos?

https://viodi.com/2020/05/05/openvault-broadband-usage-47-in-q1-2020-power-users-are-the-new-normal/

OpenVault: Broadband Internet Usage Accelerated in 2018

 

BT and Ericsson in partnership to provide commercial 5G private networks in the UK

BT and Ericsson have entered a new multi-million-pound joint partnership to provide commercial 5G private networks for the UK market – the first agreement of its kind.  The multi-year contract will enable BT to sell 5G services to businesses and organizations in industries like manufacturing, defense, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics.  It’s critically important to note that to be effective, a 5G private network requires a 5G Core which facilitates all the 5G features and essentials, e.g. network slicing, automation, MEC, security, etc.

The agreement comes just after BT confirmed it was investing close to £100m over the next three years to accelerate the development of customer solutions which integrate emerging technologies like 5G, IoT, Edge Compute, Cloud and AI.

5G Private Networks provide secure indoor and outdoor 5G cellular coverage, making them suitable for a range of uses – particularly in environments such as factories, education campuses and other large sites where security and ultra-low latency connectivity are important.

New innovative applications and IoT capabilities can be enabled through a private 5G network to improve productivity, optimise operations and drive cost savings, such as asset tracking, predictive maintenance, connected sensors, real-time data processing, automation and robotics.

According to a forecast from MarketResearch.com, 5G Private Networks are predicted to grow at an average rate of 40 per cent a year between 2021 and 2028, by which time the market will be worth $14bn (£10.7bn).  Both BT and Ericsson believe there is significant demand from UK businesses looking to take advantage of the benefits the new technology can provide.

From MarketResearch.com:

“Key market players are strategically building partnerships with industry giants to set up a private 5G network to provide high-speed secure connectivity to their customers. For instance, in Feb 2020, Nokia Corporation deployed a private 5G network infrastructure for Lufthansa Technik for virtual inspection of engine parts remotely for its civil aviation clients. Moreover, the rising demand for enhanced bandwidth connectivity for secured enterprise applications is anticipated to fuel the adoption of private 5G services globally.”

Marc Overton, BT’s Managing Director for Division X, Enterprise, said: “This UK-first we have signed with Ericsson is a huge milestone and will play a major role in enabling businesses’ transformation, ushering in a new era of hyper-connected spaces.

“We have combined our skill and expertise at building converged fixed and mobile networks with Ericsson’s leading, sustainable and secure 5G network equipment, to offer a pioneering new proposition that will be attractive to many industries. 5G private networks will also support smart factory processes and the advancement of Industry 4.0 which can realise significant cost savings and efficiencies for manufacturers.

“Unlike a public network, a private 5G network can be configured to a specific business’s needs, as well as by individual site or location. They also provide the foundation to overlay other innovative technologies such as IoT, AI, VR and AR, opening up a multitude of possibilities.”

Katherine Ainley, CEO Ericsson UK & Ireland said: “This ground-breaking agreement with BT means we are together taking a leading role in ensuring 5G has a transformative impact for the UK. The high quality, fast and secure connectivity provided by Ericsson Private 5G can help organisations make all-important efficiency gains that can create safer, more productive, and sustainable business operations and help the country build global leaders in the industries and technologies of the future.”

Case study:   BT and Ericsson have already worked together on several major projects incorporating private 5G networks, including Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland, as they accelerate its ambition to become the world’s best regional smart port.

The partners have installed a 5G private network across 35 acres of operational port. This is helping to drive operational efficiencies and accelerate its digital transformation through optimising processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping, as well as boosting productivity through the smooth-running of the Port’s operations.

Every year more than 1.75 million people and over half a million freight vehicles arrive and depart through the Port every year. While 24 million tonnes of goods are managed and carried by ferries, container ships and cargo vessels.

“With activity on that scale you need smart technology that can really make a difference. And that’s what our standalone private 5G network is enabling at the Port,” added Marc Overton.

“We’re now into phase two of the project and this includes various use cases such as teleoperation of heavy plant machinery, artificial reality (AR) for remote maintenance, as well as enhanced video AI analytics and the use of drones for surveillance and inspections.”

The partnership is also exploring how 5G and other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and Connected Autonomous Vehicles can be used together to enhance public safety, physical security, and address climate change across the Port and other parts of Belfast City.

Mike Dawson, Corporate Services Director, Belfast Harbour Commissioners, said: “Throughout 2021 and to the end of 2022, we will have completed the implementation of both Public and Private 5G Networks. These are the foundation for several Smart and Green port initiatives, including CCTV cameras, Air Quality Monitors, Drones, MiFi units to maximise operational efficiencies and a Digital Twin. The technologies have supported our data collection on the movement of people and things through our Road Traffic Screens, Wayfinding App and a Community App for Traffic.”

About BT:

BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security and network and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.

BT Group consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Enterprise and Global are our UK and international business-focused units respectively; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly owned subsidiary, which wholesales fixed access infrastructure services to its customers – over 650 communication providers across the UK.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about

References:

https://newsroom.bt.com/bt-and-ericsson-sign-multi-million-pound-partnership-to-provide-commercial-5g-networks/

https://www.marketresearch.com/Grand-View-Research-v4060/Private-5G-Network-Size-Share-14553525/

OpenRAN and Private 5G – New Opportunities and Challenges

IEEE/SCU SoE Virtual Event: May 26, 2022- Critical Cybersecurity Issues for Cellular Networks (3G/4G, 5G), IoT, and Cloud Resident Data Centers

 

Deutsche Telekom launches 5G private campus network with Ericsson;  Sovereign Cloud for Germany with Google in Spring 2022

Overview:

Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom have partnered to deliver a new 5G Standalone (5G SA) private campus network offering, aimed at on-site business communications infrastructure. The new campus network offering is based on a local 5G infrastructure that is exclusively available for the customer’s digital applications. The 5G SA technology works without LTE anchors (as in 5G NSA) and offers all the technical advantages of 5G – even for particularly demanding and safety-critical use cases: fast data transmission rates, maximum network capacity and highly reliable connectivity with low latency.

With the advanced 5G SA technology, Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson support companies from a wide range of industries in developing innovative digital applications and making existing processes more efficient.

The newly offered 5G SA Campus network – powered by the Ericsson Private 5G portfolio – operates completely separated from the public mobile network: all components of the infrastructure from the antennas to the standalone core network to the network server are located on the customer’s premises. This ensures that sensitive data remains exclusively within the local campus network. The local connection of the customer infrastructure also enables particularly simple and fast processing of data via the private network. This standalone 5G architecture of “short distances” is most suitable for supporting business-critical applications that require ultra-short response times in the millisecond range. The 5G SA network operates on frequencies in the 3.7 to 3.8 GHz range that are specifically allocated to the enterprise. Thus, up to 100 MHz bandwidth is available for the exclusive use within the private campus network.

The new 5G private campus network is being launched in Germany under the name “Campus-Netz Private” – and will be offered to business customers in other European countries.

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Analysis: It is quite interesting that Deutsche Telekom chose Ericsson as it’s 5G SA Core network vendor, rather than hyper-scalers like Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure who are building 5G SA core networks for Dish Network and AT&T respectively.  Amazon also offers its own private 5G network directly to enterprise customers.  So does Microsoft which offers Azure private multi-access edge compute.  Earlier this year, Fierce Wireless reported that Google did NOT have a private 5G network offering, but was partnering with other companies to offer one.

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Sidebar:

Deutsche Telekom’s T-Systems has partnered with Google Cloud to build and deliver sovereign cloud services to German enterprises, healthcare firms and the public. The two companies say that the goal of this sovereign cloud is to allow customers to host their sensitive workloads while still being able to leverage all the benefits of the public cloud, such as scalability and reliability. The launch of the new Sovereign Cloud for Germany will take place ahead of schedule: Telekom’s business customer arm T-Systems and Google Cloud are launching their new sovereign cloud service in spring 2022. It will be available for all clients, initially out of the Frankfurt Google Cloud Region. Telekom and Google confirmed that they will jointly drive innovation for the cloud, closely aligned with the new German government’s digital plans which aims to build a public administration cloud based on a multi-cloud strategy and open interfaces, as well as meeting strict sovereignty and transparency requirements. To this end, the partners are setting up a Co-Innovation Center in Munich as announced in November 2021. In addition, executive briefing facilities in Munich and one in Berlin will be established for close collaboration with customers.

“Many companies in Germany state that sovereignty matters to them when choosing their Cloud provider. This is particularly important for key sectors such as public, healthcare and automotive,” Höttges said. “That’s why we’re delighted to offer a Sovereign Cloud that addresses additional European compliance requirements.”

In this new joint offering, T-Systems will manage a set of sovereignty controls and measures, including encryption and identity management. In addition, T-Systems will exercise a control function over relevant parts of the German Google Cloud infrastructure. Any physical or virtual access to facilities in Germany (such as routine maintenance and upgrades) will be under the supervision of T-Systems and Google Cloud.

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5G SA Campus Network: Full Control & Flexible Deployment:

Customers can adapt their private 5G SA network flexibly according to their own requirements as well as manage it independently: Whether for real-time communication of robots in factories or for connecting automated vehicles on company premises. Customers can prioritize data traffic within their campus network for specific applications as needed.

The mobile network is administered on site via a cloud-based network management portal by the customer’s IT staff – for example, the administration of users, 5G modules and SIM cards to access the 5G-SA campus network or to the machine control system. The closed system is characterized by its particularly high data security and reliability: Due to the redundant architecture of the local core network, the 5G SA campus network continues to function reliably even in the event of an interruption to the cloud-based management portal.

Managed service by Deutsche Telekom:

If business customers decide to deploy their own 5G SA network, Deutsche Telekom analyzes with them the critical business applications and the requirements for the private mobile network. Due to the simplified local infrastructure, the network can be built from planning to the handover to the customer within just three months. Network equipment supplier Ericsson provides the required modern 5G SA technology, while Telekom takes on the planning, deployment, operation as well as maintenance and optimization. Telekom also provides the set-up and updates so that companies can focus on their core business.

“When it comes to digitalization, industry and SMEs need a reliable partner,” says Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director Business Customers at Telekom Deutschland GmbH. “Together with Ericsson, we help business customers in every industry to increase their productivity and exploit their full potential using 5G standalone technology.”

Arun Bansal, Executive Vice President and Head of Market Area Europe & Latin America at Ericsson says: “Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson share a long-standing partnership in innovation, technology and services. Together, we offer secure, reliable and high-performance network solutions tailored to the specific business needs of our customers.”

Image Credit:  Deutsche Telekom

5G Campus Network Private – Available for testing on site:

Deutsche Telekom has already been offering campus network solutions for enterprises since the beginning of 2019 and by now operates more than ten of such local networks based on 5G non-standalone technology or LTE across Germany. With the new fully private 5G SA Campus network solution, the company is expanding its business customer offering with the next development stage of 5G. The new product is being launched in Germany from now on under the name “Campus-Netz Private” – and is also offered to business customers in further European countries. For interested customers, mobile Campus 5G SA test systems are available to test their own use cases on site.

Use Cases and Industry Verticals:

There is currently a huge drive to get private 5G networks onto factory floors for manufacturing.  There are some interesting examples of using IoT technology, feeding information back via high speed wireless connections, and analyzing data with machine learning/AI tools to optimize operations and do new things like predictive maintenance.  Ericsson touts several industry verticals as candidates for its 5G private network offerings: Airports, Energy Utilities, Airports, Mining, Manufacturing, Ports, Offshore and Processing.

The drive towards business 5G adoptions is reflected In Ericsson’s Q4 2021 financials, in which private networks for enterprise were cited as one of the key drivers of its 41% YoY jump in profit. Evidently, Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom see a lot of potential in private 5G for industrial applications.

References:

https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/new-5g-standalone-campus-networks-645348

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/3/2022/private-and-secure-new-5g-campus-network-offer-by-deutsche-telekom

https://www.fiercewireless.com/private-wireless/google-leader-private-wireless-doesnt-offer-specific-product-it

https://telecoms.com/513200/dt-and-ericsson-launch-new-5g-sa-campus-offering/

https://www.ericsson.com/en/dedicated-networks

https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/telekom-and-google-expand-partnership-645356

https://www.thefastmode.com/technology-solutions/18460-nokia-deploys-private-5g-campus-network-for-industrial-iot-specialist-mynxg-in-nuremburg

Mobile Experts: Ericsson #1 in RAN market; Huawei falls to #3

According to a new report from analyst firm Mobile Experts, Ericsson leapt into the #1 position in the RAN market for 2021. Ericsson (see Table 1. at bottom of this article), which achieved a 26.9% share of a market that grew by about 3% in value to be worth in the region of $45 billion last year.

Sanctions hit Huawei very hard as the Chinese tech giant dropped to third place in the RAN market in terms of the value of sales with a 20.4% market share.  Huawei had a shortfall of roughly $4B last year due to the company’s inability to produce high-capacity TDD base stations.   That was because of U.S. Government sanctions on the critical components needed.  As a result, Huawei achieved much lower dollar value than their western competitors.

Nokia (21.9% market share) placed third while ZTE achieved fourth place (14.5%) ahead of Samsung (8% market share).

 

“Our approach to forecasting is deeply analytical, using data from more than 100 sources, rather than simply the inputs of five OEMs.  Our approach works. This analyst team has been creating some of the most accurate, detailed forecasting on the market for over a decade,” commented Chief Analyst of Mobile Experts, Joe Madden. “We have developed relationships with suppliers, operators, and vendors that give us data for a three-pronged approach to triangulation on mobile infrastructure revenue.”

Mobile Experts’ models show the RAN market growing at a CAGR (Cumulative Annualized Growth Rate) of 3%, with -1% growth in macro base stations and 25%-35% growth in millimeter wave and software segments. The analyst firm, known for their unmatched accuracy, leverage over a decade of ear-to-ground experience in this market to present this detailed market forecast that presents last year’s findings concisely and completely as well as presenting what’s next for the RAN market and its players.

“Overall, the RAN market is looking up. After 30 years of boom-and-bust cycles, the market is currently reaching a peak with 5G deployment in its active mode this year.  In coming years, we see new revenue coming in from private enterprises to offset the natural drop in CSP sales; specifically, the private LTE/5G market will grow by 19%, accounting for more than $4 billion in 2026. As a result, the total RAN market will remain near its 5G peak for a few years, with the possibility for growth in the longer term,” commented Chief Analyst Joe Madden.

Total Year Review for 2021 – Global RAN Revenue:

 

This pre-earnings report offers a comprehensive overview of the RAN market with Mobile Experts’ signature accuracy and detailed breakdowns.  This quarter’s report includes revenue estimates for the top 25 vendors in the RAN market for 2021.    This is the first of a series of quarterly updates, and it is available today for instant download with purchase at www.mobile-experts.net.

For more about this research and buy the report, click here. 

About Mobile Experts Inc.:

Mobile Experts provides insightful market analysis for the mobile infrastructure and mobile handset markets.  Our analysts are true Experts, who remain focused on topics where each analyst has 25 years of experience or more. Research topics center on technology introduction for radio frequency (RF) and communications innovation.  Recent publications include: RAN Revenue, Cellular V2X, Fixed Mobile Convergence,  Edge Computing, In-Building Wireless,  CIoT, URLLC, Macro Base Station Transceivers, Small Cells, VRAN, and Private LTE.

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Table 1: Ericsson’s headline figures (Swedish Krona-SEK billions)

2021 2020 Change
Net sales 232.3 232.4 0%
Gross income 100.7 93.7 7%
Gross margin 43.4% 40.3%
Research and development expenses -42.1 -39.7
Selling and administrative expenses -27.0 -26.7
Impairment losses on trade receivables 0.0 0.1 -134%
Other operating income and expenses 0.4 0.7 -45%
Share in earnings of JV and associated companies -0.3 -0.3
EBIT 31.8 27.8 14%
– of which networks 37.3 30.9 21%
– of which digital services -3.6 -2.2
– of which managed services 1.5 1.6 -6%
– of which emerging business and other -3.4 -2.4
EBIT margin 13.7% 12.0%
Financial income and expenses, net -2.5 -0.6
Income tax -6.3 -9.6 30%
Net income -0.5 -1.3
Source: Ericsson

FWA has limited deployments, many supporters, and great potential

Ericsson’s Mobility Report forecasts FWA (fixed wireless access) connections will “show strong growth of 17% annually through 2027.” That compares to anticipated wireline broadband growth over the same period of only 4%.  The Ericsson report states that 57 network operators have deployed FWA commercial networks.  Finnish telco DNA says FWA is its most popular broadband offering.

Ericsson says Latin America and North America are markets where FWA will play a role in closing the digital divide. Africa may also be promising because of its large rural population and the limited alternatives.

GSMA Intelligence is also enthusiastic about FWA. In a recent blog post it described FWA “as one of the most promising 5G use cases,” providing “an incremental opportunity to maximize the value of existing network assets.”

So is Dell’Oro Group’s Jeff Heynen.  He wrote in an IEEE Techblog post, “We estimate that the total number of 5G FWA devices shipping to operators this year will easily exceed 3 million units and could push 4 million units. The vast majority of these units will be to support sub-6Ghz service offerings, though we also expect to see millimeter wave units, as some operators use a combination of those technologies to provide both extensive coverage and fiber-like speeds in areas where the competition from fixed broadband providers is more intense. Overall, however, we expect volumes first from sub-6GHz units this year and into next year, followed by increasing volumes of millimeter wave units beginning in the latter part of 2022 and into 2023.”

Not to be outdone,  an Accenture analysis commissioned by the CTIA argues that 5G FWA can serve as many as 43% of rural households.

Light Reading’s Robert Clark writes:

Currently fixed wireless, using either 4G or some other technology, accounts for fewer than 100 million worldwide subscribers.

The challenge for 5G, as for earlier generations, is that wireless doesn’t always deliver the best performance or the strongest business case.

Philippines’ Globe Telecom is a case in point. GSMA Intelligence lauds it as a “great example” largely because it launched its 5G network two years ago with a FWA service called Air Fiber.

But two years is a long time, especially when that period includes COVID-19, and we now find that Globe has shifted away from FWA to actual fiber.

Globe’s total fixed wireless subs fell 17% sequentially in Q3 while FTTH subs grew 35%, the company said in a filing. Total home broadband revenues grew 39% thanks to “the accelerated digital habits of the Filipinos brought about by the pandemic.”

China, the global 5G champion with 450 million users, is also indifferent to the possibilities of fixed wireless. You would think this nation with a rural population of some 530 million and vast sparsely settled regions would be a prime market for FWA, but its home broadband priority is gigabit fiber.

Geography is likely the main reason for limited 5G FWA take-up worldwide. 5G is strong in countries already well-served by fiber. Those markets where operators are likely to grow FWA are still in their early stages.

Opinion:

We believe that 5G FWA has great potential.  That is because no standard 5G core network is required and there is no roaming between carriers.  As such, non standard/operator specific private 5G SA core networks can be deployed that can deliver a range of 5G core enabled services, e.g. network slicing, automation, security, MEC, enhanced network management.

However, URLLC in the RAN and in the core network must be standardized, performance tested, and implemented in trials. Then deployed in production networks before the various 5G FWA industrial use cases can be effectively deployed.

References:

https://www.lightreading.com/asia/5g-fixed-wireless-how-far-can-it-go/d/d-id/773784?

https://www.mobileworldlive.com/blog/intelligence-brief-fwa-5g-set-to-bring-disruption-to-broadband-market

Dell’Oro: 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) deployments to be driven by lower cost CPE

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/wireless-industry-report-says-5g-fwa-could-connect-43-of-rural-us/a/d-id/773694

 

Ericsson: 660 million global 5G subscriptions at end of 2021 (?)

In its new Mobility Report, Ericsson has updated its forecast for 5G subscribers at the end of 2021, to a total of close to 660 million. The increase is due to stronger-than-expected demand in China and North America (?), driven in part by falling prices for 5G devices. Ericsson forecasts 5G to become the dominant mobile technology by 2027.

Opinion: For that to happen, this author believes many of the unfinished parts of 5G must be completely standardized and proven in the field.  That list includes: URLLC in the RAN, URLLC in the core network, 5G SA core network, 5G security, reduction of very high 5G power consumption, deployment of hundreds of thousands of small cells, frequency arrangements for terrestrial (ITU-R M.1036 revision), industrial and consumer use cases, fiber optics and LEO satellite backhaul, etc.

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In Q3 2021, nearly twice as many 5G subscriptions were added around the world as new 4G connections, at respectively 98 million and 48 million. Ericsson expects that 5G networks will cover more than 2 billion people by the end of this year.

Ericsson’s latest forecasts put 5G on track to become the dominant mobile access technology by 2027. 5G is expected to account for around 50 percent of all mobile subscriptions worldwide in 2027, covering 75 percent of the world’s population and carrying 62 percent of the global smartphone traffic by the same date.

Not to be forgotten, Ericsson says  fixed wireless access (FWA) will provide broadband access for 800 million people by 2027.

 

Ericsson’s latest report also looks back on the past ten years of mobile networks. According to the research, around 5.5 billion smartphone users have joined the market in the past ten years, and mobile data traffic has increased almost 300-fold in the same period.

In Q3 2021 alone, there was more mobile data traffic than the entire period up until the end of 2016.

Note that Ericsson has tended to over-estimate total mobile subscriptions but under-estimate the uptake of newer technologies, especially in their early stages.  This is shown in the table below:

Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Networks at Ericsson, wrote:

“Mobile communication has had an incredible impact on society and business over the last ten years. When we look ahead to 2027, mobile networks will be more integral than ever to how we interact, live and work. Our latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that the pace of change is accelerating, with technology playing a crucial role.”

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/reports-and-papers/mobility-report

Global 5G subscriptions to hit 660 million this year – Ericsson

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ericsson-upgrades-global-5g-subscriber-forecasts–1406019

 

Ericsson to acquire Vonage to create a global VoIP network and communication platform

Ericsson has agreed to buy VoIP network operator Vonage for $21 per share, for a total of $6.2 billion. The board of directors at Vonage approved the deal, which will enable Ericsson to expand its enterprise operations globally and build on its integration of Cradlepoint in September 2020.

Vonage reported revenues for the 12 months to end September of $1.4 billion, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 14% and free cash flow of $109 million. The merger price represents a premium of 28% to Vonage’s closing share price on 19 November and 34% to the volume-weighted average share price for the three months to 19 November.

Vonage’s presence in the Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) segment will provide Ericsson with access to a complementary and high-growth segment, the company said. The combination will also accelerate enterprise digitization and the development of advanced APIs made possible by 5G. Over the longer term, Ericsson intends to deliver services to the full ecosystem, including telecom operators, developers, and businesses, by creating a global platform for open network innovation, built on Ericsson and Vonage’s complementary solutions.

The cloud-based Vonage Communications Platform (VCP) serves over 120,000 customers and more than one million registered developers globally. The API (Application Programming Interface) platform within VCP allows developers to embed high quality communications – including messaging, voice and video – into applications and products, without back-end infrastructure or interfaces. Vonage also provides Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions as part of the Vonage Communications Platform.

VCP accounts for approximately 80% of Vonage’s current revenues and delivered revenue growth in excess of 20% in the three-year period to 2020, with adjusted EBITDA margins moving from -19% in 2018 to break-even in the 12-month period to 30 September 2021. Vonage’s management team projects annual growth of over 20% for VCP in the coming years.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, says: “The core of our strategy is to build leading mobile networks through technology leadership. This provides the foundation to build an enterprise business. The acquisition of Vonage is the next step in delivering on that strategic priority. Vonage gives us a platform to help our customers monetize the investments in the network, benefitting developers and businesses. Imagine putting the power and capabilities of 5G, the biggest global innovation platform, at the fingertips of developers. Then back it with Vonage’s advanced capabilities, in a world of 8 billion connected devices. Today we are making that possible.”

“Today Network APIs are an established market for messaging, voice and video, but with a significant potential to capitalize on new 4G and 5G capabilities. Vonage’s strong developer ecosystem will get access to 4G and 5G network APIs, exposed in a simple and globally unified way. This will allow them to develop new innovative global offerings. Communication Service Providers will be able to better monetize their investments in network infrastructure by creating new API driven revenues. Finally, businesses will benefit from the 5G performance, impacting operational performance, and share in new value coming from applications on top of the network.”

Rory Read, CEO of Vonage, says: “Ericsson and Vonage have a shared ambition to accelerate our long-term growth strategy. The convergence of the internet, mobility, the cloud and powerful 5G networks are forming the digital transformation and intelligent communications wave, which is driving a secular change in the way businesses operate. The combination of our two companies offers exciting opportunities for customers, partners, developers and team members to capture this next wave.”

“We believe joining Ericsson is in the best interests of our shareholders and is a testament to Vonage’s leadership position in business cloud communications, our innovative product portfolio, and outstanding team.”

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2021/11/ericsson-to-acquire-vonage-for-usd-6.2-billion-to-spearhead-the-creation-of-a-global-network-and-communication-platform-for-open-innovation

CEO and CFO presentation (pdf)

Two webcasts on November 22, 2021:
9:10 AM CET: Replay 
3:30 PM CET: Replay

Bharti Airtel, Ericsson conduct India’s first rural 5G trial; Ericsson – India Q & A

On October 5th Bharti Airtel said it has conducted India’s first rural 5G trial with Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson. The demonstration took place in Bhaipur Bramanan village on the outskirts of Delhi/NCR using 5G trial spectrum allocated by India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

“The trial showcases the massive potential offered by 5G towards bridging the digital divide by enabling access to high speed broadband through solutions such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The trial demonstrated over 200Mbps throughput on 3GPP-compliant 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) device located more than 10km from the site.

The trial also showcased that a commercially available 3GPP-based 5G smartphone could connect to the test network and record over 100Mbps speeds at a distance of more than 10km from the site.

The 5G site was powered by Ericsson’s 3GPP-compliant 5G radio. The trial was carried out by utilizing the allocated mid-band trial spectrum in 3500MHz band and existing FDD spectrum band.

“Having demonstrated India’s first 5G network and also the first 5G cloud gaming experience, Airtel is proud to have also conducted the nation’s first 5G trial in a rural geography. 5G will be a transformational technology when it comes to delivering broadband coverage to the last mile through use cases like FWA and contribute to a more inclusive digital economy,” said Randeep Singh Sekhon, Airtel CTO.

“The technology milestone of extended coverage achieved by Ericsson and Airtel as part of the ongoing 5G trial in India is even more significant since it demonstrates how 5G can ‘connect the unconnected’ in India, enable faster 5G rollout and truly help India realize its ‘Digital India’ vision,” added Nunzio Mirtillo, Head of Ericsson South east Asia, Oceania and India.

According to an Ericsson study, on average, a 10% increase in the Mobile Broadband adoption ratio causes a 0.8% increase in GDP.

Airtel has previously demonstrated cloud gaming in a 5G environment, as part of its 5G trials in Gurgaon’s Manesar. It had used the mid-band spectrum provided by the DoT for this purpose.  The Sunil Mittal-led telco has also been rallying to ensure that any new 5G handset sold in India must support all existing bands in India for 5G, including the mmWave bands.

Earlier this year, Airtel successfully demonstrated 5G services over a live 4G-LTE network in Hyderabad, marking an industry first. It is also conducting 5G trials in multiple cities across India and validating technologies and use cases through the trial spectrum allotted by the DoT . Airtel has partnered with Ericsson and Nokia for these trials.

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Q and A with Nunzio Mirtillo, head of Ericsson (Southeast Asia, Ocea­nia and India):

How has been the market performing for Ericsson this year?

We have been doing well in India and increasing our market share constantly. Over the past three/four years, we have been increasing our market share in India and we have kept our market share when the merger with Vodafone and Idea happened. When it comes to Bharti, we have increased market share substantially in the last few years, both on core and on radio, showing two things – one, our willingness to stay and increase our presence in India, and two, that we are competitive. Because you can be willing to do something but then you also need to be competitive in terms of technology, in terms of TCO and we have been showing that. And on top of that we have been delivering quite a good quality of service to our customers because that is ultimately what counts the most.

Have your telco partners been spending on network expansion aggressively?

We know the situation of Vodafone Idea, and I believe they have a great chance to do well in India and I think they will. And now with the latest from the government, I hope they will have a nice restart. When it comes to Jio we are not a relevant partner with Jio when it comes to the radio business, although we work with Jio. I think they have been also doing their job and their investment in a nice way. But Bharti has accelerated quite a lot in the last few years, and you can see the result in their market evaluation and also in terms of subscriber acquisition, ARPU increase, and we have been part of that journey, partnering with them as well. Showing that India is a market where if you do invest, you provide network quality and you have the right strategy and the right focus, the market is there. And if you do well, you will get the payback for that.

How do you see this whole 5G story panning out in the Indian market?

The sooner the better for the country actually. As everyone says in Q1, the spectrum will be made available from the government to the operators. So, I really hope so. India has been a bit sleepy for a while but then in the last three, four years it really did catch up quite a lot on 4G. So now the country should not lose momentum.

Secondly, the government should make available at least between 80 to 100 megahertz of 3.5GHz or the mid-band to the existing operators and also make sure that they auction millimeter wave spectrum which is a 400 megahertz which will be very much needed going forward to match the tremendous demand of mobile broadband that will be there in the future. And also, you also need to take care of the transport network, so we also need enough spectrum on the E band for connecting the 5G networks.

That’s what we believe and that’s the basic and India cannot, in my view, go below basic because there’s the Digital Highway for the country, it’s not only kind of business as such. It’s really a vital infrastructure for the future of India. And they also need to make sure that they deliver that spectrum at a reasonable price because otherwise they will impact from the start the ones that are supposed to invest.

I think they will be reasonable, because I have seen a lot of good things in India in the last few years with the tremendous push shown on Digital India, Make in India, and it’s all good programs.

References:

https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/airtel-ericsson-conduct-indias-first-rural-5g-trial/86776922

https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/ettelecom-interviews-ericssons-nunzio-mirtillo-on-telecom-relief-package-vodafone-idea-future-5g-openran-and-satcom/86910717

Ericsson IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect to connect cellular IoT devices to AWS

Ericsson has launched IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect to make it easier for enterprises using Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator platform to cellular devices to connect to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) server securely. According to Ericsson, Cloud Connect shifts the complex encryption required for secure IoT connectivity away from the device and onto the edge of the cellular network.

With an estimated five billion cellular IoT devices to be in use by the end of 2026, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report (June 2021), enterprises are increasingly outsourcing IoT device authentication and data management to public cloud providers such as AWS.

Enterprises on Ericsson IoT Accelerator-managing cellular devices such as sensors, meters, or tracking devices now have a much simpler way to connect to the already secure AWS server through Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect, which moves complex encryption from the device to the edge of the cellular network.

Quotes from companies across multiple industry sectors:

Steve Dunn, CEO and Co-Founder at Digital Keys, a smart IoT security company, says: “Our cellular connected smartlocks with digital keys application are used for banks, hotels, universities, office buildings, shared labs, and apartments. Every smartlock has a SIM card that needs to connect to the cellular networks and the AWS cloud securely. It was a smooth process with Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect.”

Communication service providers (CSPs) play a crucial role in the IoT ecosystem, providing global cellular connectivity using Ericsson IoT Accelerator. With more than 35 global CSPs already on Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator, enterprises of any size can manage the connectivity of their devices worldwide. It is now even easier to connect to AWS IoT Core.

Cristoff Martin, Chief Marketing Officer, Telenor Connexion, says: “This capability, integrated with our IoT Cloud service also developed together with AWS, will allow even more efficient development and operation of new connected solutions taking benefit of network technologies like Narrowband-IoT and the superior security capabilities of mobile networks in general.”

Jan Willem Smeenk, Chief Architect at SODAQ, a leading company in solar-powered asset tracking that specializes in scalable and efficient IoT hardware and software to empower businesses, says: “It is costly and complicated to connect our smart asset trackers securely, but with Ericsson as a key partner, we were able to order SIM cards from the operator on IoT Accelerator, insert them into our device with no additional encryption or certificate management required. Then, using Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect, the device is authorized and automatically provisioned to the target AWS destination. It was simple and can serve our customers of any scale and size.”

Connecting to AWS IoT Core requires each connected device to use Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption for all communications. With Cloud Connect, the IoT Accelerator service offers a plug-and-play alternative. In this, enterprises benefit from simple activation of devices that tunnel to the edge of the cellular infrastructure before automatically self-provisioning to AWS and securely connecting via Cloud Connect generated encryption and keys.

Rauno Jokelainen, Chief Technology Officer at UROS Group, a leading company in digital water services, says: “We see high value with the use of Cloud Connect in the UROS Sense Liquid Quality as a Service solution to provide real-time water quality detection to the municipalities and enterprises around the world in an easily deployable manner. With this solution, we can bring the peace of mind to the CIOs of the municipalities that their water networks are monitored in a secure manner.”

With Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect, devices with unencrypted yet privately secured communications over cellular network leveraging Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) or narrowband User Data Protocols (UDP) – such as Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) – can connect seamlessly to AWS IoT Core, resulting in significantly lower power and data consumption.

Initial results show that Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect enables low-powered devices to reduce mobile data by up to 95 percent and extend battery life by up to 50 percent by removing the need to run public end-to-end internet encryption.

Michael MacKenzie, General Manager, AWS IoT Connectivity & Control, says: “As enterprises connect more IoT devices to the public cloud, they want an easy and secure way to ingest IoT device data to AWS. Simple solutions like Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect give enterprises flexibility by leveraging AWS IoT to easily manage and authorize devices, use zero touch provisioning, and ensure data is encrypted and secure.”

Kyle Okamoto, General Manager IoT, Ericsson, says: “Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator Cloud Connect removes barriers for enterprises to connect their IoT devices to numerous public clouds and to optimize the IoT data management infrastructure offered by providers like AWS. This means a faster time to market for enterprise devices and products. We are excited to offer this service to our IoT Accelerator community of over 7,000 enterprises globally.”

RELATED LINKS:

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Separately, Ericsson is cutting hundreds of jobs in China after losing market share during the recent awards of 5G contracts, according to Light Reading.

“Layoffs will happen by the end of this year as Ericsson merges three separate customer units in China into one. Until now, it has maintained a unit for each of China’s big mobile operators – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom – but the restructuring will create a single mainland China customer unit catering to them all.”

Ericsson’s recent loss of market share has left it with a lower volume of 5G business to serve. Its move is aimed at rebalancing sales and costs so that it remains competitive on price.

Employees in China were briefed on the plans at an internal company meeting earlier today, where Chris Houghton, Ericsson’s head of market area for northeast Asia, said: “I sincerely regret that we now need to make changes to our great team, in order to reflect Ericsson’s changing market share position in China. We are committed to China and delivering value to our customers with our leading technology and solutions.”

The restructuring comes weeks after China Mobile gave Ericsson just 2% of the 700MHz bid on top of its existing share in 2.6GHz. This phase-two allocation in 5G is down from about 11% last year.

Ericsson has also picked up only a 3% share of the phase-two 5G work for China Telecom and China Unicom, which have joined forces to build a 5G network.

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2021/9/ericsson-iot-cloud-connect-connects-iot-devices-to-aws

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/ericsson-to-cut-hundreds-of-jobs-in-china-after-5g-setbacks/d/d-id/772358?