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.

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/news/2021/7/ericsson-and-mediatek-achieve-mmwave-uplink-record

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/ericsson-mediatek-near-500-mbps-upload-in-mmwave-carrier-aggregation-tests–1391031

 

Highlights of Ericsson’s Mobility report: 4G still on top, but 5G (mostly NSA) growing rapidly

According to Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report, the 5G market is growing by around 1 million subscriptions per day. China, North America and the Gulf Cooperation Council markets are leading the way on subscriber numbers, while Europe is off to a slow start.

The world added around 70 million 5G subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, putting it on track to reach 580 million by the end of this year, Ericsson announced. The high growth rate confirms that 5G will be the fastest adopted mobile generation in history.

However, 5G deployed to date is almost 100% 5G NSA (Non Stand Alone), requiring an LTE anchor. That makes it like “4G on steroids,” according to Stephane Teral of Light Counting. Stephane says there are only eight 5G SA networks (T-Mobile US has one) deployed to date.  Only those 5G SA networks can realize the true features/functions of 5G because they have a 5G Core network with associated functions (However, they’re implemented differently by each 5G SA service provider, although Rakuten Mobile wants to change that with its RCS platform).

5G is expected to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone. This is due mainly to China’s early commitment to 5G and quicker availability of affordable 5G devices.

Average data usage to reach 35 GB/month in 2026:

In the medium term, Ericsson forecasts 5G to grow to 3.5 billion subscriptions in 2026, when coverage should reach around 60 percent of the world’s population. The expansion of 5G will drive strong growth in mobile data traffic as well, which is expected to grow nearly five-fold, from 49 EB per month at the end of 2020 to 237 EB per month in 2026. Average smartphone usage is expected to rise over the same period from 10 GB per user per month to 35 GB.

The data forecast excludes fixed-wireless access, although this element is proving core to 5G offerings. According to the report, almost nine in ten operators that have launched 5G also have a fixed wireless access offering (4G and/or 5G), even in markets with high fiber penetration. FWA traffic is forecast to grow by a factor of seven to reach 64 EB in 2026.

5G Communications Service Providers at the forefront of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) adoption:

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digitalization and increasing the importance of – and the need for – reliable, high-speed mobile broadband connectivity. According to the latest report, almost nine out of ten communications service providers (CSPs) that have launched 5G also have a fixed wireless access (FWA) offering (4G and/or 5G), even in markets with high fiber penetration. This is needed to accommodate increasing FWA traffic, which the report forecasts to grow by a factor of seven to reach 64 EB in 2026.

Massive IoT on the rise:

Massive IoT technology (NB-IoT and Cat-M) connections are forecast to increase by almost 80 percent during 2021, reaching almost 330 million connections. In 2026, these technologies are forecast to comprise 46 percent of all cellular IoT connections.

Excerpts from the report:

Despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19, service providers continue to switch on 5G and more than 160 have launched commercial 5G services.1 5G subscriptions with a 5G-capable device grew by 70 million during the first quarter, to reach around 290 million.

We estimate close to 580 million 5G subscriptions2 by the end of 2021. Currently, North East Asia has the highest 5G subscription penetration, followed by North America, Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Western Europe. In 2026, it is projected that North America will have the highest share of 5G subscriptions of all regions at 84 percent.

5G subscription uptake is expected to be faster than that of 4G following its launch in 2009. 5G subscriptions are estimated to reach 1 billion 2 years earlier than 4G.

 

Key factors include China’s earlier engagement with 5G compared to 4G, as well as the timely availability of devices from several vendors. By the end of 2026, we forecast 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions globally, accounting for around 40 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that time.

4G will remain the dominant mobile access technology by subscription over the forecast period. During Q1 2021, 4G subscriptions increased by approximately 100 million, exceeding 4.6 billion, equaling 58 percent of all mobile subscriptions. It is projected to peak during the year at 4.8 billion subscriptions before declining to around 3.9 billion subscriptions by the end of 2026 as more subscribers migrate to 5G.

The net addition of mobile subscriptions was quite low during Q1 2021, at 59 million. This is likely due to the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions. India had the most net additions (+26 million), followed by China (+6 million) and Nigeria (+3 million).

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Stephane Teral’s favorite chart:

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References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/mobility-report

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2021/6/ericsson-mobility-report-more-than-half-a-billion-5g-subscriptions-by-the-end-of-2021

https://www.ericsson.com/49cd40/assets/local/mobility-report/documents/2021/june-2021-ericsson-mobility-report.pdf

 

Ericsson Consumer Lab survey: 70% dissatisfied with 5G “innovative services”

The latest Ericsson Consumer Lab survey has found a 10% higher satisfaction rate with 5G compared to 4G, but also reveals that 70% are dissatisfied (see Key Findings #4. below) at the absence of innovative apps on their 5G bundle.  5G network operators should “differentiate a 5G experience from 4G and promote a sense of novelty and exclusivity.”

Key findings:

1. Consumer intent to upgrade to 5G accelerates despite the pandemic. At least 300 million smartphone users could take up 5G in 2021. By the end of 2020, 22 percent more smartphone users with 5G-ready smartphones could have adopted 5G if knowledge gaps had been addressed.

2. 5G triggers changes in usage behavior, starts to displace Wi-Fi. 5G users spend two hours more per week using cloud gaming and one hour more on augmented reality (AR) apps compared to 4G users. 20 percent say they have decreased their usage of Wi-Fi after upgrading.

3. Indoor 5G coverage is more important for consumers. 5G early adopters rate indoor 5G coverage as two times more important than speed or battery life in driving satisfaction.

4. Early adopters are pleased with 5G speeds but expect more innovation. 70% are dissatisfied with the availability of innovative services and expect new applications making use of 5G. While early adopters are pleased with 5G network speeds, they are already expressing dissatisfaction with a lack of bundled new and innovative apps and services, which they feel were promised in the marketing pitch for 5G.

5. Consumers value 5G plans bundled with digital services and are willing to pay 20–30% more. However, two-thirds of use cases highly valued by consumers have not yet been commercialized.
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The report says the biggest revenue boost will come from bundling digital services with 5G tariffs.

Here are five ways that service providers can meet consumer expectations and improve their 5G experience, now and in the future:

1. Enhance the value: address the knowledge gap to educate and better market the value of 5G.

2. Consumers expect the quality of indoor and outdoor coverage to be consistent.

3. Adapt to network requirements of new services enabled by 5G.

4. Focus on the jobs consumers want 5G to do, to envision new use cases.

5. Go beyond just showcases: accelerate the commercialization of existing and new use cases.

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The survey found that “at least 300 million consumers could upgrade to 5G in 2021.” We seriously doubt that due to the absence of new applications and services. 

The report states that it will be essential to combine app developers and other ecosystem players to accelerate the commercialization of new services currently being showcased but close to commercial release.

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References:

https://www.ericsson.com/49944f/assets/local/reports-papers/consumerlab/reports/2021/five-ways-to-a-better-5g-report.pdf

Ericsson ConsumerLab report highlights + 40M 5G India smartphone users forecast

 

Ericsson CEO optimistic on 5G adoption; launches private 5G; global chip shortage to continue

Speaking at Ericsson’s UnBoxed 2021 eventCEO Borje Ekholm said that 5G adoption is accelerating around the world, that the company remains upbeat about the future given the rapid pace of innovation, and advocates “open market.”

“We have always been and always will be believer in open markets and open competition.  The concept of global open standards has made mobile technology affordable due to significant economies of scale. 5G adoption is accelerating around the world, and 5G subscriptions globally is estimated to exceed half a billion before the end of the year,” he said.

Consumption of data by 5G subscribers is 2-3 times higher than that of 4G users, Ekholm noted.

Does anyone who reads the IEEE Techblog really believe that? Readers are invited to express their opinions by posting a Comment in the box below this article.

Private 5G Launched:

Ericsson Private 5G offers secure and simple 4G LTE and 5G Standalone (SA) connectivity primarily targeting – but not limited to – manufacturing, mining and process industry, offshore and power utilities, as well as ports and airports.  Ericsson Private 5G optimizes and simplifies business operations with cloud-based network management, keeps sensitive data on-premise, has zero downtime upgrades and guarantees high performance through Service-Level Agreements (SLAs).

It is easily installed within hours at any facility and can be scaled to support larger coverage areas, more devices and higher capacity when needed. The product is designed to be flexible and will support a range of deployment sizes, depending on requirements, to suit varied needs. Businesses can manage their networks and integrate with IT/OT systems via an open API.

Ericsson Private 5G builds upon Ericsson’s 4G/5G radio and dual mode core technology, enabling a wide variety of use cases for both indoor and outdoor environments while integrating well with business operations, devices and applications. As a result, companies can improve productivity, give their customers more value and provide better working environments for employees.

Innovative use cases include tracking assets and real-time automation to improve productivity in warehouses, and a digital twin that can help to optimize manufacturing operations. Efficient quality inspections can also be performed via augmented reality or smart surveillance drones to increase worker safety, particularly in potentially hazardous environments such as ports and mines.

Ericsson already has a significant track record of operational 4G and 5G private network deployments with customers worldwide. Ericsson Private 5G builds on the success of that solution portfolio and deployment insights, as well as insights from projects such as 5G-Industry Campus Europe.

Peter Burman, Program Manager Mine Automation, at Swedish mining company Boliden, says: “Automation, and safety through automation in our mining operations is an absolute must for us. Ericsson Private 5G is exactly what Boliden needs to bring high quality, fast and secure connectivity into potentially hazardous environments allowing us to mobilize efficiency and safety improving use cases.

Niels König, Coordinator 5G-Industry Campus Europe, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT: “Private 5G networks are highly attractive for producing companies because of the uncompromised performance that 5G can bring, allowing them to tackle the challenges of production. Efficiently deploying and using network solutions in enterprises requires simplicity in installation, flexibility in connecting to existing production IT and lean operations while at the same time being able to scale the network to meet future challenges. Ericsson Private 5G delivers exactly these capabilities.”

Leo Gergs, Senior Analyst, ABI Research, says: “With this new offering, Ericsson will be able to address key trends in the enterprise cellular market.  The value proposition will appeal to operators and service providers as the solution hides technology complexity and therefore reduces the barrier of entry to deployment for many different flavors of enterprise networks.”

Thomas Noren, Head of Dedicated Networks, Business Area Technologies and New Businesses, Ericsson, says: “With Ericsson Private 5G, we take the best of Ericsson’s current portfolio and top it up with the best of our new technology. We do this to give businesses what they need to improve productivity, enable new offerings and give employees a better working environment. With Ericsson Private 5G, we also give operators a better way to serve business customers and leverage their assets – in short, to grow beyond mobile broadband.”

Effect of Chip Shortage:

The CEO predicted a global chip shortage would continue into 2022, increasing the likelihood the network equipment vendor would be affected after so far managing to mitigate the impact.

Ericsson began diversifying its supplier base almost three years ago, helping it weather current shortages and leaving it positioned to “be able to continue to supply our customers like we have in the past.”  Yet he conceded the longer the shortage persists, “the more risk it will be for us”. Given the “lead time to increase capacity is long”, Ekholm expects the shortage to last.

He said global demand for chipsets is increasing with digitalization, making more capacity critical.

Smaller US operators recently told the Federal Communications Commission they need more time to replace Huawei equipment due to the chip market woes.

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References:

https://www.gadgetsnow.com/tech-news/5g-momentum-accelerating-globally-committed-to-open-markets-ericsson-ceo/articleshow/83146819.cms

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2021/6/ericsson-private-5g-set-to-transform-secure-on-site-connectivity

Ericsson private networks – dedicated networks – Ericsson

Transforming enterprises

Ericsson chief tips chip shortage to last

 

 

Ericsson ConsumerLab report highlights + 40M 5G India smartphone users forecast

A study conducted by Ericsson ConsumerLab has the following key findings:

1. Consumer intent to upgrade to 5G accelerates despite the pandemic. At least 300 million smartphone users could take up 5G in 2021. By the end of 2020, 22 percent more smartphone users with 5G-ready smartphones could have adopted 5G if knowledge gaps had been addressed.

2. 5G triggers changes in usage behavior, starts to displace Wi-Fi. 5G users spend two hours more per week using cloud gaming and one hour more on augmented reality (AR) apps compared to 4G users. 20 percent say they have decreased their usage of Wi-Fi after upgrading.

3. Indoor 5G coverage more important for consumers. 5G early adopters rate indoor 5G coverage as two times more important than speed or battery life in driving satisfaction.

4. Early adopters are pleased with 5G speeds but expect more innovation. Seventy percent are dissatisfied with the availability of innovative services and expect new applications making use of 5G.

5. Consumers value 5G plans bundled with digital services and are willing to pay 20–30 percent more. However, two-thirds of use cases highly valued by consumers have not yet been commercialized.

Ericsson’s ConsumerLab insight report, is claimed to be the biggest ever 5G consumer study, covering opinions of 1.3 billion consumers and 220 million 5G users, to uncover the key trends that are influencing the adoption, usage and perception of consumers towards 5G, and suggest five important steps service providers can take to meet consumer expectations now and in the future.

Image Credit: Reuters

The report suggests five ways that service providers can meet consumer expectations and improve their 5G experience, now and in the future:

1. Enhance the value: address the knowledge gap to educate and better market the value of 5G.

2. Consumers expect the quality of indoor and outdoor coverage to be consistent.

3. Adapt to network requirements of new services enabled by 5G.

4. Focus on the jobs consumers want 5G to do, to envision new use cases.

5. Go beyond just showcases: accelerate the commercialization of existing and new use cases

The study revealed that at least 40 million smartphone users are likely to be 5G subscribers in the first year of it being introduced in India. The study further suggests that users are willing to pay up to 50 percent more for 5G plans if they are bundled with digital services.

According to the report, 67 percent of users in India are eager to upgrade to 5G once it is available, which is an increase of 14 percent over 2019. Reportedly, seven out of 10 potential early adopters expect higher speeds from 5G, and six out of 10 expect “pricing innovation from Communication Service Providers”, meaning 5G data will be used to transfer media from one device to another.

The report suggests that more than one-third of urban internet users would prefer using 5G home broadband instead of the existing fixed home wireline broadband. The report further reveals users of 5G-ready smartphones in India expect to spend more time on enhanced video streaming and multiplayer mobile gaming. Ericsson predicts India residence will be spending 7.5 to 8 hours a week on iPhone XR 5G apps by 2025.

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References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/reports-and-papers/consumerlab/reports/five-ways-to-a-better-5g

https://www.ericsson.com/49944f/assets/local/reports-papers/consumerlab/reports/2021/five-ways-to-a-better-5g-report.pdf

https://www.firstpost.com/tech/news-analysis/at-least-40-million-smartphone-users-in-india-likely-to-adopt-5g-in-its-first-year-ericsson-consumerlab-study-9618271.html

 

Ericsson claims to be 5G market leader with strong revenues coming in 2022

On Ericsson’s 1st quarter 2021 earnings call this past week, CEO Börje Ekholm said that while Ericsson is focused on growing its core business of networks and digital and managed services, it’s also putting energy into building an enterprise business. The Swedish based company is “seeing a very strong development, strong demand for 5G and enterprise applications.”

The CEO believes that the 5G market cycle will be both longer and bigger due to entering a complete new application area with enterprise applications. What’s encouraging is the progress Ericsson is making on their product portfolio. In Q1-2021, the company announced the ultra-lightweight, high-performance Massive MIMO radio portfolio.

“We have continued to consolidate our position as market leader in 5G with 136 commercial contracts and 85 live networks in 42 countries. What’s also encouraging is that organically, FX-adjusted, we saw sales grew 10% during the first quarter. And if we actually add — or adjust for the IPR revenues, organic growth was 14% in our business. So that is really driven by a strong growth in networks that, again, if you would adjust for IPR, actually grew 19% in the quarter, which is fairly significant growth.

If we look at the market areas, we saw good growth in four out of five market areas. Northeast Asia, we grew by 80%, which is really driven by the non-Chinese markets, primarily. If we look at — the next one is Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India, where we saw good growth, driven by 5G in Australia, as well as 4G rollout in India, of a little touch more than 20%. Moving on to Europe, where we had good growth, 15% in Europe.But that was partly offset by more flattish development in Latin America. And, of course, Latin America suffers from the pandemic and the macroeconomic effects following the tough situation with the COVID-19. If we then look – MANA had a strong development based on continued rollout of 5G. And there, we see, actually, good progress also on our cloud-native portfolio in digital services.So we had a growth of 10% — more than 10% organically. And we’ve been able to also strengthen our market position, which is, long term, going to be very attractive for us. We also saw the completion of the C-band auction, so we expect that to result in deployments during the second half of the year. And if we look then at our last market area, Middle East and Africa, we saw sales falling by 16%.That is really an effect of the pandemic in Africa impacting the macroeconomic and the spend environment, but we’re also seeing a slowdown in Middle East following the large investments last year. So one of the cornerstones of our strategy has been to grow gross margin, and it’s a fundamental indicator of success or progress on the focus strategy. So it is encouraging that we continue to see our gross margin strengthen in the business, and we are able to see that strengthening despite lower IPR revenue. As a matter of fact, we fully compensate for the lower IPR revenue in the gross margin development.”

Ekholm also said that Ericsson is strengthening its position with Cloud RAN and has made their  supply chain resilient.  They continue to develop the Managed Services business growing gross margins by 20.6% in the quarter.  Ericsson’s cloud-native portfolio (5G stand alone based core network) strengthened and will be an increasing part of revenues in the near future.

In the enterprise market, Ericsson is starting to see good progress on its 5G IoT offering, but we’re also seeing that Cradlepoint becomes integrated into our business and seeing the growth opportunities now materializing in the numbers from Cradlepoint.

Ekholm said that the expects to see the U.S. C Band auction result in deployments during the second half of this year. Verizon, in particular, has indicated that it wants to have 7,000 to 8,000 C Band sites ready to go when the spectrum is cleared in late 2021.

Ekholm also briefly addressed Ericsson’s supply chain. AT&T CEO John Stankey raised the potential for C Band equipment supply chain issues this week during AT&T’s quarterly call with investors. Asked about the carrier’s plans for C Band deployment, Stankey said that global supply chains are “stretched” and as a result, he is “a little skittish,” adding that the company is “seeing dynamics that are occurring in the global supply chain where unexpected things are popping up, and it is possible that we could see certain element shortages that start to crop up as everybody’s racing to put stuff up on towers.”

The CEO categorized 2021 as an investment year for Ericsson, particularly in its Digital Services segment, and that the company is incurring costs ahead of revenues — some of which might come as soon as the fourth quarter, but “we’re really going to see revenues coming in 2022,” he said.

References:

https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-transcripts/2021/04/21/telefonaktiebolaget-lm-ericsson-eric-q1-2021-earni/

https://www.ericsson.com/4904ed/assets/local/investors/documents/financial-reports-and-filings/interim-reports-archive/2021/3month21-ceo-slides.pdf

Ericsson: Enterprise focus will mean a ‘bigger and longer’ 5G cycle

 

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

Ericsson and Singapore communications service provider Singtel, are accelerating their 5G partnership in Singapore through the deployment of high-end 5G technology enabled by 5G New Radio (NR) Standalone  (SA) and dual-mode 5G core network products and solutions, including real-time rating and policy control.

The energy-efficient, end-to-end 5G network will operate on Singtel’s 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum bands, spanning outdoor and indoor 5G coverage. Millimeter wave (mmWave) connectivity will also be deployed in hotspots across the city state.

Ericsson’s radio and core solutions will ensure that residents, enterprises, industry and government authorities in Singapore – renowned the world over as early technology adapters and hi-tech innovators – are among the first in the world to benefit from the highest performance that 5G can offer.

5G-enabled application use cases could include cloud gaming, immersive virtual reality/augmented reality, robot-human collaboration in real-time, autonomous transport, remote healthcare, precision smart manufacturing and smart-nation connectivity.

The 5G contract award takes the partnership between Ericsson and Singtel to new levels, as Industry 4.0 gathers pace globally. Singapore was recently named world’s most competitive economy for the second successive year in the latest IMD World Competitiveness Ranking.

5G

Image Credit: Singtel

Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, says: “As the leading telco in Singapore, Singtel is committed to building a secure, resilient, world-class 5G network that will serve as the backbone of Singapore’s digital economy. We are pleased to be working with Ericsson, leveraging on its industry-leading 5G capabilities and to deliver innovative applications and transformative customer experiences for our consumers and enterprise customers.”

Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and Philippines, says: “Singtel is determined to play a leading role in keeping Singapore at the cutting edge of technology innovation and to ensure that the whole nation benefits from 5G. To do so they need the best 5G technology on the market. At Ericsson, our global leadership is evidenced by our extensive deployment experience with 75 live 5G networks worldwide. As a long-standing partner, we are equally determined to work alongside Singtel to ensure its subscribers and business customers enjoy the best experiences and opportunities that 5G has to offer.”

Earlier this month, Singtel said it was using 28 GHz mmWave spectrum, in addition to the 3.5 GHz and 2.1 GHz bands, to boost its 5G deployment in Singapore.

Singtel has switched on mmWave in several locations across the island, including Orchard Road, the Padang area and Marina Bay Sands Expo. Singtel also reports it has achieved 5G speeds of 3.2Gbps at its pop-up store dubbed Unboxed.

Singtel’s 5G network will take advantage of mmWave through a combination of the latest cellular technologies including massive MIMO, carrier aggregation and beam-forming solutions. Singtel customers with 5G plans can expect to experience mobile speeds of up to 3 Gbps speeds when mmWave-enabled handsets arrive in Singapore next year, the carrier said.

The largest telco inSingapore had initially launched its 5G non-standalone (NSA) network in September, using spectrum in the 3.5 GHz frequency as well as existing 2.1 GHz spectrum.  Singtel was officially awarded a 5G license issued by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in June 2020.

Singtel and Ericsson will deploy 5G SA networks beginning in January 2021 and will be required to provide coverage for at least half of Singapore by the end of 2022, scaling up to nationwide coverage by the end of 2025.

Related links:
Ericsson 5G
Ericsson 5G Core
Ericsson Radio System
Ericsson 5G New Radio (NR)deployment solutions

References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/press-releases/2020/12/ericsson-and-singtel-drive-high-end-5g-connectivity-to-benefit-singapore

Ericsson, Singtel deploy 5G NR Standalone network

Ericsson Mobility Report: 5G forecast increased due to China uptake (?)

According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, there are signs of an acceleration in 5G deployments.  Ericsson estimates that by the end of this year, more than 1 billion people – or 15 percent of the world’s population – will live in an area with 5G coverage. This is expected to reach 60 percent in 2026, when there will be an estimated 3.5 billion 5G users in the world.

Ericsson raised its year-end 2020 estimate for global 5G subscriptions to 220 million, due mainly to faster take-up in China [1.]. More than one in ten Chinese mobile subscribers are expected to use 5G by year-end, and they will account for almost 80 percent of all 5G users in the world (175 mln). The growth in China is driven by a national strategic focus, intense competition between service providers, as well as increasingly affordable 5G smartphones from several vendors, Ericsson said.

Note 1.  We have argued for quite some time that China government numbers on 5G (and everything else) can’t be trusted.

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North America is the second-largest market for 5G, says Ericsson, with an estimated 4 percent of subscribers using 5G by the end of 2020. Commercialization there is now moving at a rapid pace and by 2026, Ericsson forecasts that 80 percent of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G, the highest level of any region in the world.

Europe is seeing a slower roll-out of 5G, due in part to delays in spectrum auctions earlier this year. Ericsson predicts the region will end 2020 with about 1 percent of mobile users on 5G subscriptions.

The report further looks at some of the emerging 5G applications, such as cloud gaming and mission critical IoT, which covers real time-sensitive services (e.g. ultra low latency).  However, that won’t happen unless URLCC is completed specified/performance texted in 3GPP Release 16 and then implemented.

The Ericsson report has this to say about cellular networks and public safety:

“2020 has also proven to be an exceptional year for cellular networks used for public safety applications. Together with AT&T, we have looked into how FirstNet – the nationwide network deployed to serve first responders in the US – stood up to the test of this year’s emergencies related to the pandemic, one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, and severe wildfires.   As society rapidly changes, it is clear that cellular networks are a critical infrastructure that will continue to support many aspects of our everyday life.”

Ericsson also found that almost two-thirds of 5G operators are offering some form of fixed-wireless access (FWA) service. The company forecasts FWA connections to grow more than threefold and reach more than 180 million by the end of 2026, accounting for about a quarter of total mobile network data traffic.

Editor’s Note:

A very interesting point is that 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which is not even an IMT 2020 Use Case, is being deployed and gaining market traction (along with 4G FWA).   The report states that FWA connections will more than threefold by the end of 2026, reaching over 180 million.  That service is forecast to account for ~25 percent of total mobile network data traffic globally.

Check out the following two FWA related graphs from the report:

Ericsson Mobility report: FWA

Some of the topics covered in the report include:

  • Time-critical communications with 5G
  • Mobile cloud gaming – an evolving business opportunity
  • Service provider strategies ( three alternative paths to success)
  • But the big numbers are still important, So what’s happening with  global mobile network growth, 5G in particular?
  • 5G’s population coverage is projected to hit 15 per cent this year – over 1 billion people (that’s covered, not all connected)
  • 5G’s subscription total will be 3.5 billion in 2026 with 220 million 5G subs expected by the end of this year
  • There are around 7.9 billion mobile subscriptions now but this will increase to 8.8 billion by the end of 2026, and 91 percent of those  will be for mobile broadband.
  • Smartphones account for about 75 per cent of all mobile phone subscriptions
  • Cellular IoT has not followed through on all those early, but wildly optimistic projections for cellular IoT. In 2026, NB-IoT and Cat-M technologies are expected to make up just 45 percent of all cellular IoT connections.
  • North East Asia leads in cellular IoT connections (China, South Korea and at the end of 2020 is expected to account for 64 per cent of all cellular IoT connections, a figure set to increase to 69 percent by 2026.

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References:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/mobility-report/reports/november-2020

https://www.ericsson.com/4adc87/assets/local/mobility-report/documents/2020/november-2020-ericsson-mobility-report.pdf

https://www.telecomtv.com/content/5g/ericsson-mobility-report-5g-is-here-and-happening-40337/

Ericsson: Multi-User MIMO with T-Mobile US; 5G with Telefónica; Open RAN Security WARNING

Author’s Note:

This post is actually three separate articles concerning “Ericsson in the news” today.  Rather, than read all three parts, simply scroll down to the story that interests you.  Let me (and others) know what you think by commenting in the box below the article.

1.   Multi-User MIMO demo with T-Mobile US

T-Mobile US and Ericsson demonstrated a 16-layer multi-user multi-input multi-output (MU-MIMO) [1.] on one channel of 2.5 GHz spectrum. The peak cellular data rate was more than 5.6 Gbps.

During the test, engineers connected eight separate smartphones to the same 5G radio and resources using MU-MIMO and beamforming in a specific direction to achieve more than 700 Mbps data rate on each device.

Note 1. Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) is a set of multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technologies for wireless communication, in which a set of users or wireless terminals, each with one or more antennas, communicate with each other.

In contrast, single-user MIMO considers a single multi-antenna transmitter communicating with a single multi-antenna receiver. In a similar way that OFDMA adds multiple access (multi-user) capabilities to OFDM, MU-MIMO adds multiple access (multi-user) capabilities to MIMO. MU-MIMO has been investigated since the beginning of research into multi-antenna communication.

See the source image

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Using MU-MIMO, T-Mobile US could potentially connect many more devices to the same cell infrastructure and still deliver very fast speeds to all of them.  Using that set of technologies, wireless telcos might be able to deliver even better 5G performance to more people than was expected.

Using a commercially available massive MIMO radio with 64 antennas from Ericsson and OnePlus 8 5G smartphones T-Mobile sells today, 16 unique data streams were transmitted.  Each stream was capable of transmitting/receiving at more than 350 Mbps.  With two data streams for each device, that’s 700+ Mbps for each smartphone, all using the same radio resources at the same time.

With 100 MHz of total 5G spectrum used in the demonstration, T-Mobile US was able to achieve a 50+ bps/Hz in spectral efficiency. That is much higher than the single digit efficiency typically experienced today.

“This is what you get when you pair T-Mobile’s unmatched spectrum portfolio with the best damn team in wireless — innovation that changes the game for the entire industry,” said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile. “We have a 5G network that’s second to none, and it’s getting better by the day thanks to our amazing engineers and partners. Just wait until you see what they do next for our customers!”

T-Mobile US expects to begin deploying this technology in 2021 as they continue the goal of building America’s best 5G network.

References:

https://www.t-mobile.com/news/network/t-mobile-achieves-mind-blowing-5g-speeds-with-mu-mimo

For more information about T-Mobile’s 5G vision, visit: www.t-mobile.com/5g. To see all the places you’ll get T-Mobile’s current 5G down to a neighborhood level, check out the map at www.t-mobile.com/coverage/5g-coverage-map.

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/t-mobile-us-achieves-5g-speeds-with-mu-mimo–1353491

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2. Ericsson partners with Telefónica on Spain 5G launch

Ericsson has confirmed that it’s helping Telefónica’s planned launch of 5G services to cover 75 percent of the Spanish population by the end of 2020, including the major cities of Madrid and Barcelona.
In a statement, Ericsson said its field professionals have been working alongside Telefónica’s engineers to ensure that 5G base station sites across the network will be fully operational when the operator makes the service available for its subscribers.
Thousands of Ericsson cell sites are expected to be activated by year end, said the Swedish wireless telecom equipment vendor.  Ericsson said that Spectrum Sharing will enable Telefónica Spain to simultaneously share 5G and 4G spectrum, for a quick and efficient 5G network roll-out.

Ericsson is providing new 3.5Ghz radio equipment and software upgrades to 5G-ready Ericsson radios in Telefónica’s network. With Ericsson Radio System products already deployed in parts of Telefónica Spain’s network, fast, flexible, and cost-efficient 5G activation is made easier.

Joaquín Mata, CTO, Telefónica Spain, says: “The launch of our 5G network constitutes a leap forward towards the hyper connectivity that will change the future of Spain. We are very pleased with the collaboration with Ericsson to build one of the best 5G networks in Europe.”

Arun Bansal, President of Ericsson Europe and Latin America, says: “With our leading technology, Telefónica will offer its customers 5G faster and support them to reach 75 percent coverage of the population by the end of the year. With our swift 5G roll-out, Spain is ready for the next digital revolution and Ericsson is proud to be powering it together with Telefónica.”

References:
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3.   Ericsson Warning on Security Risks of Open RAN
In a clarion call for caution, an Ericsson blog post today raised a huge concern that Open RAN might open the door for new security risks in 5G. The company also posted a 14 page whitepaper on “Security Considerations of Open RAN.”
Jason S. Boswell, Head of Security at Ericsson’s Network Product Solutions wrote on the company website:

As the industry evolves towards RAN virtualization, with virtual RAN or Open RAN (O-RAN), it is important that a risk-based approach is taken to adequately address security.Virtualization throughout the network and a service-based architecture means that security needs to be handled in a new way.

5G will accelerate innovation and provide transformative use cases across multiple global sectors. However, it will also bring new security challenges for the mobile ecosystem, with broader attack surfaces, more devices and increased traffic loads. We must have networks that are trustworthy, resilient, and secure at every phase of the system lifecycle.  These new security challenges are addressed by 3GPP’s SA3 security work group.

Expanded threat surface

The introduction of new and additional touch points in O-RAN architecture, along with the decoupling of hardware and software, has the potential to expand the threat and attack surface of the network in numerous ways, including:

  • New interfaces increase threat surface – for example, open fronthaul, A1, E2, etc.
  • Near-Real-Time (RT) RIC and 3PP xApps introduces new threats that could be exploited
  • Decoupling of hardware increases threat to Trust Chain
  • Management interfaces may not be secured to industry best practices
  • (not exclusive to O-RAN):  adherence to Open Source best practices

These and other areas are explored in greater depth in Ericsson’s report, Security considerations of Open RAN.  Many of these items are being studied in several O-RAN Alliance working groups, including the Security Task Group, a consensus-based standards group that will ensure that O-RAN implementations meet the levels of security expected by the industry.

Ericsson is committed to providing leadership and guidance in the O-RAN Alliance on these emerging areas of study.  In the meantime, let’s take an in-depth look at just one of these new areas of risk:

Weakened Links in the Trust Chain 

Virtualization and the use of cloud platforms give the possibility to utilize hardware resources better between different applications, but it will also introduce security risks as isolation between applications are only “logical” in software without physical isolation across hardware resources. Recently discovered vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre reveal that there can be increased security risks when sharing hardware resources.

To establish a secure and trusted communication channel between two endpoints, one needs first to authenticate each side before a secure (confidentiality and integrity-protected) channel can be established. To authenticate each endpoint, a unique identifier and one or more credentials that shall be kept secret are needed. To protect the credentials in a computer environment, hardware security functionality such as Trusted Platform Module (TPM), Hardware Security Module (HSM), and secure enclaves, are used to establish a hardware root of trust.

In the case of virtualization and cloud environments, there are many layers that need to be considered to ensure the trust chain is maintained between applications and the underlying hardware. The authentication process is the base for establishing a secure communication channel, but it must trust the layers underneath to attest that the node, layer or data set has not been compromised. For example, a node could request a valid service, authenticate correctly to the system and be authorized to use that service yet still represent a malicious threat if it is running on compromised firmware.

As there are different layers between the hardware and its security functions and the application, one needs standardized interfaces and APIs to use the hardware security functions and allow those to attest to and validate the layers above. Together with standardized and interoperable APIs, there must also be a transparency to how the different layers use and provide the security functions in the chain, especially as different hardware vendors may have different security functions, capabilities or implementation variances.

O-RAN: Additional functions, interfaces and a modified architecture

Figure 1. O-RAN: Additional functions, interfaces and a modified architecture  (Source: Ericsson)

Ericsson will continue its leadership role within the O-RAN Alliance and its Security Task Group to incorporate security best practices, ensuring that new deployments are ready to meet the level of security, resilience and performance expected by service providers and their customers.
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The Open RAN Policy Coalition, a U.S. special interest (i.e. lobbying) group looking for U.S. government funding for Open RAN technology, today announced several new members (American Tower, Broadcom, GigaTera Communications, Inseego, Ligado Networks, Nvidia, RIFT, Texas Instruments and Xilinx).   Ericsson is not a member, but arch rival Nokia is.  Cloud giants AWS, Google and Facebook are members. Obviously, Chinese vendors aren’t welcome to join the Coalition. The complete Coalition membership list is here.

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Coalition members believe that by standardizing or “opening” the protocols and interfaces between the various subcomponents (radios, hardware and software) in the RAN, we move to an environment where networks can be deployed with a more modular design without being dependent upon a single vendor.   The Coalition will promote policies that:

  • Support global development of open and interoperable wireless technologies;
  • Signal government support for open and interoperable solutions;
  • Use government procurement to support vendor diversity;
  • Fund research and development;
  • Remove barriers to 5G deployment; and
  • Avoid heavy-handed or prescriptive solutions

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The FCC is scheduled to host an open RAN forum on September 14th.  FCC Chairman Pai will host experts at the forefront of the development and deployment of open, interoperable, standards-based, virtualized radio access networks to discuss this innovative new approach to 5G network architecture.

Panelists include representatives from Nokia, Parallel Wireless, Mavenir, Altiostar, HP Enterprise, Dell, VM Ware, and other would be Open RAN hardware/software vendors. But Ericsson will not be among them.

“Open and virtualized radio access networks may help operators deploy more secure, cost-effective 5G networks,” said Chairman Pai. “As part of the FCC’s 5G FAST Plan, the agency has taken many actions to promote American leadership in next generation wireless services. To that end, we want the United States to lead the way in researching and developing innovative approaches to mobile network deployment. I am pleased the FCC will convene these experts for a productive discussion about the current state of ORAN-related technologies and the path ahead.”
You can watch the live FCC forum webcast here.