ETSI MEC Standard Explained – Part II

by Dario Sabella, Intel, ETSI MEC Chair


This is Part II of a two part article series on MEC.  Part I may be accessed here.

Access to Local and Central Data Networks (DN):

Figure 5. below illustrates an example of how concurrent access to local and central DN (Data Networks) works.  In this scenario, the same UP session allows the UE to obtain content  from both the local server and central server (service continuity is enabled by IP address anchoring at the centralized UPF, with no impact on UE by using Uplink Classifier -ULCL).

Figure 5. Concurrent access to local and central Data Networks (DN)

In this context it is assumed that MEC is deployed on the N6 reference point, i.e. in a data network external to the 5G system. This is enabled by flexibility in locating the UPF. The distributed MEC host can accommodate, apart from MEC apps, a message broker as a MEC platform service, and another MEC platform service to steer traffic to local accelerators. Logically MEC hosts are deployed in the edge or central data network and it is the User Plane Function (UPF) that takes care of steering the user plane traffic towards the targeted MEC applications in the data network.

The locations of the data networks and the UPF are a choice of the network operator who may choose to place the physical computing resources based on technical and business parameters (such as available site facilities, supported applications and their requirements, measured or estimated user load etc). The MEC management system, orchestrating the operation of MEC hosts and applications, may decide dynamically where to deploy the MEC applications.

In terms of physical deployment of MEC hosts, there are multiple options available based on various operational, performance or security related requirements (for more details, see the ETSI paper “MEC in 5G networks” [6] and the more recent study on “MEC 5G integration” [7]).

Moving forward with 5G (3GPP Release 17 onwards):

Given the increase of 5G adoption, and the progressive migration of network operators towards 5G SA (Stand Alone) networks this above MEC deployment is naturally becoming a long-term option considering the evolution of the networks. A major joint opportunity for MEC 5G integration, is on one hand for MEC to benefit from the edge computing enablers of the 5G system specification, and for 3GPP ecosystem to benefit from the MEC system and its APIs as a set of complementary capabilities to enable applications and services environm5 ents in the very edge of mobile networks. IN this perspective, also in the view of more mature 5G deployments, ETSI MEC is aligning with 3GPP SA6, defining from Rel.17 an EDGEAPP architecture (ref. 3GPP TS 23.558).

In this perspective, an ETSI white paper [3] provides some first information on this ongoing alignment, which is introducing a Synergized Mobile Edge Cloud architecture supported by 3GPP and ETSI ISG MEC specifications. This is an ongoing alignment, also in the view of future Rel.18 networks, and with respect to MEC federation and the related expansion (for MEC Phase 3 specifications) from intra-MEC communication to inter-MEC and MEC-Cloud coordination (as depicted in Figure 6). A very first study in this field has been published by ETSI MEC with the ETS GR 035 report [8].

Figure 6.  MEC Phase 3: Expansion from intra-MEC to inter-MEC and MEC-Cloud

The MEC 035 study on “Inter-MEC systems and MEC-Cloud systems” was a major effort in ETSI MEC, mainly driven by the need of operators to form federated MEC environments.  For example, to achieve V2X (vehicle to X) service continuity in multi-operator scenarios, to enable edge resource sharing among the federating members, and in general offer edge computing infrastructure as an asset to provide global services benefiting of better performance and low latency environments.  Many use cases in MEC 035 are in need of MEC federation.  Many are also based on the ETSI MEC requirements in MEC 002 (e.g. use cases like “V2X multi-stakeholder scenario” and “Multi-player immersive AR game,” among others).

This work carefully aligns with a GSMA publication introducing requirements for their “Operator Platform” concept.  [The GSMA Operator Platform defines a common platform exposing operator services/capabilities to customers/developers in the 5G-era in a connect once, connect to many models. The first phase of the platform focuses on Edge which will be expanded in future phases with other capabilities such as connectivity, slicing and IPComms.]  In this scenario, multiple operators will federate their edge computing infrastructure to give application providers access to a global edge cloud which may then run innovative, distributed and low latency services through a set of common APIs.

Currently ETSI MEC is working on the related normative work to enable and support this concept of MEC Federation, by defining a suitable MEC architecture variant in MEC GS 003, updating other impacted MEC specifications in Phase 3, and by introducing proper “MEC Federation Enablement APIs” (MEC GS 040) [9].

Enablement of MEC Deployment and Ecosystem Development:

MEC adoption is critical for the ecosystem. In this perspective, ETSI ISG MEC has established a WG DECODE dedicated to MEC Deployment and Ecosystem engagement activities. As a part of that (but not limited to it!) MEC is publishing and maintaining a MEC Wiki page (, including links to several examples of MEC adoption from the ecosystem:

  • MEC Ecosystem, with 3rd party MEC Applications and Solutions
  • Proof of Concepts (PoCs), with a list and description of past and ongoing PoCs, including the ISG MEC PoC Topics and PoC Framework (and Information about process, criteria, templates….)
  • MEC Deployment Trials (MDTs), with a list and description of past and ongoing MDTs (and the MDT Framework, clarifying how to participate)

Additionally, the MEC Wiki also includes: information on MEC Hackathons, MEC Sandbox, OpenAPI publications for ETSI MEC ISG API specifications, and outreach activities (e.g. MEC Tech Series of video and podcasts).

Summary and Conclusions:

  • MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) “offers to application developers and content providers cloud-computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the network” (see Ref 1. below).
  • The nature of the ETSI MEC Standard (as emphasized by the term “Multi-access” in the MEC acronym) is access agnostic and can be applicable to any kind of deployment, from Wi-Fi to fixed networks.
  • MEC is also serving multiple use cases and providing an open and flexible standard, in support of multiple deployment options, especially for 5G networks.
  • MEC is focused on Applications at the Edge, and the specified MEC service APIs include meaningful information exposed to application developers at the network edge, ranging from RNI (Radio Network Information) API (MEC 012), WLAN API (MEC 029), Fixed Access API (MEC 028), Location API (MEC 013), Traffic Management APIs (MEC015) and many others. Additionally, new APIs (compliant with the basic MEC API principles) can be added, without the need for ETSI standardization.
  • The ongoing ETSI MEC work in alignment with 3GPP includes aspects related to MEC 5G Integration and future evolution, including the standardization work on MEC Federation.  Also, carefully aligning the MEC work with requirements from GSMA OPG (Operator Platform Group).

Finally, since MEC adoption is critical for the IT ecosystem, ETSI ISG MEC has established a WG dedicated to MEC Deployment and Ecosystem engagement activities.

There is also a dedicated MEC Wiki page ( which provides several examples of MEC adoption from the ecosystem (PoCs, trials, MEC implementations).  It also includes information on MEC Hackathons, MEC Sandbox, OpenAPI publications for ETSI MEC ISG API specifications, and outreach activities (e.g. MEC Tech Series of video and podcasts).


Previous References (from Part I):

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) Market, Applications and ETSI MEC Standard-Part I

[1]     ETSI MEC website,

[2]     ETSI GS MEC 003 V2.1.1 (2019-01): “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); Framework and Reference Architecture”,

[3]     ETSI White Paper #36, “Harmonizing standards for edge computing – A synergized architecture leveraging ETSI ISG MEC and 3GPP specifications”, First Edition, July 2020,

[4]     ETSI GS MEC 009 V3.1.1 (2021-06), “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); General principles, patterns and common aspects of MEC Service APIs”,

[5]     ETSI White Paper No. 24, “MEC Deployments in 4G and Evolution Towards 5G”, February 2018,

[6]     ETSI White Paper No. 28, “MEC in 5G network”, June 2018,

[7]     ETSI GR MEC 031 V2.1.1 (2020-10), “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); MEC 5G Integration”,

[8]     ETSI GR MEC 035 V3.1.1 (2021-06), “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); Study on Inter-MEC systems and MEC-Cloud systems coordination”,

[9]     ETSI DGS/MEC-0040FederationAPI’ Work Item, “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); Federation enablement APIs”,


Additional References:

PowerPoint Presentation (

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) Market, Applications and ETSI MEC Standard-Part I

by Dario Sabella, Intel, ETSI MEC Chair, with Alan J Weissberger

Introduction (by Alan J Weissberger):

According to Research & Markets,  the global Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) market size is anticipated to reach $23.36 billion by 2028, producing a CAGR of 42.6%.  Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) due to integration of MEC in network systems as compared to legacy systems and subsequent ability to generate faster Return on Investment (RoI) is further expected to encourage smaller retail chains to leverage MEC technology.

Multi-access Edge Computing Market Highlights (from Research & Markets):

  • The software segment is anticipated to be the fastest-growing segment owing to emerging demand among service providers to use software that can be deployed for various applications without making changes to existing 3GPP hardware infrastructure specifications.
  • The energy and utilities segment is expected to witness the fastest growth rate over the forecast period owing to increasing demand among companies to quickly access insights and analyze data generated from remote locations
  • The Asia Pacific region is expected to emerge as the fastest-growing regional market due to strong support from the government to encourage advanced network infrastructure

A few important MEC applications/ use cases include:

  • Streaming video and pay TV: Increasing number of users adopting the Over the Top (OTT) video delivery model is expected to promote telecom companies and mobile networks to upgrade their existing infrastructure to cache video/audio content closer to the user.  Using the multi-access edge computing (MEC) architecture system brings backend functionality closer to the user network, which is expected to aid Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPD) to meet their customers’ demands.  Users pay subscription fees for a specified duration of time to access the content offered by the MVPD.
  • Deployment of MEC technology is expected to enable retail and on line stores to improve the performance of in-store systems and reduce data processing time, thus ensuring faster resolving of customer grievances. Furthermore, adoption of this technology is expected to reduce the load on external macro sites, thus offering a seamless in-store experience for users.
  • Increasing number of IoT devices and the emerging need to gain access to real-time analysis of data generated by them is expected to drive MEC market growth. Leveraging this technology in IoT can facilitate reduced pressure on cloud networks and result in lower energy consumption, which is expected to offer significant growth opportunities to the market.
  • Multi-access edge computing is expected to enhance manufacturing practices and thus facilitate the advent of connected cars ecosystem. Connected cars are equipped with computing systems, wireless devices, and sensing, which have to work together in a coordinated fashion, thus facilitating the need to adopt MEC.
  • 5G MEC technology can be used to exchange critical operational and safety information to enhance efficiency, safety, and enhance value-added services such as smart parking and car finder.

Previously referred to as Mobile Edge Computing, MEC raises a lot of questions.  For example:

  • Can MEC be used with wireline and fixed access networks?
  • Is 5G Stand Alone (SA) core network with separate control, data, and management planes required for MEC to be effective?
  • Finally, why should MEC (and multi-cloud) matter to infrastructure owners and application developers?

Dario Sabella, Intel, ETSI MEC Chair, answers those questions and provides more context and color in his two part article.


ETSI MEC Standard Explained, by Dario Sabella, Intel, ETSI MEC Chair

ETSI MEC – Foundation for Edge Computing:

MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) “offers to application developers and content providers cloud-computing capabilities and an IT service environment at the edge of the network” [1].

The MEC ISG (Industry Specification Group) was established by ETSI to create an open standard for edge computing, allowing multiple implementations and ensuring interoperability across a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders: from mobile operators, application developers, Over the Top (OTT) players, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), telecom equipment vendors, IT platform vendors, system integrators, and technology providers; all of these parties are interested in delivering services based on Multi-access Edge Computing concepts.

The work of the MEC initiative (see the architecture in Figure 1. above) aims to unite the telco and IT-cloud worlds, providing IT and cloud-computing capabilities at the edge: operators can open their network edge to authorized third parties, allowing them to flexibly and rapidly deploy innovative applications and services towards mobile subscribers, enterprises and vertical segments (e.g. automotive).

Author’s Note:

From a deployment point of view, a natural question is “where exactly is the edge?”  In this perspective, the ETSI MEC architecture supports all possible options, ranging from customer premises, 1st wireless base station/small cell, 1st network compute point of presence, internet resident data center/compute server or edge of the core network. The MEC standard is flexible, and the actual and specific MEC deployment is really an implementation choice from the infrastructure owners.

Additionally, the MEC architecture (shown in Figure 2 and defined in the MEC 003 specification [2]) has been designed in such a way that a number of different deployment options of MEC systems are possible:

  1.  The MEC 003 specification includes also a MEC in NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) variant, which is a MEC architecture that instantiates MEC applications and NFV virtualized network functions on the same virtualization infrastructure, and to reuse ETSI NFV MANO components to fulfil a part of the MEC management and orchestration tasks. This MEC deployment in NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) is also coherent with the progressive virtualization of networks.
  2. In that perspective, MEC deployment in 5G networks is  a main scenario of applicability (note that the MEC standard is aligned with 3GPP specifications [3]).
  3. On the other hand, the nature of the ETSI MEC Standard (as emphasized by the term “Multi-access” in the MEC acronym) is access agnostic and can be applicable to any kind of deployment, from Wi-Fi to fixed networks.
  4. A major effort of the MEC standardization work is dedicated to publishing relevant and industry-driven exemplary specifications of MEC service APIs, that are using RESTful principles, thus exposed to application developers in a universally recognized language.
Figure 2.

Figure 2.  MEC Application Development Community

The ETSI MEC initiative is focused on Applications at the Edge, and the specified MEC APIs (see above Figure 2.) include meaningful information exposed to application developers at the network edge, ranging from RNI (Radio Network Information) API (MEC 012), WLAN API (MEC 029), Fixed Access API (MEC 028), Location API (MEC 013), Traffic Management APIs (MEC015) and many others.

Additionally, new APIs (compliant with the basic MEC API principles [4]) can be added, without the need of being standardized in ETSI.

In this perspective, MEC truly provides a new ecosystem and value chain, by opening up the market to third parties, and allowing not only operators and cloud providers but any authorized software developers that can flexibly and rapidly deploy innovative applications and services towards mobile subscribers, enterprises and vertical segments.

MEC in 4G (and 5G NSA) Deployments:

ETSI has already clarified how MEC can be deployed in 4G networks, given its access-agnostic nature [5], with many approaches:

From “bump in the wire” (where the MEC sits on the S1 interface of the 4G system architecture), to “distributed 4G-Evolved Packet Core” (EPC -where the MEC data plane sits on the SGi interface), to “distributed S/PGW” (where the control plane functions such as the MME and HSS are located at the operator’s core site) and “distributed SGW with Local Breakout” (SGW-LBO) -where the MEC system and the distributed SGW are co-located at the network’s edge.

Figure 3.  MEC deployment options with distributed EPC (a), distributed S/PGW (b) and SGW-LBO (c)

Depending on the selected solution, MEC Handover is executed in different ways:

In the “bump in the wire approach,” mobility is not natively supported. Instead, in the EPC MEC, SGW + PGW MEC, and CUPS MEC, the MEC handover is supported using 3GPP specified S1 Handover with SGW relocation by maintaining the original PGW as anchor.

The same considerations apply for the SGW-LBO MEC deployment. In the latter case, the target SGW enforces the same policy towards the local MEC application.

Finally, the solutions that include an EPC gateway, such as EPC MEC, SGW+PGW MEC, SGW-LBO MEC, and CUPS MEC are compliant with LI (Lawful Interception) requirements.

This last aspect is also very relevant for MEC adoption, since public telecommunications network and service providers are legally required to make available to law enforcement authorities information from their retained data which is necessary for the authorities to be able to monitor telecommunications traffic as part of criminal investigations.

In that perspective, MEC deployment options are also chosen by infrastructure owners in the view of their compliance to Lawful Interception requirements.

Distributed SGW with Local Breakout (SGW-LBO):

A mainstream for the adoption of MEC is given by the progressive introduction of 5G networks.

Among the various 5G deployment options, local breakout at the SGWs (Figure 3c above) is a solution for MEC that originated from operators’ desire to have a greater control on the granularity of the traffic that needs to be steered. This principle was dictated by the need to have the users able to reach both the MEC applications and the operator’s core site application in a selective manner over the same APN.

The traffic steering uses the SGi – Local Break Out interface which supports traffic separation and allows the same level of security as the network operator expects from a 3GPP-compliant solution.

This solution allows the operator to specify traffic filters similar to the uplink classifiers in 5G, which are used for traffic steering. The local breakout architecture also supports MEC host mobility, extension to the edge of CDN, push applications that requires paging and ultra-low latency use cases.

The SGW selection process performed by MMEs is according to the 3GPP specifications and based on the geographical location of UEs (Tracking Areas) as provisioned in the operator’s DNS.

The SGW-LBO offers the possibility to steer traffic based on any operator-chosen combination of the policy sets, such as APN and user identifier, packet’s 5-tuple, and other IP level parameters including IP version and DSCP marking.

Integrated MEC deployment in 5G networks (3GPP Release 15 and later):

Edge computing has been identified as one of the key  technologies required to support low latency together with mission critical and future IoT services. This was considered in the initial 3GPP requirements, and the 5G system was designed from the beginning to provide efficient and flexible support for edge computing to enable superior performance and quality of experience.

In that perspective, the design approach taken by 3GPP allows the mapping of MEC onto Application Functions (AF) that can use the services and information offered by other 3GPP network functions based on the configured policies.

In addition, a number of enabling functionalities were defined to provide flexible support for different deployments of MEC and to support MEC in case of user mobility events. The new 5G architecture (and MEC deployment as AF) is depicted in the Figure 4 below.

Figure 4. – MEC as an AF (Application Function) in 5G system architecture

In this deployment scenario, MEC as an AF (Application Function) can request the 5GC (5G Core network) to select a local UPF (User Plane Function) near the target RAN node.  Then use the local UPF for PDU sessions of the target UE(s) and to control the traffic forwarding from the local UPF so that the UL traffic matching with the traffic filters received from MEC (AF) is diverted towards MEC hosts while other traffic is sent to the Central Cloud.

In case of UE mobility, the 5GC can re-select a new local UPF more suitable to handle application traffic identified by MEC (AF) and notify the AF about the new serving UPF.

In summary, MEC as an AF can provide the following services with a 5GC:

  • Traffic filters identifying MEC applications deployed locally on MEC hosts in Edge Cloud
  • Target UEs (one UE identified by its IP/MAC address, a group of UE, any UE)
  • Information about forwarding the identified traffic further e.g. references to tunnels toward MEC hosts


Part II. of this two part article will illustrate and explain concurrent access to local and central Data Networks.  The enablement of MEC deployments and ecosystem development will also be presented.

Importantly, Part II will explain how MEC is evolving to the next phase of 5G– 3GPP Release 17.  In particular, ETSI MEC is aligning with 3GPP SA6 which is defining an EDGEAPP architecture (ref. 3GPP TS 23.558). 

Part II will also explain how MEC is evolving to multi-cloud support in alignment with GSMA OPG requirements for the MEC Federation work. 

ETSI MEC Standard Explained – Part II



1.  Introduction:

PowerPoint Presentation (

2.  Main body of this article (Part I and II):

[1]     ETSI MEC website,

[2]     ETSI GS MEC 003 V2.1.1 (2019-01): “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); Framework and Reference Architecture”,

[3]     ETSI White Paper #36, “Harmonizing standards for edge computing – A synergized architecture leveraging ETSI ISG MEC and 3GPP specifications”, First Edition, July 2020,

[4]     ETSI GS MEC 009 V3.1.1 (2021-06), “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); General principles, patterns and common aspects of MEC Service APIs”,

[5]     ETSI White Paper No. 24, “MEC Deployments in 4G and Evolution Towards 5G”, February 2018,

[6]     ETSI White Paper No. 28, “MEC in 5G network”, June 2018,

[7]     ETSI GR MEC 031 V2.1.1 (2020-10), “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); MEC 5G Integration”,

[8]     ETSI GR MEC 035 V3.1.1 (2021-06), “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); Study on Inter-MEC systems and MEC-Cloud systems coordination”,

[9]     ETSI DGS/MEC-0040FederationAPI’ Work Item, “Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC); Federation enablement APIs”,


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



Performance analysis of big 3 U.S. mobile operators; 5G is disappointing customers

Speedtest Intelligence® from Ookla reveals T-Mobile was the fastest mobile operator in the United States during Q1 2021 with a Speed Score™ of 50.21 on modern chipsets. AT&T was second and Verizon Wireless third.

Note that this is the first quarter Ookla is reporting on the country as a whole, rather than using competitive geographies. Ookla says that expanding its focus to include rural areas will show drops in performance, decreasing speed and increasing latency when compared with prior reports.

In Q1 2021, T-Mobile had the fastest median 5G network download speed in the U.S. at 82.35 Mbps. AT&T was second at 76.60 Mbps and Verizon Wireless third at 67.24 Mbps. For a complete view of commercially available 5G deployments in the U.S. to-date, visit the Ookla 5G Map™.

Ookla discovered that during Q1 2021 that T-Mobile subscribers with 5G-capable devices were connected to a 5G service 65.4% of the time. 5G “time spent” on Verizon Wireless’ network was at 36.2% and at 31% on AT&T’s network.

In measuring each operator’s ability to provide consistent speeds, Ookla found that T-Mobile had the highest Consistency Score™ in the U.S. during Q1 2021, with 84.8% of results showing at least 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds. AT&T was second and Verizon Wireless third. All three U.S. mobile carriers were above 80% in terms of consistency.

Here’s the current status of Worldwide median 5G Speeds as of Q3-2022:


Earlier this week a new report from becnhmarking company Rootmetrics found that T-Mobile US is leading in 5G availability across U.S. cities. Rootmetrics found that AT&T’s 5G provides the best performance, and AT&T and Verizon both won high marks for 5G reliability.

“While we’ve seen strong and improving 5G availability and speeds from the carriers in many cities, it’s important to keep in mind that with the major U.S. networks utilizing different types of spectrum for 5G, the 5G availability and speeds that consumers experience can vary a great deal for different carriers across or even within different markets,” Rootmetrics concluded.

Rootmetrics tested 5G networks in 45 cities across the U.S. between January and March of this year. It recorded at least some 5G availability from all three carriers in nearly all of them. T-Mobile US was the only carrier with a 5G network presence in all 45 of the cities, AT&T had 5G service in 44 out of the 45, and Rootmetrics saw 5G availability for Verizon in 43 out of the 45 cities.

The availability of T-Mobile’s 5G was one common theme across both testing reports. Rootmetrics’ testing, conducted in the first half of 2021, said that T-Mobile had 5G availability in all 45 of the markets it tested and showed the highest percentages of 5G availability in the most markets: More than 55% availability in 30 markets, with the lowest tested market being Sarasota, FL, where Rootmetrics’ testing showed T-Mo 5G available for a device to connect to only about 19% of the time.


Separately, Light Reading’s Mike Dano writes that “AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile offer unlimited 5G disappointment.”  In a subhead titled, “T-Muddle” Dano writes:

In 2019, T-Mobile boasted that “5G speed will be up to 10x faster, compared to LTE.” But when it first launched its 5G network on its lowband 600MHz spectrum, speeds were only 20% faster than its LTE network. Then, after T-Mobile closed its acquisition of Sprint’s 2.5GHz midband spectrum, it quickly began offering 5G speeds up to 1Gbit/s. The operator even debuted a new 5G lexicon for its offerings: “5G Ultra Capacity” refers to its speedy 2.5GHz network, while “Extended Range 5G” refers to its slower 600MHz network.

So it would stand to reason that customers might want to see which flavor of T-Mobile 5G they can access, right? A quick check of T-Mobile’s coverage map reveals none of these details. The operator only offers a generic “5G” coverage layer that does not provide details about whether it’s 600MHz or 2.5GHz. One is slightly faster than LTE while the other provides average speeds of 300Mbit/s. Prospective T-Mobile customers are left in the dark.

T-Mobile isn’t the only operator seemingly content to hide behind 5G obfuscation. AT&T has debuted no fewer than three different 5G brands – 5G+, 5Ge and 5G – yet it does not offer any details to prospective customers about how it might charge for those offerings. The operator’s pricing plans mention only “5G” and do not specify whether that means 5G+, 5Ge or 5G, or all three.

Regarding Verizon’s 5G pricing plans, Dano stated:

The operator offers a truly dizzying array of 5G plans and pricing options – one observer described Verizon’s pricing plans as “a series of nesting dolls.”

In 5G, Verizon is reserving its faster “Ultra Wideband” technology only for its expensive unlimited plans. Customers on its cheapest Start Unlimited plan can either pay $10 extra for 5G specifically, or they can spend that same $10 to upgrade to a more expensive unlimited plan that offers 5G as well as other goodies, such as more mobile hotspot data. Why the two different upgrade options? “We always like to give customers choices,” explained a Verizon spokesperson.

But what that really means is that customers are simply left to fend for themselves. They’re left to pick from among a dizzying number of pricing options, all promising “unlimited” data, but all limiting that data in various ways. Customers are left to figure out why messages from iPhones to Android phones won’t show delivery receipts. They’re left to discover why they’re still receiving robocalls, and what they might need to do to block them. They’re left to uncover what kind of 5G they can get and whether it’s any different from 4G.

In conclusion, Dano says that “AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile continue to be very interested in outdoing one another in their 5G pricing schemes and big, new network claims.” However, they’re not succeeding in pleasing their customers who remain frustrated and disappointed.

Cartoon courtesy of long time IEEE contributor Geoff Thompson:



Ookla speed tests peg T-Mo as having fastest 5G


Work from Home Reality Impacts Market for New Networking Technologies

SOURCE: Bigleaf Networks


Hype around next generation wireless standards (e.g. WiFi6/IEEE 802.11ax, 5G: ITU-R IMT 2020.SPECS/3GPP Release 16)  has become a distraction, according to Bigleaf Networks founder and CEO, Joel Mulkey.  Marketers are promoting these new technologies which sacrifice reliability to push faster speeds that are mostly useless in the new work from home era.

Mulkey and Bigleaf Vice President of Product, Jonathan Petkevich, looked into the reality behind the marketing hype around 5G and WiFi 6, as well as other networking trends such as satellite networks and artificial intelligence, in a wide-ranging panel discussion hosted for the company’s customers, partners, and agents.

As IT leaders look to regain their footing in 2021, many tech conversations that were trending at the beginning of 2020 picked up where they left off, while other trends emerged. Below are selected highlights from Mulkey and Petkevich’s conversation:

The Work From Home Reality:
“If you look at some of the Stay-At-Home mandates that have happened over the course of 2020, we estimate that about 85 million people are working from home, and that’s a big shift towards where we were at the start of 2020,” said Mulkey. “Starting at about the mid-March timeframe, 88% of organizations asked employees or required employees to work from home. About 57% of the US workforce started to work from home on a regular basis. So that was a big shift towards most people working in the office, with a few people working remotely in regional or local areas. And a lot of organizations have been talking about how they’re switching to a more long-term remote work-from-home strategy.”

Adapting to this new work from home reality meant frantically moving technology to the cloud. Part of that shift meant IT and network infrastructure teams needed to revamp their networks to support the connection reliability and application performance required in this kind of new normal.

“You need to have a healthy path between the device you’re using and the cloud server, otherwise you’re not going to have a usable experience,” said Mulkey. “One of the things we’re seeing companies running into is a sudden realization that quality of connectivity is really important.”

The Danger of WiFi 6:
According to Gartner, WiFi (IEEE 802.11) is the primary high performance network technology that companies will use through 2024. Today, roughly 96% of organizations use some form of wireless technology with many of those companies looking to move to faster versions of those networking capabilities in the next couple of years. Mulkey and Petkevich say the hype is hurting companies.

“Ensuring that you have technology that’s built on the latest standards makes sense,” said Petkevich. “I don’t know that 5G or WiFi 6 are drastically changing how a business operates day-to-day. There’s a little bit of over-hype around the speed and performance and some of the promise that’s with both of these.”

WiFi 6 is a bit misplaced in our industry’s priorities and 5G is a marketing mess,” said Mulkey.  “WiFi 6 is good for really dense, high bandwidth needs. So if you have an office with 1,000 people in a small area or you’re trying to provide WiFi offload in a stadium, WiFi 6 has technologies that will help you out. But if you’re a normal person and you’ve got a house with a couple of kids and you need to make sure your WiFi doesn’t drop-out when you’re on Zoom calls, I don’t see WiFi 6 moving the needle there. In fact, I think it’s harmful. The WiFi industry has become so focused on a story of faster, faster, faster, that the pace of innovation comes at the sacrifice of reliability. What you really need is stable WiFi connectivity that doesn’t drop out, that deals really well with roaming, that has some more intelligence to the quality of connectivity rather than prioritizing speed.”

5G Hype and Rural America:
“Now, 5G is interesting because there’s some really promising stuff there,” continued Mulkey. “Imagine if you didn’t even need WiFi, you just had always-on connectivity from all your devices at say, 100 megabits a second. That was the vision cast for it. The problem is, it’s almost all hype. What you need for the really high speeds is millimeter wave connectivity, which is really only going to be available in dense urban areas. So the folks that absolutely need good 5G today in rural areas or suburban areas without good landline connectivity, are probably not gonna get that millimeter wave behavior, surely not in rural areas.”

“We really have most of the benefits, if not all of them, with 4G today, so the evolution from a 4G to 5G in these longer distance connections is minimal to nothing,” added Mulkey. “It’s just a marketing term slapped on 4G. Now, 4G has gotten better since your phone first said 4G on it, but you’re not going to magically be able to stream 3D Star Wars style holograms because your phone has a 5G icon on it. That may come some day, but it won’t be 2021.”

Those who have the toughest time with WAN internet connectivity are those in rural areas or suburban areas that have been abandoned by the telecom and cable operators. An area Mulkey and Petkevich see low Earth orbit satellite networks moving beyond hype.

“The issue with traditional satellites is latency,” said Petkevich. “Starlink fixes that. So it’ll be interesting to see that play out in 2021.”

Artificial Intelligence in the Network:
44% of IT decision-makers believe that AI and machine learning can help companies optimize their network performance, and more than 50% identify AI as a priority investment needed to deliver their ideal network and make things work for them.

“There are two main ways that AI is in use today. You have a consumer-facing flavor — Siri on my iPhone, or the way that Google can find me images of apples; and then you have the hidden AI that nobody knows about —  the instantaneous response of a Google search, where they’ve built smart technology that would fall under the definitions of AI to make sure that your request for Google gets to the right server from the right path and gets back to you as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Mulkey. “Those technologies are available today. The challenge is they’re not available to the everyday person. This is an area where we, ourselves, have dedicated people and resources to figure out, ‘How can we make our network behave in an autonomous manner far better than it could if there were just people controlling it?'”

“There’s a kind of a misconception that when we talk about AI, the first thought is all the wonderful movies that have come out over the years,” quipped Petkevich. “Where we are today is there’s a lot of innovation going on to make this more tangible and more practical for businesses to use on the smaller scale, and not reserve it for the large enterprises of the world, and make it more generally available. This is definitely an area where a technology is moving beyond its hype.”

About Bigleaf Networks:
Bigleaf Networks is the intelligent networking service that optimizes Internet and Cloud performance by dynamically choosing the best connection based on real-time usage and diagnostics. Inspired by the natural architecture of leaves, the Bigleaf Cloud-first SD-WAN platform leverages redundant connections for optimal traffic re-routing, failover and load-balancing. The company is dedicated to providing a better Internet experience and ensuring peace of mind with simple implementation, friendly support and powerful technology. Founded in 2012, Bigleaf Networks is investor-backed, with service across North America.

Bigleaf combines a simple on-site installation, intelligent hands-off operations, and redundancy at every level to turn commodity broadband connections into a worry-free, Enterprise-grade connection to your applications.



Tutorial on Advanced Antenna Systems (AAS) for 5G Networks

Editor’s Note:

Rec. ITU‑R M.2101 uses the term AAS to mean Advanced Antenna System(s), while 3GPP uses the term AAS to mean Active Antenna System (s).


Advanced antenna systems (AAS) is the general term used to describe antenna systems utilizing techniques aiming at improving performance and spectral efficiency of radiocommunication transceivers taking advantage of antenna array theory and practice.

These techniques include adaptive beamforming, multiple input multiple output (MIMO), and space division multiple access (SDMA) among other ones. These multi-antenna techniques are generally applicable to any frequency band or radio application and can be implemented using passive or active antennas.

In higher frequency bands, such as those around the millimetric wave bands, active advanced antenna systems are the prevalent technology choice.

  • Smart antennas
  • Adaptive beamforming
  • Phased arrays
  • Spatial multiplexing and MIMO
  • Space Division Multiple Access (SDMA)
  • Active and passive antennas
  • Antenna Array Theory

Basic concepts:

Multiple antennas can be arranged in space in specific configurations to form a highly directive pattern. These arrangements are referred to as “arrays.”  In an array antenna, the fields from the individual elements add constructively in some directions and destructively (cancel) in others thus creating an overall array radiation pattern different from that of the individual elements.

The major advantage of antenna arrays over a single antenna element is their electronic scanning capability; that is, the major lobe can be steered toward any direction by changing the phase of the excitation current at each array element (phased array antennas). Furthermore, by also controlling the magnitude of the excitation current, a large variety of radiation patterns and sidelobe level characteristics can be produced. Adaptive antennas (also called “smart antennas” in mobile communication applications) go a step further than phased arrays and can direct their main lobe (with increased gain) in a desired direction (e.g., a mobile user in a cellular communication system) and nulls in the directions of interference or jammers.

AAS enables state-of-the-art beamforming and MIMO techniques that are powerful tools for improving end-user experience, capacity and coverage. As a result, AAS significantly enhances network performance in both uplink and downlink. Finding the most suitable AAS variants to achieve performance gains and cost efficiency in a specific network deployment requires an understanding of the characteristics of both AAS and of multi-antenna features.

Multi-antenna techniques

Multi-antenna techniques, here referred to as AAS features, include beamforming and MIMO. Such features are already used with conventional systems in today’s LTE networks. Applying AAS features to an AAS radio results in significant performance gains because of the higher degrees of freedom provided by the larger number of radio chains, also referred to as Massive MIMO.


When transmitting, beamforming is the ability to direct radio energy through the radio channel toward a specific receiver, as shown in the top left quadrant of Figure 1. By adjusting the phase and amplitude of the transmitted signals, constructive addition of the corresponding signals at the UE receiver can be achieved, which increases the received signal strength and thus the end-user throughput. Similarly, when receiving, beamforming is the ability to collect the signal energy from a specific transmitter. The beams formed by an AAS are constantly adapted to the surroundings to give high performance in both UL and DL.


Although often very effective, transmitting energy in only one direction does not always provide an optimum solution. In multi-path scenarios, where the radio channel comprises multiple propagation paths from transmitter to receiver through diffraction around corners and reflections against buildings or other objects, it is beneficial to send the same data stream in several different paths (direction and/or polarization) with phases and amplitudes controlled in a way that they add constructively at the receiver. This is referred to as generalized beamforming, as shown in the upper right quadrant of Figure 1. As part of generalized beamforming, it is also possible to reduce interference to other UEs, which is known as null forming. This is achieved by controlling the transmitted signals in a way that they cancel each other out at the interfered UEs.

MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) techniques:

Spatial multiplexing, here referred to as MIMO, is the ability to transmit multiple data streams, using the same time and frequency resource, where each data stream can be beamformed. The purpose of MIMO is to increase throughput. MIMO builds on the basic principle that when the received signal quality is high, it is better to receive multiple streams of data with reduced power per stream, than one stream with full power. The potential is large when the received signal quality is high and the streams do not interfere with each other. The potential diminishes when the mutual interference between streams increases. MIMO works in both UL and DL, but for simplicity the description below will be based on the DL.

Single-user MIMO (SU-MIMO) is the ability to transmit one or multiple data streams, called layers, from one transmitting array to a single user. SU-MIMO can thereby increase the throughput for that user and increase the capacity of the network. The number of layers that can be supported, called the rank, depends on the radio channel. To distinguish between DL layers, a UE needs to have at least as many receiver antennas as there are layers.

SU-MIMO can be achieved by sending different layers on different polarizations in the same direction. SU-MIMO can also be achieved in a multi path environment, where there are many radio propagation paths of similar strength between the AAS and the UE, by sending different layers on different propagation paths, as shown in the bottom left quadrant of Figure 1.

In multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO), which is shown in the bottom right quadrant of Figure 1. above, the AAS simultaneously sends different layers in separate beams to different users using the same time and frequency resource, thereby increasing the network capacity. In order to use MU-MIMO, the system needs to find two or more users that need to transmit or receive data at the very same time. Also, for efficient MU-MIMO, the interference between the users should be kept low. This can be achieved by using generalized beamforming with null forming such that when a layer is sent to one user, nulls are formed in the directions of the other simultaneous users.

The achievable capacity gains from MU-MIMO depend on receiving each layer with good signal-to-interference-and-noise-ratio (SINR). As with SU-MIMO, the total DL power is shared between the different layers, and therefore the power (and thus SINR) for each user is reduced as the number of simultaneous MU-MIMO users increases.  As the number of users grows, the SINR will further deteriorate due to mutual interference between the users. The wireless network capacity (the number of devices that can use a wireless network at the same time and the bandwidth consumed) typically improves as the number of MIMO layers increases, to a point at which power sharing and interference between users result in diminishing gains, and eventually losses.

It should be noted that the practical benefits of many layers in MU-MIMO are limited by the fact that in today’s real networks, even with a high number of simultaneous connected users, there tends not to be many users who want to receive data simultaneously. This is due to the bursty (chatty) nature of data transmission to most users. Since the AAS and the transport network must be dimensioned for the maximum number of layers, the MNO needs to consider how many layers are required in their networks. In typical MBB deployments with the current 64T64R AAS variants, the vast majority of the DL and UL capacity gains can be achieved with up to 8 layers.


Upstart Wytec International 5G small cell technology for cable operators

Wytec International, Inc., a small San Antonio based technology company with with 11 employees, is ramping up to bring 5G mobile wireless services to cable operators.  The company wants to upend the MVNO industry in the U.S. so that cable operators are able to compete on par with mobile carriers. That means removing excess costs with which cable operators currently contend.  Wytec owns patented small cell technology now recognized as a key component to delivering 5G fixed and mobile wireless services.

“Our 5G mobile services, offered through a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Agreement, will include a three-option plan designed for cable operators to “compete on par” with U.S. mobile carriers,” comments William Gray, CEO of Wytec.

Since the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded Wytec its small cell patent known as the Light-Pole Node (LPN-16) on September 15th 2017, Wytec has been testing its unique features, capable of supporting a robust, “neutral host” dense wireless network, utilizing utility poles as its distribution access throughout America’s cities.  This feature collaborates exceptionally well with cable operators due to its existing utility pole access. In conjunction with its LPN-16 technology, Wytec’s MVNO solution includes carrier “roaming agreements” allowing cable subscribers access to a worldwide mobile network.

Wytec is nearing completion of a multi-test trial in the Central Business District (CBD) of Columbus, Ohio in preparation of securing its first MVNO Agreement to prospective cable operators in early March of 2020.

As Robert Merola, Wytec’s Chief Technology Officer and President of Wytec, states, “Our initial network deployment originates from one of the top ten Tier One providers in the U.S. and will expand accordingly in support of multiple MVNO cable operators throughout the U.S. We are excited to provide 5G services to the cable industry.”

Wytec has invested more than five years advancing its intellectual property related to fixed and mobile wireless distribution. In September of 2017 Wytec was awarded a “utility” patent on its LPN-16 Small Cell technology from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) clearing a path for the development of its first 5G network deployment in Columbus, Oho.

City of Columbus, <br />Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, OH is the site of Wytec’s first 5G trial


In June of 2019, the FCC awarded an “experimental use” license to Wytec for the testing of the newly issued Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum operating in the 3.5 GHz frequency band. The company plans to add fifteen (15) additional markets under an agreement with the sixth largest cable operator in the U.S. (unnamed).

Wytec has been funding its LPN-16 R&D through private Regulation D 506c PPM Offerings (Wytec’s Pre-IPO Offering) to accredited investors and subsequently filed an SEC S-1 registration (Now Effective) in preparation for listing its shares on a public market.

About Wytec

Wytec International, Inc. is a facilities-based wireless operator located in San Antonio, Texas with wireless networks located in San Antonio, TexasColumbus, Ohio; and Denver, Colorado. Wytec owns six wireless patents with its latest patent focused on 5G small cell technology called the LPN-16. Wytec was named one of San Antonio’s Best Tech Startups in 2018 and 2020 by The Tech Tribune. Learn more at

Media Contact:
Brianna Lohse, Media Relations
(210) 233-8980
[email protected]


China’s telecom carriers to play a pioneering role in 5G; China Telecom and China Unicom may be barred from U.S.

by Ma Si <[email protected]> of China Daily Multimedia Co. Ltd.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association, and a keen observer of the telecom sector for nearly two decades, said: “Chinese telecom companies have made big strides in their innovation capabilities, through their consistent and heavy input into research and development. They have strong willingness to pioneer cutting-edge applications.”

Four of the world’s top six smartphone makers – Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo – are Chinese. In 2018, the country produced 1.8 billion smartphones, accounting for 90 percent of global production, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed.

Their decades of efforts have helped nurture the world’s largest online population in a single nation – the 854 million strong Chinese netizens (as of June). That is more than the combined population of European countries. More importantly, more than 99 per cent of netizens in China surf the internet through smartphones.


Vistors try 5G phones at an international expo on June 20, 2019. [Photo by Liu Chenghe/For China Daily]


Wu Jichuan, 82, a former head of the former Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, said handsets are becoming almost omnipresent in the country. They can help users do almost everything from buying movie tickets, booking hospital or clinic appointments to ordering meals.

“That was in sharp contrast to 1980’s when mobile communication services were first brought to China. Back then, only successful Chinese businesspeople were able to use brick-sized, palm-filling mobile phones,” Wu recalled.

Such phones, however, were capable of just two functions: making and receiving calls. Yet, they were luxury products of the time. A handset could cost as much as about 20,000 yuan ($2,798). Consumers had to pay an extra fee of 6,000 yuan to sign up for the telecom network services. Calls cost 5 jiao a minute. In comparison, the average salary of ordinary people was no more than 100 yuan a month, Wu said.

According to Wu, one of the biggest contributions of China’s telecom industry is that it laid down a sound digital infrastructure for companies and consumers to access fast internet networks at affordable prices. They laid the foundation for China’s kaleidoscope of mobile applications and thriving digital economy.

Leveraging these achievements, the country’s telecom carriers are scrambling to establish a beachhead in the 5G era, in which almost everything can be connected to the internet.

As at the end of May, Chinese companies accounted for more than 30 percent of all patents essential to the global standards for 5G. After the country granted the commercial 5G licenses in June, local telecom carriers are working to build a sound network infrastructure to accelerate the technology’s commercialization.

Yang Jie, chairman of China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile operator, said the company plans to cover 50 cities across China with 5G signals by the end of this year.

“That will involve deploying 50,000 5G base stations across the country,” Yang said, adding that the company has already raised 7 billion yuan as the first phase of a 5G fund to promote the development of key technologies. The planned total size of the fund is 30 billion yuan.

Similarly, China Unicom said it will cover at least 40 cities with 5G signals by the end of this year and work together with all industry partners, including foreign companies, to accelerate 5G infrastructure construction.

Just a day after securing its 5G license, China Unicom announced it had opened experience stores across 40 cities to encourage consumers to try applications powered by the superfast technology.

Visitors can play with mechanical robotic arms, watch 4K high-definition live-streaming, wear virtual reality goggles to play 3-D games and learn that with 5G, doctors can complete surgeries on patients 2,500 kilometers away.

Lyu Tingjie, a telecom professor at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said: “After all the hype about 5G, the new era has finally started. All the state-of-the-art applications are getting closer to the public than ever. The next question is: How to better time the rollout and partner with a wide range of traditional sectors to boost efficiency?”

The country’s telecom carriers are expected to spend 900 billion yuan to 1.5 trillion yuan on 5G network construction from 2020 to 2025, according to a report from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

The first batch of 5G smartphones hit the market in August. China Unicom said its 5G data packages will cost a minimum of 190 yuan, arguably the world’s lowest price, in its first stage of application.

In comparison, the minimum cost in South Korea’s 5G data packages is about 325 yuan per month, while US telecom operator AT&T charges users $70 (equivalent to 498 yuan) for 15-gigabytes of 5G data every 30 days.

Consumers visit the booth of China Telecom as the company’s Shanghai branch launches a promotion called “Buy 5G mobile phones and enjoy 5G network.” [Photo by Ying Liqing/China News]


Meanwhile, Chinese telecom equipment makers are securing a growing number of 5G contracts to supply foreign telecom carriers. Huawei said it had signed 50 commercial contracts for 5G with carriers worldwide, with 28 contracts from Europe, 11 from the Middle East, six from the Asia-Pacific region, four from the Americas, and one from Africa.

According to a forecast by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association, an industry group, China is set to become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025, with 460 million 5G users.


Sidebar:  Huawei

In 2003, when Huawei Technologies Co, then known more as a manufacturer of telecom equipment like switches, and base stations, decided to set up a mobile phones department, China was still using 2G, or the second-generation wireless technology.  Back then, only a fraction of consumers could use cellular phones to surf the internet. And it took them about five seconds or longer to open a web page.

Sixteen years later, Huawei is the world’s second-largest smartphone maker. Its 5G-enabled handsets can download heavy data files – say, a 1 GB movie – in seconds. That’s just a glimpse of the commercial possibilities in the 5G era, which China kicked off in June.

From a virtual non-entity in the global mobile phones market to a world-renowned company, Huawei’s rise has been meteoric, and it coincided with the development of China’s telecommunications industry.

Huawei, however, is just one of the many Chinese telecom companies that have thrived on the global stage in recent years, helping the country to transform from a follower during the period of 2G and 3G to a pioneer in the 5G era.

William Xu, a director on Huawei’s board and president of the Institute of Strategic Research, said the company has had more than 200,000 5G base stations in shipment, which marked a steady step forward, compared with its earlier announcement of 150,000 base stations in late June.

Huawei has invested about $4 billion in all so far in the research and development of 5G since 2009.Founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has said in an interview that other players will not be able to catch up with Huawei in 5G over the next two to three years.


Senators Urge F.C.C. to Review Licenses of 2 Chinese Telecom Companies:

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York along with Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, cited national security concerns in a letter to the FCC which asked the commission to review the licenses that giveChina Telecom and China Unicom, the right to use networks in the United States. In the letter, they said that the two Chinese government-linked telecom operators could use that access to “target” Americans’ communications. And they warned that the companies could reroute communications traveling on their networks through China. The text of the letter was obtained by The New York Times.

Brian Hart, an F.C.C. spokesman, said that Ajit Pai, the F.C.C. chairman, had made it clear that the agency was “reviewing other Chinese communications companies such as China Telecom and China Unicom” but didn’t commit to opening a formal proceeding to look at the licenses.

China Telecom denied that it represents a national security threat to the United States. China Unicom did not respond to a request for comment.

“We make the protection of our customers’ data a priority, and have built a solid reputation as one of the best telecom companies in the world,” said Ge Yu, a spokesman for China Telecom’s Americas subsidiary, adding that the company is proud of “maintaining a good standing with all regulatory agencies.”

National security officials have been worried for years that the Chinese government could use its companies to gain access to crucial telecommunications infrastructure. Those concerns have become more prominent as carriers in the United States and in China race to launch next-generation 5G wireless networks — and American regulators have targeted Chinese telecom companies in the name of security.

In May the F.C.C. denied an application from China Mobile to operate in the United States. Ajit Pai, the commission’s chairman, said at the time that there was a risk that the Chinese state would use the carrier to “conduct activities that would seriously jeopardize the national security, law enforcement, and economic interests of the United States.”

So if the FCC bans China Telecom and China Unicom it will be a trifecta ban on all three state owned Chinese telecom operators!




GSMA calls for 5G policy incentives in China + 2018 MWC Shanghai a big success!

China is expected to become the world’s largest 5G market by 2025, accounting for around 430 million 5G connections, representing a third of the global total.

Industry verticals where 5G are expected to play a key role include: automotive, drones and manufacturing. The report calls for China to promote the development of legislation for areas such as car-hacking and data privacy to support China’s connected car market.

The report notes that China MobileChina Telecom and China Unicom are all currently trialing 5G autonomous driving and working on solutions such as cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) for remote driving and autonomous vehicles.

To accelerate the development of the drone market, the report calls for common standards for connectivity management. The drone market is expected to be worth around $13 billion by 2025.

Finally, the report calls for common standards for interconnection between Industry 4.0 platforms and devices (more below) to avoid market fragmentation, drive economies of scale and increase speed to market.

“China’s leadership in 5G is backed by a proactive government intent on delivering rapid structural change and achieving global leadership – but without industry-wide collaboration, the right incentives or appropriate policies in place, the market will not fulfil its potential,” commented Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “Mobile operators should be encouraged to deliver what they do best in providing secure, reliable and intelligent connectivity to businesses and enterprises across the country.”

“Wide collaboration and a right policy environment are essential for 5G to unleash its potential in various verticals, and the three sectors addressed in the report are only a beginning,” said Craig Ehrlich, Chairman of GTI. “The Chinese government and all three operators have been propelling 5G trials and cross-industrial innovation, and the valuable experience gained from the process should serve as a worthwhile reference for the other markets around the globe.”

velopment of legislation for areas such as car-hacking and data privacy. New policies should be pro-innovation and pro-investment to encourage future developments in the sector. All three operators are currently trialling 5G autonomous driving and working on solutions such as Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) for remote driving, vehicle platooning and autonomous vehicles.

Accelerated Growth of Drones Market: 
The report also calls for common standards for connectivity management in the drones market to help accelerate investment and the deployment of new infrastructure and service models. The drones market, estimated to be worth RMB80 billion ($13 billion) by 2025, is developing rapidly in China in applications such as parcel delivery and tracking, site surveying, mapping and remote security patrols, among others. Improvements in mapping, real-time video distribution and analytics platforms are also helping to establish the technology in industrial verticals.

China Entering Age of Industry 4.0: 
Backed by government support, China is transforming its manufacturing industry through embracing the use of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning and analytics. The government’s aim is to increase productivity and drive new revenue opportunities. The report calls for common standards for interconnection between platforms and devices to avoid market fragmentation, drive economies of scale and increase speed to market. GSMA Intelligence estimates that there will be 13.8 billion global Industrial IoT (IIoT) connections by 2025 with China accounting for 65%.


Separately, GSMA today reported that more than 60,000 unique visitors from 112 countries and territories attended the 2018 GSMA Mobile World Congress Shanghai, from 27-29 June in Shanghai. The three-day event attracted executives from the largest and most influential organisations across the mobile ecosystem, as well from companies in a range of vertical industry sectors. In addition to this business-to-business audience, nearly 8,800 consumers from the greater Shanghai metropolitan area attended the Migu Health and Fitness Festival, which was held in the Mobile World Congress Shanghai halls at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (SNIEC).

“We are extremely pleased with the results for the 2018 Mobile World Congress Shanghai, particularly the very strong growth in our business-to-business segment,” said John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd. “Attendees were able to truly “Discover a Better Future”, from the thought leadership conference to the exhibition and everywhere in between. With more than two-thirds of the world’s population as subscribers, mobile is revolutionising industries and improving our everyday lives, creating exciting new opportunities while providing lifelines of hope and reducing inequality. Mobile truly is connecting everyone and everything to a better future.”

Covering seven halls at the SNIEC, the 2018 Mobile World Congress Shanghai hosted 550 exhibitors, nearly half of which come from outside of China. The conference programme attracted nearly 4,000 attendees, with more than 55 per cent of delegates holding senior-level positions, including nearly 320 CEOs. Nearly 830 international media and industry analysts attended Mobile World Congress Shanghai to report on the many industry developments highlighted at the show.


About the GSMA:
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA

About the GTI:
GTI (Global TD-LTE Initiative), founded in 2011, has been dedicated to constructing a robust ecosystem of TD-LTE and promoting the convergence of LTE TDD and FDD. As 4G evolves to 5G, GTI 2.0 was officially launched at the GTI Summit 2016 Barcelona, aiming not only to further promote the evolution of TD-LTE and its global deployment, but also to foster a cross-industry innovative and a synergistic 5G ecosystem.

For more information, please visit the GTI website at

Is FCC Net Neutrality Rollback Coming? Will that spark cablcos investment in rural/ suburban areas? AT&T won’t challenge FTC

Net neutrality advocates are declaring June 26 another day of action in support of Democrats’ resolution to restore the 2015 Obama-era net neutrality rules. Public Knowledge, Common Cause, Consumers Union and other groups want to bring pro-net neutrality Americans directly to the offices of their representatives in the House to lobby for passage of the measure, drawn up under the Congressional Review Act. The Senate passed it 52-47 last month, and so far 124 House lawmakers have signed the paperwork to force a floor vote (they need 218, so they’ve got some work cut out for them). TechFreedom is hosting a more skeptical panel discussion on Democrats’ effort Tuesday. Among the panelists slated to appear is Grace Koh, who advised President Trump on telecom issues until she left the White House earlier this year.

Tom Leithauser of TR Daily (subscription required) wrote yesterday:

The rollback of net neutrality rules by the FCC will spark broadband investment in rural and suburban areas served by small and mid-sized cable TV operators, Matthew Polka, president and chief executive officer of the American Cable Association, said on this week’s “The Communicators” program.

“It created a sense of greater innovation and investment that these companies can now deploy,” Mr. Polka said on the show, which is set to air on C-SPAN tomorrow and C-SPAN2 on Monday.

He noted that broadband networks were increasingly being viewed as “infrastructure” by policy-makers and that deployment to underserved and unserved areas was a top priority at the FCC and among some members of Congress.

One impediment to broadband deployment, he said, is the time and cost required to arrange access to utility poles. Andrew Petersen, an ACA board member and senior vice president for TDS Telecom who also appeared on the C-SPAN program, said pole attachment rates for his company averaged $7.80 per pole, but were significantly higher in some markets. “It really retards our ability to make those investments to extend broadband,” Mr. Petersen said.

Mr. Petersen expressed hope that the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee would offer recommendations on ways to lower the cost of pole attachments and other broadband deployment expenses, which he said were his company’s top cost.

“When you bring robust broadband to a new area, you’re combatting the ‘homework gap,’ [and] you’re allowing for economic development and commerce to take place,” Mr. Petersen said. He said it was unlikely, however, for 5G service to bring broadband to unserved areas because those areas generally lack structures needed to place 5G equipment.

“We’re not bullish that 5G is going to make its way to suburban and rural areas immediately,” he said. “I don’t believe 5G technology is going to make its way to those areas in the next several years.”

In a related CNET post, Margaret Reardon wrote:

AT&T has given up efforts to challenge the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to regulate broadband (Internet access) providers.  AT&T on Tuesday informed court officials that it would not file a petition to the US Supreme Court to challenge a lower court’s decision in the case. In 2014, the FTC sued AT&T in the US District Court of Northern California, accusing the company of promising unlimited data service to customers and then slowing that service down to rates that were barely usable. The case hasn’t yet gone to trial since AT&T had argued that the FTC has no authority over any of AT&T’s businesses.

The US Appeals court in Northern California rejected that argument in February and said the case could proceed. AT&T had until May 29 to file an appeal the the Supreme Court to challenge the decision.

AT&T indicated earlier this month in a status report submitted to the appeals court that it was considering appealing to the Supreme Court to stop the case.

This case was being closely watched by net neutrality supporters, because the question of whether the FTC has authority over AT&T would have had big implications for the future of the internet and whether there will be any cop on the beat ensuring that consumers are protected from big phone companies abusing their power online.

Why? When the Federal Communications Commission gave up its authority to police the internet with its repeal of net neutrality regulations in December, it specifically handed authority to protect consumers online to the FTC.

Net neutrality is the idea that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally and that large companies like AT&T, which is trying to buy Time Warner, can’t favor their own content over a competitor’s content. Rules adopted by a Democrat-led FCC in 2015 codified these principles into regulation. The current FCC, controlled by Republicans, voted to repeal the regulations and hand over authority to protect internet consumers to the FTC.

But there was one hitch in the law that could have made it impossible for the FTC to oversee some of the biggest broadband companies. Many of these companies, like AT&T and Verizon, also operate traditional telephone networks, which are still regulated by the FCC. AT&T argued that because some aspects of its business, like its traditional phone services, are regulated by the FCC, the FTC doesn’t have jurisdiction.

A federal appeals court disagreed with AT&T’s argument, stating the FTC can fill in oversight gaps when certain services, like broadband, aren’t regulated by the FCC. If AT&T had appealed to the Supreme Court and if the court had taken the case and ruled in AT&T’s favor, it would have meant that phone companies providing broadband or wireless internet services would be immune from government oversight. By contrast, cable companies, which do not operate traditional phone networks regulated by the FCC, would still be under the authority of the FTC.

For now, that doomsday scenario is put to rest and the lower court’s ruling that the FTC can, in fact, oversee all broadband providers stands.

Meanwhile, net neutrality supporters continue their fight to preserve the 2015 rules. Several states, including California and New York, are considering legislation to reinstate net neutrality rules. Earlier this year, Washington became the first state to sign such legislation into law. Governors in several states, including New Jersey and Montana, have signed executive orders requiring ISPs that do business with the state adhere to net neutrality principles.

Democrats in the US Senate are also trying to reinstate the FCC’s rules through the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress 60 legislative days in which to overturn federal regulations. The resolution passed the Senate earlier this month and must pass the House of Representatives and eventually be signed into law by President Donald Trump to officially turn back the repeal of the rules.

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