Europe and U.S. to delay 5G deployments; China to accelerate 5G

Up until the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world hard in late February, 5G seemed a priority for most wireless network operators. Now, with across the board cutbacks everywhere, it will be much further down the must do list for 2020.

In the absence of any new 5G applications or completion of 3GPP 5G Phase 2 and ITU-R IMT 2020, 5G was not expected to ramp this year, despite ridiculous hype and false claims (especially ultra low latency which has not yet been specified let alone standardized yet).

Now the new technology faces an unprecedented slow down to launch and expand pilot deployments.  Why? It’s because of the stay at home/shelter in place orders all over the world.  Non essential business’ are closed and manufacturing plants have been idled.  Also, why do you need a mobile network if you’re at home 95% of the time?

One reason to deploy 5G is to off load data (especially video) traffic on congested 4G-LTE  networks. But just like the physical roads and highways, those 4G networks have experienced less traffic since the virus took hold.  People confined to their homes need wired broadband and Wi-Fi, NOT 4G and 5G mobile access.

“5G deployment in Europe will certainly be delayed,” said Eric Xu, one of Huawei’s rotating CEOs, during a Huawei (private company) results presentation today.  Xu also told reporters the delays could last until “the time when the pandemic is brought under control.”

Eric Xu said the current crisis would “certainly” delay 5G rollouts

Huawei’s Eric Xu said the current crisis would “certainly” delay 5G rollouts

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Answering questions about its annual report, published on Tuesday, Huawei vice-president Victor Zhang said there would “definitely” be an impact but it would likely be worse in Europe than in the UK.

A few data points from European telcos in the aftermath of COVID-19:

  • On March 20, the UK’s BT reported a 5% drop in mobile data traffic, compared with normal levels.
  • Today, Belgian incumbent Proximus said capital expenditure would go down this year to offset the impact of COVID-19 on profits.
  • A growing number of European countries are delaying 5G spectrum auctions, as restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic make it difficult to maintain planning. The EU’s deadline of June for the release of the 700 MHz band for 5G will be missed by several countries, including Spain and Austria.
  • In Portugal, MEO, NOS and Vodafone Portugal now face a further wait for frequency rights in the 700MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2.1GHz, 2.6GHz and 3.6GHz bands
  • German company United Internet’s CEO, Ralph Dommermuth, said that the construction of subsidiary 1&1 Drillisch’s 5G network would experience delays due to current measures adopted in the country to prevent a further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany, local paper Handelsblatt reported.
  • In Sweden, which has controversially avoided a total lockdown, telecom incumbent carrier Telia has now cut dividends as it prepares for a hit.

Huawei’s statements imply the U.S. will also face a delay in 5G rollouts.  It has overtaken Italy as the country with the highest number of coronavirus infections, and its response to the outbreak has been lackluster and confusing at best, horrendous at worst.

As a mobile-only network equipment vendor, Ericsson looks the most exposed to a 5G slow down.  More than 50% of its business is generated in Europe and the Americas, where the rate of COVID-19 infections is rising.

Although less reliant on the 5G wireless base station business than Ericsson, Nokia could also be in trouble due to the slowdown in 5G deployments.  Approximately 30% of its sales came from North America last year, and another 28% from Europe.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….

“After the pandemic was brought under control, China has accelerated its 5G deployments,” according to Huawei’s Xu.

China has accelerated its own 5G deployment after the number of cases of Covid-19 subsided, according to Xu, but in other countries, it would depend “on several factors”, including whether telecoms companies had the budget and resources to “win back the time” lost.

Indeed, China Mobile this week awarded 5G contracts worth $5.2 billion with approximately 90% of the contracts going to Huawei and ZTE. Ericsson won contracts worth RMB4.2 billion ($593 million) and small local vendor CICT will net RMB965 million ($136 million). Nokia reportedly bid, but failed to win any of the contracts from China Mobile.

This centralized procurement involves 28 China provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. According to C114, the total demand is 232,143 5G base stations.  At the end of February, the number of 5G base stations owned China Mobile has exceeded 80,000.

References:

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-52108172

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/covid-19-will-help-china-to-extend-its-5g-lead/d/d-id/758596?

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/5g-auctions-delayed-across-europe-due-to-covid-19/d/d-id/758606?

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

9 April 2020 Update:

5G is looking like a casualty of COVID-19

All 5G companies had accomplished was the design of a technology that provides faster connections and additional capacity on smartphone networks. A few have already been launched, and South Korea, the most advanced market, already has millions of subscribers. Yet local news reports suggest many have been underwhelmed by the 5G experience. For service providers, it has had minimal impact on sales while marketing and rollout costs have made a huge dent in profits.

This will discourage 5G investment in countries under COVID-19 lockdown. As customers downgrade to cheaper services and dump TV sports packages rerunning last year’s highlights, many operators will cut spending. Concerned about exposing field workers to unnecessary health risks, they will prioritize the maintenance of networks already used by the majority. Moreover, people confined to their broadband-equipped homes for most of the day have little use for mobile data networks. Any additional investment is likely to go into fiber-optic equipment.

5G launches will also be delayed in European markets that have postponed auctions of the spectrum needed to support services. Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Portugal and Spain are all now reported to have delayed auctions. Without spectrum, 5G will obviously not fly.

Fear mongering stories linking 5G to illness could also hinder rollout. Countries such as Belgium and Switzerland have imposed limits on the use of 5G antennas amid lingering concern that radiofrequency emissions are carcinogenic. The World Health Organization says mobile frequencies are too low to be dangerous, but activists are unconvinced.

In the UK, operators now have to contend with the ludicrous suggestion that 5G networks transmit COVID-19. After misinformed tweets by celebrities including Amanda Holden, a British actress and reality-TV regular, 5G masts were burnt in the cities of Belfast, Birmingham and Liverpool.

China, meanwhile, remains determined to erect more than half a million 5G base stations by the end of this year. Claiming to have beaten COVID-19, it has lifted restrictions on the movement of people and reopened its factories. For the equipment makers building those 5G networks, this investment program could be essential medicine. Just last month, China Mobile, the country’s largest operator, awarded 5G contracts worth $5.2 billion. Unfortunately, with almost 90% of the work going to domestic suppliers Huawei and ZTE, Western vendors will not be able to count on China for a boost.

https://www.lightreading.com/5g/5g-is-looking-like-a-casualty-of-covid-19/a/d-id/758804?

 

 

 

 

At long last: India Telecom Minister gives go ahead for 5G trials

India’s telecom minister has met with the major mobile network operators and invited them to start testing their 5G services. The government also confirmed that Chinese network infrastructure equipment vendors Huawei and ZTE would be allowed to participate in the trials.

The meeting was chaired by telecom secretary Anshu Prakash and was attended by senior representatives of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and all equipment vendors, including Huawei, reports Live Mint.  Indian television channel CNBC-TV18 reported the news first, citing a senior official. The trials will be held in January, according to the official, the channel reported.

India’s department of telecom expects to allocate spectrum soon (we’ve heard that before?) for trials, which should begin in Q1-2020, ahead of plans for a spectrum auction no later than April 2020.

India Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said earlier that 5G spectrum for trials would be available to all wireless network equipment (base station) vendors.  In particular, he told reporters in India earlier this week:

“5G trials will be done with all vendors and operators.  We have taken an in-principle decision to give 5G spectrum for trials.” On being asked specifically about Huawei, Prasad said that at this stage, all vendors are invited.

                              India Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Indian government believes the trials, which were originally supposed to be held in 2019, will help in the development of the country’s 5G ecosystem. The Indian telcos will be conducting 5G tests with different vendors: Bharti Airtel plans to conduct trials with Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson, while Vodafone Idea wants to partner with Ericsson and Huawei. Reliance Jio, which currently works primarily with Samsung, has applied to conduct 5G tests with the South Korean vendor.

With many nations already on 5G, industry divided over trials

A senior executive at one vendor said the trials should have begun a year ago and now that global testing is over, it does not make sense to start from scratch in India, especially with the auction of 5G airwaves slated for March-April.

…………………………………………………………………………………….

India’s telcos have been asking for clarity from the government regarding the participation of both Chinese vendors in 5G activities. Initially only a handful of vendors, including Cisco, Ericsson, NEC, Nokia and Samsung, received invitations to participate in the 5G trials.

The decision was welcomed by Huawei India in a statement, as well as comments from the Chinese ambassador in India on Twitter. Huawei is already active in the country, where it has deployed 4G networks for Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

The inclusion in India’s 5G trials is of particular significance for Huawei, which faces trading restrictions in several countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the US, because of security concerns. The US has been lobbying the Indian government to exclude Huawei from the 5G market but, equally, China has been lobbying for Huawei and ZTE to be given equal opportunities in India’s 5G market.

The efforts of the US authorities to restrict Huawei’s business had an impact on the vendor’s sales in 2019, though with expected full-year revenues of almost $122 billion it is still by far the largest supplier of telecoms infrastructure globally and the number two player in the smartphone market.

During the past few years, Chinese vendors have provided crucial support to India’s service providers as they attempted to manage their costs and keep tariffs under control. Chinese network equipment is cheaper than the equivalent offerings from Western rivals, enabling traditional telcos to offer services in a market with one of the lowest average revenue per user (ARPU) figures in the world.

The exclusion of Huawei and ZTE from forthcoming 5G deals would almost certainly result in an increase in capital expenditure by India’s telcos: Sunil Bharti Mittal, the chairman of Bharti Enterprises, the parent company of Airtel, spoke out in support of Huawei during a recent event organized by World Economic Forum, stating that Huawei’s equipment was superior to that of its main European rivals, Ericsson and Nokia.

“Glad to know all players got equal chance to participate in 5G trial in India. A welcome move conducive to initiatives like Digital India,” said Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong in a social media message.

References:

https://www.livemint.com/industry/telecom/huawei-gets-indian-government-s-nod-to-participate-in-5g-trials-11577714552296.html

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/telecom/telecom-news/govt-will-give-5g-spectrum-for-trials-to-all-players-prasad/articleshow/73033442.cms

https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/with-many-nations-already-on-5g-industry-divided-over-trials/73077911

https://www.telecompaper.com/news/india-ready-to-start-5g-trials-allows-huawei-to-participate–1321471

https://www.lightreading.com/asia-pacific/huawei-zte-get-green-light-from-indian-authorities-for-5g-trials-/d/d-id/756499?

 

SK Telecom top winner at Global Telecoms Awards in London, UK

South Korean network operator SK Telecom’s early success in 5G helped it win three awards at the Global Telecoms Awards (GLOTEL Awards), held on November 7 in London, UK.  SK Telecom received awards in the categories of ‘5G Implementation Excellence,’ ‘Best Operator,’ and ‘BSS/OSS Transformation Excellence.’

SK Telecom was also highly commended in the consumer IoT and fixed network categories, bringing its awards total on the night to five. Other notable performers were Huawei, with two wins and a highly commended, and ZTE with one win and two highly commended.

With the aim to provide customers with the best 5G service quality, SK Telecom has deployed the fastest and widest 5G network in Korea, arming it with quantum cryptography technologies and an AI-based network management system named TANGO (T Advanced Next Generation OSS). Moreover, by combining its 5G with cutting-edge ICT, the company has introduced a wide range of powerful solutions including 5G-AI Machine Vision, 5G Live Golf Broadcast, AI Video Security and 5G-based Cooperative Intelligent Transportation System.

“I feel confident in saying that this was the strongest set of entries to the awards we’ve had yet,” said Telecoms.com Editor Scott Bicheno (pictured above with Chang-min Park of SK Telecom), who hosted the awards alongside comedian Miles Jupp and was also one of the judges. “Our judges had a really tough job choosing between so many great products, services and projects this year and for that I thank them. The fact that so many entries were highly commended shows how close the scoring was. My congratulations to the winners and thanks everyone who contributed to our best awards yet.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Here’s the complete list of winners:

5G Implementation Excellence  

Winner – SK Telecom: World’s First 5G Commercialization

Advancing Artificial Intelligence               

Winner – Telefónica: Aura

Highly Commended – Nokia: AI as a Service for CMCC Hainan

Automation Initiative of the Year             

Winner – Huawei: AUTIN

Best 5G Innovation         

Winner – Vodafone Germany: Automotive Factory of the Future

Highly Commended – China Mobile, China Southern Power and Huawei: Smart Grid 5G Slice Operation and Monetization

Best Digital Transformation Project        

Winner – Infosys and Vodafone UK: Digital Platform

Highly Commended – Singtel: Unboxed

Best Operator    

Winner – SK Telecom

Highly Commended – Reliance Jio Infocomm

BSS/OSS Transformation Excellence        

Winner – SK Telecom: OSS Evolution for E2E integration and 5G Business

Connecting the Unconnected     

Winner – Ufinet: Rural connectivity case studies

Consumer IoT Initiative of the Year         

Winner – O2 and Accenture: Making UK homes smarter energy users

Highly Commended – SK Telecom: V2X Service Enabler (VSE)

Digital Transformation Innovation          

Winner – BT: The Digital Business Marketplace

Highly Commended – Netcracker: Digital Transformation Solution

Fixed Network Evolution             

Winner – Turkcell: Customer Oriented Failure Prioritization and Complaint Management

Highly Commended – SK Telecom: Giga Premium 10G Residential Broadband Internet Service

Ground-breaking Virtualization Initiative            

Winner – AT&T: Edge Solutions

Industrial IoT Initiative of the Year          

Winner – Dialog Axiata: Affordable and Purpose-built IoT Solutions for Industries in Emerging Markets

Highly Commended – ZTE:  ZTE NMVP Solution

Innovating in the Cloud 

Winner – MYCOM OSI: The Assurance Cloud

Managed Services Innovation of the Year            

Winner – Ericsson and Telenor: Common Delivery Center for innovative Managed Services model

Highly Commended – Saudi Telecom Company: STC Fixed Network Customer Operations Service transformation

Mobile Device Innovation           

Winner – Reliance Jio Infocomm: JioPhone

Mobile Money Mastery 

Winner – AsiaHawala and Comviva: AsiaHawala powered by mobiquity Money

Most Innovative Cloud Service  

Winner – Tata Communications Transformation Services: Cloud Networking and Security as a Service

Highly Commended – Red Hat: Red Hat open hybrid cloud technologies

Project Delivery Perfection         

Winner – ZTE: ZTE for China Mobile ‘He-Fetion’ Project

Highly Commended – X by Orange: X by Orange with Red Hat

Security Solution of the Year      

Winner – Mobileum Signalling Firewall

Highly Commended – CUJO AI: AI-powered cybersecurity technology

Telecoms Transformation            

Winner – Huawei: NFV-SDN based telco cloud technology initiative

Highly Commended – ZTE: 5G Slicing Wholesale Solution for New B2B2C Business Model

………………………………………………………………………………………..

About SK Telecom

SK Telecom is the largest mobile operator in Korea with nearly 50 percent of the market share. As the pioneer of all generations of mobile networks, the company has commercialized the fifth generation (5G) network on December 1, 2018 and announced the first 5G smartphone subscribers on April 3, 2019. With its world’s best 5G, SK Telecom is set to realize the Age of Hyper-Innovation by transforming the way customers work, live and play.

Building on its strength in mobile services, the company is also creating unprecedented value in diverse ICT-related markets including media, security and commerce.

For more information, please contact: skt_press@sk.com or sktelecom@bcw-global.com

…………………………………………………………………………………………

SK Telecom wins big at the 2019 Global Telecoms Awards

Conflicting reports: Huawei and China Mobile may buy Brazil carrier Oi

The O Globo website reported on Saturday that Huawei is joining forces with China Mobile to buy struggling Brazilian carrier Oi, in an attempt to boost their footprint in Latin America’s largest market.  The two Chinese companies anticipate a significant growth in business once Brazil starts deploying its 5G network. Oi’s 360,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure is seen as an attractive asset.

Oi declined to comment on the matter, while Huawei and China Mobile did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

However, on Sunday Huawei told Reuters it was not interested in acquiring struggling Oi or any other Brazilian carrier.

“Huawei has no plan or interest in acquiring Oi or any other Brazilian carrier. In Brazil for more than 20 years, the company is working with all major Brazilian carriers supplying the best products and solutions to support digital transformation in Brazil,” the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

It would be very strange for Huawei to invest in a telecom carrier which is traditionally its bread and butter customer!

Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier has been struggling to turnaround its business since it filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2016 to restructure approximately 65 billion reais of debt.  Oi is also negotiating its network with Spain’s Telefonica and Telecom ItaliaAT&T and another (unnamed) Chinese company.

Speculation of the bid comes as Brazil’s Senate approved a bill to update the country’s obsolete framework for telecommunications, paving the way for Oi to implement a plan to sell up to $2 billion in non-core assets. Earlier this week, Suno Notícias reported that China Mobile has filed a request to operate in Brazil and eventually acquire Oi. The country’s telecom regulatory agency Anatel said Sept. 17th it didn’t have any official information regarding the request.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Addendum: Huawei launches new ‘Vision TV’ with 4K quantum dot color, which comes in 55″/65″/75″ sizes. Media paying attention to the fact that Huawei is adopting QD technology, which until now has been a key technology for Samsung’s TV (QLED) strategy. (ZDNet)

http://www.zdnet.co.kr/view/?no=20190920082939

 …………………………………………………………………………………………….

References:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oi-m-a-huawei-tech/huawei-to-join-forces-with-china-mobile-to-bid-for-brazils-oi-report-idUSKBN1W60EH

https://www.euronews.com/2019/09/22/huawei-denies-interest-in-acquiring-oi-or-any-other-brazilian-carrier

 

 

Qualcomm, Samsung, and Huawei announce 5G SoCs at IFA in Berlin

The Berlin-based IFA consumer electronics show keynotes from Qualcomm, Huawei, and Samsung illustrated the telecom supplier industry’s strong dedication to 5G System on a Chip (SoC).  Yet this comes more than one year before the IMT 2020 Radio Interface Technology (RIT) standard has been completed and six months (or more) before 3GPP Release 16 (which will specify ultra low latency and ultra high reliability) has been finalized.  Hence, we wonder if major revisions of announced 5G SoC’s and chipsets will be required in IMT 2020 standard endpoint devices?

Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon’s keynote presentation described the company’s 5G strategy, which is focused in part on driving access to 5G end point devices.  Amon promised to bring 5G mobile phones to the masses with a high-end modem and said Qualcomm chips would also power mid-price 5G devices reaching the market next year.

Qualcomm’s second-generation X55 modem supports 5G at both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave frequencies and supports peak downlink speeds of 7 Gbps and peak uplink speeds of 3 Gbps.

Notable in Qualcomm’s IFA presentation is support for dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) across the 6-, 7- and 8-series Snapdragon mobile platforms. In addition to bringing down the price point on 5G phones, this fits with operators plans to rapidly scale coverage in 2020 by using DSS, which lets LTE and 5G operate in the same band at the same time.  More on DSS (Ericsson and Qualcomm 5G data call) in this techblog post.

As wireless network providers introduce or expand their 5G network offerings, “We need to enable the operators to have that ecosystem ready so you can start providing new devices with dynamic spectrum sharing… We want all the users to have the benefit of this technology,” Amon told the IFA audience.

To make that 5G ecosystem possible, Amon announced Qualcomm would bring its portfolio of 5G mobile platforms out of just the 8-series and into the 7- and 6-series in 2020. Amon said a dozen OEMs were already onboard. with the 5G-enabled 7-series. “We are going to bring 5G to scale with our many partners.”

“Qualcomm have done a phenomenal job to drive the 5G ecosystem,” said industry analyst Paolo Pescatore. “It’s going faster than anyone could have ever imagined.”

–>We certainly agree with that comment – Qualcomm has done a splendid job, but much more work remains before an IMT 2020 chipset/SoC is introduced – most likely in mid 2021.  Qualcomm will likely be partnering with carriers to market new devices. It’s typical for operators to market subsidized handsets in the United States, but much less so in Europe.

qualcomm 5G IFA

Image courtesy of Qualcomm.

5G chipsets from Qualcomm, the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone chips, now run on five devices from Samsung Electronics, including the $1,299 Galaxy S10 5G model and the new $2,000 Galaxy Fold.  Samsung is the world’s #1  smartphone maker.  It has also put Qualcomm chips in its lower-priced A90 5G model, which had used Samsung chips in an earlier version.

Amon said that Qualcomm plans to add 5G capabilities to its lower-cost Snapdragon 6 and 7 series devices, which could make 5G phones available at lower prices than the current models, which are mostly flagship devices priced at a premium. Qualcomm’s 6 and 7 series Snapdragon chips are found in devices from Lenovo Group Ltd’s Motorola, Xiaomi Corp, Oppo and Vivo that retail in the $300 range.

Indeed, virtually all flagship 5G mobile devices launched in 2019 in Europe and beyond are built on the Qualcomm’s ®Snapdragon™ 855 Mobile Platform.  Such semiconductor market dominance is unprecedented in this author’s 52 years of experience.

“The transition to 5G is going to be faster than earlier transitions,” Amon told Reuters on the sidelines of the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin. “Now we have to bring it to everyone.”

Conversely, this author believes the transition to mass market/high volume 5G (based on IMT 2020 standards), will be much longer than earlier transitions, e.g. from 3G to 4G.

More than 20 network operators and a similar number of smartphone makers – from the United States to Europe to China – are launching 5G services and handsets. Amon estimated there were 2.2 billion mobile users that could upgrade to 5G.  Again, we don’t think that will happen till there’s real 5G interoperability and roaming, which will require all devices and base stations to support IMT 2020 RITs/SRITs at a minimum!

Unlike rivals, Qualcomm is designing its chipsets to handle frequencies “from A to Z,” said Amon at IFA, adding that flexibility to switch between 4G networks and new 5G networks was critical.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Qualcomm’s 5G chipset competition is limited:

1.   5G chips from Taiwan based Mediatek can only handle sub-6 bands, reducing the cost and complexity of the chips and phone designs.  There really are no other 5G merchant market silicon vendors.  Mediatek’s 5G chip supports Standalone (SA) and Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G infrastructure, but it only supports sub-6GHz spectrum.

“Everything about this chip is designed for the first wave of flagship 5G devices. The leading-edge technology in this chipset makes it the most powerful 5G SoC announced to date and puts MediaTek at the forefront of 5G SoC design,” said MediaTek President Joe Chen. “MediaTek will power rollouts of 5G premium level devices,” Chen added.

2.  China state owned Unisoc announced the MAKALU 5G technology platform and its first 5G Modem IVY510 at MWC2019 in Barcelona, but that company is not represented in ITU-R WP5D meetings where IMT 2020 RIT/SRITs are being standardized.  UNISOC IVY510 is the first 5G Modem of UNISOC based on the MAKALU technology platform, produced with TSMC’s 12nm process. As the first 2G/3G/4G/5G multimode platform of UNISOC, IVY510 complies to the latest 3GPP R15 spec, supports Sub-6GHz 5G spectrum with a channel bandwidth of 100MHz, which is a highly integrated, high performance, low power 5G platform, and supports both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) network configurations to meet communication and networking requirements during different stages of 5G deployment.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Samsung announced the Exynos 980 eight-nanometer mobile processor with an integrated 5G modem capable of sub-6 GHz downlink speeds of 2.55 Gbps and 1.28 Gbps uplink.

ENDC refers to 5G/LTE dual connectivity and, based on 3GPP documents, stands for E-UTRAN New Radio-Dual Connectivity. Essentially ENDC allows user equipment to connect to an LTE eNodeB that acts as a master node and a 5G gNodeB that acts as a secondary node. Sprint, for instance, uses this to deploy LTE and 5G in its 2.5 GHz spectrum at the same time; a complement to the split-mode manner the carrier configures its massive MIMO radios.  Samsung said that ENDC provides peak speeds of 3.55 Gbps downstream and $2.55 Gbps upstream.

samsung 5G exynos

Image courtesy of Samsung Electronics.

“With the introduction of our 5G modem last year, Samsung has been driving in the 5G revolution and paved the way towards the next step in mobility,” said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. “With the 5G-integrated Exynos 980, Samsung is pushing to make 5G more accessible to a wider range of users and continues to lead innovation in the mobile 5G market,” he added.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Huawei’s Richard Yu reviewed the specs of the Kirin 990, which the company called “the world’s first 5G SoC,” a disputed claim.  Yu touted the Kirin 990 chipset at IFA:  “It’s the world’s most powerful 5G system on a chip. It’s the world’s most powerful 5G modem.”

The Kirin 990 5G is built on a seven-nanometer semiconductor manufacturing process.  It includes silicon technologies from previous iterations of the Kirin line as well as the Balong line.

huawei 5G

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, presents at IFA. Image courtesy of Huawei.

The updated Kirin is set to power Huawei’s upcoming flagship smartphone the Mate 30, which will be officially announced at a Sept. 19th launch event in Munich, Germany.  According to specs provided by Huawei, the Kirin 990 packs more than 10 billion transistors.  It can theoretically support downlink speeds of up to 2.3 Gbps and uplink speeds of 1.25 Gbps upstream.  The chip set has an adaptive receiver that enables it to switch between 4G and 5G where coverage of the faster technology is weak.  And, to save energy, it has a ‘big core’ to handle powerful computing tasks with the support of artificial intelligence, and a ‘tiny core’ for less demanding operation.

Huawei probably won’t sell the Kirin SoC on the semiconductor merchant market, but rather use it internally in its 5G endpoint devices (mostly 5G smart phones- for now). The latest Kirin does not support millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies, which provide multi-gigabit-per-second speeds at the expense of much shorter range/distance.  The U.S. has auctioned more millimeter wave frequencies than any other country while AT&T and Verizon are using it in their pre-IMT 2020 standard 5G deployments.  Again,  mmWave has a much shorter range than mid and lower band spectrum, but has higher data-carrying capacity.  Currently, millimeter wave-based 5G networks are more or less limited to the U.S. market where regulatory issues make it very difficult for Huawei to sell anything, including smartphones.

Indeed, due to U.S. trade sanctions, Huawei’s 5G-ready Mate 30 smartphone, scheduled to be launched on Sept. 19, won’t be able to run the official version of Google’s Android operating system and app services if U.S. sanctions remain in place.  That eliminates the entire Android app ecosystem which include pre-installing the Google Play store and a suite of popular apps such as Google Maps that buyers would expect to be available from the moment they turn on their new phone and synch it with their profile.  Huawei’s fallback option would be to run the devices on its home-grown Harmony operating system, although company officials and analysts say it is not yet ready for prime time.

All that makes it highly unlikely Huawei will be able to sell any 5G smartphone outside of China. 

“Qualcomm has a scale advantage,” said Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight. “Huawei’s commitment to continue innovating on silicon is really impressive, especially given the geopolitical headwinds they are facing. “But at the end of the day, it’s a single-vendor solution. And, even if they had aspirations to sell the chipset, that is getting more difficult all the time,” Wood added.

References:

https://ca.reuters.com/article/idCAKCN1VR1HT-OCATC

https://www.reuters.com/article/qualcomm-5g-idUSL2N25W1K5

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-huawei-tech-europe/with-new-chipset-huawei-forges-ahead-with-smartphone-launch-plan-idUSKCN1VR10O

https://www.rcrwireless.com/20190907/5g/huawei-samsung-5g-ifa

 

Huawei to ship over 2 million “5G” base stations by 2020; Android vs HarmonyOS?

Huawei’s 5G network equipment business:

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder and CEO, says that his company will produce more than 2 million base stations over the next 18 months, regardless of whether the US decides to remove it from the Entity List.  Zhengfei said that while the US’ decision to add Huawei to the entity list was profoundly unjust, it would have little impact on the company’s productivity – particularly with regards to its 5G network equipment.

How many more will they ship after IMT 2020 RIT/SRIT has been standardized by ITU-R in late 2020?

“First of all, please note that adding us to the Entity List was not fair. Huawei has not done anything wrong but was still placed on this list. This list didn’t have that much impact on us. Most of our more advanced equipment does not contain U.S. components, despite the fact that we used their components in the past. These newest versions of our equipment even function 30% more efficiently than before,” he said.

“In August and September, we will undergo a run-in period before we can mass produce these new versions. So, we can only produce around 5,000 base stations each month during that period. Following that, we will be able to produce 600,000 5G base stations this year and at least 1.5 million next year. That means we don’t need to rely on U.S. companies for our survival in this area,” Ren explained.

Huawei Ren Zhengfei

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder and CEO says the conflict with the U.S. has exceeded what he had previously thought.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

While the impact on Huawei’s network infrastructure business is expected to be minimal, being added to the Entity List does create problems for Huawei’s handset business, particularly as the company looks to reel in its rival Samsung and claim top spot in the market. If Huawei were to be permanently added to the Entity List, it would lose access to Google’s Android operating system, which the company uses as standard on all its smartphone handsets.

“I could never have expected this controversy to be so intense though,” Ren said in a recent interview with Sky. “We knew that if there were two teams climbing up the same mountain from opposing sides, we would eventually meet on the peak and we may clash. We just didn’t expect this clash to be so intense and lead to this kind of conflict between the state apparatus of a country and a company.”

Ren has reportedly sent out another memo detailing the fallout of the conflict, which does finally seem to be hitting home. Job cuts are on the horizon, with replicative staff facing the axe and a simplified management structure promised. Contracts and payments will face higher scrutiny also, to keep an eye on free cash flow, while R&D seems to have been impacted also.

Android vs HarmonyOS on Huawei smartphones:

Huawei’s preference has always been to continue to use the Android operating system on its handsets, however, the US’ latest political campaign has forced the company to bring forward the release of its own OS, HarmonyOS.

“Google is a great company. We have a sound relationship with Google. We have signed many agreements with Google over the years. We still want to use Google’s system in our devices and develop within its ecosystem. Because of this, we hope that the U.S. government will approve the sale of Google’s system to us. There are billions of Android system users and billions of Windows system users around the world. Banning one or two companies from using these systems won’t help ensure the security of the U.S. as a country, so they should keep their doors open.”

“If the U.S. doesn’t want to sell the Android system to us, we will have no choice but to develop our own ecosystem. This isn’t something that can be achieved overnight. We estimate that it will take us two or three years to build this ecosystem. In light of all this, we don’t believe we will be able to become the number one player in the device sector any time soon,” Ren added.

Conclusions:

Huawei is already the undisputed leader in optical network and cellular network equipment.  They are destined to be #1 in 5G network gear sales, independent of the U.S. sanctions and bans.  Huawei is also #2 in global smartphone sales (Samsung is #1).  And they’ve introduced a host of new innovative products like the Honor Vision smart screen.

While Americans shamefully excuse the isolation of Huawei as a wise action rooted in “national security” and an aversion to thievery, they don’t realize that Huawei has 80,000 R&D employees (mostly in China) and it spent $15 billion on R&D in 2018 alone.  Of course, the Chinese government may have directly or indirectly funded much of that R&D but it is what’s contributed hugely to Huawei’s success.

References:

https://www.totaltele.com/503659/Huawei-will-ship-over-2-million-5G-base-stations-by-2020-regardless-of-US-interference

http://telecoms.com/499224/huawei-founder-has-been-expecting-5g-conflict-for-a-decade/

https://news.sky.com/video/huawei-chief-executive-speaks-to-sky-news-11786209  (video)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

Huawei to help create China’s first open source software foundation; unveils Honor Vision smart screen with Harmony OS

Huawei Technologies Co. said today that it plans to partner with other companies to set up China’s first open-source software foundation, which is expected to begin to operate in a month or two to expand the nation’s software community.

Wang Chenglu, president of the software department at Huawei’s consumer business group, said software development relies on open-source codes and communities. “If China does not have its own open-source community to maintain, manage and host these open-source codes, the domestic software industry will be vulnerable in the face of uncontrollable factors,” Wang said. The first open-source foundation in China will be nonprofit and open to all companies and software developers. “The plan is going forward very fast. It may officially operate in one or two months,” Wang said. Wang added it is widely agreed that open-source communities are created to be fair and equitable for all, but now have become a means of making a power play between countries.

The first open-source foundation in China will be nonprofit and open to all companies and software developers. [Photo/IC]

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Last month, Nat Friedman, CEO of GitHub, which is owned by Microsoft, said on Twitter that GitHub is subject to US trade law just like any company that does business in the US. GitHub has enforced restrictions to prevent users in sanctioned countries from accessing private repositories and the GitHub Marketplace and from maintaining private, paid organization accounts, technology news website TechCrunch reported.

Maral Khosroshahi, who identified herself as a deep-learning scientist at Microsoft and founder and chairwoman of Iranian Women in Computing, said in a post on Twitter on July 27th that GitHub suspended all accounts of Iranian developers without any prior notice. “This is a shame, … especially for those who keep saying that sanctions are not supposed to affect ordinary people,” Khosroshahi said in the post, adding that those views are her own.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the telecom industry association Information Consumption Alliance, said the GitHub incident sent a warning to Chinese professionals that heavy reliance on U.S.-led open source communities may carry risks.

The open source plan also came after Huawei unveiled its in-house operating system Harmony OS on Friday, with the idea of using it in smart TVs, automobiles, wearables and other hardware over the next three years. Lyu Tingjie, a telecom professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, said Huawei decided to build Harmony into an open-source system because it knows that support from a wide range of partners is needed to build a robust ecosystem. “The foundation plan, if well-executed, will help accelerate the development of Huawei and China’s overall software industry,” Lyu said.

For more information contact:

masi@chinadaily.com.cn

China Daily Multimedia Co. Ltd.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

George Zhao, president of Huawei’s sub-brand Honor, unveils Honor Vision series during the Huawei Developer Conference held in Dongguan, South China’s Guangdong province on Aug 10, 2019. Honor Vision is the world’s first smart screen equipped with HarmonyOS, or Hongmeng in Chinese, Huawei’s open-source operating system. [Photo/Xinhua]

“Huawei will continue to lead a broader effort to build China’s software developer ecosystem and complete industry chain for the electronic information industry, rather than just launch its OS,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times.

The HarmonyOS is an open-source system, but without the support of most application developers, it can’t grow at a rapid pace and neither can the industry, Xiang said.  The HarmonyOS was initially seen as an alternative plan to deal with the risks of losing access to Google’s Android software and overseas market share after the US attack. Huawei is confident in keeping its overseas market share and displayed an ambition to make the HarmonyOS successful.

Richard Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei’s consumer business, said that the HarmonyOS can make Huawei’s devices functional again overnight, if the Android OS on the devices fails.  Huawei has obviously entered a whole new stage of fully developing its OS, developer ecosystem and more terminals equipped with the OS. It will eventually build its Internet of Things based on its leading communication systems, rather than just focusing on mobile phone products, a veteran industry analyst told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

References:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201908/13/WS5d51ed9ea310cf3e35565513.html

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201908/12/WS5d512715a310cf3e35565454.html

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1161064.shtml

 

Huawei and China Telecom Jointly Release 5G Super Uplink Innovation Solution

As a large number of new pre-standard 5G services emerge, they are posing higher requirements on the uplink rate and latency. During MWC2019 in Shanghai, China Telecom and Huawei jointly released the 5G Super Uplink Joint Technology Innovation solution to accommodate those applications.

The 5G Super Uplink solution proposes the innovative networking technology featuring TDD/FDD coordination, high-band/low-band complementation, and time/frequency domain aggregation, which achieves an unprecedented uplink rate of 5G networks and reduces latency over the air interface. This solution truly redefined 5G networks based on industry requirements.

At the “Hello 5G Encouraging the Future” 5G Innovation Cooperation Conference held in April this year, China Telecom formulated the networking strategy that depends on the standalone (SA) networking and applies three SA features of URLLC, eMBB, and eMTC to meet 2B/2C requirements. China Telecom has extensively explored 5G applications in vertical industries such as government affairs, transportation, ecosystem, party building, healthcare, tourism, policing, Internet of Vehicles (IoV), education, and manufacturing. In the future 2B/2C ecosystem, large bandwidth and low latency are the focus of services. For example, the 4K HD video backhaul will give rise to the boom of new media, Internet celebrity live broadcast, and other services, bringing immersive experience to the audience. Drone services, unmanned driving, and telemedicine have higher requirements on the uplink rate and network latency.

The 5G Super Uplink solution proposed by China Telecom and Huawei implements the time-frequency domain aggregation of TDD and FDD in the uplink frequency band. Therefore, the solution can increase uplink spectrum resources of NR, boost the uplink capability of the 5G network, reduce latency, and improve the utilization rate of the uplink spectrum of 2.1 GHz/1.8 GHz. At the launch event, the Proof of Concept (PoC) of “Super Uplink” was demonstrated. The test results showed that the experienced uplink rate of 5G UEs in the cell center was increased by 20% to 60%, the experienced uplink rate of 5G UEs at the cell edge was increased to 2 to 4 times, the air interface latency was reduced by about 30%, and the URLLC services were enabled. Huawei Balong 5000 chipset, customer-premises equipment (CPE), and Mate 20 X were also displayed at the event. Super Uplink is supported from end to end by Huawei 5G technologies.

Huawei Technologies

Corporation Limited, third from left Ding Yun, Executive Director of the Board President, Carrier Business Group Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., third from right Yang Chaobin, President of 5G Product Line, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., second from right.  Photo courtesy of Huawei Technologies
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Liu Guiqing, executive vice president of China Telecom Group Co., Ltd., said: “The five ecosystems extend to 5G and become the important engine for China Telecom’s continuous growth. China Telecom adheres to the philosophy of “Customer First, Attentive Service”, insists on formulating standards first and leading technology development, and pioneers the practice of 5G network innovation. To provide better 5G experience, optimize customers’ service awareness, and enhance differentiated competitiveness in the market, China Telecom cooperates with Huawei to propose the innovative 5G networking technology featuring TDD/FDD coordination, high-band/low-band complementation, and time/frequency domain aggregation. This solution aims to further improve the uplink data capability and reduce latency, providing better development space for vertical industry applications. China Telecom will work with industry partners to seek the optimal network experience solution and promote the prosperity of the industry.”

Ryan Ding, executive director, CEO of the Carrier BG of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., commented: “5G not only changes everyday life but also revolutionizes human society. Service requirements are driving the development of 5G technologies. 5G industry innovation represents uplink ultra-large bandwidth, ultra-low latency, end-to-end slicing, and mobile edge computing (MEC). Based on the digital requirements of the industry, Huawei and China Telecom proposed the 5G Super Uplink Joint Technology Innovation solution. It is another breakthrough after Huawei CloudAIR solution.”

Yang Chaobin, president of 5G Product Line, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., noted: “The Super Uplink solution can meet the service requirements of large bandwidth and low latency at the same time. We are honored to work with China Telecom to implement the test and verification of 5G Super Uplink. Huawei 5G supports end-to-end Super Uplink and co-deployment of NSA and SA. Huawei will help industry partners continuously innovate to create the optimal 5G experience.”

China Telecom and Huawei continue to cooperate closely in technological innovation, promote 5G innovation, and contribute to 5G industry development. Huawei will support the strategic goal of China Telecom’s 5G development as always, and deepen cooperation on Super Uplink to help China Telecom take the lead in the new era of a 5G intelligent world.

Contact:
Nash Chong
nash.chong@maxusglobal.com

Reference:

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/07/01/1876788/0/en/China-Telecom-and-Huawei-Jointly-Release-5G-Super-Uplink-Innovation-Solution.html

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 

Philippines’ Globe Telecom to deploy “Air Fiber 5G” this month

Globe Telecom has made the Philippines the first country in Southeast Asia to offer commercial “5G” fixed wireless internet.  The rollout of these services, from early July 2019, form part of Globe’s efforts to connect two million homes across the Philippines by 2020.

The at home ‘Air Fiber 5G’ postpaid plans that Globe has released offer Filipinos the option of high bandwidth and low latency services, especially given the challenge of rolling out fiber optic cables across the country.

“The arrival of 5G has caused excitement in the global world of telecommunications,” said Ernest Cu, president and CEO of Globe Telecom. “Today, we made a crucial step in fulfilling our goal of connecting more Filipino homes, and our vision of bringing first-world Internet to the Philippines,” Cu added.

The Globe At Home Air Fiber 5G postpaid plans will offer fiber-like speeds up to 100Mbps.  Super-sized data packages of up to 2 terabytes will be initially available in select areas in Pasig, Cavite, and Bulacan.

Globe at Home Air Fiber 5G will be available to eligible customers in July 2019. Plans come at P1899 per month for up to 20Mbps, P2499 for up to 50Mbps and P2899 for up to 100Mbps. All come with up to 2TB data capacity.

“Prior to Air Fiber 5G, we have aggressively utilized fixed wireless solutions to connect more homes and businesses to the internet over airwaves,” said Cu. “This strategy resulted in home broadband subscriber base increasing by 55.1 per cent to 1.7 million in the first three months of 2019 from 1.1 million in the same period in 2016.”

The Globe At Home Air Fiber 5G modem

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Globe At Home Air Fiber 5G makes use of fixed location wireless radios instead of fiber optic cables which enables the company to go over the circuitous approval process of deploying a fiber optic cable – a task which proves to be arduous and involves securing multiple permits from local government units (LGUs),” Cu said.

“The right of process can sometimes take years to obtain, causing drastic delays in fiber optic roll-out completion,” Cu added.

Alberto de Larrazabal, Globe’s chief commercial officer, told reporters in the Philippines that Globe would use Huawei’s equipment, including radios and modems, to deliver “5G quality broadband internet.”

[Huawei and Finland’s Nokia were Globe’s equipment providers for its 4G-LTE service.]

Cu said that the company has been spending over 21% of its annual total revenues to upgrade and expand its telecommunication and IT infrastructure since 2012. “We have been ramping up our capital spend from P20.3 billion in 2012 to P43.3 billion in 2018, in order to provide our customers better broadband services,” he said.

Editor’s Notes:

  1. The Philippines ranks 107th among 178 countries in fixed broadband speed at 19.55 megabits per second (Mbps) versus the global average of 59.6 Mbps. Among 140 countries, it ranks 107th in terms of mobile internet speed at 15.10 Mbps, nearly half of the 27.22 Mbps global average.
  2. Globe is owned by Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp, with Singapore Telecommunications Ltd holding a minority stake.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

References:

https://www.globe.com.ph/about-us/newsroom/consumer/globe-at-home-air-fiber-5g.html

https://businessmirror.com.ph/2019/06/26/globe-at-home-air-fiber-5g-unveiled-to-connect-more-filipinos/

https://sg.channelasia.tech/article/663513/philippines-rolls-commercial-5g-services-through-globe-telecom/

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/scitech/technology/699258/faster-internet-service-unveiled-to-connect-more-filipinos-at-home/story/

https://www.bworldonline.com/globe-launches-first-5g-service-in-southeast-asia/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2018/11/26/huaweis-all-bands-go-to-5g-strategy-explained-partnership-with-china-telecom-described/

Who Stole 5G Technology? Huawei ban has huge impact on semiconductor industry

NOTE:  There are no U.S. cellular equipment manufacturers.  The only two in the west are Ericcson and Nokia- both based in Europe.  However, U.S. based Qualcomm has been developing 5G silicon and is the only 5G (fabless) semiconductor vendor in the U.S.  They will likely have an IMT 2020 compliant chip set as the company regularly attends ITU-R WP 5D meetings.  The only other 5G merchant market semiconductor company we know of is Taiwan based MediaTek.  Samsung and Huawei have developed 5G silicon but are using it ONLY for their own devices- not sold to merchant semiconductor market.

The only U.S. semiconductor companies that we know of that make their own chips are Intel and Micron.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

IHS Markit says Huawei fall- out on memory market is huge:

Huawei in recent years has carved out prominent positions in the global smartphone and mobile infrastructure markets (not to mention fiber optics infrastructure and IT markets).  In 2018, Huawei rose to take second place in the smartphone business, with 206.1 million shipments, according to the IHS Markit Smartphone Intelligence Service. This put it just slightly ahead of Apple, at 204.7 million.

In 2017, the company  became the leader in the worldwide mobile infrastructure equipment market, surpassing Ericsson. Huawei has retained the top position and rose to account for nearly one-third of the market, with a 31 percent share of global revenue in 2018, as reported by the IHS Markit Mobile Infrastructure Intelligence Service.

Huawei’s market position has translated directly into purchasing power, with the company ranking as the world’s fourth-largest OEM semiconductor buyer in 2018.  Huawei spent $15.9 billion on semiconductors in 2018, according to the IHS Markit OEM Semiconductor Spending & Design Activity Intelligence Service. Memory represents a considerable slice of that spending, with the company buying $1.7 billion worth of DRAM and $1.1 billion worth of NAND flash memory for the year.

In the memory business, the wireless communications market was the second-largest global market for DRAM in 2018, following computer platforms, with revenue of $21.3 billion. Wireless was also the second largest market for NAND flash memory after computers, with revenue of $14.6 billion in 2018.   HDD and solid-state drive (SSD) products enjoy major usage in the enterprise segment where Huawei operates. The enterprise market generated 72.8 million HDD unit shipments in 2018, while SDD demand amounted to 34 million, according to the IHS Markit HDD and SDD Storage Intelligence Service.  For Micron and Western Digital, the revenue lost because of the ban is not likely to be replaced easily or quickly.

IHS-Markit says No Winners:

While the ban was ostensibly designed to penalize Huawei and benefit the U.S. tech industry, the reality is the pain will be felt by companies on both sides of the Pacific, affecting key U.S. suppliers along with Huawei.​