Friday 30 November 2018

5G plans by UK Operators - Nov 2018

Vodafone: 1000 live 5G sites by 2020
  • Back in June, Vodafone announced 7 cities will be part of 5G trials starting in July.
  • In October, Vodafone announced that they have became the first company in the UK to carry full 5G over a commercial network. Live mobile data traffic was being streamed to and from the Internet exclusively over 5G from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester, connected to Vodafone’s nationwide converged fibre network.
  • Vodafone further said as a part of the same announcement that their network engineers were already achieving high-speed Internet connectivity and low latency from the Salford site using Active Antenna (Massive MIMO) technology. This effectively provides multiple-data ‘channels’ from a single antenna, coupled with the 3.4GHz 5G spectrum. Vodafone secured the largest block of this 5G spectrum at this year’s auction.
  • In September, Vodafone made UK’s first holographic call using 5G.
  • Vodafone is planning commercial network and 1,000 5G sites by 2020

The video of the first live holographic call is below:

EE/BT: 1,500 sites, 16 cities with 5G in 2019

  • EE, part of BT Group, has nine live 5G trial sites across East London.
  • Some of the learning as part of this announcement included the fact that rooftop sites often need significant strengthening to carry the new 50 kg 5G antennas – and some sites house three of these (3 sectors)
  • EE launching 5G within 16 UK cities in 2019, roughly 1,500 sites
  • EE is upgrading transmission to 10Gbps links at each 5G site
  • 5G Smartphones to be introduced alongside 5G Home router for 5G broadband
  • EE also building next generation 5G core network, with virtualised network functions on a cloud native infrastructure
  • BT Sport showcased first live trial of remote production broadcast live over EE’s 5G network

‘3’ UK Committed to Invest Over £2bn into 5G

  • According to Three press release: It’s committed spend to date covers the acquisition of the UK’s leading 5G spectrum position, new 5G radio equipment and cell site upgrades, high-capacity dark fibre network, the world’s first end-to-end cloud-based core network, and new digital systems that will enhance user experience
  • The first commercial quantities of 5G smartphone and home broadband devices are expected to be available by H2 2019. 
  • According to CCS Insight, Three now owns about 24 percent of all spectrum suitable for 4G and 5G services. This, it says, places it ahead of BT (21 percent), Vodafone (19 percent) and O2 (15 percent). The remaining 20 percent, which consists of 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz airwaves, is earmarked for sale by Ofcom in late 2019.
  • Customers of Three already use 7.6GB of data per month, more than three times the industry average. Based on projections from Ofcom, Dave Dyson, CEO, sees a scenario in which this usage surges to 90GB per month in 2025. Note that this prediction has increased from 56 GB per month in 2025 as we earlier reported.

O2: Massive MIMO Pilot to prepare for 5G

  • O2 has the least amount of announcements and information on 5G. In a recent press release, it announced that it has launched a pilot to boost London network ahead of 5G.
  • The pilot is effectively saying that O2 is working with Nokia on two Massive MIMO trials in Kings Cross and Marble Arch (in London), aimed at enhancing connectivity for O2 customers and paving the way for the future deployment of 5G across the capital.
  • The pilot is in the newly acquired 2.3 GHz spectrum.
  • The pilot will lay the foundation for the next-generation of mobile connectivity– 5G.
  • On the positive side, Ofcom confirmed that O2 had delivered against its commitment to provide 98% indoor 4G coverage and 90% geographical landmass mass coverage across the UK. 

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