Sunday 30 June 2019

O2 UK Getting 5G Ready...

Although slightly behind other operators O2 have announced the launch of their 5G network  using its 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz spectrum later this year. The roll-out will begin in the four corners of the UK. Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London will be the first to benefit from O2’s 5G network. Other areas of the UK will enjoy roll-out from 2020 to coincide with the wider availability of 5G handsets. 
Mark Evans, CEO, Telef贸nica UK, explained at the release of O2’s full year 2018 results that, while the company prepares for 5G rollout in 2019, it will work to build a 5G Economy in coalition with British industry, making the case for 5G in the UK and exploring the possibilities of the latest mobile standard. Evans elaborates
“5G is a promise of so much more – for consumers, business, industry and public services.  O2 is working in partnership with British industry, encouraging businesses, big and small, to engage with the possibilities of 5G technology through both our testbed programme and launch deployment.  O2’s 5G network will arrive this year and we want the next-generation of mobile services to launch with a bang. 5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improved customer experience.  Following the demand from our FTSE 100 trials, we are extending our testbed opportunities so that businesses of all sizes can work us to build the 5G Economy. Mobile is one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of British people and 5G is a significant milestone for this nation.” 
While Derek McManus, the Chief Operating Officer of Telefonica O2 states that the operator has invested over £2 billion in their network in the last two years, and this he believes will pave the way for 5G: 
 “Mobile has become a necessity for consumers and businesses alike. It’s no longer just a phone. We bank, we shop, we watch content, and we do business on mobiles. In fact, it goes a long way beyond just person to person. For example, Transport for London relies on mobile to manage their timetable and ensure their buses run on time. And Uber, that’s the key platform to reach and connect to their customers. And we believe it has even more to offer. But 5G is more than just connectivity. I believe that has the potential to transform every sector that it touches, from transport to energy grids, from manufacturing to social and healthcare and from education to entertainment. For example, health. In the years to come, we wouldn’t need to visit a doctor surgery. In fact, research firm Juniper say that the NHS could benefit with GP hours over video conferencing and real time remote monitoring helped in helping to diagnose problems straight away."
Telefonica O2 believe that the government will save a lot of money, thanks to the introduction of things like Smart Lighting, smart refuge collection, as well as improved social care. MIMO cities will increase the livability to the reduction in road congestion and real delays. 5g will offer manufacturers the chance to integrate intelligent mobility into the factories and truly take advantage of such technologies as automation. The opportunity for businesses and organizations is driven by the characteristics of 5G mobile networks.

To build a 5G Economy O2 is creating 5G innovation spaces for businesses of all sizes following demand for its FTSE 100 testbed opportunities. One such test bed is the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. Here O2 along with several partners are testing and developing connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) technology.

The Millbrook network comprises 59 sites and 89 small cells, which is operated by wireless solution provider Dense Air. A 12-month agreement with the AutoAir project will see O2 integrate these sites and small cells into its public infrastructure.

The AutoAir project is one of six government-funded 5G testbeds, which are part of the national 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme launched in 2017. To date, AutoAir has received nearly £6 million in government funds and more than £4.5 million from matched industry funding.

The project aims to validate and develop CAVs using 5G technology, as well as intelligent transport systems (ITS) for roads and railways. The test 5G small cell network will be deployed in the sub-6 GHz and millimetrewave bands on a so-called “neutral host” platform that will allow multiple service providers to use the infrastructure via network slicing. The benefit of 5G is that its low latency and high capacity can enable vehicles to send data – even 4K video – to an ITS, which could help to improve road safety and reduce traffic congestion.

Earlier this year, the AutoAir 5G Testbed and Trials consortium was able to prove this capability, during tests at Millbrook that saw a McLaren sports car receive and send data at 1 Gbit/s whilst driving round the site at 160 Mph, and real-time UltraHD 4K video sharing between a network of moving vehicles.


O2 is also working with Nokia on two Massive MIMO trials in Kings Cross and Marble Arch, aimed at enhancing connectivity for O2 customers and paving the way for the future deployment of 5G across the capital. Massive MIMO technology works by sending multiple beams of data from an antenna to devices, increasing performance and enhancing capacity with the ability to serve more users simultaneously.

By trialling the technology in locations with high levels of data traffic, O2 will be able to boost coverage in these areas whilst also evaluating the technology for future deployment in urban areas.  Over 95 million people travel through the Kings Cross St Pancras area every year and over 14 million passed through Marble Arch area last year.

The pilot uses the additional 2.3GHz spectrum that O2 secured earlier this year in the spectrum auction. O2 was the only UK network to secure extra 2.3GHz capacity to boost its existing network.

O2 does of course use Huawei equipment and Mark Evans has said the company was “mindful” of an ongoing Government review into the presence of Chinese firm Huawei in parts of 5G infrastructure, and said he hoped to see a “conclusion made on facts”. Mr Evans acknowledged the UK’s own National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is involved in the analysis of Huawei, is yet to report any security breaches involving the firm and that they currently “meet legislation”. He also told Sky News "there's no doubt" that banning Huawei from the UK will stall 5G mobile deployment.

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Thursday 27 June 2019

Swisscom brings Industry 4.0 to Ypsomed

Swisscom, Ericsson and the 脡cole Polytechnique F茅d茅rale de Lausanne (EPFL) initiated the “5G for Switzerland” programme in the summer of 2016 in order to carry out joint research in this new mobile telephony standard. Swisscom seeks to offer its customers the best infrastructure. Swisscom is working intensively on the development of 5G in order to make this latest technology available to its customers as early as possible. 5G will enable greater speed, greater capacities and shorter reaction times. The economy, science, industry as well as residential customers will benefit from it in equal measure.  Digitisation is also being worked on in the direction of Industry 4.0. In addition, Swisscom is promoting the further development of 4G and now provides 4G+ with speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s to 40% of the population; at the end of the year, it will be 67%. Swisscom already covers 15% of the population with speeds of up to 450 Mbit/s.

Ypsomed is the leading developer and manufacturer of injection and infusion systems for selfmedication and a renowned diabetes specialist with 30 years experience. As an innovation and technology leader, the company is the preferred partner of pharmaceutical and biotech companies for pens, auto-injectors and pump systems for administrating liquid medication. Ypsomed presents and distributes its product portfolios under the umbrella brand mylife Diabetescare directly to patients or via pharmacies and clinics, as well as under YDS Ypsomed Delivery Systems in business-to-business operations to pharmaceutical companies. The company is based in Burgdorf, Switzerland, and has a global network of production sites, subsidiaries and sales partners employing around 1300 staff worldwide
“It is of great value to us that we can attract Ypsomed as our first industrial partner for our "5G for Switzerland" programme. This will enable us to gain key insights into the digitisation of industry processes.” says Heinz Herren, CTO and CIO of Swisscom. 5G-specific features, such as extremely high bandwidths and long latency periods, are being tested. But they are also investigating aspects of wirelessly-networked production and its integrated data processing. Here, technology such as edge computing is being used for the first time. The cloud will become an integral component of a base station and control IT production processes both locally and directly. Ypsomed aims to gain experience of 5G technology early on in order to prepare for the new age of mobile-networked production. Ypsomed also aims to be able to benefit quickly from the economies of scale in production IT. “At Ypsomed, we are investing a lot in the digitisation of the injection systems and we see some great opportunities for growth. We want to fully exploit the potential for digitisation and apply it to all processes,” explains Ypsomed CEO Simon Michel about their collaboration with Swisscom.

Press Release
Swisscom 5G

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Monday 24 June 2019

EE: 5G is going to change everything all over again

EE was the first of the UK operators to launch its 5G network in six UK cities on May 30th 2019. Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, and Manchester, were the first cities to get 5G, and later this year will also see additional rollouts in Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Sheffield.

EE's device range will include the currently-delayed Samsung Fold, Oppo Reno 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50 ThinkQ, and the Huawei CPE Pro and HTC 5G smart hub. It doesn't include any Huawei handsets in its current 5G line-up. EE CEO Marc Allera said EE had put the Huawei 5G devices "on pause" until it has more information and confidence that the handsets would be supported for the lifetime of the devices. But the vendor's equipment is still in EE core network; the UK government is currently deciding whether Huawei kit should be allowed in the nation's 5G networks.

EE has said it has Huawei equipment in the core of its 4G network and has said that in the future it will not be using the vendors kit in the core of its 5G network. But the first phase of its 5G network will run on top of the existing 4G network - using Huawei equipment as part of the radio access network. According to Allera

"We have worked for decades with the government and our security services collaborating on our networks both fixed and mobile. We agree and sign off our architecture and how we design and build those networks with their support. At the moment we have no instructions to change our plans but it's important to say that we have also have a multi-vendor policy and architecture. Our core and our radio access network, will be made up of a number of providers Huawei will be part of that but not the only part."
While some people may wonder why they need 5G, Allera said people said the same thing about 4G "and look how much has changed in the way people live their lives". He said that 4G has sparked a huge shift and said "5G is going to change everything all over again."

EE said its 5G strategy has three phases; 2019 to 2022 sees 5G rollout and a ‘non-standalone’ deployment focused on using the combined power of 4G and 5G to give customers the fastest, most reliable mobile broadband experience they’ve ever had and 1,500 5G sites by the end of this year.

Phase 2, from 2022, will introduce the full next generation  5G core network, enhanced device chipset capabilities, and increased availability of 5G-ready spectrum. Higher bandwidth and lower latency featuring network slicing and multi-gigabit-per-second speeds, coupled with expansive and growing 5G coverage, an ultra-reliable and more responsive network, enabling truly immersive mobile augmented reality, real-time health monitoring, mobile cloud gaming and enabling services such as real-time traffic management. Phase 2 is also a vital step on the way to the convergence of network technologies, bringing together fixed, mobile and WiFi into one seamless customer experience.

Phase 3, from 2023, will introduce Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), Network Slicing and multi-gigabit-per-second speeds. This phase of 5G will enable critical applications like real-time traffic management of fleets of autonomous vehicles, massive sensor networks with millions of devices measuring air quality across the entire country, and the ‘tactile internet’, where a sense of touch can be added to remote real-time interactions.

EE CEO Marc Allera said that he expects users to hit speeds of 150Mbps on average, and is confident that some customers will even break the fabled 1Gbps milestone on 5G, as some early users of Verizon’s 5G network have managed in parts of the US. 

JComms blog did speed tests on the EE network in both London and Birmingham (two of the launch cities) with the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G  he wasn't able to get results approaching or exceeding 1 gigabit. However, he did get – between 300 and 600Mbps – which are more than required for most needs. Speeds in excess of 300Mbps in city centres, in particular places like Canary Wharf, are particularly impressive.

EE came out of Ofcom’s first 5G spectrum auction with 40Mhz of 3.4GHz spectrum, specifically the 3540MHz – 3580MHz part of the band. They paid £302,592,000 for that.
They won more of the 3.4GHz band – which is ideal for 5G – than Three (which won just 20MHz), but the same amount as O2 and less than Vodafone, which came away with 50Mhz. However, EE also has 255MHz of immediately useable spectrum in other bands less suited to 5G, which means it has more spectrum overall than any other UK network.

It’s also worth noting that there are set to be future 5G auctions for spectrum in the 3.6GHz - 3.8GHz bands and the 700MHz band, as well likely as the 26GHz and 8GHz bands, and potentially others, which Ofcom is set to discuss at WRC-19, so there’s time for EE to collect more spectrum, and it already has more overall than any rival – albeit less that’s ideally suited for 5G than some.
EE will also be transforming Glastonbury 2019 into the UK’s first 5G-connected festival.
The 5G network will mean festival-goers stay connected with superfast phone charging and power bar swapping at the EE Recharge Tent, as well as helping to develop the official Glastonbury 2019 app.

To keep music fans connected throughout the weekend, EE will be installing five temporary masts across the 900-acre Somerset site broadcasting 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G for the first time. Those lucky enough to be at the festival will be able to share their unforgettable moments with friends and family back home via our 5G-powered WiFi – meaning they won’t need a 5G-compatible phone to experience our brand-new 5G network technology.

In 2017, an incredible 54 terabytes of mobile data was used over the festival weekend by Glastonbury-goers sharing photos and videos of their favourite festival moments, streaming content and keeping up to date with events away from the festival.

But EE think Glastonbury 2019 will dwarf that, with up to 40% more data being used over the festival weekend. That’s a staggering 70 terabytes of data – enough to download Stormzy’s hit song ‘Shut Up’ 19 million times or post 784 million times on Instagram.

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Saturday 22 June 2019

How is KT Reducing the Latency of their 5G Network

During the keynote at 5G World 2019, Youngsoo Seo, SVP, Head of Regional Network O&M Headquarter, KT explained that one of the main differentiation for KT 5G network is the reduced latency. While a normal 5G network would take 18 ms, KT 5G network takes only 10ms.

Latency is a big area of focus for KT. Their announcement on 5G commercial network launch had 8 mentions of latency. Mainly:

KT’s ‘5G First’ Network Strategy Focuses on Latency and Speed

KT unveiled its “5G First” strategy to focus on providing the best network, with an emphasis on latency. By favoring the 5G network, this new strategy makes the best of 5G’s ultra-low latency and helps conserve smartphone batteries about 25 percent.

The press release also mentioned:

To better support 5G’s ultra-low latency, KT also operates mobile edge computing (MEC) telecom centers in eight major cities, including one on Jeju Island, the country’s southernmost territory. Using the largest number of MEC centers, the company can process data from handsets closest by to enable more reliable and seamless transmission.

Low latency is vital for 5G users to enjoy immersive media such as cloud-based streaming games and AR/VR as well as other key services such as autonomous driving.

One of their 5G adverts focuses on AR & VR apps that definitely requires low latency

Netmainas has a good summary of the South Korean giants SK Telecom and KT here. In a recent article, they outlined the KT's 5G NSA Network architecture as shown above. Their website provides much more details.

With the Standalone 5G network, they will be able to reduce this latency much further once the UPF can be optimally located to reduce latencies where really needed.

Further reading:

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Wednesday 19 June 2019

Three UK: Bringing A True 5G Experience

UK operator Three intends to launch 5G this August. They claim their 5G network will be the fastest in the UK, however it will at first only be available in London as a home broadband service. Three say their 5G home broadband customers will be able to plug a hub into the wall to immediately become connected, without lengthy engineer wait times or a long-term contract.

This "plug and play" 5G service is set to offer comparable speeds to fibre broadband, according to Three. The operator then plan to roll out both mobile and home broadband offerings in 25 towns and cities across the UK "before the end of the year".

It was back in November 2018, that Three UK announced its partnership with Huawei on a 5G broadband demo in London, with the service attaining download speeds of up to 2 Gbps. The demonstration utilized its 100 MHz C-Band spectrum and Huawei’s commercial 5G home broadband routers, with the partners reporting that speeds will average around 1 Gbps for each user. Three UK and Huawei had been working on pre-commercial tests in 2018, and said they will continue testing the service ahead of the public launch in dense urban areas and train stations in 2019.

Three UK previously owned less 3G and 4G spectrum than their rivals, but recognised that they may be better positioned to compete in future 5G services and so bought fixed wireless ISP UK Broadband Ltd. for £250m back in 2017 and  recently spent £164m to grab a small 20MHz slice of the 3.4GHz band in Ofcom’s auction.

As a result Three UK now has a total of about 144MHz (frequency) across several 5G friendly mobile bands and one of those includes a 100MHz block of contiguous spectrum in the 3.4-3.6GHz band, which is ideal for the new service (at present Vodafone only has 50MHz of 5G spectrum, while EE and O2 both hold 40Mhz).

Therefore Three UK are promising that their 5G service will be “at least 2x faster” than their rivals, although much of this depends upon whether they can keep up with the capacity requirements in order to fuel that. Rival operator EE, which has just gone live with their own 5G network (here), told consumers to expect speeds of around 100-150Mbps “even in the busiest areas” (i.e. we will expect 200-300Mbps from Three).

No doubt 5G technology is designed to cope with peak download speeds of 20Gbps but, just like with 4G and 3G before that, it often takes several years before networks are ready to handle such speeds. Ofcom will also be releasing a lot more spectrum in 2020 (i.e. the 700MHz and 3.6 – 3.8GHz bands), which is needed to support faster services and better coverage. As well as spectrum,Three have also been investing in high-capacity smart antennas, in order meet the anticipated future demand for data.

Three’s mobile customers (10 million strong over a network that covers over 99% of the UK population), are known to be particularly data-hungry and consume 3.5x more data per month than the industry average, because of their focus on “unlimited” style data and mobile broadband plans. Indeed the company also offers a 4G Home Broadband package with unlimited data from just £22 per month (HomeFi) and they have a dedicated wireless ISP brand called Three Broadband (formerly Relish).

According to Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three:

"It's clear that consumers and businesses want more and more data. We have the UK's best network for data and we have led the market on customer usage on both 3G and 4G technologies.We have worked hard over a long period of time to be able to offer the best end-to-end 5G experience. 5G is a game changer for Three, and of course I am excited that we will be the only operator in the UK who can offer true 5G."
Dave Dyson further elaborated
“I’m really excited that 5G will bring a huge amount of capacity into the network, which is great for our mobile customers, but it also opens up different opportunities within the home broadband market, so I’d say that’s the most immediate opportunity. Obviously, there’s lots of talk about massive IoT and some of the more sci-fi type applications, remote robotics, and things like that. That will come. And I think things like network slicing are particularly interesting and potentially quite disruptive, which is good for 5G operators. This is a major investment into the UK’s digital infrastructure. UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G unlocks significant capability to meet that demand.”
The focus on unlimited data and better speeds suggests that Three’s new 5G upgrade should be particularly attractive to consumers, possibly even enough to the point of stealing away some market share from fixed line broadband networks. Indeed Ovum once predicted that consumers will gobble 13 times more mobile data in 2025 than today, largely due to the advent of 5G. Ovum estimates that 5G wireless could replace traditional connections for 85 per cent of the UK’s 26 million fixed-line customers, with equal or better speeds. It is 
much quicker to deploy than fibre and almost 50 per cent cheaper, the research found.
“The low availability and high deployment costs of fibre make 5G wireless a viable alternative to fixedline broadband, satisfying customers’ fast-growing demand for data.”
says Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader at Ovum.

Over the next three years, Three's 5G rollout will continue to ramp up to cover 80% of its network traffic. The network investment programme also includes upgrades within Three’s 4G network, expected to deliver up to 400% improvements in speed and capacity.

The company boasts that it is the only operator that can offer a "true" 5G experience, as set out by the global standards body on 5G technology (which requires 100MHz of 5G spectrum, as set out by the ITU). They recently gave us a tester: the world’s first 5G mixed reality catwalk at London Fashion Week: 

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Wednesday 12 June 2019

Ice - bringing 5G to Norway

Norway has a population of 5.4 million with a mobile market dominated by Telenor Mobil and Telia, the only two operators with national coverage. Telia Norway has 2.3 million mobile subscriptions, while Telenor roughly 3.1 million mobile subscriptions.Both Telenor and Telia have outstanding 4G availability across the rest of the country, and as a result, Norway had the highest percentage of 4G use of any of the Scandinavian countries.

Ice is the third network upsetting this duoply, a much recent entrant, having only started commercial sales in 2015. They had 422 thousand smartphone subscribers as of 30 June 2018 and operate their own 4G network in some regions of the country, most notably major cities such as Oslo and Bergen, and claim to cover around 80% of the population with their own infrastructure. 

Norway has completed an auction of mobile spectrum in the 700 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands. The smallest operator Ice was the biggest spender, acquiring frequencies in both bands, and Telenor and Telia also bought licences for the 700 MHz band. In total, the auction raised NOK 735 million (€75 million / $85 million).

Ice acquired the 2x15 MHz offered in the 2.1 GHz band for the minimum price of NOK 75 million (€7.7 million / $8.7 million) as well as 2x10 MHz in the 700 MHz band for NOK 262 million (€26.8 million / $30.4 million). The operator is still building out its mobile network in Norway and noted that the new frequencies are a "bonus" not included in its original plan. As a result of the opportunities with the 700 MHz band, it will be able to reach the target of 95 percent population with fewer base stations, reducing capex in 2019 and 2020 compared to previous estimates. 

Telia spent NOK 217.9 million (
€22.3 million / $25.2 million) on 2x10 MHz in the 700 MHz band, and Telenor acquired the other 2x10 MHz in the 700 MHz band for NOK 180 million (€18.4 million / $20.9 million).

The 700 MHz spectrum will be available from 01 November 2019 and is expected to be a key component of 5G network roll-outs as well as boosting 4G capacity. The operators will be required to cover 40 percent of the population within five years with speeds of a minimum 5 Mbps with the new frequencies. 

Ice is is now building a 5G-ready network inn urban areas across Norway based on Nokia AirScale Radio Access technology, with approximately 1000 5G-ready base stations already deployed.
“With ice, Norway is at the forefront of the development of 5G network and services. ice is building a brand new 5G-ready mobile network with Nokia, one of the world’s leading suppliers of mobile technology. We continue to invest in and expand our national 4G network, even as we prepare for the next generation of mobile networks. We will always ensure Norway gets top quality services, and we look forward to exploring the new services we can introduce with 5G technology.” 
says Eivind Helgaker, CEO of ice Group.

And until 5G can be deployed in Norway, Ice subscribers will still benefit from optimized 4G performance, coverage and capacity due to the technology upgrade. Under the same agreement, Nokia will also further expand ice’s current 4G network towards nationwide coverage.

Ice has also started to modernize its core network, moving to Nokia’s 5G-ready Airframe cloud-native core technology. Virtualizing the core network infrastructure will enable ice to develop new services faster than currently possible. The cloud-native core network will also prepare ice to support future 5G-based service deployments.

“5G is not just approaching fast – it is here already. With the deployment of Nokia 5G-ready RAN and Cloud Core technology, ice is making a big step towards 5G and, together, we are ready to unleash its power. As a long-standing partner and network supplier of ice we have a deep understanding of the network and a long track record of successful projects. We look forward to continuing to support Ice on their journey.” 
says Pekka Sundstrom, CBT Head at Nokia.

Ice have already delivered the highest levels of Consistent Quality in testing across all operators in the Nordics, delivering a high quality cellular connection capable of delivering HD video calls more than 90% of the time.

For users outside of ICE’s own coverage, the network has a roaming agreement with Telia. According to Tutela’s data, ICE subscribers are on Telia’s network around 1/3rd of the time.

When roaming on Telia’s network, Ice users do benefit from Telia’s superior coverage, although data speeds appear to be a little slower for Ice users compared to Telia users. Ice users see download speeds 17% slower than Telia users in the same areas, although the speeds are still far in excess of the consistent quality threshold.

Ice, also has the least geographic coverage of any operator in Norway, but scores the best for consistent quality at 90.5% -- which is also the highest score for any operator in Scandinavia. The industry-leading consistent quality may be explained by Ice mostly building out its network in urban areas; in rural areas, where consistent quality is typically lower, customers instead roam onto Telia’s network.

Further Reading:

Monday 10 June 2019

US mmWave Spectrum Auction Results in 24 GHz & 28 GHz

Fortune reported:

The federal government’s latest auction of airwave rights that can be used for super-fast 5G mobile phone service brought in only $2.7 billion, a fraction of the amounts raised in earlier sales for 3G and 4G airwaves.

AT&T and T-Mobile were the top bidders, with each spending almost $1 billion for rights in the 24 GHz and 28 GHz bands, the Federal Communications Commission said on Monday. Verizon, which already owned a considerable amount of airwaves in the 28 GHz band before the auction, spent $521 million.

Meanwhile, United States Cellular spent $256 million, Boston-based wireless broadband startup Starry spent $48 million, and data carrier Windstream spent $27 million. The auction didn’t draw any bids from cable companies and big tech players that have previously shown an interest in wireless.

The total was far less than the $20 billion to $45 billion that the wireless industry spent each at auctions over the past decade covering airwaves in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, and 1700 MHz bands. Sometimes referred to as the millimeter wave bands, the high frequency airwaves sold at the latest auction can carry a tremendous amount of data, but they don’t travel nearly as far as lower frequency bands and can be blocked easily by buildings and trees.

FCC website:

  • Auction of 24 GHz Upper Microwave Flexible Use Service Licenses Closes; Winning Bidders Announced for Auction 102

Tables from Light Reading Article here.

Pie charts at the top from Allnet Blog post here.

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Friday 7 June 2019

Telia 5G Strategy and Services

Telia is without doubt the leading European operator on 5G. They have partnered with Nokia among others for the introduction of 5G in Scandinavian countries like Finland and Sweden.

Telia' s 5G network which operates on test frequencies issued by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority was launched on September 2018. However 5G growth is of course dependent on availability of standard-compliant 5G devices, like modems, tablets and mobile phones by terminal manufacturers.    

Here we are looking at some of Telia's innovative and exciting collaborations, bringing 5G technology to the daily lives of people in Scandinavia.

One such initiative is the autonomous robot that will help carry out service tasks at Helsinki Airport after being connected to Telia Company's third 5G network in Finland. The robot, yet to be named, will oversee airport operations and also study the flow of passengers through the T2 terminal.

Telia and airport operator Finavia, which is Telia's first 5G customer, will research how staff and passengers react to the robot through real-time video feeds.  The robot will be connected to a Nokia 5G base station operating in the 28GHz band. This will be the first time in Finland that millimetre waves have been used publicly and Finavia is Telia's first 5G customer.

Telia Finland 5G Program Director Janne Koistinen said:
 "5G will start with enterprise customers, especially for industrial automation and remote control. The low-latency connection and massive capacity of 5G will serve the airport well with its masses of passengers and data, and with the focus on security and fluency of services."
Wile Heikki Koski, Chief Digital Officer, Finavia, said: 
"The robot can deliver real-time video stream from the terminal and enable for example monitoring the terminal area through remote or autonomous control and see that everything is running as it should. The robot can also guide passengers in the terminal, and we aim to try different use cases during the project."

Another project has been this driverless electric truck which has began daily freight deliveries on a public road in Sweden on May 15 2019, in what developer Einride and logistics customer DB Schenker described as a world first.

Einride's T-Pod is 26 tonnes when full and does not have a driver cabin, which it estimates reduces road freight operating costs by around 60% versus a diesel truck with a driver.

Besides Schenker, Einride has orders from German grocer Lidl, Swedish delivery company Svenska Retursystem and five Fortune 500 retail companies, underpinning its ambition to have 200 vehicles in operation by the end of 2020. Freight operators are under pressure to reduce delivery times, cut emissions and face a growing shortage of drivers.

The T-Pod has permission to make short trips – between a warehouse and a terminal – on a public road in an industrial area in Jonkoping, central Sweden, at up to 5 km/hr, documents from the transport authority show.

Robert Falck, the CEO of Swedish startup Einride, said the company was in partnership talks with major suppliers to help scale production and deliver orders, and the firm did not rule out future tie-ups with large truckmakers. Falck said Einride would apply next year for more public route permits and was planning to expand in the United States.

The T-Pod is level 4 autonomous, the second highest category, and uses a Nvidia Drive platform to process visual data in real time. An operator, sitting miles away, can supervise and control up to 10 vehicles at once.

However they are constrained by the rollout of 5G technology, vital for electrification, this was lagging. For Schenker's pilot with Einride, Ericsson and Telia had to construct two new towers.

Nokia’s 5G networking equipment is also involved with Telia in the development of self-driving vehicles. Nokia has been working for some time on LTE based car communications and is a member of the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), a strong proponent of 3GPP’s cellular-based technology called “cellular vehicle to everything” (C-V2X). This will enable the wide variety of communications that will be needed for the autonomous cars to run freely in our cities.

Nokia is busy not only with the creation of phones but also new 5G radios and software but with some other quite useful technologies.  Nokia has been testing together with Telia, and a company Sensible 4, a self-driving vehicle called Juto. Finnish people will know know that Juto is a word for a reindeer who always finds its way to home despite the weather condition. That word is an appropriate name for the self-driving vehicle that uses the 5G network to communicate with Nokia command center in real time.Nokia is doing tests with Juto on the streets of Espoo, and may expand to other cities in Finland. 

Telia has also partnered with Odeon in the development of the 5G cinema: so that big and little screens can share the same streaming technology.  Odeon is now operating the world’s first 5G movie theater, displaying films that have been transferred over a live 5G network.

As Odeon told ZDNet, the theater has found that livestreaming of theatrical films “works excellently” over 5G, though Odeon is largely using 5G to transfer the films to its own servers for repeated playback.

The distinction is critically important as it demonstrates that responsive, high-bandwidth 5G wireless could be a viable alternative to local storage, even in commercial settings where buffering or audiovisual degradation would be problems for hundreds of viewers at once. While 4G LTE networks may struggle to maintain fluid 720p video streams, theatrical films typically run at 4K or greater resolutions with far less compression.

Livestreaming 4K or higher-quality video at respectable frame rates is incredibly bandwidth-intensive, but Telia’s 5G network is up to the task. In its Odeon tests, Telia is achieving 2.2Gbps speeds, between 5 and 20 times the bandwidth of typical consumer 4G networks, and faster than the theater’s wired internet lines. That’s enough to let the cinema’s 5G hardware address its own downloading needs, as well as offering guest Wi-Fi access inside the building.

There are also positive implications for the speed of video distribution. In the past, theaters received physical reels of film that needed to be manually loaded into projectors for viewing, then rewound for subsequent playback, a process that was more recently replaced by less time- and space-consuming digital film distribution. With 5G, distribution can be instantaneous: Telia’s and Odeon’s observed 7-8 millisecond network response times are around one-fifth of 4G’s latency, which could allow theatergoers to participate in real time with live concerts or other events broadcast from remote locations.

Telia's 5G test network in Oslo has also made it possible to explore opportunities for individuals and families as well. At the home of a family of five, Telia and Get have set up what might be Norway's most modern home. The house has been filled with smart solutions from Futurehome, for example, accessing the latest entertainment from Get - all connected to the network through the 5G pilot.

“The family gets an easier, safer and more enjoyable everyday life. We like to call it everyday magic," says Torbj酶rn Aamodt, Product Director at Get and future head of Telia Consumer Home. 
"This family is far ahead of the rest of us, with a home filled with clever things connected through 5G. It is something the rest of us will not experience for several years, but it's really fun to see what we will get with the latest technology.”
Moreover, industrial applications of 5G will be one of the most important drivers for development and commercialization. One of the industries that will benefit greatly from the new technology is the construction industry. Telia cooperates with AF Group Bispevika, which will be one of the first to test 5G on one of its housing development projects. ¨

Telia Norway will contribute with mobile technology to help realize the ambitions of a site filled with sensors, phones, robots, artificial intelligence and expanded reality (AR)

According to Lars Petter Fritzs酶nn, Project Director of AF Byggfornyelse:

"The AF Group project in Bispevika is a lighthouse project and we are pleased to be among the first to use 5G. Today, efficient work processes at such a construction site are challenging, if the infrastructure is not yet available.”​
We look forward to following the progress of all these groundbreaking projects. What other Telia projects have you heard of?