Tuesday 26 December 2023

Top 5 Posts for 2023

Here are the top 5 most viewed posts from 2023. These posts were not necessarily posted this year, so I have added the month and year it was posted.

If you had a favourite post, let us know in the comments below.

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Monday 11 December 2023

AT&T's Plans on Open RAN and 6G

AT&T was in news recently for their announcement about acceleration of Open and Interoperable Radio Access Networks (RAN) in the United States. According to their press release

This industry-leading move, in collaboration with Ericsson, will further the telecommunications industry efforts and help build a more robust ecosystem of network infrastructure providers and suppliers. AT&T’s spend could approach roughly $14 billion over the 5-year term of the contract with Ericsson. 

AT&T’s Open RAN plan is for 70% of its wireless network traffic to flow across open-capable platforms by late 2026. The company expects to have fully integrated open RAN sites operating in coordination with Ericsson and Fujitsu, starting in 2024. This move away from closed proprietary interfaces will enable rapid scaling and management of mixed supplier hardware at each cell site.  Beginning in 2025, the company will scale this Open RAN environment throughout its wireless network in coordination with multiple suppliers such as Corning Incorporated, Dell Technologies, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Intel.

At the Brooklyn 6G Summit (B6GS), Chris Sambar, who leads AT&T’s Network organization and teams responsible for designing, engineering, building, and operating AT&T’s next generation mobile and fiber networks, gave a keynote on "Network: The Innovation Platform". The narrative of the talk says: 

Today’s 5G build is the foundation of 6G. Flexible and open architecture being developed and fine-tuned with 5G will be central to 6G, and maintaining a customer-centric, forward-looking mindset will be critical as we scale and deploy technologies such as Stand Alone core, edge computing, AI, and NTN integration. Implementing the lessons learned in the 5G era and ensuring we have end-to-end alignment across the 6 pillars of our architecture will be vital to making 6G a success.

RCR Wireless provides a concise summary of the talk here:

AT&T has spent $40 billion on spectrum in the last few years; Verizon has spent more than $50 billion; and T-Mobile US had to acquire another major operator to get its spectrum holdings. With 5G not even at its midway point and the industry already trying to figure out what they might have to spend on 6G, “it can’t be a bottomless-pit industry,” he said.

That said, Sambar did also discuss the promise of 6G for extended and virtual-reality immersive experience for training public safety and military members, and the potential of better network-focused AI and ML to save network operators “hundreds of millions or billions of dollars” if things like self-optimization of networks can be done better and faster. That in itself represents a major challenge. Sambar says that he has thousands of employees in network operations, between AT&T’s wireline and wireless networks and “hundreds” of algorithms that do very simple if-then work and essentially send tickets to humans when a scenario comes up that fits its if-then criteria. If one of those algorithms breaks, he said, “we have to go figure out where it is, what server it’s sitting on, what’s wrong with it and how do we fix it. I would love a machine to manage that for me”—or even better, to stitch the capabilities of multiple algorithms together for more efficient and effective AI/ML applicability to network operations.

The video of the talk is embedded below, thanks to IEEE TV:

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Wednesday 6 December 2023

4.5G Coverage is Good Enough for Comoros

The Union of the Comoros, an archipelago off Africa’s east coast with high levels of poverty, sought to improve communications, trade, and economic opportunities by expanding mobile communications and internet services. With support from the World Bank Group, the government liberalized the telecommunications sector, held an international tender, and awarded a second telecoms license. Through competition, Comoros now has better quality and cheaper telecoms services, as well as broader coverage. In a country with scarce government resources, the World Bank’s $32 million has made a substantial contribution by leveraging over $90 million in telecoms licensing fees and infrastructure investment.

Comoros has 2 mobile operatorsHuri by Comoros Telecom (Comores Telecom) and Telma Comoros (Telma Comores). Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks. The following frequencies are used by the Comorian operators: 2G: 900 MHz, 3G: 900 MHz and 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20).

Until 2016 Comores Telecom (Comtel) was the sole provider of wireless, broadband and fixed line services on Comoros. Mobile services started in 2003 when Comtel launched a GSM-900 network under the brand name HURI.

2G started as late as 2002 and SIM cards were $100 at the beginning. 3G services started in 2013. Mobile penetration remained low in the Comoros. Many users were dissatisfied with Comtel's bad service and high prices while it had a monopoly. In 2018 they had to slash prices because of their new competitor.

From July 2018 they started to advertise with a "4.5G" network, so 4G/LTE seems to have be started on unknown frequencies (probably bands 20 and 3).

Telma Comoros, officially known as Telma Comores but will be referred to as just “Telma,” was awarded a license in 2015 to bring competition in the Comorian telecom market. They are an operator from Madagascar where they operate as Telma Malagasy. 

The launch of Telma Comores has expanded mobile services in Comoros, giving people high quality 4G LTE mobile broadband technology at lower prices. In response to this competition, Comores Télécoms has launched an even faster 4.5G network. By 2018, mobile broadband subscriptions rose to 58 per 100 inhabitants, and coverage is on track to provide all citizens with broadband mobile phone and inter- net services by 2030.

Telma doesn't block VoIP providers like Skype or WhatsApp calls. They also feature very cheap calls to neighboring French Mayotte. They might be the smarter alternative, once they have full coverage now. At least they brought the incumbent to cut prices.

Friday 1 December 2023

5G Development Strategy & Plan of Turk Telekom

Founded in 2011, Global TD-LTE Initiative (GTI) has been dedicated to constructing a robust ecosystem of TD-LTE, speeding up the commercialization of TD-LTE and promoting the convergence of LTE TDD and FDD. Today, GTI has become an influential cooperation platform with global presence with operators and key vendors, and has completed the GTI 1.0 mission by building an end-to-end TD-LTE ecosystem and achieving global commercialization of TD-LTE and converged LTE TDD/FDD.

As the newest member of GTI, Ahmet Fethi Ayhan, Network Director at Turk Telekom, had the opportunity to share Türk Telekom's 5G roadmap and network transformation with the world's leading industry representatives at the 38th workshop held in Istanbul.

His talk is embedded below:

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