Displaying items by tag: ICT

US operator achieves 5G milestone in San Diego

Written on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 07:00

US telecommunications operator Sprint has achieved a 5G milestone following a pilot trial in the sun-kissed city of San Diego.

Sprint, which is owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank announced that it had completed a successful 5G OTA data transmission on its live network. Sprint CTO John Saw has expressed his delight at the success of the 5G project, and claims that it will provide a huge step forward in relation to the operators’ overall plans to launch next-generation services in the forthcoming months.

Sprint disclosed the details of the field test and revealed that it was conducted using 2.5GHz spectrum on the operators’ commercial network with radio equipment from Finnish vendor Nokia and a mobile test device from Qualcomm.

In addition to this, Sprint also disclosed that the trial demonstrated a successful handoff between 4G and 5G connectivity while streaming video, conducting Skype audio and video calls, and sending instant messages. Its test follows the completion of a 5G data transmission in a lab during December 2018. The operator earlier this week announced plans to release a Samsung 5G handset in 2019.

“Sprint 5G is now out of the lab and in the field as we prepare for our commercial launch in the first half of this year,” Saw said in a statement.

Nokia North America CTO Mike Murphy noted Sprint’s use of 2.5GHz spectrum for 5G will allow it to reuse existing 4G sites to provide both indoor and outdoor coverage: “This first standards-based call is thus a critical step towards Sprint’s offering of a 5G service to its customers.”

T-Mobile US recently claimed a similar milestone with what it said was the world’s first 5G data call and video call using 600MHz spectrum.

Published in Telecom Operators

Japanese government bans Huawei and ZTE products

Written on Monday, 10 December 2018 07:54

The Japanese government has announced that it will ban telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE amidst fears about cybersecurity.

Published in Telecom Vendors

European telecommunications vendor Ericsson has compiled another comprehensive Mobility Report and the strategic forecast is projecting that 5G will reach 1.5bn subscriptions by 2024.

5G is expected to reach more than 40 percent global population coverage and 1.5 billion subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2024. This will make 5G the fastest generation of cellular technology to be rolled out on a global scale, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report.

Key drivers for 5G deployment include increased network capacity, lower cost per gigabyte and new use case requirements. North America and North East Asia are expected to lead the 5G uptake.

In North America, 5G subscriptions are forecast to account for 55 percent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024. In North East Asia, the corresponding forecast figure is more than 43 percent.
In Western Europe, 5G is forecast to account for some 30 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by end of 2024.

The uptake of NB-IoT and Cat-M1 technologies is driving growth in the number of cellular IoT connections worldwide. Of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia is expected to account for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the ambition and size of the cellular IoT market in this region. 

Diverse and evolving requirements across a wide range of use cases are prompting service providers to deploy both NB-IoT and Cat-M1 in their markets.

Mobile data traffic grew 79 percent between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018 – China a key engine
Mobile data traffic in Q3 2018 grew close to 79 percent year-on-year, which is the highest rate since 2013. Increased data-traffic-per-smartphone in North East Asia– mainly in China – has pushed the global figure notably higher.

With a traffic growth per smartphone of around 140 percent between end 2017 and end 2018, the region has the second highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3 gigabytes per month. This is comparable to streaming HD video for around 10 hours per month.

North America still has the highest data traffic per smartphone, set to reach 8.6 gigabytes per month by the end of this year – which can be compared to streaming HD video for over 12 hours monthly.

Ericsson claims that between the timeframe of 2018-2024, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a factor of five, with 5G networks projected to carry 25 percent of mobile traffic by the end of the period.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, says: “As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions are projected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. What we are seeing is the start of fundamental changes that will impact not just the consumer market but many industries.”
The Mobility report also features articles on fixed wireless access and how to make it a reality, streaming video from megabits to gigabytes, and developing the smart wireless manufacturing market.

Published in Telecom Vendors

To support the accelerated build out of 5G in the United States, European telecommunications vendor Ericsson will increase its investment in the market. This series of strategic initiatives will allow Ericsson to operate even closer to its customers, meeting the growing demand for 5G globally and in the region.

The investments will fall into two categories: 1) increase research and development work done close to customers in the US and 2) increase flexibility to shorten the timeline for new product introduction and product delivery to customers. This will enable Ericsson to recruit new expertise from the US, complementing the company’s existing highly-skilled employees in the region.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, says: “The United States is our largest market, accounting for a quarter of Ericsson’s business over the last seven years. To serve the demand of these fast-moving service providers, we are strengthening our investment in the US to be even closer to our customers and meet their accelerated 5G deployment plans.”

Ericsson predicts that 5G subscriptions will reach the 150 million-mark, accounting for 48 percent of all mobile subscriptions in North America by the end of 2023.

Increase R&D in the US:

In late 2017, Ericsson opened the Austin ASIC Design Center in Austin, Texas, to focus on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations to accelerate the path to 5G commercialization. The 1,400-square-meter facility (15,000-square-feet) will have 80 employees once fully staffed.

Ericsson will also open a new software development center with baseband focus in 2018, employing more than 200 software engineers once fully operational. This facility and its employees will further strengthen Ericsson’s 5G software development. Baseband provides intelligence to the radio access network. It is also the interface between the core network and radio units, processing and forwarding voice calls and internet data to end users.

Beginning in 2019, both of these facilities will introduce 5G products and software features into the Ericsson portfolio, and will be available for customers globally, including in the US.

Additionally, Ericsson will increase its investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, employing around 100 specialists in North America by the end of 2018. This team will work on utilizing AI technologies to accelerate automation, examine product road maps and explore new business opportunities. They will focus on boosting the company’s current portfolio, strengthening customer engagements and promote innovation of new disruptive business opportunities.

New product introduction and manufacturing in the US:

To increase flexibility in bringing new products into the market, Ericsson will recruit a dedicated team to work specifically on introducing products for the US market, conducting production engineering, testing/integration and supply preparations on early prototypes. This will be done in close collaboration with US-based R&D resources.

To make 5G products available to customers as fast as possible, Ericsson will also begin manufacturing in the US in the fourth quarter of 2018. This will enable Ericsson to operate closer to customers -- providing volume production of next-generation radios and the fast introduction of new products into the US market. Initially, Ericsson will work with a production partner and the first radios for the US will be produced before the end of 2018.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Egypt’s Minister for ICT says 4G will launch this month

Written on Tuesday, 19 September 2017 08:10

Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, H.E. Eng. Yasser El Kady, told Reuters on Sept. 11, that Egypt will launch commercial 4G services by the end of September. The Minister also said the government will release additional frequencies to operators in the future without committing to a timeline.

Minister El Kady said in May this year that Egypt was “ready to hand over 4G mobile frequencies to any company that is ready.” At that time, the Minister said in an interview with Reuters that the government was “waiting for companies to finish preparations to receive the frequencies.”

The launch of commercial services will draw a line under a messy 4G auction process in Egypt. The first operators to sign deals with Egypt's regulator to acquire 4G licenses in October 2016 were Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt. Meanwhile, the nation's state-owned Telecom Egypt also plans to launch 4G within a year of receiving its frequency license.

Obtaining the licenses wasn't a straight forward process for the operators, with Vodafone Egypt, Etisalat and Orange Egypt at first rejecting the terms of the auction because they felt there wasn't enough sufficient spectrum on offer. The telcos also disputed conditions which required 50 percent of the total license cost to be paid in US dollars.

The spectrum sales were delayed due to the telecom operators refusing to participate until the issue was sorted out. Orange Egypt, for example, came to an agreement with Egypt's regulator to pay half the license fee in US dollars.

Introducing 4G to Egypt has been part of the government's long-term plan to reform the telecom industry and raise more money for the state. After the spectrum auction, Minister El Kady said $1.1 billion had been raised, and an additional $1.13 billion for the state budget.

Published in Government

Young consumers across Asia Pacific are now the core driver for new communications services and will have an impact on operators’ business, said Zhou Jianjuan, Vice President of Huawei’s Carrier Business Group, speaking at the Asia Pacific Emerging Markets Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 29.

Zhou said young consumers today account for more than half of Asia’s fast-growing population and have grown up as mobile phone and computer users with high expectations of technology. Huawei, he said, sees three areas where these young consumers are driving demand for improved digital services that will have a major impact on telcos: Development of new ICT policies, creation of industry ecosystems, and demand for new business solutions.

Operators investing in emerging markets have hit bottlenecks hindering network development, according to Huawei. The results have been slowing revenue growth, inflated costs in network construction, and an unsatisfactory experience in network operation and maintenance.

Operators in emerging markets need to turn this situation around and deliver a better network experience as well as accelerate return on investment (ROI) in emerging markets, the Chinese vendor claims. The three areas Huawei proposes to improve - ICT policies, development of industry ecosystems, and business solutions tailored to customer demand - will help operators make a breakthrough in the current situation, the company said.

"Huawei stands committed to network development in emerging markets, and helping operators identify value customers, develop value services, and build value networks,” Zhou noted. “Together, improved industry policies, reuse of existing networks, and innovation in technology and business strategies will enable operators to increase efficiency and revenue, while creating a positive business cycle with network construction and development of new services.”
Huawei said it works to develop ICT in emerging markets by engaging with governments and regulators to promote policies that favor robust spectrum development and technological evolution. In building industry ecosystems, the company has already seen progress in site FTTx alliances and content aggregation.

In the case of site industry alliances, Huawei said it helps operators leverage existing public assets from governments and tower providers in building a site ecosystem in a manner that shares benefits among all parties involved.

Considering the current situation in emerging markets, Huawei said it’s working with operators to offer a series of innovative business solutions with "User +, Home +, Asset +, Efficiency +" in the following areas to:

  • Increase the efficiency of operations and maintenance to benefit users from different financial backgrounds. This will lead to interconnections that promote economic and social development.
  • Implement fast deployment of broadband to the home and indoor digitization to improve deep coverage and the user experience.
  • Fully leverage existing network and public assets to unleash site potential, and optimize spectrum assets by cloudifying air interface resources to maximize spectral efficiency.

Qualcomm has released additional findings of a landmark study, The 5G Economy. The new research, conducted by leading industry and economic analysis firm IHS Markit, examines the potential economic impact of 5G for the Taiwan market.

IHS Markit research indicates that 5G represents an outstanding opportunity for Taiwan, currently the major supplier of component, semiconductor and contract manufacturing services to the Information and Telecommunications Technology (ICT) sector, to move beyond its traditional role by focusing on additional areas higher up in the value chain.

Under the existing industrial structure and policy environment, 5G holds the potential to unleash $134 billion in gross output of goods and services and support 510,000 Taiwanese jobs in 2035, according to IHS Markit.

Taiwan is well positioned, the study claims, to play a vital role in the emerging global 5G supply chain and many Taiwanese firms are investing in 5G, particularly in applications built for Massive IoT (MIoT). However, the study found Taiwan will need policies that encourage innovation and investment in higher-value aspects of the 5G value chain to stimulate additional output and employment.

“These respected researchers confirmed our strong belief that 5G will be a fundamental game changer,” said Jim Cathey, senior vice president and president of Asia Pacific and India, Qualcomm International, Inc. 

“The ‘5G Economy’ study also reinforces our confidence in the tremendous opportunity for further collaborations with the mobile ecosystem in Taiwan. Together with our Taiwanese partners we will continue to accelerate and drive the future of 5G technology in IoT, mobile and compute, enabling Taiwan to access the global economic benefits of 5G.”

Jim Diffley, vice president of IHS Markit and chief economist of IHS U.S. Regional Services Group, said: “As a regional technology hub, Taiwan has played an important role in the spread of mobile technologies globally in recent decades. The $134 billion in 5G-related gross output that Taiwan will directly and indirectly support by 2035 indicates that Taiwan has the opportunity to pursue economic growth strategies that are consistent with its Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan.”

These new findings on 5G’s economic impact on Taiwan are an expansion of the landmark ‘5G Economy’ global research study announced by Qualcomm in January 2017 and can be found here: https://www.qualcomm.com.tw/invention/5g

Published in Internet of Things

Cybersecurity is once again under intense scrutiny and focus following a spate of recent hacking scandals and crises which have engulfed the ICT sector. The global ransomware attacks served only to show that many nations are still extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks which can completely destabilize major organizations and institutions, such as the NHS in the UK, which is a high-profile victim of the recent ransomware attack.

However, a survey conducted by the ITU on cybersecurity has once again unearthed some worrying statistics over the practices and defenses some of the world’s leading countries have in place to combat the on-going cyber-threat.

The UN revealed that Singapore has a near-perfect approach to cybersecurity, but alarming many other economically prosperous countries have holes in their defenses, and some poorer countries are showing them what approach they should adopt when it comes to cybersecurity. According to the ITU, wealth breeds cybercrime, but it does not necessarily generate cybersecurity, so it has insisted that governments must ensure they are prepared for attacks at any time.

A spokesman for the ITU survey said, “There is still an evident gap between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and finally capacity to deploy the proper strategies, capabilities and programs.”

Singapore came out on top of the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index survey, and whilst the United States was ranked second, many other high profile and influential countries were rated poorly, lagging behind many developing nations and economies.

The rest of the top 10 were Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada. Russia ranked 11th. India was 25th, one place ahead of Germany, and China was 34th. It was disclosed that ranking was based on each countries’ legal, technical and organizational institutions and their research and educational capabilities. In addition to this, their cooperation in information-sharing networks was also examined.

The ITU added, "Cybersecurity is an ecosystem where laws, organizations, skills, cooperation and technical implementation need to be in harmony to be most effective. The degree of interconnectivity of networks implies that anything and everything can be exposed, and everything from national critical infrastructure to our basic human rights can be compromised."

The ITU also stressed the critical importance of adopting and implementing a national security strategy, but added that 50% of countries have none. Amongst some of the countries that placed higher than their economic development was 57th placed North Korea;  however, it’s been suggested they were let down by its cooperation score, but still ranked three spots ahead of the much-richer Spain.

The smallest rich countries also scored badly - Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino were all well down the second half of the table. The Vatican ranked 186th out of 195 countries in the survey. But no country did worse than Equatorial Guinea, which scored zero.

Joined by a delegation of government representatives, President Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic recently met with Huawei's Rotating and Acting CEO, Guo Ping, in Beijing. During the meeting, Guo Ping shared Huawei's latest developments in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and expressed the company's intention to continue investing and growing in the Czech Republic.

President Zeman spoke highly of Huawei's contribution to the country's economic development. He also complimented the company on its choice of Jaromir Jagr, world-renowned Czech ice hockey player, as the brand ambassador of its devices, and congratulated Huawei on its growing share of the Czech market.

The two parties exchanged views on cyber security and privacy protection. Guo elaborated on Huawei's efforts in these domains, stressing the fact that cyber security and privacy are global challenges that every country has to face together.

Guo noted that they require the full attention of each individual link along the value chain, as well as greater collaboration between them. President Zeman recognized Huawei's efforts in these domains, expressing his confidence in the security and reliability of Huawei's networks and products.

Guo confirmed that Huawei plans to spend approximately 360 million US dollars in the Czech Republic over the next five years, supporting 4,000 local jobs. Guo also expressed Huawei's hope to strengthen its partnership with the country on key initiatives like national broadband, smart city, and safe city.

Other attendees from the Czech government included Vratislav Mynar, Head of the Presidential Office; Jiri Havlicek, Minister of Industry and Trade; Martin Nejedly, Chief Adviser to President Zeman; Tomas Tuhy, Police President; Lukas Opatrny, 3rd Secretary and Head of the Commercial Section; and Karel Kucera, CEO of CzechInvest. President of Huawei's CEE & Nordic European Region Tang Xiaoming and CEO of Huawei Technologies (Czech) Radoslaw Kedzia were also present at the meeting.

Published in Government

South Korea’s SK Telecom announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bluebell Korea to cooperate for the development of new business opportunities by bringing cutting-edge ICT to the luxury retail industry. 

The MoU signing ceremony was attended by Cha In-hyok, Executive Vice President and Head of IoT Business Division of SK Telecom, and Daniel Mayran, CEO and President of Bluebell Korea.

Bluebell Group is a leading operator of luxury brands in Asia, which also specializes in consulting. The group has eight branches in Asia distributing products from over 100 brands. Bluebell Korea is in charge of distributing luxury goods to duty free shops and shopping malls in Asia. 

Under the MOU, SK Telecom and Bluebell Korea will work together to build an O2O (offline to online) platform to enhance travelers’ shopping convenience; bring innovative changes to luxury goods stores and distribution channels; and develop luxury goods based on ICT.

In particular, SK Telecom plans to apply its industry-leading ICT – including its cloud-based digital signage platform ‘Smart Signage’ and IoT-based location tracking solution – to luxury brand stores and goods so as to increase customer loyalty and sales of luxury brands. 

The luxury industry has so far strictly adhered to the craftsmanship of products and traditional sales channels – i.e. offline stores. However, a slowdown in market growth coupled with the rise of young, tech-savvy consumers who are taking up a growing share of luxury spending is driving new changes in the conservative industry.

“Through the MOU with Bluebell Korea, SK Telecom expects to bring innovative changes to the luxury market through the application of its state-of-the-art ICT including IoT technologies,” said Cha In-hyok, Executive Vice President and Head of IoT Business Division at SK Telecom. “The convergence between ICT and the luxury retail industry will not only create new business opportunities for both parties but also deliver enhanced value and experience for customers.”

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