Displaying items by tag: Operators

Europe’s largest telecommunications operator Deutsche Telekom has warned that if governments across the continent decide to implement a ban on Chinese vendor Huawei, then the rollout of 5G networks could be delayed by at least two years.

Published in Telecom Operators

US completes its first 5G auction

Written on Tuesday, 29 January 2019 12:20

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has completed its first 5G auction, with a sale of 28GHz spectrum licensing which raised a cool $702 million.

The chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai expressed his delight at the successful completion of the first auction and said that it represented a significant step towards positioning the United States as a leader in 5G.

In addition to this, he declared that it was the objective of the commission to continue to pursue its strategy of pushing more spectrum licenses into the commercial marketplace. It was also confirmed that a 24GHz auction will take place in the next few months, and that will be followed by three more spectrum bands later in 2019.

The chairman of the FCC said that by that spectrum auctions were critical in helping it execute on its goal which enables US consumers to benefit from the benefits provided by 5G.

He said, “By making more spectrum licenses available, promoting the deployment of wireless infrastructure, and modernising our regulations – the three components of the FCC’s 5G FAST plan – we’ll ensure that American consumers reap the substantial benefits that will come from the next generation of wireless connectivity.

A total of 3,072 licences offered in 425MHz blocks were up for grabs in the 28GHz auction. Of these, only 107 received no acceptable bids. However, the identities of the winning bidders will remain private and anonymous until the close of the 24GHz auction.

Earlier in the month the FCC had reiterated its desire to continue to work on scheduled spectrum auctions, as it prepared to temporarily close down most of its other operations.

In November 2018, the agency had said it set strict performance requirements for the licences to encourage the swift rollout of 5G services - and will take dim view on any attempt to seek a waiver of the requirements ahead of construction deadlines.

Published in Telecom Operators

Embattled Chinese telecommunication vendors Huawei and ZTE have received a welcome reprieve following the news that two Spanish operators are planning on using them for forthcoming 5G pilots.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese telecommunication vendors ZTE and Huawei have both endured a difficult number of years in the US marketplace – and their issues have multiplied during the Trump administration.

ZTE were momentarily crippled and almost went out of business following a decision by the US Department of Commerce to ban US companies from using their equipment and products for 7 years. However, following an intervention from US President Donald Trump, the ban was overturned and the vendor was instead hit with a $1bn fine and has to adhere to a number of strict rules and regulations.

Huawei have also been subjected to sharp criticism and have been deemed by US intelligence as a serious threat to national security due to their close ties to the Chinese government. Observers believe that the aggression from the US towards the Chinese telecommunication vendors is part of Trump’s plan to use them as pawns in his trade war with China.

Tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated when ZTE were initially banned, and it sparked an angry backlash from China. The rest of the world looked on anxiously as the two economic superpowers clashed head-on, it has since deescalated, but the high-profile arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver has once again put diplomatic relations between the two countries under the microscope.

However, the situation in the US for both ZTE and Huawei is set to worsen following reports that US President Donald Trump is set to issue an executive order that would effectively ban operators in the country from using the Chinese manufacturer’s equipment and products.

Reuters has reported that the Trump administration has been mulling over the order for eight months, but it expected to formally enact it later this month.  It is said the order would not name Huawei or its compatriot ZTE by name but would give the US Department of Commerce scope to ban any supplier it suspects of being a threat to national security.

Published in Telecom Vendors

The Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance - which drives and guides the development of all future mobile broadband technology with a focus on 5G - has published its three deliverables on 5G Extreme Requirements entitled “Operators’ views on fundamental trade-offs”, “RAN Solutions”, and “End-to-End considerations”, respectively.

Compiled by the Alliance’s 5G Extreme Requirements task force, the papers aim to highlight what implications and trade-offs related to the delivery of new 5G services are relevant for mobile network operators.

Ilaria Thibault, task force lead and Principal Researcher at Vodafone commented: “We are very excited to reveal the findings of the outcome of the Extreme Requirements task force, which was to really strike at the heart of what needs to be assessed before the world embarks on advanced 5G services.

This work quantifies and analyses the coverage impact of delivering new extreme 5G services (Ultra-reliable and Low-latency – URLLC) for the radio access network with a theoretical analysis, system-level simulations, and field trials. End-to-end deployment guidelines for meeting extreme requirements at a service level are also provided. Among these guidelines, techniques such as path redundancy and new transport-layer protocols are discussed to improve end-to-end latency and reliability.

For latency-critical services, interworking between the Non-3GPP processing delays and 3GPP processing delays has been assessed.”

CEO of the NGMN Alliance Peter Meissner added: “Our task force has highlighted several key challenges that are crucial to the future of 5G’s connectivity path - and how the industry needs to adequately deal with these. Consequently, this year’s NGMN Conference & Exhibition will see us run a special session where operators are set to share results from their 5G tests, trials and first user experience. Our aim is to uncover the new use cases of 5G and how they will be leveraged in the next few years.”

Published in Infrastructure

European mobile operators have blasted the decision by the EU to place a price cap on intra-EU phone calls. The decision has been hailed by MEPs as a victory for Brussels, but critics of the decision have labelled it a populist stunt and a political smokescreen.

European operators said the decision was being used to deflect attention away from the failure by politicians in Brussels to agree on far more critical measures that are required to be implemented in order to facilitate the much-needed investment for 5G and other high-tech innovations.

Telecoms lobbying group ETNO said the European Commission had missed a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity. In a statement released to the press, ETNO said, “The main aim of the original proposal by the European Commission was to significantly improve the investment climate for rolling out new networks and to empower users of all communication service. This ‘once in a decade’ opportunity has been missed.”

This latest decision by the EC comes just twelve months after the ‘free roaming’ revolution which allowed Europeans to be charged the same amount to call, text, or use the internet when travelling in other EU nations as they would be at home.

In the latest measure, it has been disclosed that mobile or fixed-line phone calls from an EU home country to another bloc member will now be capped at 19 euro cents ($0.22) per minute and six cents per text message.

MEP, Pilar Del Castillo, who negotiated on behalf of the European Parliament, expressed his delight that the decision to put a price cap on calls was rubberstamped - and said companies should not be allowed to charge excessive fees to users when making calls to other EU member states.

He said, “We agree that companies cannot charge excessive fees to users when they call or send an SMS from their home country via mobiles or landlines to another EU Member State.  The cap came after 12 hours of talks between the EU Bulgarian Presidency, the European Commission and the European Parliament and will now need signing off by the bloc's 28 member states.

But the limit, which was part of a wide-ranging telecoms package, comes as an increasing share of inter-EU communication takes place via mobile apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage or Skype.

Published in Telecom Operators

Nokia is bringing several new products to its extensive FTTx portfolio so operators can accelerate ultra-broadband deployments and deliver more bandwidth to more people sooner. Nokia's enhanced FTTx portfolio includes fiber and high-speed DSL deployment options including a mini outdoor fiber node, a 212Mhz reverse-power G.fast solution and DSL backhaul remote nodes. 

"As customer demand for ultra-broadband access continues to increase, operators need a wide range of technology options to meet evolving requirements and effectively address different use cases,” said Federico Guillén, president of Nokia's Fixed Networks Business Group. “With the industry's most advanced and complete portfolio of solutions across fiber, DSL, cable and wireless, Nokia is uniquely equipped to help operators address any situation they may face today and in the future."

Operators are evolving their access networks to better meet consumer demands for higher speeds and deliver on the promise of ubiquitous coverage. However, with vastly different challenges across their networks, a "one size fits all" approach does not always make sense. Having the flexibility to choose the right technology and deployment practice allows operators to overcome these challenges, fill coverage gaps in the network and deliver on the promise of ultra-broadband for all.

Nokia is introducing a number of new micro-nodes that provide operators with the flexibility, speed and scale required to effectively deliver ultra-broadband access and services to more people sooner. The FTTx solutions introduce several fiber and DSL access nodes, covering a wide range of applications and use cases.

These include a weatherized fiber access micro-node that can be deployed in any outdoor location, eliminating the need to invest in the central office, cabinets or remote weather protected locations. Supporting GPON, XGS-PON and TWDM-PON, the new solution also simplifies and accelerates the operator's fiber network evolution. 

The solutions also include reverse-powered G.fast micro-nodes that can be used in areas where access to the power grid is challenging. The solution is supported by Nokia's cloud-native software platform, Altiplano, which allows for provisioning of the access node even when it’s powered down.

212Mhz G.fast micro-nodes, also part of Nokia’s solutions, is capable of supporting up to 1 symmetrical gigabit speeds aggregate over a single copper pair or Coax cable. With 212 MHz G.fast, operators can extend gigabit speeds into multiple dwelling units (MDU) without installing fiber cable.

The final solution is DSL nodes that provide operators with extensive copper networks with a CTTx (copper-to-the-x) option capable of delivering 200Mbps up to 1,000 meters away using bonded DSL pairs in the uplink, extending ultra-broadband access into areas where fiber may not be practical.

Operators can also leverage fiber and DSL remote nodes including the Lightspan SX-16F, DX-16F and CF-24 announced under Nokia's Lightspan portfolio which leverage software defined networking and network function virtualization (SDN/NFV) to automate network configuration management, accessibility, serviceability and turn-up time.

Roland Montagne, principal analyst at IDATE, said: "The ability to support a wide range of use cases in a cost-effective manner is key for operators seeking to bring ultra-broadband to more people sooner. Nokia already has an extensive portfolio of fixed access technologies and these new FTTx solutions will further enhance the toolkit, providing operators with the additional technology options they need to accelerate ultra-broadband access and meet objectives in a competitive manner."   

Published in Telecom Vendors

Three of China’s state-run mobile operators have posted positive financial results for the first-half of 2017, after enduring a difficult 2016. China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile all made solid gains on their bottom line, largely due to the continued rapid demand for data and 4G uptake.

All three entities suffered a decline in earnings during 2016 - but in the first-half of this year they’ve made a combined profit of CYN 77.6 billion ($11.6 billion) compared with a combined profit of CYN127.6 billion for all of 2016.

Analysts have attributed the success of the state-owned mobile operators to significant 4G subscriber gains from January-June. The trio took its LTE user base to 885 million. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that both China Telecom and China Mobile are increasingly close to reaching the 70% 4G penetration mark, with China Unicom lagging behind by a reported 14%.

China Mobile remains the market incumbent with a 64% share of total subscribers, 67% of which are 4G users. The Chinese operators ended June with 3.47 million 4G base stations, the breakdown of which consisted of China Mobile (1.65M) China Telecom (1.05M) and China Unicom (770,000). It was also disclosed that China Mobile has announced its intentions to construct an additional 120,000 4G sites in the second-half of next year, whilst China Telecom has said it will deploy another 110,000 by the end of this year.

Mobile voice revenue continues to decline sharply due to the dominance of OTT’s, but all three operators still managed to grow mobile service revenue by 5%. It’s the universal demand for data which has contributed to the operator’s success so far this year. China Telecom has enjoyed a healthy increase of 24% in mobile data, accumulating CYN55.3 billion in the process. China Mobile reported a 34% increase in mobile data accumulating CYN185 billion, whilst China Unicom’s data growth increased by 21%, accumulating CYN43.5 billion.

The state-run operators have signed up 23.7 million 4G subscribers in July, which takes the country’s total to 908M. However, China Mobile has announced its plans to end 2017 by amassing 630M 4G subs, which analysts suggest is a target they should easily surpass. At this extraordinary pace, China will likely end the year with well over 1 billion 4G customers, which would also subsequently mean that China would have 40% of the 2.45 billion global LTE connections by the end of the year.

Published in Telecom Operators

The telecommunications sector in the Czech Republic has announced that two incumbents alongside two new industry players is dividing the spoils of the country’s 5G spectrum band. Existing operators O2 Czech Republic and Vodafone Czech Republic each gained a block of 40MHz in the auction of the 3.7GHz band which was conducted by the Czech Telecommunications Office.

New entrant to the Czech telecommunications industry PODA, also acquired 40GHz, whilst the other new telco player Nordic Telecom 5G received 80MHz of spectrum. However, there was disappointment for Suntel Net and T-Mobile Czech Republic who despite participating in the auction failed to acquire any of the available spectrum. Current operators faced a purchase limit of 40MHz, while new entrants could acquire up to 80MHz.

Reports emerging from the Czech Republic claim the government netted €39 million from the sale, with each block sold for seven times that of the reserve price. Chairman of the Council of the CTU, Jaromir Novak called the auction a success, which represented that the telecommunication market is geared towards the provision of data. He said, “The result of this successful tender indicates that the telecommunication market is oriented towards the provision of data services which are the core of functional data economy."

Industry analysts have stated that the 3.7GHz band is one of several that has been identified to be a ‘pioneer’ band for 5G in Europe, although there is much less availability of this band in the US and China. It’s been reported that the majority of operators both in Europe and globally are currently testing 5G technology in mmWave bands between 30GHz and 300GHz, which benefits include high bandwidth with lower coverage.

The GSMA has previously stated that it’s hopeful that the EU adopts an ambitious approach in relation to 5G policymaking. They said legislators should support proposals to make spectrum trading, sharing and leasing easier and asked for consistency among Member States in approaching the awarding of spectrum.

Published in Telecom Operators

The CEO of Australia’s leading telecommunications firm Telstra has warned operators that consumer data prices will soon be a thing of the past. Andrew Penn issued the stark statement when delivering his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. (MWCS 2017)

According to Penn operators need to prepare for already declining consumer data prices to reach zero within the next 5-10 years. Telstra’s CEO insisted that it was critical that operators diversified away from being just ‘connectivity providers’ - and that they must focus on providing other services for consumers on top of connectivity.

Penn said: “There is a real possibility that the price for data to the consumer will go to zero in the next 5-10 years. Operators must ensure that they can offer customers wider, consumer-friendly services in order to ensure relevance, sustainability and new revenue streams which will help them avoid falling further down the value chain.”

In addition to this, Penn warned of the dangers of spending too much time focusing on ‘cool technology’ being displayed at MWC Shanghai – and not enough on how innovations would be delivered for the good of the customer. Penn added: “We need to ensure that new products that are designed are intuitive and customer friendly.” Telstra’s CEO highlighted Netflix as a successful example of this.

Telstra have introduced a series of new initiatives specifically designed to improve the user interface of new services after conducting an investigation of its customer service calls. Penn revealed that a staggering 90% of queries which were made to Telstra’s customer help center could’ve been avoided if improvements in technology or customer care had been implemented with new technologies.

Telstra have come under scathing criticism in recent weeks in Australia, following the organization’s decision to axe over 1,500 members of its workforce, citing increased competition as the main factor in its decision to reduce staff.

Published in Telecom Operators
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