Displaying items by tag: 4G
China Mobile announced that it has joined forces with Cobham Wireless, a provider of wireless coverage and mobile communications systems, to trial an LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) Dual Connectivity system for 4G and 5G networks at Mobile World Congress 2017. The system demonstrates how throughput and capacity can be improved across a network, by utilising radio resources from multiple mobile cells simultaneously.
Using its TM500 network testing solution, Cobham Wireless, with partner China Mobile, is able to show a real-time working dual connectivity system and demonstrate how dual/multi connectivity can be achieved in a live network environment. The system is being trialled over LTE-A Carrier Aggregation (CA) cells, allowing a mobile phone to receive multiple signals from two different eNodeBs simultaneously, at around three times the speed currently offered by standard LTE. By conducting the trial over LTE-A, Cobham Wireless has proven that its dual connectivity system is ready to be introduced into operator networks today.
“The new system can improve the end-user experience by combining data from more than one base station operating on multi-connectivity modes,” said Evan Gray, VP Business Development, Cobham Wireless. “This will support the demand for data-intensive mobile services and ultra-high capacity, low-latency data delivery.”
As the industry transitions to 5G, some of the 4G LTE cells can be replaced with 5G cells in the dual connectivity set-up. Operators and users stand to benefit from this, taking advantage of both 4G and 5G resources. This will also remove the need for operators to deploy a full 5G network and replace all 4G base stations. Network infrastructure can instead be upgraded gradually and cost effectively, in line with the progression of 5G technology and standards.
“5G may not be fully realised quite yet, but it’s important that we continue to push boundaries in its development,” said Dr. Hayk Manukyan, Market Solutions Director, Cobham Wireless. “Networks are under strain, with more people using data-intensive mobile services. Our work with China Mobile has shown a workable system to ease the current strain on our networks, as well as being 5G-ready for the future.”
The use of mobile data has skyrocketed over the past five years. Research suggests that data usage in 2015 increased 74 percent, putting the overall figure at around 3.7 exabytes per month. Behind this growth is the explosion of streaming services, including audio and video, as well as the growing use of apps - all served by the expectation of having high-speed data at all times . 4G is the current global standard in developed markets for mobile broadband, but 5G, which will provide faster speeds and more capacity, is just around the corner, according to analysts.
A study led by chipset giant Qualcomm claims that by 2035, 5G's "full economic benefit should be realized across the globe," and could produce up to $13.3 trillion worth of goods and services. Overall, 5th Generation (5G) mobile networks are expected to handle much more data volume, connect many more devices, and significantly reduce latency, which will eventually bring new levels of reliability to users.
Qualcomm's study indicates that the 5G value chain itself is seen as generating up to $3.5 trillion in revenue in 2035 and could support 22 million jobs. The study further claims that, over time, 5G will boost real global GDP growth by $3 trillion dollars cumulatively from 2020 to 2035, roughly the equivalent of adding an economy the size of India. Tell this to the next person who asks you why 5G is such a big deal…
A report by the National Infrastructure Commission defines 5G as "seamless connectivity". 5G will be, "Ultra-fast, ultra-reliable," and have "ultra-high capacity transmitting at super low latency," says the report. "It will support the ever larger data requirements of the existing network and new applications from augmented reality to connected vehicles and the Internet of Things, and many more, as unknowable today as the 4G services we take for granted would have been a decade ago."
There are plenty of reasons to look forward to 5G deployment, but the question is: when can we expect to use it? In a 2016 post by analyst Mike Roberts, Practice Leader covering carrier strategy and technology at global technology research and advisory firm Ovum, he says it's likely that 5G commercial services will launch in 2020 and says there will be 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2021 for fixed mobile and fixed broadband services.
Roberts says North America and Asia will each account for more than 40% of global 5G subscriptions at the end of 2021, which will be followed by Europe with more than 10 percent of subscriptions, and then the Middle East and Africa accounting for the rest.
Ovum estimates that 5G services will be available in over 20 markets worldwide by the end of 2021, with services in all four major world regions. However, the report indicates that the vast majority of 5G subscriptions will be concentrated in the US, Japan, China, and South Korea, where major operators have revealed aggressive timelines for launching 5G services.
Commercial 5G: A global race
US telecoms giant AT&T recently announced the cities where it will initiate its first 5G rollout campaigns. It will launch 5G in the US cities of Austin, Texas and Indianapolis, Indiana. The company has dubbed the high-speed network plans the ‘5G Evolution' and has indicated that it will we be able to provide staggering top speeds of up to 400Mbps - which, to put that into context, is around forty times faster than a standard cellular data connection.
Network upgrades could enable peak speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second in some areas this year, according to AT&T. The initial rollout is part of a much larger project initiative by the US's second-largest wireless carrier. Network 3.0 - or Indigo - is set to use software advancements to improve the performance of hardware; bringing upgrade costs down and speeds up without being required to make significant network infrastructure investments moving forward.
AT&T is racing against its top rival, Verizon, to deploy the first commercial 5G in the US. It was recently reported that Verizon is in the midst of launching ten 5G market trials across the country in both dense urban and suburban areas beyond its local exchange carrier footprint. Verizon CFO, Matt Ellis, said during a call with investors that Verizon's goal is to test 5G services in varying neighborhoods as it prepares for commercial launch.
Verizon released its own 5G specifications to vendors last summer, which it said was intended to assist vendors to develop interoperable 5G equipment for pre-standard testing and fabrication. The company has been trailing what it calls "wireless fiber".
Because 5G requires a strong fiber or microwave wireless component for backhaul traffic, Ellis noted that Verizon is excited about its acquisition of XO Communications, which it announced in February 2016. The strategy behind the deal is for Verizon to expand its metro and on-net fiber network using XO's fiber assets as well as lease XO's millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum holdings with an option to buy those leases in 2018, according to reports.
Meanwhile, in the highly developed nation of South Korea, the government recently announced plans to expand the bandwidth allocated to 5G mobile services by next year, when the country will host the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will share bandwidth in the 1.3GHz range between the country's three mobile carriers, Korea Telecom (KT), SK Telecom and LG Uplus. South Korean ministry official Choi Young-hae said the ministry is forming a team to "work on allocating 5G bandwidth and come up with a detailed plan."
According to a report by South Korean news agency Yonhap, the plan was finalized during a government meeting presided over by minister Yoo Il-ho. The ministry did not specify how much bandwidth would be allocated for 5G applications in the 1.3GHz band. Spectrum in the 1.3GHz range does not appear to have been used for mobile telephony in the past - most services use 900MHz and below, and 1.7GHz and up. GPS satellites use 1.38105GHz.
The ministry said it had been in talks with South Korea's mobile carriers, as well as technology firms, including Samsung and LG, to draw up the plan aimed at taking the lead in 5G network technologies.
In China, the leading telecoms operator China Mobile, said in December last year that it will begin major trials for 5G in 2018, kicking off a new round of billions of dollars in new investment to usher in the high-speed communications era of the Internet of Things (IoT). The company said it will test the technology for about two years, with the target date of 2020 set for launching 5G commercial services, according to CEO Li Yue.
In the past, China has rolled out its newest generation of mobile networks about two to three years after its Western counterparts. Li said at an event discussing the rollout of 5G that the technology will "change the parameters for development in many industries."
Li added that the high-speed technology is optimized for IoT, a concept in which humans and smart devices use the internet to communicate with one another to perform tasks like switching on devices remotely. He also said the response time after inputting information is just 1 millisecond for 5G, compared with 20 milliseconds for current 4G networks and 100 to 150 milliseconds for 3G.
Working towards standardization
There are a number of operators that have announced plans to launch 5G services before 2020. However, these will not typically be based on networks and devices complying with 5G standards, and so are excluded from Ovum's forecasts, Mike Roberts' report says.
Ovum defines a 5G subscription as "an active connection to a 5G network via a 5G device". 5G is further defined as a system based on and complying with 3GPP 5G standards, beginning with parts of 3GPP Release 15 (the first set of 5G standards) which is scheduled to be finalized in 2018, ahead of early rollouts in 2020. But as of now, there's no single definition for 5G. This leads to a potential problem for both business and users.
"The main use case for 5G through 2021 will be enhanced mobile broadband services, although fixed broadband services will also be supported, especially in the US," says Roberts. "Over time 5G will support a host of use cases including Internet of Things and mission-critical communications, but Ovum does not believe those use cases will be supported by standardized 5G services through 2021."
In an effort to overcome these 5G issues - which mainly consist of incompatible hardware - various parties such as handset manufacturers, operators, vendors, and the 3GPP, are working together to make sure the arrival of 5G is seamless.
In addition, Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm announced in September last year the formation of the "5G Automotive Association" (5GAA) with the goal of addressing the issues around connected mobility and road safety in the IoT era.
Vodafone was the first to join the association - a move that showed how the company is stepping up activities in developing connected cars, following its announcement that it had begun testing LTE-V2X, a new technology for vehicle-to-vehicle communications.
Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone's head of R&D and technology strategy, who will join the 5GAA board, said the communication between vehicles, infrastructure and pedestrians using C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything) "will be fundamental to the creation of intelligent transport systems."
China's ZTE Corporation was the latest company to join the association in January. Other members include China Telecom, NTT DoCoMo, Ford, Gemalto, LG, SK Telecom, T-Mobile and Verizon.
The main activities of the association include defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements and implementation strategies; supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes; addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication and distributed cloud architectures; and running joint innovation and development projects.
US telecoms giant Verizon has criticized OpenSignal's Q4 State of Mobile Networks: USA report, saying the data cited is "limited and non-scientific" after it claimed that rival T-Mobile US was "within a stone's throw of matching" Verizon on 4G availability in the country.
The report, based on 4.6 billion network measurements for the Q4 period, claims its testers found a Verizon LTE signal 88.2 percent of the time. T-Mobile, on the other hand, closed the gap, reaching 86.6 percent. The report also says that Verizon and T-Mobile are almost equal when it comes to overall 4G speed metrics.
OpenSignal said in the report its availability metric measures the proportion of time users can access a particular network, as opposed to tracking geographic coverage. Verizon criticized this in a post on Twitter.
"OpenSignal provides crowdsourced data," Verizon wrote on Twitter. "Crowdsourcing favours downtown areas - that's where the majority of the tests come from - so it doesn't reflect the depth and breadth of the 2.4 million square miles of our 4G LTE coverage, by far the most in the industry."
Verizon added, "In addition to limited, non-scientific testing, with OpenSignal not getting a signal - the inability to perform a test is not counted against the results."
To back its statements, Verizon referred to other studies conducted by third parties including RootMetrics, J.D. Power and Nielsen, which Verizon said: "Do a better job of reflecting the actual customer experience." In those tests, Verizon said: "There is no real comparison."
For instance, RootMetrics ranked Verizon top in every category they tested in the first half of 2016, including speed. In contrast to Verizon's criticism, T-Mobile (unsurprisingly) praised the results of the OpenSignal report.
"When you combine T-Mobile's value with great speeds and a coverage map that's virtually indistinguishable to the big guys, well, let's just say 'it's on'," said T-Mobile CTO, Neville Ray.
Unused analogue and television spectrum is being auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US government agency which regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable, in an incentive to free up more spectrum for 4G and 5G and also advanced wireless services such as mobile and video.
The two-sided auction for the spectrum was intended to pay broadcasters a fair share for their assets before selling them to the highest-bidding mobile carriers. After several months, bids from those looking for more spectrum totaled up to $19.63 billion for 70 MHz of spectrum sold by broadcasters in an earlier, reverse auction phase.
What follows is a smaller assignment phase that could generate extra funds as bidders try to get more specific frequencies in markets. But with the auction mostly complete, the US Treasury will reportedly get about $7 billion for deficit reduction.
The second forward phase of the auction just came to a close. Once the assignment phase comes to an end in a few weeks, the FCC will reveal the bid winners from the spectrum auction. According to reports, broadcasters from the reverse auction are allowed to discuss the winnings publicly, but forward participants must remain silent for now.
Broadcasters that decide not to participate will have their spectrum 'repacked' into other bands to protect their signals from neighboring interference and ensure uninterrupted TV services, Rapid TV News reports.
The FCC has proposed setting aside up to two UHF (Ultra High Frequency) channels in every US TV market for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed services too, but this proposal dubbed 'vacant channel' has been controversial, as some broadcasters argue it takes valuable real estate away from low-power television stations (LPTVs) looking to source new homes after the FCC's repacking.
Vodafone India have announced that they will provide customers with another free increase in 4G data allowances in an attempt to defend its customer base as a ‘price war’ ensues in the country.
A report published by The Economic Times suggest that Vodafone India is preparing to offer customers four-times the data allowance currently provided on many of its 4G plans. This is the latest in a number of marketing gimmicks by the company in an effort to stem off competition from rival competitors.
In January, the operator began selling a ‘super-hour’ of unlimited data for a set price. This was an extremely popular promotion, but it sparked a reaction from other operators and it has subsequently led to what industry analysts have described as a ‘price war’ following the emergence and launch of new entrant Reliance Jio.
At their launch, Reliance Jio declared it would offer free calls, messaging and data to new customers until the end of 2016, with domestic calls remaining free after the expiry of the initial deal.
After adding 600,000 customers per day in its first three months of operation, the free offer was extended until the end of March, but capacity issues mean customers are limited to 1GB high speed 4G before having their data rate reduced.
In response, India’s three largest operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular – began offering free additional data on selected plans. Airtel provided customers upgrading to a new 4G handset 3GB of free data per month for the first year of their contract, while Idea boosted existing customer allowances with additional free monthly data. Prior to its January offers, Vodafone had doubled its data allowances on some tariffs.
However, this ‘price war’ is having a severe impact on Vodafone’s financial performance. The company was forced to write down the value of its Indian unit by €5 billion due to the increased and intense competition. Vodafone India also took the decision to put a long-awaited IPO in the country on hold until at least its 2017 to 2018 fiscal year – which covers the period to the end March 2018.
At a half yearly trading meeting, CEO Vittorio Colao admitted they had experienced issues throughout the year , but said the company responded accordingly by strengthening our data and voice commercial offers.
In addition to this, he also revealed that the company was focusing its spectrum acquisition investments to the most successful and profitable areas of the country.
Swedish telecom vendor Ericsson, French operator Orange and French automobile manufacturer PSA Group, have signed a partnership agreement to conduct a 5G technology pilot project for automotive applications. The “Towards 5G” connected car partnership aims to leverage 4G to 5G technology evolution to address connected vehicle requirements such as intelligent transport systems (ITS), improve road safety, and enable new automotive and in-car services.
The partnership is focused on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) architecture, as well as the technologies required to deploy real-time ITS and connected vehicle services. Initial tests will use an end-to-end architecture system based on LTE technology before evolving to LTE-V and 5G technologies.
The first use cases for Cooperative ITS have been defined and are currently being tested. These include the ability to share images between connected vehicles on a road so that the driver in the following vehicle can “see through” the vehicle ahead; and real-time notification that an emergency vehicle is approaching.
Further testing will be conducted in 2017 as part of this research initiative. The “Towards 5G” connected car initiative is an important opportunity for the three partners to combine their expertise in connected vehicles to meet the challenges posed by new mobility services and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Ericsson provides the radio and a distributed virtualized core network to enable network slicing capabilities and intelligent geo-messaging service. Orange provides the cellular network with the associated spectrum on the field trial site and the on-board connectivity integrating vehicular use cases. PSA Group is in charge of automotive use case requirement definition, embedded architecture integration, user experience and technical validation.
As a result of their collaboration, the partners will develop a comprehensive experience of the requirements for a 5G infrastructure that fits to the needs of the connected vehicles industry. They will also identify the full potential of innovative services and use cases for the benefit of improving road safety and for better quality of services to end users.
“Connected IoT services are a crucial way to enhance the user experience for our customers, who today demand unprecedented levels of comfort and convenience as well as personalized services in their vehicles,” said Carla Gohin, Research, Innovation and Advanced Technologies VP, PSA Group.
“Connected vehicles are part of our IoT strategic vision along with home, smart cities, e-health and Industry 4.0. Vehicle manufacturers expect us to provide the connectivity they need for remote maintenance management, for example, or to keep on-board systems software permanently up-to-date. By teaming with Ericsson and PSA Group, we are combining our capabilities to drive 5G development for innovative services with the perspective of the availability of 5G by 2020,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Vice President, Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange.
China’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, announced that its 4G subscriber base reached almost 510 million in November 2016. This reportedly represents a staggering 30% of the total number of 4G subscribers around the world. However, China Mobile added just over 12.5 million TD-LTE subscribers in November, compared with a net increase of 16.6 million 4G users in October, which represents slow growth for the company.
China Mobile’s growth still far outweighs its competitors, including China Unicom, which added 5 million 4G customers in November, taking its 4G LTE subscriber base to 99 million. China Mobile’s other rival, China Telecom, added 4.3 million 4G subscribers in November, bringing its total 4G user base to 117.3 million. The three mobile operators combined represent over 720 million new 4G subscribers in November.
China Mobile is currently involved with an IoT (Internet of Things) development project with Vodafone, Ericsson and Lenovo. The group recently signed a letter of intent. According to reports, China Mobile plans to connect its IoT connection management platform with Ericsson’s DCP platform and Vodafone’s IoT platform, which will provide its enterprise customers with a unified global network access, portal experience and Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Through this, China Mobile wants to push forward its overseas market expansion and improve the company’s service capabilities. What’s more, China Mobile’s partnership with Lenovo will kick-start its plans to launch a range of notebooks with built-in 4G-LTE modules which will provide users with China Mobile’s high-speed 4G mobile internet services.
Leading players in the telecommunications industry Nokia and Vodafone have announced that they have trialed innovative cloud-based technology aimed at enabling a smooth transition from 4G to 5G services and IoT.
Nokia confirmed in a press release that results have indicated that macro Nokia Air-Scale Cloud RAN running on Air-Frame NFV infrastructure meets all key performance criteria to deliver same performance level of today’s RAN architecture with added efficiency and scalability of cloud technology.
Nokia Cloud RAN architecture enables operators to use their radio assets more efficiently to meet future connectivity needs, with the Nokia Air-Scale Cloud RAN platform running on the Air=Frame NFV infrastructure and splitting baseband processing functionality between real-time and non-real time functions.
As a result, time-critical functions can be performed closer to end users at the edge of the network, while serving a wider area with Ethernet-based front-haul providing connectivity to the virtualized functions. Non-time-critical functions are centralized and virtualized in an NFV infrastructure platform located at the edge of the radio access network, offering a view across the network and allowing radio capacity to be scaled when and where it is required.
The trial, which took place at Vodafone's testing facility in Italy, used the Nokia Cloud RAN platform to evaluate the performance of centralized 5G-ready architecture, measuring peak data rates as well as download and upload speeds in a range of scenarios on the macro network, containing high power macro cellular base stations.
As a result, the trial found that the Nokia Cloud RAN achieved all of Vodafone's key performance criteria for throughput, capacity and resiliency, demonstrating that a cloud-based RAN architecture can provide the same level of high-quality service provided by a conventional LTE network, but with the added scalability, flexibility and efficiency delivered by cloud technology. Nokia and Vodafone will continue to collaborate on this project with the aim of deploying the technology commercially.
Senior Analyst for Mobile Access Infrastructure, Current Analysis, Ed Gubbins said: "Nokia has been a leader in driving and commercializing Cloud RAN innovations. The timely launches of Nokia's AirScale and AirFrame solutions give it an edge in this space, and its proactive moves to develop Multi-access Edge Computing technology - earlier than most rivals - give it added credibility."
Santiago Tenorio, Head of Networks, Vodafone Group, added: "Working with Nokia on this trial we have seen how the application of Cloud RAN architecture can help the network react to changing demands quickly. It speeds up the delivery of services and will help with the transition to 5G."
Head of Vodafone Global Customer Business Team at Nokia, Robert Loiola said: "Our Cloud RAN technology can help operators optimize network performance even as they cope with the increasing demands being placed upon them. This trial with Vodafone builds on this promise, enabling Nokia to apply its longstanding working relationship with them to explore how we can enable the smooth and efficient transition from 4G to 5G."
Malaysian telecom operator, YTL Communication, has deployed a revenue and customer management platform from Sterlite Technologies’ telecom software division, Elitecore, to support the rollout its LTE data and VoLTE services.
According to Sterlite, the platform will enable YTL Communications to roll out new business models like HD voice (VoLTE), enterprise LTE and LTE roaming, making YTL Communication the only operator in Asia-Pacific to commercially launch nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services.
YTL Communications’ COO, Ali Tabassi, said: “Elitecore’s product roadmap alignment with YTLC’s business vision and proven experience in convergent billing and integrated policy and charging supports our growth strategy and helped us migrate from our legacy billing and operational support systems. The platform offers high agility for faster time-to-market and feature rich functionalities.”
Elitecore’s NFV ready and virtualised platform comprises of integrated policy and charging, 3GPP AAA, convergent billing, fulfillment, mobile self care catering to voice, data and VAS services supporting multiple networks. LTE, Wi-Fi and WiMAX.
Nokia has announced the formation of the Mission Critical Communications Alliance, a global collaboration of mobile operators, national and local-level public authorities and first response agencies to formalize standards in the use of LTE for public safety, while enabling new ideas and partnerships to bolster momentum in application of the technology in this area.
The Alliance will bring various stakeholders to a single platform with which to inform and guide policy makers on the benefits of LTE-based public safety solutions for the provision of high-quality and robust critical communications services. More than 10 leading service providers and agencies such as Mobile Radio Center from Japan and Vodafone Hutchison Australia are participating in the Alliance program.
"Having worked with the various Governments in the public safety field for over 60 years, we are happy to facilitate a broad group of stakeholders in the global public safety community to drive the adoption of LTE in critical communications,” said Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer at Nokia.
“The Mission Critical Communications Alliance will work towards realizing the unique benefits of LTE in public safety, enabling national, regional and local authorities to provide a higher level of safety and security for their citizens, while creating innovative new business models for service providers. We look forward to welcoming other members to the Alliance who are committed to using 4G technology to enhance the effectiveness of mission-critical services."
4G LTE provides public safety services including first responders with mission-critical features such as real-time high-definition video streaming, remote data access and location-based services. Several countries are already upgrading their public safety systems to leverage LTE technology, Nokia and Korea's SK Telecom have recently demonstrated the capabilities of Ultra Compact Network, a portable small cell based LTE network that can provide 4G connectivity for public safety and other mission- and business-critical services in remote locations.