Displaying items by tag: Allocation

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

South African telecommunications firm Vodacom has been forced to delay its planned rollout of 4G services in some of the most rural and remote locations in the country - after it ran out of spectrum. The company’s CTO Andries Delport confirmed that the operator had exhausted its spectrum which subsequently limited urban availability of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A).

In addition to this, Vodacom’s CTO said that its rural 4G coverage initiative had reached 44% of the population, but due to the exhaustive demands on spectrum it was unable to expand its coverage further until more bandwidth is released by South Africa’s regulatory authorities.

Vodacom’s Head of Innovation, Jannie van Zyl echoed the sentiments of her colleague and stressed that the LTE-A rollout was also being constrained by the lack of spectrum assets available. It’s been a long-term problem in South Africa, with the country’s telecommunication operators long raising its displeasure with the slow release of the country’s airwaves, amidst internal squabbles and rows about how the spectrum should be allocated.

Vodacom’s CTO highlighted delays in clearing sub-900MHZ airwaves currently used for analogue broadcast. He believes that allowing access to the airwaves would dramatically quicken and increase the availability of 4G in rural areas.

However, clearing the band has been a long drawn-out process in South Africa, and operators have encountered red tape over the years. South Africa’s authorities were initially working to a deadline of January 2011 in relation to switching off analogue TV signals. The deadline has been moved several times in the years, with the move to digital only occurring in February 2016.

Delays in allocating new bandwidth for wireless services in South Africa has also been a long-standing problem. The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa came under intense pressure from operators and government departments over its long-awaited 4G auction. Despite pressure and criticism the process was also postponed from its initial date of January 2017, after a row broke out over communications in the country.

The South African government formally announced a shared network deal in an attempt to increase broadband coverage on a national basis. This would see an open access network created which any operator could access through wholesale agreements.

Published in Telecom Operators

Telecommunication operators Three and Vodafone are closing the gap on UK incumbent EE according to analysis conducted by Root-Metrics. The company carried out 646,230 tests across all of the United Kingdom. It assessed the operators in six categories, which ranged from reliability, speed, data, calls, texts and overall performance.

Whilst EE still came out on top as the strongest performer, it was highlighted that both Vodafone and Three had closed the gap considerably. EE was given four awards by Root-Score, while both Three and Vodafone received two awards each.

EE won the best overall category, and also emerged as frontrunners in speed and data. In addition to this, it shared joint-first with Vodafone for text messaging. Three won outright across the UK for its reliability, and shared joint-first with Vodafone for call performance. O2 came last in all categories apart from text quality, where it finished third.

However, this represents a significant and telling change across the telecommunications landscape, last year EE won all the awards on offer by Root-Score. The latest findings declared that whilst EE is the best-performing telco overall in the UK, Vodafone was No.1 in Northern Ireland, whilst Three dominated in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland was the only region were 02 performed well.

General Manager of Europe for Root-Metrics, Scott Stonham, suggests that “the report only serves to reiterate just how competitive the UK telecommunications sector is,” he said.

“These latest results have really shaken things up and show the increasing competitiveness in the UK, particularly over the last six months. EE continues to lead the way, but Three and Vodafone are close behind. What is clear is that each operator showed strong performance in at least one particular country, while nobody was able to sweep the board at the four nation’s level. UK consumers have strong mobile options depending on how and where they use their devices most.”

A Senior Research Director on telecoms at HIS Markit said it was imperative that operators needed to invest in radio spectrum in order to succeed. “To succeed, mobile operators must secure sufficient radio spectrum and invest in the necessary equipment, sites and operational teams to ensure consumers enjoy fast reliable mobile broadband. With new UK spectrum allocations soon to be auctioned in the run up to 5G, these performance results provide a snapshot on the competitive balance between the UK mobile operators now, and highlight which operators most need to acquire new spectrum capacity if they are to be a future mobile performance winner.”

Fogg also stressed that the results which come ahead of a spectrum auction in September, could radically alter the balance of spectrum holdings, which would allow operators with smaller holdings such as Three and O2 to compete in a more efficient manner. 02 CEO Mark Evans, has already declared that he wants to see the auction commence soon and that it was compete ‘fiercely’ for spectrum allocation.

Published in Telecom Operators