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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.
Chinese telecommunications behemoth Huawei has moved swiftly to terminate the contract of an employee who has been arrested in Poland amidst claims he was spying for China.
Huawei executive Wang Weijing was detained by Polish authorities on Friday, following a lengthy investigation that was conducted by Poland’s special services. It is believed that Weijing is a director for the Polish branch of Huawei.
It’s the latest setback for Huawei’s brand globally following the high-profile arrest of the vendors’ CTO, Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December. She is fighting extradition to the US, where she stands accused of fraud relating to business activity in Iran.
The Chinese vendor robustly defended its CTO following her arrest and demanded her immediate release from jail. However, Huawei has wasted no timing in trying to distance itself from this latest scandal in Poland by announcing it has fired the employee in question for harming the company’s global reputation.
In a statement given to the Global Times, Huawei said that Wang Weijing was arrested for ‘personal reasons’ and said the incident caused significant damage to the company at a time when it’s under intense scrutiny regarding security.
Huawei cited management rules in company contracts and said it was left with no decision but to terminate its employer relationship with Wang Weijing immediately. Poland has claimed that they firmly believe the Huawei executive was spying for China.
China’s Foreign Ministry responded quickly to the claims made by Polish authorities and expressed that it was ‘highly concerned’ by the arrest. The latest controversy is something Huawei really could’ve done without.
US President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order which would ban US companies from working with Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei over the alleged risk both pose to national security.
In addition to this, Australia and Japan have blocked Huawei from participating in the construction of their super-fast 5G networks, whilst the UK and New Zealand are also considering banning the vendor from the rollout of its 5G networks.
EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic refused to "speculate" when asked Friday if there were any concerns about Chinese retaliation.
"We are aware of the reports and we will be indeed in touch with the Polish authorities for further information," she told reporters.
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.
Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE may well have had draconian measures that had crippled the company lifted by the US Department of Commerce following an intervention by President Donald Trump, but the narrative that ZTE is a threat to national security is refusing to subside.
US presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren became the latest politician to take aim at the telecoms behemoth and strongly criticized US senator Joseph Lieberman for serving as a lobbyist for the powerful Chinese vendor.
The ability for Republicans and Democrats to work together to form new policies and legislation in the US Senate and House of Representatives has been at an all-time low during the Trump administration.
The decision by the US to ban ZTE and Huawei from being involved in the rollout of 5G networks has drew bipartisan approval with both Republicans and Democrats voicing their concerns that both companies close association to the Chinese government was a huge threat to domestic security.
Warren, who announced she’d be seeking the Democratic nomination for the US Presidential election in 2020, denounced the US senator for acting as a lobbyist for the Chinese telecommunications behemoth on Twitter.
Warren tweeted, “ZTE is a giant foreign telecoms company that’s close with the Chinese government. They’ve violated serious US sanctions in Iran and North Korea. Their lobbyists keep blocking accountability. And today former senator Joseph Lieberman joined them. Should that be legal? No.”
Warren is an outspoken politician and is known for being a firebrand. She has faced the wrath of US President Donald Trump who has repeatedly ridiculed her claims that she was Native American.
She said that there should be a lifetime ban on members of congress working as lobbyists to make sure they only serve the public. Warren added, “We need a ban on foreign lobbying so countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have to conduct their foreign policy out in the open.”
Bloomberg reported that Lieberman, who was a vice presidential nominee in 2000, began working for ZTE in November. According to a lobbying registration form submitted to the US Senate, he is conducting an assessment of the concerns members of the US Congress, the executive branch and US businesses have about national security risks around ZTE products.
The form also states Lieberman will not be advocating for ZTE, and he had been appointed in the interest of transparency and caution.
Chinese media outlets have launched a scathing attack on the United States for its role in the arrest and subsequent detainment of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver earlier this week.
The Japanese government has announced that it will ban telecommunications equipment manufactured by Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE amidst fears about cybersecurity.
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.
Chinese telecommunications behemoth ZTE has seen its share price plummet by a whopping 39% following the resumption of its trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The Chinese vendor was able to resume trading after it reached a resolution agreement with the United States.
ZTE looked set to go out of business following the decision by the US Commerce Department to prohibit American companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to it for a period of seven years.
US officials implemented the ban after it claimed ZTE had failed to make the changes to its Board of Directors after being found guilty of trade violations with Iran and North Korea in 2016. However, following protracted negotiations between Beijing and Washington a settlement deal was finally reached which allowed ZTE to resume business in the United States.
The telecommunications colossus may have been saved but that didn’t stop its share price from nosediving by 39.22 to HK$15.56 during Hong Kong morning trade - while it also plunged by its 10 percent daily limit to 28.18 yuan in Shenzhen.
Fiscal analysts have predicted that whilst the nightmare for ZTE may be over with the US, the company will have to deal with the consequences of that saga for a significant period of time.
Analysts Edison Lee and Timothy Chau said, “While the nightmare is now over, ZTE will likely have to deal with many changes. We expect significant near-term selling pressure and a volatile stock price."
The ZTE crisis was a major issue during trade talks between the US and China, and the Trump administration were able to use that as leverage in the discussions. The ZTE settlement came just days after Beijing offered to increase purchases of US goods by $70bn in an effort to cut the yawning trade imbalance with the US.
It has been reported that Trump has demanded a $200 billion reduction in its trade deficit with China over two years.
“The US agreement with ZTE with fine and change of management, in other words, is a political deal," said analyst Dickie Wong at Kingston Securities. "If the US didn't 'free' ZTE in this way, US companies would find it very difficult in any moves in China, including decisions on mergers and acquisitions," Wong added.
Chinese telecommunications vendor ZTE has announced that it has reached a deal with the US Commerce Department over the trade sanctions that threatened to put the powerful conglomerate out of business.
ZTE has vowed to clean up its act in light of the decision by the US after weeks of protracted talks between officials in Beijing and Washington. In April, the US Commerce Department prohibited the sale of crucial US components to ZTE for a period of seven years. It had found that the Chinese telecommunications colossus had failed to take the appropriate actions against its staff in relation to the trade violation it engaged in with Iran and North Korea.
ZTE chairman Yin Yimin said the company had to start holding the relevant people to account for the trade violations in 2016, and said the ban imposed in April highlighted the issues within its internal management systems.
In a statement released to Bloomberg, the chairman said, “We must deeply realize that this issue in essence mirrored problems in our compliance culture and management. We should hold relevant people accountable and avoid similar issues in the future."
It has been disclosed that part of the deal agreed between the US and ZTE will see the Chinese vendor pay a $1bn penalty, with another $400m in escrow to cover possible future violations. In addition to this, ZTE will also be forced to overhaul its entire board of directors and must hire outside legal compliance specialists who will in turn report directly to the Commerce Department for 10 years.
Once ZTE has executed these changes Washington will strike the company from a sanctions list. China's foreign ministry on Friday offered a muted response to the ZTE deal, but a spokeswoman added the following statement, "We also hope the US can provide a fair, equal and friendly atmosphere for Chinese enterprises' investments and operations there.”
US technology colossus Apple is reportedly renegading on a previous commitment that they made to the Irish government on the construction of $1 billion data center in rural Ireland. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has publicly disclosed that Apple CEO Tim Cook will no longer commit to the ambitious project.
However, the Taoiseach stressed that Dublin would do everything necessary in order to keep the project alive and facilitate whatever Apple needs to see the data center constructed. Apple initially disclosed its intentions to erect the facility in a rural location in the West of Ireland in February 2015. Its decision to go to a rural location was to take advantage of green energy sources located nearby.
However, the project has been subject to lengthy delays due to a number of planning objections over the last two years, and now Apple is eyeing up other potential location for the construction of its new data center. Varadkar met Apple’s CEO, but admitted that Cook did not commit to the proceeding with the project.
The Taoiseach said, “We didn’t get a start date, or a definite commitment or anything like that, but I did stress to Apple that the government would do anything within our power to facilitate the resumption of the project.”
Ireland’s Prime Minister is currently touring the US meeting potential new investors. Ireland relies heavily on foreign multinational companies like Apple for the creation of one in every 10 jobs created across the economy and sees major investments such as data centers as a means of securing their presence in the country.
Apple declined to commit when pressed on whether they remained committed to the project. A similar Apple center which was announced at the same time in Denmark is set to begin operations later this year, whilst Apple also announced in July that it would build its second EU data center in the Nordic region.
The government has said it is considering amending its planning laws to include data centers as strategic infrastructure, thus allowing them to get through the planning process much more quickly. However, such legislation is expected to be met with opposition by those within parliament.
Ireland has a checkered history when it comes to planning permission and previous governments have been brought down due to shady financial agreements between developers and politicians. A change in legislation to facilitate Apple’s attempts to construct their data center is not likely to be well received by the general public still dismayed at the country’s refusal to accept an EU ruling that Apple owed the state €13 billion in unpaid taxes.