Displaying items by tag: 3GPP
Ericsson partners with Russian operator on broadband experiences at WC
Ericsson and Russian service provider MTS have teamed up to provide a superior mobile broadband experience for hundreds of thousands of football fans attending the upcoming global soccer tournament in Russia, through Europe’s largest deployment of Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) to date.
Whether in the stadiums, in fan zones, selected transportation hot spots, or at some of Russia’s most famous landmarks, fans will be able to enjoy higher data speeds in seven of the 11 tournament cities.
In Moscow alone, the deployment covers two stadiums and fan zones, Sheremetyevo airport, Red Square, Tverskaya Street and Gorky Central Park.
Saint Petersburg coverage includes stadium and fan zones, Dvortsovaya Square, and Moskovsky railway station. The other covered cities are Yekaterinburg, Kazan, Niznny Novgorod, Samara and Rostov-on-Don. Ericsson installed AIR 6468 for MTS at more than 40 sites across the seven cities.
Ericsson AIR 6468 is the industry’s first New Radio (NR)-capable radio designed for compatibility with the 5G New Radio standard while also supporting LTE. It features 64 transmit and 64 receive antennas enabling it to support our 5G plug-ins for both Massive MIMO and Multi-User MIMO.
Through the intelligent reuse of system resources, Massive MIMO improves capacity by transmitting data to multiple user devices using the same time and frequency resources with coordinated beam forming and beam steering.
Massive MIMO is making it easier for operators to evolve their networks for a 5G future. This includes Ericsson’s 5G Plug-ins, which are based on many of the breakthrough capabilities in our award-winning 5G Radio Test Bed and 5G Radio Prototypes, currently deployed in operator field trials.
Andrei Ushatsky, Vice President, Technology and IT, MTS, says: "This launch is one of Europe's largest Massive MIMO deployments, covering seven Russian cities, and is a major contribution by MTS in the preparation of the country's infrastructure for the global sporting event of the year. Our Massive MIMO technology, using Ericsson equipment, significantly increases network capacity, allowing tens of thousands of fans together in one place to enjoy high-speed mobile internet without any loss in speed or quality.”
Arun Bansal, Senior Vice President, Head of Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, says: “Hundreds of thousands of football-loving fans are about to experience ultra-high data speeds thanks to our Massive MIMO deployment for MTS across seven tournament cities. Data-demanding mobile connectivity is going to play a huge part in their tournament experiences, so we are delighted to team up with MTS to ensure they enjoy a mobile experience like never before, whether they are at the game, in a fan zone, or at other selected areas.”
More than 1.5 million international fans are expected in Russia across the month-long tournament, which gets underway on June 14 and ends on July 15.
Huawei and Deutsche Telekom achieve 5G interoperability
German telecom giant Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Huawei, together with Intel, announced they have collaborated to achieve the world's first 5G interoperability and development testing (IODT) based on the 3GPP R15 Standard with a commercial base station.
This successful test, based on Huawei's 5G commercial base station and Intel's third generation 5G NR Mobile Trial Platform (MTP), is a critical step towards the full commercial launch of Huawei and Intel solutions supporting millions of devices in 2019.
Deutsche Telekom and Huawei began cooperation on 5G-network research in 2015 and committed to accelerating the development of the ecosystem. With the benefit of Intel's 5G NR platforms, the group realized successful IODT tests taking crucial joint steps towards 5G industry maturity.
Using Huawei's commercial NR base station and the Intel 5G NR Mobile Trial Platform, the three parties have jointly verified the fundamentals of the new 5G 3GPP NR standard, including new synchronization, coding, frame structure, and numerology components underlying the interconnection of the NR-compliant terminal and network.
The test configuration used by Deutsche Telekom, Huawei and Intel is based on the largest C-band cell bandwidth defined by the 5G NR standard. It also incorporates the latest Massive MIMO multi-antenna and beamforming technology enabled by the standard framework.
“After delivering leading contributions to the 3GPP’s work on 5G standards, Deutsche Telekom, Huawei and Intel moved swiftly to jointly verify implementation progress through standards-based interoperability testing,” said Arash Ashouriha, Senior Vice President Technology Innovation of Deutsche Telekom. “The success of our test is a significant step on the path to 5G ecosystem maturity and early 5G commercialization.”
Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G product line, said the success of this testing “shows that Huawei and all parties have devoted themselves deeply to the new NR standard. As the standard continues to be updated, Huawei will continue to work with all parties to step up interoperability test and promote the 5G industry maturity process, and to welcome the arrival of the entire industry digitization.”
The first 5G NR standard was successfully completed on December 21, 2017, at the 3GPP TSG RAN meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. All industry partners including operators, equipment vendors and terminal chipset vendors reached agreement to work together to accelerate the 5G NR standard process, and to facilitate the 5G global industrialization process.
Qualcomm and Verizon commit to commercialization of 5G NR mmWave
During Qualcomm’s 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong, the company announced a collaboration with US telecom company Verizon, and Novatel Wireless, an Inseego company, to help move the mobile ecosystem towards faster validation and commercialization of 5G NR mmWave technologies, supporting a full-scale commercial network deployment before the end of the decade.
The companies announced plans to collaborate on 5G New Radio (NR) millimeter wave (mmWave) technology development and over-the air field trials based on the 5G NR Release-15 specifications being developed by 3GPP – the global 5G standard. They plan to focus on 5G NR operation in 28 GHz and 39 GHz mmWave spectrum bands, showcasing advanced 5G NR technologies to efficiently achieve robust multi-gigabit per second data rates with mobility at significantly lower latencies than today’s networks.
“We have tremendous excitement around 5G and today we made a great announcement – a commitment to driving the 5G ecosystem,” said Atish Gude, SVP Corporate Strategy, Verizon, speaking at the summit. “We have a great history of partnership [with Qualcomm]. We have a drive with Qualcomm to accelerate field trials, accelerate 5G’s commercial launch, and this just shows our commitment to 5G and millimeter wave. We’ve very excited about this development.”
The technologies are expected to be critical to meeting the increasing connectivity requirements for emerging consumer mobile and fixed wireless broadband experiences such as streaming high-definition video, immersive virtual/augmented reality, and connected cloud computing. “We think all of these will drive not only new revenue for us in the industry in fixed but also in mobile services, and we’re very excited about that,” said Mr. Gude.
The three companies plan on delivering a common 5G NR mmWave technology platform for mobile and home broadband wireless access, supporting a 5G NR migration path for Verizon’s early 5G fixed wireless access deployments and trials based on the 5G-Technology Forum specifications.
“Verizon’s investment in mmWave spectrum has given us the flexibility to pursue a first-of its kind fixed wireless broadband customer trial, which has been invaluable in advancing our expertise in the deployment of mmWave technology,” said Ed Chan, SVP, Verizon Technology Strategy & Planning. “With the collaboration we’re announcing today, we are taking the next logical step towards extending our leadership position in the advancement of 5G, part of the Verizon Intelligent Edge Network.”
One of the fundamental advantages of New Radio 5G technology is that you get very low latency, said Christiano Amon, EVP, Qualcomm Technologies. This concept of being “cloud connected” having all your data in the cloud takes things to “a whole new level” he said. Having 1 millisecond speeds removes all boundaries.
“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to delivering 5G NR mmWave technologies to meet the ever-increasing connectivity requirements for enhanced mobile broadband experiences,” said Joe Glynn, vice president, business development, Qualcomm Technologies. “We are excited to collaborate with Verizon in making 5G NR mmWave a commercial reality for mobile devices, including fixed wireless home routers, mobile hotspots, tablets and smartphones.”
Deutsche Telekom and Huawei go live with 5G connection
Deutsche Telekom, in collaboration with Huawei, went live with Europe’s first 5G connection on Sept. 14, based on the latest 3GPP standard. The operator’s commercial 5G network in central Berlin provides over 2Gbps and low latency of 3 milliseconds over a 3.7GHz spectrum link.
Powered by Huawei user equipment using 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe and marks an important advancement in the global development of 5G.
5G NR will be “critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member for Technology and Innovation. The achievement, she said, demonstrates the feasibility of DT’s plans to deliver superior customer experience.
Taihua Deng, President Wireless Network, Huawei, said, “Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts.”
The implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’.
With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency. Therefore, 5G NR will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.
5G NR has characteristics that make it ideal to meet the sub 6GHz mid-band needs for 5G applications that will require mobility support, wide-area coverage, as well as multi-gigabit throughput speeds and millisecond low latency.
“With this real-world achievement, Deutsche Telekom is making its first important step towards a 5G network launch,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom. “When the standard is defined, we will trial it in 2018 to prepare the ground for a wider deployment of commercial sites and the offering of devices for the mass market as they become available.”
Huawei and Deutsche Telekom achieve pre-standard 5G network
Germany’s leading telecom provider Deutsche Telekom went live with a 5G connection on its commercial network in central Berlin on Sept. 1, at over 2Gbps and a low latency of 3 milliseconds over a 3.7 gigahertz spectrum link. Powered by Huawei user equipment using 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe.
“5G New Radio will be critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation. “Our achievement demonstrates the feasibility of our plans to deliver a superior, new customer experience.”
Deutsche Telekom and Huawei are “long term partners” said Huimin Zhu, Vice President, 5G, Huawei, highlighting the success of the test using 5G NR equipment. The test marks the capabilities of 5G NR equipment to meet operators’ requirements for addressing new business opportunities for end users, he said.
“Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts,” said Zhu.
The implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’, Zhu explained.
“With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for the enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency,” Zhu said. “Therefore, 5G new radio will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.”
5G New Radio has characteristics that make it ideal to meet the sub 6Ghz mid-band needs for 5G applications that will require mobility support, wide-area coverage, as well as multi-gigabit throughput speeds and millisecond low latency.
“With this real-world achievement, Deutsche Telekom is making its first important step towards a 5G network launch,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, Chief Technology Officer at Deutsche Telekom. “When the standard is defined, we will trial it in 2018 to prepare the ground for a wider deployment of commercial sites and the offering of devices for the mass market as they become available.”
Are you prepared to pay more for 5G?
5G won’t come cheap. In the United States alone, fiber infrastructure to prepare for the next-generation technology could cost up to $150 billion, according to Deloitte. But despite 5G’s hefty bill, a recent survey discovered that 75 percent of end-user organizations would be willing to pay more for 5G mobile capabilities.
The survey conducted by Gartner found that just 24 percent of respondents would be unwilling to fork out more to pay for 5G. 59 percent of respondents believe that 5G is a network evolution, while 37 percent perceive it as an enabler of digital business. The survey also found that respondents from the telecom sector are less persuaded than those in other industries that 5G will be a revenue enhancer.
The telecom industry tends to view 5G as a “matter of gradual and inevitable infrastructural change, rather than as an opportunity to generate new revenue,” said Sylvian Fabre, research director at Gartner. Telecom companies will be willing to pay a 5G premium for their internal use, he added, while end-user organizations in the manufacturing, services and government sectors, for example, are “less likely to be willing to pay a premium” for the technology.
There’s no doubt about it: 5G rollout will be expensive. Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom Group, says blanketing Europe with a 5G network will require investments of between €300 billion ($355 billion) and €500 billion ($558 billion). There’s also the issue of coping with the explosion of data that will come down the line in the next few years with the rapid introduction of Internet of things (IoT) devices.
In addition, revenue potential for 5G remains uncertain. Operators, for example, are not expecting to see much increase in mobile broadband revenues as a result of launching 5G, according to Bernard Bureau, CTO of Canada’s Telus Group. Speaking at 5G World in London this year, he said despite the high costs and uncertainty of return investment, it would be “foolish” not to use more efficient technology [5G].
For example, if your phone breaks, you’re most likely going to upgrade to a new model – not a model as old as the one that broke. But you also want to know how much that new model will cost. That’s the dilemma facing the telecom industry today – operators know that investing in 5G isn’t pointless, but there’s no guarantee that it will bring the returns they desire.
The strongest potential for 5G is IoT and ultra-reliable low latency, whereby everything – including connected cars, robot surgeons, and even fridges – will be connected via a 5G network, which will generate new streams of revenue. Smart cities and the evolution of IoT adoption will drive fast uptake of 5G, transforming the focus from a consumer-centric cellular coverage to more machine-centric communications, Deloitte predicts.
IoT communication stands out as the main use case for 5G in Gartner’s survey of respondents. The majority of respondents (57 percent) said their organization’s main intention is to use 5G to drive IoT communication. This finding is surprising, according to Gartner’s Mr. Fabre, as the number of connected ‘things’ won’t necessarily exceed the capacity of existing cellular IoT technologies before 2023 in most regions.
Even once fully implemented, 5G will suit “only a narrow subset of IoT use cases that require a combination of very high data rates and very low latency,” he said. “In addition, 5G won’t be ready to support massive machine-type communications, or ultra-reliable and low-latency communications, until early 2020.”
The study suggests there might be misunderstandings about 5G’s applicability, since there are “many proven and less expensive alternatives” that already exist today for IoT connectivity – use of Wi-Fi, ZigBee or Bluetooth, for example, would avoid the cost and complexity associated with cellular communications, the study says.
4.5G speeds and capacity, for instance, will likely be sufficient for most devices in the near future. Therefore, massive IoT communications could be difficult to sell today as a 5G use case, because the requirements are diverse and current solutions can do the job. Telecom consulting firm Analysys Mason suggests that while this ultra-high performance use case won’t be possible for quite some time, it’s the only use case that “exploits the unique capabilities of 5G performance.”
There also tends to be confusion about 5G’s rollout date: a large majority of respondents in the study (84 percent) believes that 5G will be widely available by 2020, whereas CSPs’ plans indicate that wide availability may not be achieved before 2022. What’s more, Gartner predicts that, by 2020, only 3 percent of the world’s network-owning mobile CSPs will have launched 5G networks commercially.
“Although standards-compliant commercial network equipment could be available by 2019, commercial rollouts of 5G networks and services by CSPs before 2019 are likely to use pre-standard equipment,” said Mr. Fabre. CSPs’ marketing organizations need “realistic roadmaps” for 5G coverage and typical performance, so that they communicate with customers accurately, he added. They also need to publish “clear 5G rollout plans for the years 2019 to 2021.”
Weighing up the risks
Many operators have already announced plans to launch 5G even though they have only recently deployed LTE-Advanced. In the GCC, Etisalat, Ooredoo and STC are eager to deploy the technology by 2020, particularly Etisalat, with Dubai’s Expo 2020 looming. But there are many unknowns to consider: for one, use cases haven’t yet been defined, standardization of 5G is progressing slowly, and regulators must allocate additional suitable spectrum.
In these circumstances, the deployment of 5G by 2020 is uncertain, even though 2020 is widely regarded as the target launch date in the Gulf region. Telecom operators will require the support of equipment vendors such as Huawei, Qualcomm and Nokia who are keen to use 5G to support them in maintaining leadership in mobile services, says Analysys Mason. Vendors have an opportunity to provide operators “the full suite of evolution technologies from LTE-A to 4G Pro and ultimately to full 5G services.”
5G is still in the early development stages, and standards for the technology are yet to be agreed upon by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The ITU’s Radiocommunication sector (ITU-R) has set an expected schedule for 5G standardization process for 2019-2020. As such, 5G is expected to start rolling out globally sometime in 2020, with commercial launch dates expected at the beginning of 2021, Deloitte predicts.
5G will not only connect people but also machines, automobiles, and city infrastructure on a much grander scale. The leading players across the 5G value chain are today looking for use cases of the future to establish their investment plans. Rollout of the technology may be expensive and full of risks, but the bottom line is, 5G will bring the promise of energy efficient networks, speeds of up to 10Gbps and latencies of mere milliseconds.
Nokia aims to accelerate 5G FIRST as industry interest grows
To meet growing customer interest in 5G, Nokia is broadening its focus into multiple areas of early 5G mobility use cases, including enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable, ultra-low latency communications. Nokia will push for accelerated 3GPP industry standardization while building on early customer experiences with its Nokia 5G FIRST end-to-end solution, launched in February at Mobile World Congress.
With clear interest for 5G mobility applications already emerging from operators, notably in markets like the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea, Nokia will implement early 5G specifications, enhancing 5G FIRST with the 3GPP 5G Phase I protocol. This 5G NR (New Radio) air interface standard, which is due at the beginning of 2018, is designed to support a wide variety of 5G devices and services.
"There should be no doubt about the huge potential of 5G. Through 5G FIRST, Nokia is evolving its 5G strategy to drive the industry rapidly towards the adoption of standards-based commercial applications - as early as 2019,” said Marc Rouanne, president of Mobile Networks at Nokia.
“Doing so will require broad cross-industry support, and we call upon regulators and governments to free up and enable the use of spectrum at low-, mid- and high-frequency bands for trials. This will allow robust evaluation of 5G to take place, so that collectively, we can deliver one of the most important new technologies in history, one that will truly drive the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Rouanne added.
Nokia will continue to evolve and expand 5G FIRST as an end-to-end solution, designed to drive broader market adoption of 5G, via mobility and fixed applications, as well as testing multiple 5G use cases.
The company is building on extensive field experience already gained with Nokia 5G FIRST, which has generated valuable insights into areas such as: use of radio propagation in higher frequencies; massive MIMO and beamforming; integration with existing networks versus standalone implementations; the use of small cells in 5G deployments; and the importance of cloud native core and cloud RAN technologies.
These and many other of the key elements of 3GPP-based 5G implementation will enable Nokia to extend the scope of interoperability testing with a variety of devices. Nokia will also continue its application of leading-edge technologies, such as chipset and radio frequency innovations, in its end-to-end 5G strategy.
San Marino set to become first European country to have a 5G mobile network
Italian operator Telecom Italia has announced that the Republic of San Marino will become the first country in Europe to have a 5G mobile network. Telecom Italia made the prediction following the disclosure of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with government officials from San Marino.
In a statement issued to the press, Telecom Italia indicated that it plans to update mobile sites of its network with 4.5G in order to enable it to conduct trials on some features of 5G technology, such as evolved mast towers and carrier integration. The interim 3GPP standards for the revolutionary next-generation technology will be released in March 2018.
The Italian operator which is headquartered in Rome also disclosed its intentions to double the amount of existing mobile sites in San Marino, it also plans to install several dozen small cells in the innovative project which would make the microstate the first in Europe to have a 5G mobile network.
In a joint-statement in relation to the MOU between Telecom Italia and government representatives of San Marino, it said, “The particular geographical shape of this territory - and the distribution of its industries favor the use and development of innovative technologies. Thanks to this work, it will be possible to start the first testing of 5G technology on a national scale within the next year.”
San Marino is one of smallest countries in the world with a population of around 30,000 people. Some of the objectives of the project include a new mobile infrastructure with considerable transmission capacity that would be ten times that of 4G. The infrastructure would also be able to connect to large objects ahead of the 2020 deadline set by the EU.
According to Telecom Italia Mobile’s head of technology the scale of the project would see San Marino being established as the first 5G state in the world, which would place it ahead of technological superpowers such as South Korea and Japan. The race to deploy 5G continues to intensify between government bodies and operators.
Reports emerging from Italy suggest that the leading Italian operator has already begun installing 100 small cells in Turin as part of 5G network trials being led by the Italian government. However, it’s being suggested that it has more freedom to experiment in San Marino because there are fewer restrictions on the use of airwaves.
Earlier this month, a consortium of European operators including Telecom Italia expressed its desire to launch 5G services quickly. Industry analysts have predicted that the work currently underway in San Marino will be crucial to 5G in Europe.
5G subscriptions to surpass half a billion by 2022
Full-fledged 5G is just around the corner, according to Ericsson’s latest June 2017 Mobility Report. The acceleration of 5G New Radio (NR) standardization will enable large-scale trials and deployments of 5G in 2019. Thus, the number of 5G subscriptions is forecast to exceed half a billion by the end of 2022.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations, known as the Organizational Partners, approved acceleration of the 5G NR standardization schedule in March 2017 by introducing an intermediate milestone for an early variant called Non-Standalone 5G NR. This will enable early 5G deployments, according to Ericsson’s Mobility report, and support the requirements for enhanced mobile broadband services.
Ericsson anticipates that early 5G deployments will occur in several markets in the coming years. In 2022, the number of 5G subscriptions is forecast to reach more than 500 million. However, 5G subscriptions will require a device capable of supporting 5G services and use cases, and that is connected to a 5G-enabled network.
ZTE was the first to unveil a 5G smartphone, called the Gigabit Phone, capable of 1Gbps download speeds. With 5G on the horizon, a 4GB, 6GB or even 10GB plan won’t be enough when you’re dealing with download speeds that approach 1Gbps. ZTE’s Gigabit Phone unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2017, although not available for retail, was intended to showcase 5G and the lighting-fast upload and download speeds that will come with it once the technology is rolled out.
ZTE’s Gigabit Phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Chipset Platform, which features an integrated Snapdragon X16 LTE modem. The solution combines wireless carrier aggregation with 4x4 MIMO antenna technology and 256-QAM modulation to achieve download speeds of up to 1Gpbs. These impressive speeds are no longer theoretical – they represent the future of 5th Generation mobile technology.
It’s debatable whether ZTE’s Gigabit Phone is a “true” 5G device. The company calls it “pre-5G” because it features technologies that will help provide a significant speed increase to bridge the gap during carriers’ transition from 4G to 5G networks. It’s similar to HSPA+, the 3G technology that US telecom operators AT&T and T-Mobile spent time marketing as 4G. To the end user, the technology behind 1Gbps download speeds won’t matter very much while he/she is live-streaming 360-degree panoramic video content.
Over time, 5G will enable a wide range of use cases for massive Internet of Things (IoT) and critical communication, Ericsson reports. For now, GSM/EDGE-only (EDGE is considered a pre-3G radio technology) still constitutes the largest category of mobile subscriptions. However, LTE (high speed wireless communication based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies) is anticipated to become the dominant mobile access technology in 2018, the report highlights, and will likely reach 5 billion subscriptions by the end of 2022. By that time, it’s forecast that the number of LTE subscriptions will be more than seven times the GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions.
In developing markets, GSM/EDGE will still account for a significant share of subscriptions, and across all regions, most 3G/4G subscriptions will still have access to GSM/EDGE as a fallback option, says the report. In addition, GSM/EDGE will continue to play an important role in IoT applications.
Ericsson forecasts that mobile broadband will account for more than 90 percent of all mobile subscriptions by 2022. It’s anticipated that by the end of that year there will be 9 billion mobile subscriptions. In addition, mobile broadband subscriptions will likely reach 8.3 billion, thereby accounting for more than 90 percent of all mobile subscriptions. The number of unique mobile subscribers, according to Ericsson, is estimated to reach 6.2 billion by the end of 2022.
Today, 90 percent of smartphone subscriptions are for 3G and 4G. Devices are more affordable than they once were which is driving increased smartphone adoption, Ericsson highlights. At the end of 2016, there were 2.9 billion smartphone subscriptions, the majority of which were 3G and 4G. Ericsson predicts that by 2022, the number of smartphone subscriptions will reach 6.7 billion, and almost all of these will be for mobile broadband.
Regional subscription outlook
Across all regions mobile subscriptions continue to grow, according to Ericsson’s report, fueled by a strong uptake in mobile broadband. Mobile subscriptions account for between 50 and 85 percent of all mobile subscriptions in 5 out of 6 regions in the world. For many people living in developing markets, their first experience of the internet is through mobile networks on a smartphone.
From the perspective of Africa and the Middle East, the penetration of mobile broadband is currently lower than in other regions, but the number of mobile subscriptions is expected to increase significantly. The driving factors behind this growth, the Ericsson report indicates, include a growing young population and more affordable smartphone options.
Interestingly, it is not Apple or Samsung – the current top players in smartphones – that dominates Africa’s fast-growing smartphone market. In fact, it is Transsion Holdings, an obscure Chinese manufacturer that won over African consumers. Transsion offered handsets with two SIM-card slots, after research showed that Africans were carrying additional cards to avoid making out-of-network calls to save money. In addition, Transsion optimized its cameras to better highlight dark skin tones.
According to a recent report by consultancy Deloitte, Middle East mobile operators are expected to invest US$50 billion in network infrastructure from 2017-2021, with particular focus on 5G networks. These investments are particularly timely as the region is scheduled to host key events such as the Expo 2020 in Dubai where millions of people will be using their mobiles to send and receive SMS, video content and social media.
Ericsson predicts that over the next few years, Africa and the Middle East will dramatically shift from a region with a majority of GSM-EDGE-only subscriptions, to a region where 80 percent of the subscriptions will be WCDMA/HSPA and LTE. However, GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions will still account for a significant share of subscriptions by 2022. In comparison, WCDMA/HSPA and LTE already account for around 65 percent of all mobile subscriptions in South America, which is expected to increase to 95 percent by 2022.
Overall, North America has the highest share of LTE subscriptions because of rapid migration from CDMA and WCDMA/HSPA-based networks. This trend will continue with 5G, according to Ericsson’s report, as leading operators in the region have said their intention is to expand into pre-standardized 5G as early as 2017. This will result in North America having the highest share of 5G subscriptions in 2022 at 25 percent. In comparison, Western Europe’s regional share of 5G subscriptions in 2022 is expected to be 5 percent.
China, the world’s most populous country, has seen ongoing deployment of LTE and is expected to result in more than 1.3 billion LTE subscriptions by the end of 2022, according to Ericsson’s report, making up around 80 percent of all mobile subscriptions. However, across Asia Pacific, LTE will represent just 55 percent of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2022. By that year, 5G will account for around 10 percent of Asia Pacific’s subscriptions, with deployments starting in South Korea, Japan and China.
Nokia’s first end-to-end 5G solution based on pre-standards: 5G FIRST
Industry expectations are that the first set of 3GPP 5G standards will be finalized in time for first full-blown commercial 5G networks by 2020, says Aji Ed, head of Technology, MEA, Nokia, speaking to Telecom Review. Nokia offers the industry’s first end-to-end 5G solution based on pre-standards and this is called 5G FIRST. Aji highlights the use cases for Nokia’s 5G FIRST and how it can bring them closer to 5G commercialization.
Nokia recently launched 5G FIRST. What’s the uniqueness of this and how is it an end-to-end solution?
Let’s take a snapshot of how the industry is working together on 5G and then we can move on to understand Nokia’s 5G FIRST.
We are pushing 5G to follow a set of universal standards. It means with the universal standards, devices will work with every network, and operators can use the same suite of solutions in every market across the world. Those standards are being developed by 3GPP, and the industry expectations are that the first set of those standards will be finalized in time for first full-blown commercial 5G networks by 2020.
2020 is still further away. Our most ambitious CSP customers can already see early use cases that could be delivered against the industry specifications like 5GTF or KT SIG in 2017. Additional functions like enhanced mobile broadband and sliceable core network will be part of the first 3GPP standards to be published in 2018. So, the first commercial 5G networks will be launched by 2020, whereas first adopters will deploy 3GPP compliant trial networks already by end of 2018.
One other important asset for 5G networks is spectrum. High bandwidth services are spectrum-hungry, and 5G opens the door for using higher frequencies such as cmWave and mmWave that simply cannot be used by LTE. In the US and Korea, the early adopter markets, 28 and 39 GHz are already licensed for early trials. High frequencies and the available bandwidth provide the ability to offer hyper-local services but they only have a very short range. Wide area coverage and in-building penetration needs lower frequencies to be opened up, which will come later.
Nokia offers industry’s first end-to-end 5G solution based on pre-standards and this is called 5G FIRST. This includes:
- 5G Massive MIMO radio
- AirScale baseband upgraded to 5G and AirScale cloud RAN, with 5G software to run 5GTF/KT SIG for 5G FIRST and 3GPP standards as they are being finalized
- Cloud packet core with features to support 5G Next Generation Core
- 5G-ready microwave transport, fiber optics for the 5G era, and IP Backhaul
What can operators do with 5G FIRST and how does it help them bring 5G closer to commercialization? Can you describe some use cases?
5G is not just another G more than 4G. It’s much more than that. Our society has been through a series of industrial revolutions, each making fundamental changes to the way we live. The 5G era will be based on cloud and digitalization, bring augmented and virtual reality into mainstream use, enable billions of sensors not just connected but feeding and fed by artificial intelligence, and enable smarter factories and processes.
5G is more than radio. It includes new radio, for sure. But to deliver the massive capacity, to keep offering higher and higher speeds we know we need to re-think the way entire networks are built.
5G will be built first in ‘islands’, hyper-local capacity that meets the needs of very specific use cases, without even needing mobility. Coverage aspect comes next to allow hyper-mobility within extended islands. We can already see many opportunities for 5G.
- Operators could provide 5G hotspots for very high bandwidth needs, such as for streaming virtual reality content. HD virtual reality streams already need several gigabits per second – and when we move to 4K or 8K, that increases exponentially.
- Operators could provide islands of coverage within public transport modes such as ships and trains for in-vehicle infotainment – or even on a station platform.
- It could be used to stream data from a drone.
- It could be used between trucks, so that they can form a ‘platoon’ – several trucks in a very close convoy where the lead truck can communicate in real time with all the trucks behind it simultaneously.
All of these use cases let operators face the investment to 5G step-wise – build islands of coverage, grow demand for initial use cases, monetize, invest in extending coverage which opens the door for further use case and so on.
When will initial deployments of 5G FIRST begin? Can you reveal some of your plans for the solution and what partners Nokia are working with?
The first use cases of 5G will be based on ultra-broadband around the world. The initial deployments of 5G FIRST are expected in 2017 and early 2018. This will start mainly in the US and Korea; however, we expect to have the 5G field trials in the Middle East in 2018. Nokia is working with the leading operators in the Middle East on 5G. We recently signed 5G MoUs with STC and Zain Saudi Arabia to collaborate further on 5G trials and deployments in the region, in addition to the 5G MoU signed with du UAE earlier. The first commercial deployments of 5G in the Middle East are expected to be around major events like Expo 2020 in the UAE and world cup event in Doha in 2022.
What work is Nokia doing as part of the ecosystem?
The Nokia way for the 5G marathon is: “If you want to go fast, go alone but if you need to go far, go together.” Ultimately, the creation of a successful 5G standard requires the best ideas to be adopted, no matter where they come from. And requirements from outside the telecom industry are very important to consider.
Nokia has established a broad range of innovation partnerships to find a common direction through collaboration in requirement setting, technology research and finally in standardization; therefore, we are driving collaborative research with leading customers, governmental bodies, regulatory and industry bodies (e.g. NGMN and 4G Americas), industry and scientific community, 5G labs (e.g. 5G Lab at TU Dresden and 5G Test Network Finland) and universities (e.g. New York University for channel measurements and characterization, and University of Kaiserslautern for 5G architecture).
Nokia is the consortia leader of the 5G NORMA and FANTASTIC 5G research projects inside the 5G PPP, which will deliver input, for example, for the 5G air interface and network architecture work in 3GPP.