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Ericsson signs standalone 5G deal with Swisscom

Ericsson signs standalone 5G deal with Swisscom

by Bevin Fletcher | May 3, 2021 5:02pm Ericsson on Monday inked an expanded 5G deal with Swisscom that includes transitioning the operator’s 5G network to standalone (SA) mode. Swisscom plans to use Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G core, with the inclusion of a container-based cloud packet core and cloud data management and policy. The Swedish vendor’s 5G radio gear is also part of the deal, with Swisscom tapping 5G NR carrier aggregation and 5G RAN slicing technologies. Network slicing is one the features of moving to SA 5G that operators are looking toward as a potential way to drive revenues and new business models. It enables a portion, or “slice”, of the network to be isolated and resources dedicated to deliver on customer-specific needs like bandwidth or latency. Just last month Ericsson helped Vodafone activate a standalone 5G network in Germany. And T-Mobile in the U.S. had one of the first nationwide SA 5G deployments, launched in August of last year. The strategic partnership with Swisscom calls for increased automation, designs powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, cognitive software to help optimize the network, and cloud native infrastructure over the next three years. With these capabilities, Ericsson said customers can tap faster 5G speeds, reduced latencies and the aforementioned network slicing benefit.   “Together, we have been first in Europe to turn on 5G commercially and have proven your technological leadership and our innovation capability,” stated Mark Düsener, head of Mobile & Mass Market Communication at Swisscom. “This new deal confirms our joint commitment to follow this path and to further accelerate the development of 5G technology." Swisscom and Ericsson have been 5G partners since 2017 and in April 2019 launched Europe’s first commercial 5G network. By December 2019, the 5G non-standalone (NSA) network covered 90% of Switzerland’s population with help from dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) and reached 96% as of last month.     As the partners start to move Swisscom’s network to SA 5G, where it no longer relies on 4G LTE as an anchor, one of their achievements was an SA 5G voice and data call over a commercial network in Bern. While 5G promises to handle data-intensive applications, more basic functions like native voice are still a key need when moving to a strictly 5G architecture. The Voice over New Radio (VoNR) calls used smartphones from Oppo, including the Find X2 Pro and the Reno 4Z 5G. They also utilized Ericsson radio, core and IMS products IMS is necessary for both 4G LTE voice and standalone 5G) deployed on the Ericsson NFVI cloud infrastructure solution.  This year CHIP network testing of Swisscom and other operator networks looked at both lower-band 5G with DSS and faster capabilities with new 3.6 GHz spectrum. Swisscom measured 60.4% 5G availability in the urban areas tested, compared to operator Sunrise at 45.3%. For measurements testing 3.6 GHz 5G, on average Swisscom delivered speeds of 293 Mbps, coming in second behind Sunrise (381 Mbps) and ahead of Salt (287 Mbps). As new 5G services continue come online, Swisscom said farewell to its legacy 2G network, with a final shut off in mid-April. According to the operator, less than 0.03% of traffic was transmitted by 2G at the end of 2020. In other Ericsson 5G news Monday, Iceland’s Síminn picked the Swedish vendor as its 5G RAN supplier, following successful trials. Síminn plans to eventually deploy mid-band 3.5-3.6 GHz spectrum for its 5G service, but is starting with legacy low-band to initially reach broader coverage. The operator is targeting nationwide 5G coverage y the end of 2022.

T-Mobile’s Ulf Ewaldsson says ‘time has come’ for fixed wireless

T-Mobile’s Ulf Ewaldsson says ‘time has come’ for fixed wireless

The panelists on a FierceWireless session at this week's CCA Mobile Show were pretty stoked about the opportunities for fixed wireless access (FWA) to disrupt the home broadband market. Ulf Ewaldsson, T-Mobile’s chief network officer, said, “The dream of FWA has been around for 30-40 years, and having the ability to provide a true broadband connection to a home using wireless is something that’s been worked at for many, many years. I think 5G actually gives us the opportunity to do it.” He said T-Mobile feels confident that it can provide a nationwide FWA service because of its spectrum position with its “layer-cake” of high, low and mid-band spectrum. T-Mobile is targeting 7 million to 8 million subs in this category within five years. RELATED: Verizon, T-Mobile get ready to rumble with cable In terms of rural America, Ewaldsson said, “With the merger, we have enormous commitments from the FCC and DoJ to provide coverage where there is just simply not enough. If we can provide an advantage with a combination of mid-band and low-band spectrum that gives speeds that can be used for a home broadband service, that is a big market.” He also noted that in the cable space there is a “de-coupling” of broadband from television services. Many consumers are choosing over-the-top video rather than cable, and they’re open to choosing a separate broadband provider, which gives a new opportunity to FWA providers “This is the time,” he said. “Now is a good opportunity for carriers to go after this market.” FWA offers rural and urban opportunity Michael Irizarry, CTO at U.S. Cellular, said the company serves a lot of rural and suburban communities. “We have found that many are dissatisfied with their internet service offerings,” said Irizarry. “It’s not reliable, and the speeds aren’t there.” U.S. Cellular has offered, for a couple of years now, a broadband service to the home based on 4G. Irizarry said the carrier is testing a higher speed version of its FWA product on mmWave spectrum this year to augment its current service. It may eventually market a 5G version of its FWA. In terms of mmWave, he said the technology to tap the spectrum has come a long way. “When it was first launched by Verizon, I think the ranges were in the order of 500-900 meters,” said Irizarry. “We’ve been testing with Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and some of the handset folks. MmWave for the home ranges up to 5 kilometers. I do think there’s a place for wireless to offer competitive offerings to the existing fixed broadband offerings.” Jasmeet Sethi, head of the consumer lab at Ericsson, said “Everybody’s betting on home wireless broadband. One opportunity is to fix the rural broadband gap. And this market by itself is quite attractive because this is new revenue. In addition, we also see there is a demand in urban markets especially among cord cutters.” He reiterated Ewaldsson’s comments about de-coupling broadband from television services. Sethi said many cable customers are paying monthly amounts in the range of $140 to $160, and they’d like to cut the cord. “They are likely to go into a 5G fixed wireless access offering bundled with a 5G TV proposition,” said Sethi. Ericsson forecasts about 11-12 million people will subscribe to 5G FWA by 2025, and about 26 million will subscribe by 2030. A little cold water on FWA Nathan Sutter is director of network operations and engineering at Nex-Tech Wireless, a small wireless provider in Kansas. Sutter said, “We’ve had, in Kansas, a lot of really good luck with providers getting fiber to the home. The amount of spectrum required to compete with a fiber-to-the-home offering puts wireless at a pretty strong competitive disadvantage.” Nex-Tech is focused on providing service to people who don’t have access to it. The company purchased priority access licenses (PALs) in last summer’s CBRS spectrum auction, and it’s using that spectrum for its FWA offerings. But Sutter said, “We’ve found wireless and home fixed replacement to be sort of a symbiotic relationship, but it sort of starts to become an Ouroboros, where it’s consuming itself. We have not had good luck with co-located mobility and fixed wireless spectrum. I think it requires two different things and two different spectrum propagation characteristics. Fixed wireless access for us has been more of a point-to-point scenario where mobility operates much better in a vacuum by itself.” There are plenty of people who are saying FWA doesn’t have the capacity to provide really good broadband coverage in rural areas. Many of these same folks are upset that so many FWA providers won Rural Digital Opportunity Funds (RDOF) in the December RDOF auction. RELATED: WISPA claps back at fixed-wireless critics in RDOF dispute The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) filed a letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February, responding to what it calls “unwarranted criticism leveled at certain winners of the RDOF Phase I auction, and the RDOF process as a whole.” “WISPs operate across a range of frequencies, from TV White Space up through the millimeter wave bands, and while not all of these spectrum bands are capable of delivering gigabit services, that does not rule out provision of such services in many targeted areas,” stated WISPA.

AT&T signs 5-year deal with Nokia for C-band gear

AT&T signs 5-year deal with Nokia for C-band gear

by Monica Alleven |  Mar 18, 2021 10:24am Nokia announced today that it will be supporting AT&T’s C-band buildout, a development that is not the least bit surprising given their history together. Financial terms of the five-year deal were not disclosed. AT&T said last week that it will be spending on the order of $6 billion to $8 billion on its C-band rollout, which will begin when the first batch of spectrum becomes available at the end of this year, although a lot of planning and pre-deployment work occurs before that. Most of its C-band spend will be happening in the 2022-2024 timeframe. AT&T will use Nokia’s C-band portfolio to boost network capacity and support both indoor and outdoor 5G coverage in parts of the U.S. Included in the deal are Nokia’s Massive MIMO antenna solutions, macro remote radio heads (RRH) and next-generation AirScale baseband equipment. The FCC's C-band auction opened up 280 MHz of the mid-band spectrum, with 100 MHz of spectrum coming available for 5G by the end of this year. AT&T won 40 MHz of that, while Verizon bought the other 60 MHz, spending upwards of $23 billion and $45 billion, respectively, before clearing costs are factored in. Notably, AT&T’s deal with Nokia includes open Radio Access Network (RAN) products. Nokia says its C-band RAN technology will interwork with existing Nokia LTE RAN equipment that’s already been deployed by AT&T. Nokia’s portfolio also supports both 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) networks and cloud-based implementations. “AT&T is committed to bringing the power of 5G to businesses and communities across the nation, and our C-Band deployments with Nokia will help add 5G capacity where it’s needed,” said Igal Elbaz, senior vice president of Wireless and Access Technology AT&T, in a statement. “Nokia has been our trusted collaborator for more than 20 years as we’ve rolled out each generation of wireless technology, and its C-Band portfolio brings the right capabilities to help enable AT&T to deliver an exciting and powerful 5G experience that our subscribers have come to expect from us.” RELATED: Nokia ready with C-band gear on heels of 5G spectrum auction Nokia announced last summer that its C-band equipment would be ready for prime time, achieving stable peak throughput speeds of over 1 Gbps and successful handoffs during a C-band demo in Dallas. Nokia’s C-band portfolio is based on its AirScale 5G radio frequency (RF) products, and its solutions support a range of deployment scenarios: 64TRX and 32TRX massive MIMO for extreme capacity; 8T8R radios for coverage solutions; 4T4R micro RRH for street level and venue deployments; and indoor pico RRH for extensive in-building coverage.

Advances in 5G Boosts Mobile Speeds in Taiwan

Advances in 5G Boosts Mobile Speeds in Taiwan

ARÍA F. VALENZUELA GÓMEZ 03 Feb 2021 Taiwan has seen considerable growth in its mobile performance since it issued its first 5G commercial license in July 2020. Using Speedtest Intelligence® data from Q4 2020, we explored how the emerging technology has affected overall mobile speeds, how much faster 5G was compared to 4G, which operator had the fastest 5G and what speeds look like in Taiwan’s largest metropolitan areas. Mobile internet speeds in Taiwan showed steady improvement Mobile internet speeds in Taiwan have steadily increased in the last two years thanks, in part, to 5G deployments across the country. In December 2020, Taiwan reached 16th place in the Speedtest Global IndexTM, an improvement from their 29th place ranking in January 2019. Looking at mean download speed over mobile on all technologies, Taiwan showed a 30.4% increase from 2019 to 2020. Mean Mobile Download Speeds in Taiwan Speedtest Intelligence® | 2019 - 2020 Download (Mbps) 2019 Download (Mbps) 2020 % Increase All Operators 42.20 55.01 30.4% 5G median download speed was 522% faster than 4G in Taiwan We compared 5G speeds in Taiwan to speeds over 4G using measurements from devices using modern chipsets. As expected, median download speed over 5G far exceeded that over 4G during Q4 2020, with 5G coming in 522.0% faster than 4G. We report 5G using median rather than mean speeds because the potential for outliers is high, so median gives a better expectation of the performance a consumer is likely to experience. FarEasTone was the fastest operator for 5G in Taiwan FarEasTone showed the fastest median download speed over 5G among mobile operators in Taiwan during Q4 2020, followed by Chunghwa Telecom. Taiwan Mobile was third and TSTAR fourth. Taoyuan showed the fastest 5G download speed in Q4 2020 Country-wide averages do not reflect the differences in performance that can occur between different metropolitan areas. We looked at median download speeds over 5G for Taiwan’s five most populous metropolitan areas during Q4 2020 to get a better understanding of how 5G performance varies in locations across the country. 5G download speeds varied among Taiwan’s largest metropolitan areas, but were not far from the country-wide average for 5G of 260.01 Mbps during this period. While it would appear that Taoyuan had the fastest median download speed over 5G at 265.01 Mbps, followed by Taipei at 261.79 Mbps and Taichung at 260.20 Mbps, the confidence intervals show that it’s really a toss-up between cities at the top of this list. Confidence intervals also make it impossible to declare a slowest city, though the slowest median download speed was measured in New Taipei at 236.69 Mbps. The expansion of 5G in Taiwan is exciting and has provided consumers with much faster mobile speeds. We look forward to seeing how this emerging technology continues to expand across the country and how it affects mobile performance in Taiwan. Sources : www.speedtest.net