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Posts Categorised: 5G

Some are playing down expectations for the standard ahead of investments

LONDON — At the recent 5G World Summit 2018 in London, European cell companies Swisscom and Three UK “…played down expectations of a 5G-related boost in customer spending or a capital expenditure increase by their own companies,” according to lightreading.com

Three UK CTO Bryn Jones said he saw no reason for much increase in capital expenditure as his company starts to build a 5G network. Heinz Herren, the Swisscom AG CTO, echoed those sentiments, saying that 5G investments could largely be managed within today’s “capex envelope.”

There may be capital increases associated with the use of more sophisticated antenna systems as well as investment in underlying fiber networks, according to Jones. “When you look at massive MIMO, those antennas are heavier and bigger and there is more spending in that area than we had in moving from 3G to 4G,” he said in the same Light Reading article. Jones noted that there is also a much higher requirement for fiber backhaul.

“The Swiss market is flat and so it is really difficult to add 5G and sell it and personally I think we are having too many discussions around the business case,” said Herren. “I think if your main business case is connectivity there is no question about doing 5G, but I don’t think you will see additional ARPU [average revenue per user],” he said, again from the same article.

Last month, Italy’s communications regulator Agcom announced plans to hold an auction for spectrum suitable for 5G next-generation services this September. It’s expected that the sale of the spectrum will allow the Italian government to raise at least €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion), with half of that revenue expected to come in this year, reports rcewireless.com . The starting bid for the 700 MHz spectrum, split in to six slots, is approximately 2 billion euros.

However, Italian broadcaster Mediaset and media group Cairo Communication have filed an appeal with a regional court against Agcom’s proposed auction of 5G frequencies, according to the same article. The frequencies in the 700 MHz band are currently used by several TV groups including Mediaset, state broadcaster RAI and Cairo, which would all have to give up the frequencies.

Italian cellphone operators Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italia, Wind Tre and Fastweb were initially expected to take part in the 5G auction — however, they were also considering a boycott of the 5G auction process as they believed that the starting price set by the regulator for the spectrum in the 700 MHz band was too high, according to the same article. Operators also considered that “the current rules of the auction were too rigid for them to participate.”

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The government said key use cases include smart cities, healthcare, education, connected and autonomous vehicles, entertainment and media and the Internet of Things

OTTAWA — Canadian carriers have been testing 5G technology in order to get ready for the future commercial launch of this technology. 

For example, in the spring, Shaw Communications completed its first 5G technical trials in Calgary, in partnership with Nokia. The 5G trial used 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum and 3.5 GHz spectrum, and was conducted using pre-commercial equipment at Shaw’s Barlow Campus Technology Center in Calgary, according to rcrwireless.com . Shaw conducted comparative testing between 28 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum to better understand the interoperability between two of the bands, using Rohde & Schwarz gear to measure 5G and LTE signals simultaneously.

Rogers Communications recently announced a multi-year plan by which it aims to deploy 5G technology in partnership with Ericsson. Rogers’ network plan includes the continued rollout of its gigabit LTE network with technology and equipment based on the latest global 3GPP standards, including 4×4 multiple-input-multiple-output, four-carrier aggregation and 256 QAM. 

The company also plans to build up its network with both small cells and more traditional radio sites across the country, according to the same article. Through the partnership with Ericsson, Rogers will trial 5G technology in Toronto and Ottawa, in addition to select cities over the next year.

Earlier this year Telus , in partnership with Huawei, launched a 5G wireless-to-the-home (WttH) trial service using specially-designed 5G customer premise equipment, at Telus’ downtown Vancouver “5G Living Lab.”

The Canadian government said that key use cases for the next-generation network technology include smart cities, healthcare, education, connected and autonomous vehicles, entertainment and media and the Internet of Things, and it confirmed plans to auction key wireless spectrum for the provision of 5G services in 2020, again according to the same article. 

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One chief engineer describes the current downlink registration process as “akin to paying a more powerful mob for protection from other mobs”


As you know, all of us have been inundated with notices from various satellite program carriers about the latest fiasco with the FCC over use of C-band satellite frequencies as an ancillary terrestrial frequency band for cellphone and automotive data conveyance. Hence, the concern over interference with all of our C-band satellite program delivery from these outside sources.

What I don’t get is why do thousands of broadcasters and home C-band satellite TV hobbyists have to foot the bill for “registering” their earth stations for protection with the FCC? This to me is akin to paying a more powerful mob for protection from other mobs in old Chicago back in the 1920s. 

Seems to me our tax payer dollars — along with licensing fees for every RF conveyance under the sun in radio and TV — should already be paying for this kind of protection from the big boy on the block. 

Why is it that the FCC is totally unaware of the entire C band’s use for the broadcasting industry? Seems like there had to be a CFR agreement somewhere about international usage of this band for broadcaster use around the globe. 

 You can’t tell me the FCC was unaware of the tremendous use placed on this band for delivery of hundreds of radio talk shows, hundreds of TV shows, both network and syndicated, not to mention this is the band that local TV stations depend on to do local uplinks back to the studio when they are on live remote in their community or across the country. TV and radio networks that use this band abound, and it’s crowded with all kinds of programming, both in vertical and horizontal polarizations on dozens of transponders.

So why wouldn’t the FCC automatically protect this band from terrestrial interference as a matter of natural course? After all, it is their job, for God’s sake! 

Why charge us individually to protect us from outside interference, when protecting the bands from interference is supposed to be the mission of the FCC? Did I miss something? 

The author is chief engineer of Carroll Broadcasting and PD of WIOS(AM) 1480 in Tawas City, Mich.

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The pubcaster says sharing should mean exclusive spectrum for incumbents, wireless broadband

WASHINGTON — Public radio is waving a caution flag as the Trump Administration pushes to open up the C-band (3.7-4.2 GHz.) for broadband, echoing comments by the National Association of Broadcasters.

Its advice is to divide if it wants to conquer in the race to 5G. National Public Radio has told the FCC it should reserve some C-band spectrum for wireless broadband, but should reserve the remainder for exclusive use by incumbents, like NPR’s fixed satellite delivery of its programming.

The FCC sought comment on how to free up C-band satellite spectrum for sharing with broadband services as it seeks to advance 5G and nationwide broadband deployment, including how best to share it. NPR had plenty to say.

NPR says that the best thing to do is give incumbents and new users their own designated spectrum rather than mandate sharing of the same spectrum by both commercial wireless and fixed satellite users like NPR. Those fixed satellite users also include TV broadcast networks and cable operators. “[T]he only feasible way to share the C-band spectrum without causing harmful interference to current users is to subdivide it, and in so doing to ensure adequate protections for existing uses through guard bands and appropriate licensing requirements,” NPR said.

NPR dropped some familiar programming names whose distribution depends on C-band spectrum to get to 42 million people via 1,270 public radio stations, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace.

Some wireless companies, including T-Mobile, have said that shielding and filtering can allow both to share the same spectrum, but NPR says no. “Shielding can be effective in limited circumstances to remediate interference between two fixed devices,” said the public broadcaster, “but there is currently no shielding technology that could provide the kind of dynamic, all-encompassing protection that would be required to protect against interference from mobile devices.

Similarly, filtering can be useful to block out interfering signals within a certain range, but it reduces the effectiveness of the downlink signals it protects, and it does not create the kind of clear, interference-free transmission zone that is essential to public radio’s programming distribution needs.Mobile broadband should be allowed in the band only if it does not create such interference of threaten access to all that content–including emergency alerts and local journalism–on the stations, the filing concluded.

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New platform will accelerate wireless speeds, connect the Internet of Things — and drive competition

Editor’s Note: Welcome to the next edition of Need to Know , in which Radio magazine and our parent Future U.S. explain complex topics and how they apply to each industry we serve, on our websites and in our magazines. Keep coming back for future topics, to include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more.

Need to Know: 5G (; 1:42)

The race to build out “fiber in the sky” is on.

The next-gen mobile standard known as 5G, the fifth generation of the technology, is poised to create a new platform that is not just faster, but much more agile than today’s state-of-the-art 4G (also known as Long Term Evolution, or LTE) networks.

Expected to debut wide in the next two years, it’s the latest in the continuum of every innovation in wireless technology, and it promises to disrupt — if not complement — many industries with lightning-fast communication speeds.

5G will roll out as a network of cell sites offering gigabit-level speeds (100X faster than today’s highest speeds) over fiber lines, and lower latency (no more hourglass or beachball icons!)

The technology will also underpin a vast array of fixed (non-mobile) and mobile devices, services, and applications across an array of industries, including entertainment, education, music, and medicine. Consumers need only a modem to connect.

Deployments of 5G are already underway using pre-commercial technology by the usual suspects — the incumbent mobile network operators — but there are a host of new providers, including cable operators, that have become increasingly eager to add mobile and wireless to their service arsenals.

The first anticipated type of 5G-based services will be fixed wireless data offerings that can deliver speeds in the neighborhood of 1 gigabit per second to the home or business. The implications for the Internet of Things, in a world where every home appliance and gadget is dependent on robust wireless connections, are enormous.

BLAZING FAST INTERNET

For traditional services, imagine downloading a full two-hour movie, or an entire semester of classes to a student, in mere seconds — while also supporting the massive data rates that will be required by new virtual reality and augmented reality services.

Further out, 5G will also be mobile, with sub-millisecond latencies that greatly cut down the time it takes for data to be transferred after it is requested, and will be a major requirement, for example, for mobile networks that can ensure that self-driving cars stay connected and can navigate the streets safely.

For now, despite its futuristic reputation of sensors everywhere, 5G is saddled with technical hurdles. For example, 5G signals, particularly when delivered in the upper, millimeter-wave frequency bands, will need a clear path, as their performance is vulnerable to obstacles such as trees and buildings.

For the cable industry, 5G is viewed as a threat and an opportunity. While 5G could create a new speedy broadband rival, 5G will also require the deployment of millions of dense, high-capacity small cells that are in stark contrast to the macro-cell networks used by today’s 4G networks. And it so happens that cable’s fiber-rich network is well positioned to provide those critical backhaul and powering requirements. That could be a major moneymaker for the cable guys.

NOT-READY-FOR-PRIMETIME PLAYER

When will all of the pieces fall into place? Though some 5G-based fixed wireless services will take hold in 2018, the big ramp for the technology isn’t expected to emerge until 2020.

Several mobile service providers, cable operators, and startups like Starry are already well downstream with 5G-based fixed wireless tests and deployments. The mobile aspects of 5G aren’t expected to take hold in a big way until 2020.

In the meantime, initial 5G-based fixed wireless deployments could put some pressure on wireline ISPs.

“The use case [for 5G] I get most excited about is the opportunity to have a nearly nationwide broadband footprint,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman, president and CEO, said on the company’s Q4 earnings call, expressing confidence that 5G could serve as a fixed-line replacement for both business and residential customers.

“The capacity is there, the performance is there. There’s going to be full gigabit throughput,” he said.

MOBILE MAKING A MOVE

But that work isn’t stopping progress on mobilized 5G even before there are smartphones and other mobile devices that will support it. AT&T, for example, plans to launch a mobile form of 5G by the end of 2018 in about a dozen markets. However, the initial deployment won’t involve direct integration with laptops, smartphones, or tablets, but instead rely on a smaller router-like device that can connect other devices to the 5G network.

“Think of this as a puck,” Stephenson said of the new device. He wants AT&T to push mobile 5G forward before handsets that support the next-gen wireless technology become available.

T-Mobile will be keying its 5G strategy on spectrum in the lower spectrum bands. While that will address the mobile opportunity, “it will also open up this massive set of opportunities on 5G in the Internet of Things space, where you can connect everything that can be connected,” Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s chief technology officer and executive vice president, said on the company’s Q4 2017 call in February.

And the phone company plans to be aggressive. John Legere, T-Mobile’s CEO, said that 5G, when fully deployed, “will be in every spectrum band, and we will be participating in a lot of ways either through acquisition of spectrum, acquisition of companies, mergers and consolidation.”

But T-Mobile’s focus on the wide-area benefits of the 600 MHz band for its 5G rollout underscores a critical factor in the rollout of 5G: Not all spectrum is created equal. Millimeter wave signals don’t propagate well over long distances, have difficulty in the presence of trees and buildings, and require almost perfect line of sight.

“They hardly like air,” Robert Howald, Comcast’s vice president of network architecture, said at an industry event last year. He was making a joke, but he also makes an important point — it’s unlikely that any 5G strategy will be able to live successfully on millimeter wave spectrum alone.

There is much to be worked out, but 5G is poised to be a gamechanger for anything streamed or downloaded.

[Read about 5G’s implications in radio broadcasting.]

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Educational Broadcast Service spectrum to be used for LTE and 5G

The FCC voted unanimously this month to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that contemplates ways to put mostly “fallow” 2.5 GHz spectrum to use.

The 2496–2690 MHz band constitutes “the single largest band of contiguous spectrum below 3 GHz and is prime for next-generation mobile operations,” according to fiercewireless.com .

Significant portions of the Educational Broadband Service spectrum in this band currently are unused across nearly half of the United States, mostly in rural areas. The commission has limited access to the spectrum since 1995, and current licensees are subject to outdated regulations, according to the FCC.

Efforts have been underway for more than a year to get the FCC to issue an NPRM so that the EBS portion of the 2.5 GHz spectrum could be put to better use, according to the article. In 2014, the Wireless Communications Association, the National EBS Association and the Catholic Television Network got together and submitted a proposal on how to license the spectrum.

Sprint holds licensed 2.5 GHz spectrum assets, and said that adoption of new licensing opportunities for EBS licensees will further strengthen its existing 4G LTE and future 5G deployments.

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Verizon’s fixed 5G service is intended to compete with wired internet services and cable MSOs by “blasting” a 5G connection from a nearby cell site to receivers

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Samsung recently acknowledged the FCC certified both the company’s indoor and outdoor 5G home routers. The company said the new routers are meant to work with Verizon’s 28 GHz fixed wireless deployment, according to fiercewireless.com .

Samsung described the router as “a small consumer device that receives and transmits the 5G signal to provide ultra-high speed broadband wireless service…[that] can enable broadband service up to 18x greater than the current average U.S. broadband.”

Verizon’s fixed 5G service is intended to compete with wired internet services and cable MSOs by “blasting” a 5G connection from a nearby cell site to receivers either outside or inside users’ homes or offices. Mobile 5G, on the other hand, is designed for portable devices like smartphones and tablets. Verizon announced late last year that it would turn on fixed 5G services in up to five cities, including Sacramento , in the second half of 2018.

Verizon’s mobile 5G service will launch around six months after the carrier turns on its fixed 5G service, according to Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam. “Those comments are notable because Verizon hasn’t offered too much detail about how it might roll out mobile 5G — although Verizon’s CFO said last year the carrier wouldn’t launch mobile 5G services in 2018,” according to the same article.

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If approved by regulators, the new company would be henceforth known as T-Mobile

BELLEVUE, Wash., and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — T-Mobile US and Sprint Corporation on Sunday announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to merge. The combined company will be called T-Mobile.

The combined company will have “lower costs, greater economies of scale, and the resources to provide U.S. consumers and businesses with lower prices, better quality, unmatched value, and greater competition,” according to this press release about the merger. “The New T-Mobile will employ more people than both companies separately and create thousands of new American jobs.” The same document goes on to say that from the first day Sprint and T-Mobile combine and every year thereafter, the new company will employ more people in the U.S. than both companies would separately; more than 200,000 people will work on behalf of the combined company in the US at the start.

[Read about Sprint and T-Mobile’s on again , off again merger history.]

The question is, how and why will that happen? According to the same release, “the New T-Mobile plans to invest up to $40 billion in its new network and business in the first three years alone, a massive capital outlay that will fuel job growth at the new company and across related sectors. This is 46% more than T-Mobile and Sprint spent combined in the past three years.”

“This combination will also force AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Verizon, and others to make investments of their own to compete, driving billions more in accelerated investment.”

You really need to take what is said in press releases like this with a grain of salt but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt right now.

“Neither company standing alone can create a nationwide 5G network with the breadth and depth required to fuel the next wave of mobile Internet innovation in the U.S. and answer competitive challenges from abroad. Only the combined company will have the network capacity required to quickly create a broad and deep 5G nationwide network in the critical first years of the 5G innovation cycle – the years that will determine if American firms lead or follow in the 5G digital economy.” 

This will be accomplished using Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum and T-Mobile’s nationwide 600 MHz spectrum, and other combined assets. “Compared to T-Mobile’s network today, the combined company’s network is expected to deliver 15x faster speeds on average nationwide by 2024, with many customers experiencing up to 100x faster speeds than early 4G.”

Time will tell if that comes true of course. First the merger has to really happen. Following the closing, the new company will be headquartered in Bellevue with a second headquarters in Overland Park.

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The mobile carrier asked the FCC for permission to demo 5G in the 28 GHz band during June’s SHAPE event

BURBANK, Calif. — AT&T has asked the FCC for permission to demonstrate 5G in the 28 GHz (millimeter wave) band during the SHAPE event, set for June 2–3 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif.

The SHAPE conference is described by AT&T as “an immersive event exploring the convergence of technology and entertainment.” Attendees will discover how the cutting edge of content creation and distribution will usher in a new era of audience experiences, according to rcrwireless.com .

AT&T plans to use a “puck” as a mobile hot spot device, with using millimeter wave connectivity back to their network, in the initial for mobile 5G deployments, which will be in Atlanta, and Dallas and Waco, Texas. Last January AT&T said it would offer 5G services based on the 3GPP non-standalone 5G NR specification in more than 12 markets by the end of 2018, although the carrier has only identified the three aforementioned markets, according to the same article.

Also, Charter, the second-largest cable operator in the US, is undertaking more fixed 5G tests in Los Angeles, reports lightreading.com .

Charter has been approved for an experimental 28 GHz license using 25 antennas in Los Angeles for the tests, which could start as soon as early April and run until October. The outdoor tests will utilize fixed transmitters with a 1 km or smaller effective radius, using 28 GHz equipment from Ericsson AB.

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The company has announced it will launch mobile 5G in 12 cities this year, but has so far only named Waco, Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta

DALLAS — Using its 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum, AT&T has measured download speeds of around 1.2 Gbps using a 400 megahertz channel, and latency rates between nine and 12 milliseconds, according rcrwireless.com , at its test site in Waco, Texas, where the carrier has deployed 5G-backed Wi-Fi for Magnolia Market at the Silos.

Melissa Arnoldi, AT&T president of technology and operations, said “by conducting these trials and inventing specialized measurement equipment to study other aspects of 5G in great detail, we collected mountains of data and insights to comb through, obsess over and ultimately act on. These trial learnings are guiding our commercial 5G launches this year and will help ensure we’re building a 5G network that is both real and reliable for everyone,” quoted in the same article.

AT&T has expanded its trials to Kalamazoo, Mich., and South Bend, Ind., and the company has publicly announced it will launch mobile 5G in 12 cities this year, but has so far only named Waco, Dallas, Texas, and Atlanta.

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