The Race to 5G: Technology
Keep tabs on major companies around the world as they roll out 5G
Follow along as IEEE Spectrum summarizes the most interesting news and developments related to 5G technology through the 5G Tech Tracker.
Verizon Teases Commercial Fixed Wireless for Sacramento
3 January 2018
Verizon said it will roll out commercial service over 5G fixed wireless networks (which it tested throughout 2017) in Sacramento, Calif., by the end of 2018. It also tapped Samsung as its equipment provider of choice. Verizon’s over-the-air Internet service, which is based on high-frequency millimeter waves, doesn’t require a clear line of sight between the transmitter and receiver, which was surely a relief. Samsung says a signal from a single radio can reach as high as the 19th floor of a building.
Huawei Touts Core Network Test with China Mobile
9 January 2018
Huawei is making its move on China Mobile and its 880 million wireless customers. The companies announced “outstanding performance” in a test of Huawei’s 5G core network (but didn’t get much more specific than that). The core is the chunk of equipment and software that routes data, directs calls, and connects to other networks. Huawei’s version incorporates network slicing, a technique that lets an operator designate a specific bandwidth or latency for a particular purpose. Clearly pleased with itself, Huawei said its core could “serve as a solid foundation for the future large-scale commercial use of 5G.”
Sprint’s CTO is Pumped About Massive MIMO
10 January 2018
Sprint CTO John Saw talked up massive MIMO at an investors conference in Las Vegas, calling it “our bridge to 5G.” This technology expands the number of antennas at a base station from 16 to 128, and adds beamforming to coordinate signals. Sprint will bring massive MIMO to its network this year, and expand support for 2.5 GHz to all base stations (only half support it today). That frequency is “ideal” for massive MIMO, Saw said, because the antennas required for it are so small that even a batch would be compact enough to meet zoning requirements.
12 January 2018
Japan will soon host its first trial of vehicle-to-everything technology, which uses cellular frequencies (5 GHz, in this case) to connect cars to pretty much everything else, including streetlights, other cars—and even pedestrians. If it catches on, this would obviously drum up more business for NTT Docomo and its partners. But some experts believe it makes more sense for smart cars to communicate primarily through short-range (DSRC) radios, rather than over 5G cellular bands.
Telefonica to Test 5G in Two Cities in Spain
22 January 2018
Lucky residents of Segovia and Talavera de la Reina could be the first to test 5G service in Spain. Telefonica will conduct 5G trials in both cities for three years with Nokia and Ericsson. The announcement was short on details about the underlying tech, but did say Telefonica’s network will start out as nonstandalone (meaning it will piggyback on 4G) and that customers will be able to connect to it with existing devices. Telefonica expects to deliver mobile data at speeds up to 1 Gbps, or three times those which residents enjoy at home for broadband Internet.
Nokia Unleashes 5G Chipsets
29 January 2018
We’ll never know what the real-life Caribbean reef shark thinks about Nokia’s new ReefShark 5G chipset, to be installed in the radios of antennas on future 5G base stations. But the company touted a “massive performance gain”—specifically, the ability to boost the throughput of base stations by a factor of three. Nokia also teased built-in AI for network slicing, a technique that allows carriers to cordon off pieces of spectrum for customers who (presumably) pay more. The Finnish manufacturer says it’s working with 30 operators, and will start shipping ReefSharks later this year.
AT&T Confuses Everyone With 5G “Pucks”
31 January 2018
When AT&T said it would launch mobile 5G service in 12 U.S. cities this year, critics pointed out that compatible smartphones won’t be available that soon. Today on an earnings call, AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson said customers would initially use “pucks” to connect to its blazingly-fast network. “We’re going to be deploying pucks in the first part of our deployments, in these 12 markets,” he said. “So it is a mobile solution, but it’s not going to be a handset.” What exactly are pucks? Probably some kind of mobile hotspot, but it’s not entirely clear.
Sprint to Launch Mobile 5G in Early 2019
2 February 2018
A lot of companies are promising to launch various forms of 5G service right now, which can be dizzying to track. Today, Sprint’s CEO Marcelo Claure said on an earnings call that the carrier will offer mobile 5G service, and begin selling 5G-compatible devices, in early 2019. This combination of 5G smartphones and a network that supports them is the industry’s ultimate goal. Which is why Sprint, betting on spectrum below 6 GHz instead of the high-frequency millimeter waves preferred by its competitors, now claims it will be “first” to rollout a nationwide mobile 5G “platform.”
Verizon’s 5G Super Bowl
5 February 2018
A few lucky Verizon engineers went to the Super Bowl, but were stuck watching it through a VR headset in order to test the company’s 5G capabilities. Verizon made the experience sound as thrilling as possible, talking up the 180-degree stereoscopic live feed that gave participants an “in-stadium view,” and the high-resolution replays projected on separate screens—all streamed over a 5G connection (the specifics of which the company didn’t share). This setup echoes predictions by 5G enthusiasts who say consumers will pay extra to livestream sports and concerts in VR. But will they, really? Stay tuned.
SK Telecom Tests Self-Driving Cars at 28 GHz
6 February 2018
SK Telecom will introduce self-driving cars that operate on its 5G network to highways in South Korea in 2019. The company recently tested its V2X (which stands for “vehicle-to-everything”) technology with the Korean Transportation Safety Authority. On a 2-km track in a fake city called K-City, two cars used millimeter waves broadcast at 28 GHz to send warnings about obstacles to one another, and receive updates about construction zones from a control center. The company says the cars communicated more than 100 times a second, with latency (the term for the roundtrip delay) as low as 1 millisecond.
ZTE Gets Serious About Network Slicing
6 February 2018
ZTE says it has developed a cloud-based technology to provide end-to-end network slicing for 5G, which can virtually dice up a company’s spectrum for customers who wish to reserve chunks for very specific purposes. Many of the most anticipated uses for 5G (industrial IoT! robotic surgery!) will require different degrees of reliability and performance, and this technology should give carriers a way to guarantee special clients a certain level of service. In its press release, the company also tried to make “Network Slice as a Service” into a thing, but it’s hard to imagine that term catching on.
Qualcomm Is Very Proud of Its 5G Modem
8 February 2018
Qualcomm went on something of a PR tear today, issuing twin announcements about its work with smartphone manufacturers and mobile network operators to prepare 5G technologies to launch. With manufacturers, it talked up its Snapdragon X50 5G modem, which will debut in mobile devices released in 2019 from HTC, LG, ZTE, and Xiaomi. The company also said operators including AT&T, Chine Mobile, China Telecom, SK Telecom, and Sprint were using the modem as a reference model for future mobile devices in 5G network trials.
Vodafone Claims World’s First 5G Phone Call
21 February 2018
It was only a matter of time before a company issued a press release claiming to make the first 5G phone call. Today, Vodafone and Huawei say they’ve beat everyone else to this particular PR stunt. The irony is that making a phone call is one of the most boring things you could do with 5G technology. Wireless phone calls have worked pretty well for decades. The companies did place an HD video call (with a test device on a test network in Spain), which at least made use of the low latency that 5G promises.
Huawei Completes India’s First 5G Network Trial
23 February 2018
Huawei and Bharti Airtel have conducted the first 5G network trial in India, according to The Hindu Business Line. The companies achieved data speeds of 3 Gbps at 3.5 GHz. Compare that to India’s current average 4G speed of just 6.13 Mbps—which makes their service slower than 76 other countries. The companies also reported latency of 1 ms, which is much better than the 50 ms typical of 4G LTE, and on par with what’s generally expected for 5G service. These results are from a test network and actual performance would be slower—but still much faster than what’s available there today.
Huawei Has a 5G Chip, But It’s Not for Phones
25 February 2018
There’s been a steady dribble of 5G chip announcements this month. Now, Huawei has its first 5G chip—the Balong 5G01. Before you get too excited, though, note that this chip is not designed for phones, but “customer-premises equipment.” That could be mean a router, antenna, or other system installed at a home or business for the purposes of coordinating 5G service, or perhaps converting signals traveling by millimeter waves to frequencies more commonly used for Wi-Fi. Huawei says the chip has shown download speeds of up to 2 Gbps and works with millimeter waves and frequencies below 6 GHz.
Sprint Wins With Magic Box Small Cells
28 February 2018
Sprint appears to have hit a home run with the 2017 debut of its Magic Box small cells. The boxes extend and improve Sprint’s LTE coverage wherever they’re installed, and the company said today that it has now placed 100,000 of them in 200 U.S. cities. That’s good progress toward the 1 million it plans to deploy on its “multi-year roadmap.” The company has recently won several industry awards for the technology, which it developed with Airspan Networks.
China Telecom to Install A Lot More Base Stations
7 March 2018
China Telecom expects to finish 5G field trials in six cities this year, and will expand the number of base stations it operates from the 1.16 million it uses today for 4G to as many as 2 million for 5G, says Chengliang Zhang, vice president of China Telecom’s Beijing Research Institute. The company is focused on the 3.5 GHz frequency for 5G, while it relies primarily on 1.8 GHz for 4G. Because of the shorter wavelength, “if you want to get the same coverage as 4G, you need to increase the base station density,” Zhang said. He was speaking at a conference in San Diego, Calif.
T-Mobile Tests Massive MIMO in Czech Republic
7 March 2018
T-Mobile Czech Republic worked with Huawei to try out massive MIMO (which uses dozens or hundreds of antennas per base station) in Prague during the first two months of 2018. The carrier called it “the largest massive MIMO test in continental Europe.” The trial involved four base stations in the city’s Petrovice district, and T-Mobile had this to say about the results: “In the ideal case, the mMIMO antenna solution can provide an approximate five-fold increase of the capacity of a transmitter cell; in practice, the capacity is usually doubled or tripled.” Not bad.
NTT Docomo Conducts 5G Trial with Railway
8 March 2018
NTT Docomo recently teamed up with Huawei and Tobu Railway Co. to test millimeter waves in a field trial in Japan. The announcement had very few details about what, exactly the companies were testing—or if it involved railcars in any way. They did share that at least part of the test was conducted at 28 GHz, which is turning out to be one of the most popular 5G frequencies worldwide. And they said the test was intended to measure signal propagation “in a dense urban area,” which sounds about right for Japan.
Korea Telecom Aims to Launch 5G in March 2019
23 March 2018
Korea Telecom is preparing to launch 5G mobile service for enterprise clients in March 2019, and predicts it will be the first telecommunications company in the world to do so—dismissing claims by Verizon and AT&T that their fixed wireless networks (which only provide point-to-point service) qualify as 5G. A Korea Telecom representative said its 5G service would likely be available in cities first, and move into rural areas at a later date, The Korea Times reports. The update comes shortly after the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, which the company sponsored and dubbed “the first 5G Olympics.”
AT&T Ready to Roll Out 60,000 White Box Routers
26 March 2018
AT&T will install more than 60,000 “white box” routers in existing cell towers across its network in the next few years. These routers are built with open hardware specifications, which means AT&T will no longer be limited by the roadmaps of specific hardware vendors. And the routers should be easy to update through software. The company pitched them as a way to reduce latency—a big goal for 5G—by bringing content and applications closer to the customer. The white boxes have their own operating system, which AT&T plans to open source through the Linux Foundation.
Telefonica Tests Fixed Wireless in Spain
27 March 2018
Telefonica spent three days testing a new fixed wireless system at its headquarters in Spain. Such systems are meant to deliver data directly from one stationary point, such as a rooftop antenna, to another stationary point. The system that Telefonica tested is built by a company called Cohere Technologies, and uses a new type of modulation known as orthogonal time frequency space modulation (OTFS). Cohere says its technology, with the new modulation scheme, can improve spectral efficiency by six times compared to other systems.
Ericsson Adds Maltese Teleco as 5G Partner
27 March 2018
Ericsson has been involved in more 5G trials than any other company, according to data compiled by Viavi. Now, it has signed on with a wireless provider in Malta to bring 4.5G service—and eventually, 5G—to the tiny island nation. Today, Melita said that it would use Ericsson’s software and base station equipment to upgrade its network. Melita is the smallest of three carriers, according to TeleGeography, that serve Malta, which has just 437,000 citizens. The announcement shows that carriers of all sizes are forming their 5G strategies.
Vodafone Shows Off 5G in New Zealand
27 March 2018
The technology director of Vodafone New Zealand went live on Facebook today to show off 5G demos during a technology showcase in Auckland. The demos ran on millimeter waves at 28 GHz using base station equipment provided by Nokia, including the AirScale system. One of the potential applications the host rattled off was “5G to the desktop,” saying office workers will connect to 5G instead of Wi-Fi. Commenters were not impressed, using the opportunity to complain about Vodafone’s existing 4G and 3G service, and to request better coverage for rural areas.
Ericsson Takes 5G Trials Down Under
9 April 2018
Australia’s National Broadband Network Company has teamed up with Ericsson to begin testing 5G technologies in Melbourne. The government-owned teleco is focused on using 5G to provide fixed wireless service, which provides point-to-point broadband service as opposed to mobile data, in the 3.5 GHz band. The company already operates 2,500 fixed wireless sites around the country, which serve 225,000 people, according to Mobile World Live. Overall, the company provides broadband to 6.3 million homes and businesses.
Korea Telecom to Build 5G With Fellow Carriers
10 April 2018
Mobile carriers in Korea have proposed some of the most aggressive timelines for 5G rollouts. Now, four competitors including Korea Telecom and SK Telecom have agreed to work together to build and share a nationwide 5G network. Yonhap News Agency reports the agreement would collectively save US $938 million over the next decade in costs avoided, compared to each carrier building its own infrastructure. In March, Korea Telecom said it expected to launch mobile 5G in 2019.
AT&T Publishes Details From 5G Trials
10 April 2018
AT&T shared details of its ongoing 5G trials today in a blog post by Melissa Arnoldi, president of technology and operations. Of the three sites discussed, the company’s observations from tests with small businesses in chilly Kalamazoo, Michigan proved most interesting. Arnoldi said the company saw “no impacts” from rain and snow on signals traveling by millimeter waves, and that those signals could travel through walls, leaves, and windows better than expected. The company also recorded data speeds higher than 1 Gbps (the target data rate for individual users on 5G is 100 Mbps) at distances of up to 900 feet between a base station and receiver.
Huawei Chair Attempts to Deflate 5G Hype
10 April 2018
Speaking to hundreds of analysts in Shenzhen who gathered for the company’s annual tech summit, Huawei chairman Eric Xu seemed to tamp down expectations for future 5G networks. He said the main difference between 4G and 5G service, in a customer’s eyes, would be faster speeds—but was quick to point out that 4G is already plenty fast for most things customers are interested in doing. He emphasized that Huawei will still invest in 5G, but noted “we don’t see many use cases or applications we need to support 5G.”
AT&T Shares Progress on 5G Evolution Upgrades
19 April 2018
AT&T touted its progress in rolling out “5G Evolution,” a marketing term it has used to describe network upgrades that aren’t quite 5G, but should double data speeds available on 4G for customers with compatible devices (which includes the Samsung Galaxy, but not iPhones). Specifically, AT&T says the upgraded network can provide theoretical peak data speeds of 400 Mbps (the global target for 5G is theoretical peak data speeds of 20 Gbps). The company said it added the service to “parts of” 117 new markets, bringing the total number of areas with access to 5G Evolution to 141. AT&T plans to expand the service to a total of 500 markets by the end of this year.
NTT Docomo to Test 90 GHz with Nokia
24 April 2018
NTT Docomo plans to demonstrate 5G service at 90 GHz at this week’s Brooklyn 5G Summit, according to a press release issued with Nokia. This frequency is even higher than others being tested for wireless service in the millimeter wave range, which include 28 GHz and 60 GHz. The companies said they would show off a phased array system that could support up to 256 antennas. With it, they claim to be able to deliver “multi-gigabit per second speeds” (the theoretical peak data rate for 5G is expected to be 20 Gbps).
Huawei Hits 2.9 Gbps in 5G Trial
2 May 2018
Proximus, a carrier in Belgium, has completed a field trial in a suburb near Brussels based on Huawei’s 5G base station equipment. It’s the first outdoor 5G trial completed in Belgium, the companies said. The setup incorporated massive MIMO, a technique that helps base stations handle more signals at once. Proximus used the 3.5 GHz band and announced data speeds up to 2.94 Gbps, and latency (the time it takes for a signal to travel from a device to the network and back) as low as 1.81 milliseconds. Back in 2016, Proximus had tested high-frequency millimeter waves in a lab and scored 70 Gbps.
Deutsche Telekom Turns On ‘5G Antennas’ in Berlin
3 May 2018
Deutsche Telekom says its first batch of 5G-enabled antennas are now live in Berlin, and connected to its 4G LTE network. That batch consists of six antennas, and the company plans to add 70 more across 20 sites by mid-year. The antennas are based on the 5G NR specification released in late 2017. They feature massive MIMO and beamforming to direct signals to users. In a promotional video, Alexander Lautz, senior vice president for 5G, claimed to have achieved “Europe’s first 5G data connection in a live network” with the system.
NTT Docomo Buckles 5G Radio Into Race Car
9 May 2018
In what must have been a thrilling demonstration, a team from NTT Docomo buckled a 5G radio into a race car and drove it up to 305 km/hr (or 190 mi/hr) to test the transmission of wireless data to and from the vehicle as it moved at speeds comparable to commuter trains. The signals traveled at 28 GHz—Docomo’s favored 5G frequency—at rates up to 1 Gbps for downloads. While the car was in motion, operators successfully switched the radio (which had 64 antennas) between a series of base stations (sporting 96 antennas each). Equipment on both ends incorporated beamforming and beam tracking.
China Mobile Prepares ‘Pre-5G’ for Hong Kong
10 May 2018
One of Hong Kong’s largest property owners signed a deal with China Mobile to install “pre-5G infrastructure” in residential and commercial buildings. The upgrades will run on China Mobile’s narrowband Internet of Things network designed to support low-power sensors (but not smartphones). These sensors will monitor properties for water leaks, allow residents to remotely lock or unlock their front doors, and charge retail customers for parking by reading their license plates. These features will presumably transfer over to China Mobile’s 5G network at some point, and the company plans later this year to begin testing commercial 5G equipment at frequencies designated by China’s telecom authorities.
AT&T Plans 5G Demo for U.S. Open
15 May 2018
In yet another 5G demo tied to a sporting event, AT&T says Fox Sports will stream 4K video of the upcoming U.S. Open golf tournament over a 5G connection enabled by millimeter waves. If all goes well, that footage could make it into Fox’s national broadcast via DirecTV. AT&T will capture footage from two high-definition cameras stationed at a particularly difficult hole, and hope to give fans “real-time virtual reality views” of the course. The setup will rely on radios and base station equipment built by Ericsson and additional gear by Intel. Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T’s technology and operations, said in a press release that “live sports will be transformed by 5G.”
NTT Docomo Pushes Past 5G with 100 Gbps
15 May 2018
Today NTT Docomo gave us a glimpse of the future of wireless beyond 5G in a test that transmitted data at speeds of 100 Gbps with technology that could make its commercial debut sometime in the 2030s. The company combined traditional multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) systems with a signal modulation technique known as orbital angular momentum multiplexing. With it, researchers alter the physical rotation of specific electromagnetic waves encoded with data, and then fold waves with different rotations on top of one another in order to transmit more data at once. This lab experiment was a very early first step toward the company’s goal of “terabit-class wireless transmission.”
Sprint Adds 3 Cities to 5G Rollout Plan
15 May 2018
Sprint added three new U.S. cities to the list of places it plans to deliver 5G service in the first six months of 2019, bringing the total number of cities on the list to nine. The new additions—New York City, Phoenix, and Kansas City—join the previously-announced sites of Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Sprint’s timeline is slower than AT&T and Verizon, which plan to introduce commercial 5G service for wireless broadband Internet this year. But Sprint’s 2019 rollout will support mobile 5G for smartphones (which is what most customers care about, anyway). Sprint will use frequencies around 2.5 GHz, much lower than those which other carriers have targeted.
Vodafone Tests Massive MIMO for “4.9G” in Sydney
21 May 2018
Vodafone began its first trial of massive MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technology within its existing network by installing a single base station in a suburb of Sydney. But the company wasn’t so bold as to call it a 5G site—instead, they’re using “4.9G” to describe it. The company plans to expand the massive MIMO trial to four more cities in the coming months, and roll out live 4.9G service later this year. At its first site, the base station transmitted at 1.8 GHz and incorporated frequency division duplex (FDD), a technique that involves simultaneously sending and receiving signals on different frequencies. This helps carriers transmit more data at once with minimal interference.
Sprint Joins Open Source Networking Project
30 May 2018
Sprint became the newest member of an industry group committed to promoting open source software for telecom networks, which have traditionally been built on proprietary technology. The group, called the LF Networking Fund, launched earlier this year with six projects, including one focused on network function virtualization and another for a network management platform that should make it easier for carriers to spin up new services. The group and its supporters within the industry have spoken about the open source effort as a crucial step along the path to 5G. Other members include AT&T, China Mobile, China Telecom, and SK Telecom.
Intel to Sell 5G-Connected PCs in 2019
5 June 2018
At Computex 2018, Intel and Sprint announced that Sprint would begin selling 5G-connected PCs built with Intel chips starting in 2019. Obviously, most people don’t rely on cellular service to deliver data to their PCs today, but the companies are hoping this will change as more bandwidth becomes available through 5G. Gregory Bryant from Intel and Ryan Sullivan of Sprint made the announcement during a keynote. Bryant said Intel was determined to be “the leader in 5G-connected PCs going forward” and that the company’s engineers are working to incorporate antennas into the kickstands of new 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combos. Sullivan returned to a familiar talking point: Sprint’s goal “to build the first truly mobile nationwide 5G network” in the United States with its 2.5 GHz spectrum.
T-Mobile Expands 600 MHz Coverage
6 June 2018
T-Mobile has extended its 600 MHz LTE coverage to 120 new cities and towns across the United States, and plans to add coverage for Puerto Rico by the year’s end. The carrier has described the low-frequency 600 MHz band as vital to its 5G plans. Although iPhones do not support service at 600 MHz, T-Mobile sells six varieties of smartphones that do. The company says its 600 MHz LTE service travels twice as far as signals transmitted by standard LTE, and that it will begin carrier aggregation this month to let customers receive data across multiple low- and mid-range frequency bands at the same time, boosting download speeds.
Verizon Tests 5G Outdoors with VR and 4K Video
12 June 2018
Verizon said it completed a trial with Nokia based on the existing 3GPP specification for 5G New Radio. In the test, engineers streamed 4K video and “multiple” virtual reality experiences at the same time, with latencies as low as 1.5 milliseconds. The test was held outdoors at Verizon’s campus in Basking Ridge, New Jersey—making it one step closer to reality than previous lab trials. The companies also experimented with four-carrier aggregation, which is a way to boost bandwidth by streaming across frequencies owned by multiple companies, and transmitted at speeds up to 1.8 Gbps.
Nokia Blends 4G and 5G in China
12 June 2018
In a trial with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Nokia showed off its ability to combine mid-band 4G LTE with sub-6GHz 5G service. This capability is intended to help Chinese carriers piggyback off their existing 4G networks while building out 5G service. The specific frequency bands that Nokia tested were 2.1 GHz for LTE and 3.5 GHz for 5G. The 3.5 GHz frequency in particular is ideal for “wide-area coverage and massive IoT connectivity,” according to Nokia’s press release.
Samsung Aids Drone-Based Real Time 4K Video Test
14 June 2018
KDDI Corporation successfully completed Japan’s first test using a drone to film and stream real time 4K video. The test, according to Samsung, who supplied the 5G end-to-end equipment, was to prove the viability of drone-based 5G services, including agricultural monitoring and disaster relief. The test featured a Prodrone drone equipped with a 4K video camera and a 5G-enabled tablet to stream the video to a laptop in real time using the 28 GHz frequency.
Vodafone Announces Seven 5G Trial Cities in UK
20 June 2018
Vodafone announced that seven cities in the United Kingdom would be the company’s 5G trial cities in the country. More than 40 sites across the seven cities—Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London (of course), and Manchester—are being prepped for 5G service. The trials are part of Vodafone’s larger Gigabit UK effort, which the company says will feature speeds up to 400 gigabits per second. The speeds are courtesy of new ‘photonic’ technology, which the company explained in the press release in the vaguest way possible.
Ericsson Demonstrates Automotive 5G In Africa
21 June 2018
Ericsson partnered with teleco MTN to demonstrate 5G for automotive use cases in South Africa. The tests included real-time streaming of 4K video to an audience from the point of view of the driver and, more interestingly, blacking out the windows and leaving the driver to rely on a VR headset to safely navigate the course. These are the first automotive 5G tests for the continent of Africa, which is still largely dependent on 2G and 3G networks, though Ericsson conducted similar 5G tests with Verizon last year in the US.
Remote Driving At Mobile World Congress Shanghai
27 June 2018
Huawei, along with China Mobile and Chinese automaker SAIC, exhibited 5G-powered remote-control driving at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. The demonstration featured a human driver within the exhibition hall remotely driving vehicles with the aid of real-time video updates. According to Huawei, 5G era LTE made the remote driving possible by keeping the end-to-end latency (or roundtrip delay) of the communications to below 20 milliseconds. This isn’t a first for remote driving, however: during CES 2018, a Phantom Auto engineer drove a vehicle in Los Vegas from 500 miles away, though that demonstration used 4G networks.
China Mobile Demonstrates Hologram Video Calling
27 June 2018
China Mobile, assisted by Huawei, used 5G for a hologram video call at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. The call was done over a standalone 5G New Radio system, using the standards recently laid out by 3GPP. As the name suggests, two people could converse with full-bodied, real-time projected representations of one another, a la Star Wars. Huawei explains in a press release that holographic video calling requires the network to transfer and process extremely large volumes of data without too much delay, making it a perfect demonstration for 5G networks.
Huawei Helps Verify 5G For Augmented Reality
29 June 2018
Huawei, in a joint effort with China Mobile and Internet-related investment conglomerate Tencent, verified stable and reliable network slicing designed for enhanced mobile broadband services, such as augmented reality applications. According to Huawei, this verification was Phase 1 of a 5G slicing verification project, and it focused on how the network slicing affected data rates on both ends of the communication. Phase 2 will involve larger-scale slicing tests, and field tests, planned for the second half of 2018.
Qualcomm and ConVeX Consortium Focus On C-V2X
4 July 2018
The Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow (The acronym for which is somehow ConVeX), a European vehicle-to-everything consortium, hosted live demonstrations of vehicle-to-everything communication. The demonstrations used consortium member Qualcomm’s 9150 C-V2X chipsets, as well as Audi cars and Ducati motorcycles. Proving that autonomous vehicles continue to be an important developing use case for 5G, the demonstrations included several scenarios where C-V2X vehicles avoided hitting motorcycles with the right-of-way, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.
Intel and Ericsson Complete 5G NR Data Call
6 July 2018
Intel and Ericsson, along with 18 service providers from around the world—Telefonica, NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, and T-Mobile, to name a few—completed a call over a 5G New Radio network. The network was not standalone, meaning it was supported by existing 4G LTE infrastructure. That said, the call was transmitted on a 3.5 GHz band, one of the two primary bands that will be used for 5G in most parts of the world as deployment continues. The call used commercially available equipment, including Ericsson’s 5G NR radio 6488 baseband and Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform.
AT&T’s 5G Network Will Power Wearable Computers
11 July 2018
AT&T announced an exclusive partnership with Magic Leap, a company developing wearable and spatial computing devices, including headsets and remotes. According to AT&T, the partnership and investment in Magic Leap was spurred by a desire to utilize its developing 5G network for innovative new forms of human-computer interactivity. Considering 5G has been touted as the generation of augmented reality, virtual reality, and real-time high-definition video streaming, it’s not a surprise that companies would also explore novel computing systems that could benefit from 5G’s high data rates and low latencies.
Ericsson Completes Licensed 5G Spectrum Call
16 July 2018
Ericsson, alongside Intel and Telstra—Australia’s biggest mobile service provider—conducted the world’s first 5G call using commercially licensed spectrum. The call used the personal SIM card of Mike Wright, Telstra’s Group Managing Director of Networks, and used Telstra’s network to transmit using the 3.5 GHz frequency band. The successful call comes soon after Ericsson and Intel conducted an end-to-end call using the 3.5 GHz band in a lab setting last week. This call, like that previous call, used a non-standalone 5G NR network and utilized Ericsson’s 5G NR radio 6488 baseband and Intel’s 5G Mobile Trial Platform.
Samsung Announces Chip For 5G And AI Mobile Uses
17 July 2018
Samsung unveiled its 8Gb LPDDR5 DRAM, intending the new chip to be used for 5G-enabled and AI-powered mobile use cases. In a nutshell, the LPDDR5 DRAM will provide the mobile memory required for the data-intensive services provided by 5G and AI. Samsung says two versions will be available: A 6,400Mb/s data rate at a 1.1 operating voltage, and 5,500 Mb/s at 1.05 V. It’s a mouthful of an acronym, but in case you were wondering, LPDDR5 DRAM is a (very) shorthand way of referring to the fifth iteration of Low Power Double Data Rate Dynamic Random Access Memory.
AT&T Announces Further 5G Rollouts In US
20 July 2018
AT&T continues to slowly trickle out the names of the dozen US cities that will receive mobile 5G networks by the end of the year. After previously announcing Atlanta, Dallas, and Waco, the company has now announced that Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City will also receive networks. In a press release, AT&T says they have chosen to avoid the biggest cities, like New York City, in favor of more medium-sized cities that might benefit more from access to the next generation’s high-speed data rates. Now we’re just waiting to hear which cities will be the remaining six to receive 5G.
Qualcomm Unveils mmWave and RF Modules for Phones
23 July 2018
Qualcomm revealed two families of modules to facilitate 5G New Radio feasibility in smartphones. The first is the QTM052 mmWave antenna family and the other is the QPM56xx sub-6 GHz RF family. Both deliver important functionality enabling 5G connections to smartphones. 5G is highly dependant on millimeter waves, so any antenna that can compactly fit inside a smartphone and receive signals on those wavelengths is vital. Likewise, the sub-6 GHz radio frequency modules will provide fuller coverage for 5G devices, should the higher-frequency millimeter waves not be available.
Verizon Announces 5G Deployment In Houston
24 July 2018
Not to be outdone by AT&T, which recently announced three more cities that will receive 5G by the end of the year, Verizon announced… one. Houston joins Los Angeles and Sacramento as cities targeted for 5G rollouts by Verizon, which has also announced that it will ultimately deploy four commercial 5G networks by the end of the year. In fairness to Verizon, the company has also planned nearly a dozen trial networks and customer pilot markets in other US cities during the year.
Intel Starts Work On MEMS Timing For 5G Modems
24 July 2018
Intel is partnering with SiTime, a producer of silicon MEMS oscillators, to produce MEMS timing solutions for 5G modems. MEMS, short for microelectromechanical systems, are tiny timing devices that produce stable frequencies to use for time references. 5G networks, with their dependency on fast signals and low latency, will require highly precise time-keeping in modems and other devices, which is precisely why Intel and SiTime will be developing robust and resilient MEMS solutions for the next generation of devices.
NTT Docomo Demonstrates “On-Glass” 5G Antennas
25 July 2018
If the future of autonomous and connected cars promised by 5G is going to happen, cars will need antennas tuned to the high frequency, short wavelength signals of the next generation. That’s why NTT Docomo has developed an 8 Gb/s 28 GHz antenna that can be placed directly on a vehicle’s windshield without impairing driver vision. Fast moving vehicles and short signal propagations typically makes it hard to connect cars to 5G networks. NTT Docomo solved the problem through beamforming and having multiple antennas in different locations transmitting different data to the vehicle.
Vodafone Acquires 90 MHz Of Spectrum In Spain
25 July 2018
It turns out we’re not quite done auctioning off spectrum for the next generation of wireless. Vodafone Spain announced that it has acquired 90 MHz of continuous spectrum in the 3.7 GHz band, which it plans to use for development of its 5G services. Vodafone Spain will pay off the cost of the spectrum across 20 annual installments, which is fortunate, because the spectrum has a 20-year term as well. The company paid 198.1 million Euros for the band.
T-Mobile Spends $3.5 Billion on 5G Tech
30 July 2018
T-Mobile has committed to a massive, multi-year investment in 5G networks after committing to a multi-year, $3.5 billion deal with Nokia. In an announcement, the companies revealed that the Finnish company will provide a complete suite of services to the carrier, including complete end-to-end 5G technology. T-Mobile’s plan for 5G encompasses spectrum from 600 MHz to 28 GHz, all relying on 3GPP compliant 5G New Radio equipment. The equipment and services to be provided by Nokia includes AirScale radio platforms, AirFrame hardware, CloudBand software, and 5G Acceleration Services.
Verizon and Motorola Unveil 5G-Upgradable Phone
02 August 2018
To the extent that a winner can be crowned in the race to 5G, this might be one of the best ways to determine it. Verizon announced that it would provide service for Motorola’s 5G-capable moto mod alongside the moto z3 smartphone. To be fair, the moto mod isn’t technically a 5G-enabled phone, but instead takes advantage of Motorola’s robust add-ons platform. By itself, the moto z3 is not 5G-capable—it requires the moto mod to take advantage of Verizon’s 5G networks. This first announcement of a 5G-capable phone just may be worth a gold star for this tracker’s record.
Ericsson and Audi Explore 5G Car Production
02 August 2018
Back in June, a spate of 5G-related car news made it clear that the next generation of wireless would bring a lot of new features to the automotive industry. Now, Ericsson and Audi have announced that they will partner on efforts to bring 5G to the manufacturing side as well. The companies will run field tests at Audi’s Ingolstadt, Germany plant as the first step toward developing fully-networked factories, which could eventually feature entire assembly lines and the robots accompanying them operating autonomously and wirelessly to efficiently construct vehicles.
China Mobile Tests End-To-End 5G in Hong Kong
13 August 2018
China Mobile completed the first end-to-end 5G tests in Hong Kong in anticipation of rolling out a commercial network. The company announced in a press release that it achieved speeds of 14 Gbps over the network. Although 5G-enabled phones won’t be widely available in Hong Kong until late 2019, by China Mobile’s own estimate, the company is planning to have a fully-available 5G network well before then. Until phones hit the market, the network will primarily be used for Wi-Fi coverage.
Sprint and LG Team Up for 5G Smartphone
14 August 2018
Coming hot on the heels of Motorola’s announcement to develop 5G mods for its phones, Sprint and LG have announced they will work together to develop the first 5G phone available in the US. In an announcement, Sprint says the phone will be available in the first half of 2019. Of course, 5G networks are still being deployed throughout the US, so there will be plenty of places LG customers won’t be able to take advantage of 5G when the phone first becomes available. Sprint has currently announced 5G mobile networks in 10 US cities, with plans to deploy further city-wide networks.
Verizon Reveals Its Fourth and Final 5G City
14 August 2018
Verizon has been revealing the four US cities that would receive 5G networks before the end of 2018 in a slow trickle. The last to finally be revealed is Indianapolis, and it joins Houston, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. In a separate announcement, Verizon says customers in the four cities will include Apple TV 4K in every residential broadband package. Other providers, notably Sprint, have announced 5G deployments in more cities than Verizon, but Verizon has promised that its 5G networks will be the first that are commercially available.
Samsung Develops Industry’s “First” 5G Modem
15 August 2018
Samsung has revealed its Exynos Modem 5100, which the companys says is the industry’s first 5G modem that is fully compliant with 3GPP standards. The qualification is necessary, as Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem has been available for a while, though it was developed before 3GPP finalized its standards. The announcement comes only a week after Samsung unveiled its latest phone, the Galaxy Note 9, which turned out will not have any 5G capabilities. The Exynos Modem 5100 is compatible with both sub-6 GHz and millimeter waves, with 2 Gbps and 6 Gbps, respectively.
Verizon Completes 5G Call in Moving Vehicle
17 August 2018
In yet another of the many distinct and specific 5G firsts, Verizon and Nokia completed the first seamless hand-off of a 5G NR call in a moving vehicle. That’s good news for anyone who doesn’t want their call dropped every time they drive into range of a new base station, especially considering how many there will be. Verizon announced that the data transmission used two 5G NR radios broadcasting on the 28 GHz frequency, and a single vehicle traveling between them, without any loss of transmission to the car.
Qualcomm Reveals Its 5G Mobile Platform
22 August 2018
Qualcomm announced a 7nm system-on-chip (SoC) to be paired with its Snapdragon X50 5G modem, which, while not a 5G phone in itself, will enable device manufacturers to begin developing their own 5G phones. Expect a rash of 5G-enabled phone announcements down the line as manufacturers start buying Qualcomm’s SoC. They won’t be first to the announcement, however, give that just last week, Sprint and LG revealed they would be joining forces to develop a 5G-capable phone for release in US markets in 2019.
Deutsche Telekom Demonstrates 5G At IFA
31 August 2018
At the Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA, or the “Berlin Radio Show”), Deutsche Telekom provided live 5G demonstrations to passersby visiting its booth. Among other experiences, visitors could see the sights from a VR version of the “Weltballon,” a tethered hot air balloon that gives tourists unimpeded views of Berlin. The company says the demonstrations emphasized the mobile, interactive future that 5G will provide, including mixed reality applications, mobile Internet surfing at unprecedented speeds, and online multiplayer gaming.
Huawei Publishes White Paper On Indoor 5G
4 September 2018
Huawei, alongside operator Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) and standards organization Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), issued a white paper focusing on the indoor network deployment of 5G. While much of the 5G rollout conversation has been on city-wide deployments, the paper points out that more that 80% of 4G network usage occurs indoors. The white paper argues that for any operator to remain competitive, they must not undervalue the indoor needs of mobile users, and that providing high-capacity, reliable indoor networks is a crucial component of any successful 5G deployment.
Ericsson Says Radio System Will Speed 5G Rollout
5 September 2018
Ericsson has launched its RAN Compute portfolio, an expansion of its end-to-end 5G Platform. The portfolio, according to a press release by the company, emphasizes faster, more agile 5G rollouts for service providers by allowing providers to flexibly fine-tune RAN functions like beamforming and radio control. The RAN Compute portfolio also includes tools to help operators make the switch from 4G to 5G once they’re ready to turn on their new networks with minimal spectrum disruptions. Much of the flexibility is enabled by including additional basebands and increasing the capacity of the basebands already provided by Ericsson’s 5G Platform.
SK Telecom Selects Their Small Cell Manufacturers
6 September 2018
SK Telecom will use South Korean-based telecommunications equipment developer Contela to create the telecom’s 5G small cells. The two companies will also work alongside the government-funded Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) to bring the needed technology to fruition. Contela announced that the low-powered small cells would support 3.5 GHZ and 28 GHz frequencies, based on set international standards. If all goes well, the small cells will aid SK Telecom and Korea Telecom’s joint March 2019 nationwide 5G rollout.
Samsung Will Supply Tech To AT&T For 5G, CBRS
10 September 2018
AT&T has selected Samsung to provide the equipment for two nationwide wireless deployment projects in the U.S. In a release by Samsung, the company says AT&T will not only use its technology for its imminent 5G rollouts, but for upcoming CBRS deployments as well. CBRS—short for Citizens Broadband Radio Service—is a method of sharing valuable spectrum to avoid a spectrum shortage. Combined, CBRS and 5G networks will vastly improve the spectrum available to telecoms like AT&T.
Verizon Says “5G Is Here” With 5G Broadband
10 September 2018
Verizon has announced that customers will have access to Verizon 5G Home in four U.S. cities on October 1st. The cities—Indianapolis, Houston, Los Angeles, and Sacramento—are receiving city-wide 5G networks from the service provider, which will provide the backbone for Verizon 5G Home. The service will offer average speeds of 300 Mbps, with peaks of 1 Gbps. Despite Verizon’s bold “5G is here” claim, the company developed its own proprietary standards for the launch, and so it remains to be seen which provider will offer the first mobile 5G service as defined by conventional standards.
AT&T Completes Mobile, Stand-Alone 5G Call
10 September 2018
Amidst AT&T’s announcements of which U.S. cities will be among its first wave of 5G network rollouts, the company has also claimed the distinction of the world’s first mobile, stand-alone, standards-based 5G call using millimeter waves. There’s certainly a lot of qualifiers on the claim. That said, the achievement does mark a growing shift from testing in the lab and using specialized equipment, to conducting 5G connections with commercial systems. The test was conducted in Waco, Texas, one of AT&T’s rollout cities.
Intel Explores 5G’s Potential Before MWC Americas
11 September 2018
Just before Mobile World Congress Americas, Sandra Rivera, a senior vice president at Intel took to the stage with executives from Ericsson and Nokia to discuss 5G’s potential to disrupt and reshape industries. She discussed the usual applications of high-definition video and VR, but also discussed the potential for edge computing. And there will be plenty of applications: Rivera estimates that the 5G industry will be worth US $2.5 trillion by 2035 and produce US $10 trillion of revenue in the greater economy in that year alone.
Huawei Passes China’s 5G Standalone Test
14 September 2018
Huawei announced that it is the first vendor to pass China’s 5G standalone test. According to the company, the successful test marks the completion of the third phase of 5G R&D development in the country. Huawei says the test is compliant with the 3GPP standalone specifications released in June and it used Huawei’s Core commercial solution, developed in the three months following 3GPP’s specifications release. In addition to testing 5G standalone capabilities, the test also verified network slicing applications and 5G-to-4G interoperability.
Vodafone Makes Holographic Call With 5G
20 September 2018
Vodafone made it possible for an 11-year-old fan of the Manchester City Women’s Football team to meet the team’s captain, Steph Houghton. Almost. Kind of. The meeting was Vodafone’s demonstration of the U.K.’s first live, 5G-enabled holographic call. The demonstration was part of a series of announcements made by Vodafone at the company’s headquarters in Newbury, according to a press release from the company. One big announcement was that the company will have 1000 5G sites in the U.K. by 2020. That certainly seems like a reason to celebrate with an awkwardly coordinated high-five between human and hologram.
Intel Introduces 100G Silicon Photonic Transceiver
23 September 2018
Most of the development and deployment of 5G has been centered around millimeter waves, and how to harness that band of spectrum for communications. In an announcement, however, Intel has started exploring another branch of communications by unveiling a 100 gigabit silicon photonic transceiver for 5G wireless fronthaul applications. Intel says the transceivers can withstand harsh outdoor conditions, be directly installed on cell towers and communicate with baseband units up to 10km away. The company has also announced that 400 gigabit transceivers will be available in the second half of 2019, after successful demonstrations earlier this year.
ZTE Unveils 5G-Oriented Enhanced OTN Product
25 September 2018
ZTE announced its wonderfully named Enhanced Optical Transport Network (E-OTN) product, the ZXMP M721 CX63A, for constructing 5G networks. In a press release, ZTE says their E-OTN product can support fronthaul, midhaul, and backhaul. Furthermore, the company says the product is a uniform platform, which will simplify installation and save operators money. ZTE included a lot of technical specifics in their release, but some worth mentioning are that the E-OTN device supports hard and soft network slicing, provides optical and electrical hybrid cross-connecting, and can switch services from L0 to L3.
Samsung and AT&T Create 5G “Innovation Zone”
26 September 2018
5G will be an enormous boon for smart manufacturing by providing sensors and smart devices that can be deployed in large quantities on factory floors. That’s why Samsung and AT&T have partnered to construct a 5G “Innovation Zone” that will focus on manufacturing applications. According to a press release by Samsung, will be located in Austin, Texas. The “Innovation Zone” will combine Samsung’s network equipment with AT&T’s wireless technology. Among other applications, the zone will explore 4K video analytics for security and detection, monitoring with industrial IoT sensors, and location services to improve safety.
Huawei Brings Nationwide 5G To Monaco
30 September 2018
Monaco unveiled its “nationwide” 5G mobile network alongside the Monaco Yacht Show, three weeks after announcing a partnership with Huawei. While this is the first instance of a country establishing nationwide mobile 5G coverage, it should probably come with a caveat, given that Monaco is less than 500 acres in size. In a press release, Huawei says the network was demonstrated by using it to fly a drone over Monaco’s yachting market while streaming 360-degree footage to a VR headset. Additional antennas will be installed in the coming months, and be ready to support 5G smartphones by early 2019.
Verizon Turns On Its Fixed 5G Network
1 October 2018
Verizon claims it has turned on the world’s first commercial 5G network after launching its 5G Home in parts of Sacramento, Houston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles. That said, the network that Verizon has launched is a fixed wireless network, and will not support mobile 5G coverage. According to the company, the fixed network is built on Verizon’s own open 5G TF network standard, and will provide broadband internet and Wi-Fi to home users.
Vodafone Acquires 5G Spectrum In Italy
2 October 2018
Italy raised 6.5 billion Euros by auctioning off valuable 5G spectrum, with Vodafone Italy spending 2.4 billion Euros for its spectrum portions. Vodafone Italy purchased 80 MHz of spectrum in the 3700 MHz band and 200 MHz in the 26 GHz band. In addition, the company purchased two 10 MHz frequency division duplexing (FDD) bands in the 700 MHz band. In a press release, Vodafone says it can operate on its 3700 MHz and 26 GHz frequencies beginning in 2019 with a 19 year license. Its FDD frequencies will be available in July 2022, with a license of 15.5 years.
Huawei Will Build 5G-Ready Network in Hong Kong
4 October 2018
Huawei will partner with China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK), a subsidiary of China Mobile, to build a comprehensive network in Hong Kong. Huawei, in an announcement, says the network will be able to cover transport of 5G signals, private lines for businesses, and home broadband. The project is a new level of cooperation for the two companies, and marks CMHK’s first steps, traditionally a mobile provider, into network construction. According to Huawei, the network will leverage a host of new technologies, including Ethernet Virtual Private Network, segment routing, and Huawei’s Network Cloud Engine, among others.
AT&T Announces 99 New “5G Evolution” Markets
2 October 2018
AT&T has so far made ambitious announcements regarding its plans for 5G deployment. Their latest plan is to develop 99 new “5G Evolution” markets, which is the company’s buzzword for upgrading cell towers with advanced LTE tech. AT&T’s 99 new 5G Evolution markets bring their total to 239, and each offers peak theoretical speeds of 400 megabits per second. Looking ahead, the company plans to bring 5G Evolution (Which, again, is not quite 5G) to more than 400 markets by the end of 2018, with nationwide coverage in the U.S. a year after that.
Sprint and Nokia Make Massive MIMO Connection
8 October 2018
One of the key enabling technologies for 5G is massive MIMO. Sprint and Nokia have now demonstrated its usefulness by making a 5G New Radio connection over massive MIMO, a first in the United States. Sprint displayed the demonstration at its booth at Mobile World Congress Americas. The demonstration used 2.5 GHz spectrum licensed by Sprint and Nokia’s tech, including the AirScale Base Station and Massive MIMO Active Antenna. Sprint plans to use the tech to deploy mobile 5G in the early half of 2019.
T-Mobile Promises Near-Total 5G for Germany
11 October 2018
T-Mobile has lofty plans for 5G coverage in Germany. By 2025, the company announced, 99 percent of the German population, and 90 percent of the country, will be covered by 5G networks. The company made the promise as part of an 8-point promise to remove the digital divide in Germany. T-Mobile is also investing in fiber-optics and mobile infrastructure, pledging to cover 99 percent of the population with 50 megabits per second by 2020, and 100 megabits per second by 2022.
Samsung Acquires AI Company For 5G Management
17 October 2018
Samsung acquired Zhilabs, a company that builds AI-based network and service analytics. Samsung says the acquisition will allow the company to better leverage AI in the automation and optimization of its 5G networks. In an announcement, Samsung executives explained that the exponential data growth expected from deploying more 5G networks can only be adequately handled by turning over some of the network management to AI. It won’t just impact network management, however. Samsung also hopes to use AI to track and improve user service quality.
Verizon Announces Fifth 5G Network After Hurricane
24 October 2018
Verizon’s original plan for 2018 was to launch 5G networks in four cities: Indianapolis, Houston, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Following Hurricane Michael’s landfall across Florida, however, the company has announced Panama City as a fifth 5G city. According to a press release, Verizon is investing $25 million in replacing and upgrading the infrastructure in and around Panama City, converting it into a 5G network in the process.
Nokia’s India Factory Producing 5G Equipment
25 October 2018
Nokia announced that its Chennai, India factory has begun producing 5G base stations. That means the factory will begin producing equipment for four generations of wireless simultaneously: the facility already ships 4 million 2G, 3G and 4G base stations annually. The base stations produced at the Chennai factory, located in the south of India, are compliant with 5G New Radio standards, and uses AR/VR and IoT devices to ensure efficient production of the more than 12 billion components that go into the millions of base stations it produces.
AT&T Completes Mobile 5G Browsing Session
17 October 2018
It’s one thing to demonstrate a call over a mobile 5G network, as several companies have accomplished in recent months. But 5G networks won’t be limited to calls, and so AT&T has announced that they have successfully completed a browsing session on a mobile 5G network. According to AT&T, the test was conducted in Waco, Texas on a commercially available Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. AT&T plans to use the same Nighthawk device to deliver 5G networks in 12 U.S. cities by the end of the year.
Deutsche Telekom Conducts Field Tests in Hamburg
6 November 2018
There are plenty of industrial use cases emerging for 5G networks, and Deutsche Telekom has been demonstrating them in field tests in Hamburg’s port. In cooperation with the Hamburg Port Authority and Nokia, Deutsche Telekom is testing three promising industrial applications for 5G networks. The first is to install sensors on ships to transmit their movements in real time. The second is to link traffic lights to a control center to better control traffic through the port. Lastly, high data rates are making augmented reality applications available to better visualize the changing port landscape.
Huawei and China Mobile Demonstrate 8K VR
7 November 2018
Chinese companies Huawei and China Mobile worked together to complete the world’s first demonstration of a live 8K virtual reality broadcast over a 5G network. The broadcast requires a 5G network due to the high data rates 8K video demands (100-160 Mbps). In comparison, a 4K VR broadcast only requires 50-80 Mbps. The demonstration used 5G band sites and a core network developed by Huawei.
Ericsson And Others Test 5G Smartphone
8 November 2018
Though 5G networks are here, we’re still waiting on 5G smartphones, as most companies haven’t announced any yet (Sprint and LG are a notable exception). We may see a lot more announcements, however, following a test of 5G smartphone prototype by Ericsson, Swisscom, Qualcomm, and Wistron NeWeb in Switzerland. The prototype phone connected to a live, non-laboratory 5G network provided by Swisscom, and included Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem and RF subsystem. According to Ericsson, the network was comprised of 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio components supplied by the company.
Huawei Finishes Large-Scale Deployment in Wuzhen
12 November 2018
Huawei, in cooperation with service provider Zhejiang Mobile, completed 5G deployment in the Chinese city of Wuzhen. According to Huawei, the network, focused in the neighborhood of Dongzha, offers data rates up to 2.7 Gbps, enabling 8K video live broadcasts and VR streaming, as well as in-ambulance telemedicine. The network was built using the company’s end-to-end 5G products to provide coverage, including C-band 64T64R massive MIMO AAUs and terminals. Individual sites were installed on rooftops, poles, and other locations to provide continuous coverage.
Ericsson and Verizon Launch 5G Robotics Challenge
13 November 2018
While the average consumer’s biggest interaction with 5G will be through their mobile devices, the next generation of wireless also has applications far beyond that. Ericsson and Verizon are challenging teams to compete in developing robotics use cases that take advantage of 5G’s low latency and high speed. In an announcement by Ericsson, the company explains that teams will compete in three areas: industrial automation, collaborative robotics, and warehouse automation. Teams will have access to Verizon’s 5G labs near Boston and assistance from the local robotics community to realize their projects.
Samsung and Verizon Send Data on 5G Smartphone
14 November 2018
Verizon completed the world’s first data transmission on a 5G-enabled smartphone over a commercial 5G network supplied by Samsung’s technology. The phone was a Moto z3 from Motorola, with a 5G Moto Mod to make the phone capable of utilizing a 5G network. According to Samsung, the phone used for the test was exactly the same as phones that will be commercially available to consumers. Verizon says the tests included browsing the Internet and making a video call, and was conducted using Verizon’s 28 GHz spectrum.
ZTE Completes 5G Calls and Connections
14 November 2018
ZTE completed a series of tests over a 5G network, successfully placing a call, browsing the Internet, and sending messages via WeChat. In an announcement, ZTE says the tests will pave the way for the company to introduce a 5G smartphone before the end of the year. The company currently plans to launch their smartphone in the first half of 2019, claiming that it will support both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave frequencies. Service tests are apparently ongoing, with plenty more scheduled in December.
ZTE Builds Cloud Infrastructure For 5G Launches
16 November 2018
ZTE has revealed a cloud infrastructure that the company says will streamline large-scale 5G network launches. The infrastructure, which ZTE is calling the 5G-Ready 4MIX On Demand Distributed Cloud Infrastructure, is based on a 3-layer distributed deployment architecture. ZTE says the infrastructure combines an Access Cloud, Edge Cloud, and Center Cloud to manage full-scale 5G deployments. The cloud-based system also includes FPGA-based SmartNIC and a unified capability enabler.
Huawei Debuts Indoor 5G Solutions
19 November 2018
The higher frequency bands that will be used for 5G networks have one big limitation: Walls. Millimeter wave frequencies can’t penetrate the walls of buildings or other solid surfaces, so how 5G networks will work indoors has to be rethought. That’s Huawei’s reasoning behind their LampSite group of indoor 5G solutions. In a press release, the company says the LampSite products are designed to allow carriers to build indoor networks, which Huawei estimates will provide 70% of 5G services.
NTT Docomo Achieves 27 Gbps In Outdoor Trials
22 November 2018
In joint trials with Mitsubishi Electric, NTT Docomo successfully broadcast a 5G transmission to a mobile terminal at 27 Gbps. According to NTT Docomo, this is the first time a speed of 27 Gbps has been achieved in this sort of outdoor trial. The companies conducted the trials in Kamakura, Japan, using 28 GHz-band massive-element antenna systems and 16-beam spatial-multiplexing technology with 500 MHz bandwith. The mobile terminal was mounted on the top of a vehicle driving at distances of 10 and 100 meters from the building-mounted base station.
Telefonica-Owned O2 Builds Massive MIMO In London
23 November 2018
O2, a service provider owned by Telefonica, and Nokia launched a massive MIMO pilot in London as it lays the foundation for future 5G networks. Massive MIMO is a key technology for 5G, as it enables the high data rates promised by the next generation of wireless. O2 says the stations have been installed in some of the highest data traffic locations in the city, such as Kings Cross and Marble Arch, to observe how the infrastructure handles the data demands of the tens of millions of people who pass through the areas every year.
Ericsson Releases Mobility Report On Status Of 5G
27 November 2018
There will be 8 5G-enabled smartphones on the market by mid-2019. There will be more than 4 billion IoT devices in six years. And more than 40 percent of the world’s population will connect to 5G networks by 2024. These are just some of the estimates in Ericsson’s Mobility Report for 5G. This all adds up to 5G being the fastest adopted generation of cellular network, by the company’s estimates. Ericsson also predicts that the fastest adopters will be North America and Northeast Asia. The full report is here [PDF].
NTT Docomo Exploring 150 GHz Frequency Bands
27 November 2018
It’s never too early to think about 6G. And that’s precisely what NTT Docomo is doing, as it announced that it is partnering with industry group Rohde & Schwarz to harness frequencies up to 150 GHz for possible communications applications. It’s an ambitious goal, as NTT Docomo researchers will have to contend with the fact that transmissions at those frequencies will be blocked by walls, people, and even rain. The company seems aware of the challenge, however, and has already conducted tests to figure out just how the human body, for example, affects signals from different directions.
Sprint and HTC Announce “5G Mobile Smart Hub”
27 November 2018
Sprint and HTC have partnered to deliver a smart hub for consumers in the U.S. that uses 5G networks. This is Sprint’s second big foray into 5G devices in recent months, following their announcement in August that they would be pairing with LG to produce a 5G smartphone. The hub—not yet named—is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem. This new announcement does feel slightly premature however, as not only is the hub not yet named, but the company has also not shared its specifications or the date of its release.
Verizon and Samsung Announce 5G Phone
3 December 2018
Verizon and Samsung will team up to introduce 5G phones to U.S. markets in the first half of 2019. In an announcement by Verizon, the company said that the phone will unveil a proof of concept before the final commercial project. The proof of concept will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem, a popular choice for 5G-enabled products. It’s not the first 5G phone announcement: Sprint and LG announced their intentions to bring a 5G mobile device to market way back in August.
Nokia Completes mmWave and sub-6 GHz Tests
3 December 2018
Nokia and Qualcomm completed over-the-air (OTA) interoperability tests for two spectral bands that will be widely used in 5G networks: mmWave and sub-6 GHz. The tests were compliant with the 5G NR standards for the new generation of wireless, and used Nokia’s AirScale base stations. The test featured smartphone form-factor devices with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem and antenna modules, and also saw the devices successfully completing data calls to one another. Nokia said, in their announcement, that this test precedes commercial network deployments in the U.S., Korea, Europe, Australia, Japan and China in 2019.
Deutsche Telekom Launches 5G Network in Poland
7 December 2018
Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiary T-Mobile Polska launched Poland’s first fully functional 5G network. According to Deutsche Telekom, the roll-out will start modestly enough, with just four base stations located in the capital of Warsaw. Those base stations, however, will base entirely on the 5G NR standard for 5G wireless. After those base stations are installed, T-Mobile Polska plans to deploy the network in more areas in Warsaw, as well as other cities. Perhaps interestingly, the company plans to include Huawei’s equipment in the network, despite the recent backlash against the Chinese company.
China Mobile and Nokia Develop Open 5G Networks
7 December 2018
The China Mobile Research Institute is partnering with Nokia to develop and optimize 5G networks using open architecture. In a statement, Nokia says the goal is to simplify interoperability in networks that will depend on equipment from multiple vendors to function. Some of the open radio access network (O-RAN) needs the pairing intends to address include decentralized split multi-vendor cloud RAN architecture and smart radio intelligence control. The companies are also emphasizing the use of off-the-shelf equipment toward this goal.
Huawei Uses Network Slicing for Live Broadcast
10 December 2018
At the 12th Migu Music Awards in Shanghai, Huawei and Shangai Mobile used network slicing to deliver a live 4K UHD broadcast. The display used Huawei’s E2E network slicing techniques, which allows a carrier to virtually split one network into multiple networks to meet different applications’ needs more easily. In a statement, Huawei claims that 5G network slicing will change the current approach of “one network, best effort” in use today, with benefits for smart grids, smart ports, and even mobile games. The demonstration is the latest effort from the 5G Multimedia Innovation Alliance.
Deutsche Telekom Will Build 5G-Enabled Factory
14 December 2018
To explore 5G’s potential for large-scale industrial applications, Deutsche Telekom plans to build a research platform for 5G factories. The Center Connected Industry will be built at Rheinisch-Westfällische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen, a research university in Aachen, Germany. Deutsche Telekom says the platform will be focused on the identification and development of applications to improve large-scale industrial environments. It will provide both indoor and outdoor LTE, and later 5G, coverage via a dual slice network combining public and private LTE networks on campus.
AT&T Offers Mobile 5G Device
18 December 2018
It’s not a smartphone, but AT&T is claiming first when it comes to providing a commercially available 5G device over a commercial 5G network in the U.S. The device is Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, which AT&T says can be used by any of the 12 current mobile 5G networks the company has deployed so far. While other companies have already announced their phone plans—LG is one, and Verizon and Samsung have partnered for another—the AT&T device is the first to pair both the network and the mobile device into a functioning whole.
Ericsson Has Sky-High 5G Plans
20 December 2018
Airplane Wi-Fi has been notoriously slow and unreliable over the course of its existence, but that isn’t stopping Ericsson from getting in the game. The company announced a partnership with Panasonic Avionics to provide a 5G-ready solution for commercial aircraft. The geo-redundant network is offered as a Core Network as a Service, an alternative to requiring the airline companies to develop their own infrastructure. Unfortunately, in its announcement, Ericsson is light on details on how the 5G-quality signals are actually being delivered to aircraft in flight.
Verizon Reflects on Its 5G “Firsts” of 2018
26 December 2018
In a bit of a moment of self-back-patting, Verizon took the time to reminiscence over its 5G “firsts” in 2018. Some of the bigger milestones include the first two-way data transmission of 3GPP 5G NR in June and the first 5G data transmission on a smartphone, using a Motorola moto z3 with a 5G moto mod in November. Other milestones were the first video call on a prototype 5G device (February), the first 5G NR signal to a moving vehicle (August), and the first video call from one 5G smartphone to another over a full 5G network in the U.S. (December).
Sprint Will Offer 5G Smartphone in Summer 2019
7 January 2019
One month after Verizon announced it would partner with Samsung to launch a 5G smartphone in 2019, Sprint has announced similar plans. The Sprint/Samsung offering will be able to connect to both LTE and 5G networks, and utilize Sprint’s spectrum at 2.5 GHz. When the 2.5 GHz spectrum is not available—that is, in one of the many, many places outside Sprint’s handful of 5G trial cities—the phone will be able to connect to wider-spread 1.9 GHz, 800 MHz, and other LTE bands.
T-Mobile Completes 600 MHz 5G Call
7 January 2019
Most of the attention for 5G frequencies has been on the millimeter wave frequencies. However, T-Mobile has now demonstrated that lower frequency bands can also support 5G applications. The company, with help from Ericsson and Intel, completed a 5G data call and video call on its 600 MHz band. The 600 MHz band will be able to provide 5G coverage with a longer range and a better ability to penetrate walls than millimeter wave frequencies. T-Mobile hopes to use both bands to deliver a more robust 5G network.
ZTE Completes Third-Phase 5G Tests in China
7 January 2019
ZTE has completed its third phase of 5G core network tests in Shenzen, China. According to ZTE, the successful tests suggest that the company’s core network is fully mature and ready to be commercially deployed. The tests included successfully demonstrating interfacing with third-party instruments, as well as 4G and 5G network interoperability. ZTE says the core network is fully compliant with the latest 3GPP specifications, released in September 2018.
Sprint Places Call on Massive MIMO 5G Network
10 January 2019
The “5G Firsts” continue to get more specific, as Sprint announces that they have completed the world’s first 5G data call on a commercial network using the 2.5 GHz frequency as well as massive MIMO. According to Sprint, used Nokia’s dual-mode AirScale Massive MIMO radio and a smartphone-like device using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem. The test was conducted using Sprint’s commercial network in San Diego. Back in December, the company completed its first in-lab 5G NR transmissions. Sprint says they’re ready to roll out 5G to nine U.S. cities in the first half of 2019.
Samsung Streams 4K Video from Train Platforms
14 January 2019
Samsung, alongside the KDDI Corporation, completed a test using 5G to stream a 4K video directly from cameras on a train station platform to security monitors. The platform was in Tokyo, and the companies used 28 GHz frequency to stream the video.According to Samsung, Waseda University, the Keihin Corporation, and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International were also involved in the test. The test intended to prove the viability of wireless 5G networks for security and safety uses.
ZTE Completes Call With 5G Prototype Smartphone
18 January 2019
ZTE has joined the throng of companies actively developing a 5G-enabled smartphone. In this instance, the company has successfully used their 5G prototype in a field test to place a Wechat group call, an online video call, and web browsing. ZTE says they used China Unicom’s 5G network in Shenzhen, one of the first cities to receive a 5G network from the company. In addition to the prototype tests, China Unicom is currently fully verifying its network ahead of a commercial launch.
Vodafone and Telefonica Partner for 5G in UK
23 January 2019
To deliver 5G to the United Kingdom, Vodafone and Telefonica, through its subsidiary O2, will commit to a 5G partnership. The two companies’ goal is to lower the costs of 5G deployment and deliver it faster by splitting the burden of construction and deployment in a fifty-fifty split. According to Vodafone, the partnership will include installing higher capacity optical fiber cables. Both companies will also independently deploy separate equipment to approximately 2,500 sites beyond London.
Huawei Launches New 5G Products
24 January 2019
Huawei announced a slew of new 5G-related devices. The company, currently in hot water with the U.S. government, separately announced a 5G base station core chip and a 5G multi-mode chipset, the Balong 5000, for smartphones, home broadband devices, and vehicle-mounted devices. Huawei says the 5G base station core chip will help simplify the 5G rollouts occurring at a large scale around the globe, while on the other hand, the Balong 5000 will usher in many of the products that will make use of those networks.
Korea Telecom Broadcasts Concert With 5G
28 January 2019
Korea Telecom successfully broadcast a concert performance by South Korean boy band Wanna One over a commercial 5G network. The telecom company delivered 4K HD using wireless cameras and “sink view” tech, that processes ultra-high quality images in real time. The concert, held at the Sky Dome in Gocheok, Seoul on January 27, was also filmed using 10 wired cameras, and both types of camera feed were transmitted to broadcasting cars around the Sky Dome for distribution.
Verizon Tests Edge Computing on 5G Network
31 January 2019
Engineers at Verizon have tested edge computing on a live 5G network, which the company says cut latency in half. The test was conducted at Verizon’s new test bed in Houston, and used AI-enabled facial recognition—a computationally intensive process—to identify people. According to Verizon, the test also required Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) equipment and MEC software to facilitate the edge computing. Low-latency applications will be one of 5G’s biggest selling points.
NTT Docomo Demonstrates 360 8K 3D VR System
4 February 2019
“360-degree 8K 3D VR” is a messy jumble of letters and numbers, but it also marks another 5G world first, courtesy of NTT Docomo. The company announced that it launched the immersive viewing technology at the Sapporo Snow Festival, a seven-day winter festival in Sapporo, Japan. NTT Docomo says that the achievement builds upon an earlier 360-degree 8K VR system by adding FPGA stitching for fast processing and 3D cameras for live video streaming. The entire, seamless experience is enabled by a wireless 5G connection.
Deutsche Telekom Launches Darmstadt 5G Test Bed
6 February 2019
Following earlier test beds in Berlin and Hamburg, Deutsche Telekom has launched an antenna field test in the city of Darmstadt. The selection fits well with the Darmstadt’s government hopes to become a pioneer in smart city application testing. According to Deutsche Telekom, the test field will use 3.7-GHz spectrum, as well as a host of 5G technologies, including massive MIMO and beamforming. The company is working alongside 15 start-ups and incubator hubraum to develop 5G applications that can make use of the test field.
AT&T Achieves 1.5 Gbps In Commercial 5G Field Test
8 February 2019
AT&T continues to roll out its 5G+ network, the company’s name for 5G service delivered over millimeter wave spectrum. With a new software update, the company claims it has achieved download speeds over 1.5 gigabits per second, with an 18-millisecond latency delay. Perhaps interestingly, the company says the test was conducted over a commercial 5G network, but in their announcement, does not mention which commercial network was used to achieve the results. The company also mentions that consumers should expect lower speeds for commercial service.
SK Telecom Exhibits “5G Smart Office” In Seoul
14 February 2019
SK Telecom is envisioning an office future with no strings (or cables) attached. At the Centropolis building in Seoul, the company is demonstrating a 5G smart office in which workers can enter the building with facial recognition, use your smartphone as your desktop computer, and attend meetings via AR glasses. According to the company, the smart office initiative follows an earlier smart factory effort to demonstrate how 5G networks can improve productivity and efficiency in the manufacturing center. In both, the applications needed to connect the office or factory are enabled by the data throughput and low latency of 5G.
Intel Shows 5G’s Potential As “Inflection Point”
19 February 2019
At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Fransisco this year, Intel wants to make the case that 5G will be an inflection point in our wireless communications systems. The company argues that unlike previous generations, 5G will enable more powerful networks of connected things, and make use of cloud computing in previously impossible ways. Among the innovations demonstrated, the company says it will display smart city, self-driving car, and industrial applications. Alongside 5G demonstrations, Intel also exhibited multi-robot systems and novel memory storage solutions.
Samsung Unveils 5G Smartphone
20 February 2019
Getting out ahead of the flurry of announcements at MWC Barcelona, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 5G at Samsung Unpacked. The Galaxy S10 5G is Samsung’s first offering into the increasingly crowded 5G smartphone market that will debut later this year. Aside from the 5G smartphone, Samsung announced several other innovations for its upcoming mobile phones—perhaps more interesting that the 5G smartphone itself is the Samsung Fold, a phone with a foldable screen. Samsung’s newest phones also feature better screens, cameras, and more sophisticated fingerprint scanners.
ZTE Reveals Flagship 5G Smartphone
25 February 2019
Right on the heels of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G announcement, ZTE unveiled its own flagship 5G phone during the hubbub of MWC Barcelona. The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G comes equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem and something ZTE calls an “AI Performance Engine.” The company explains that the engine will automatically adjust CPU, GPU, RAM, and ROM based on current use. The phone also comes with a full-band antenna that covers everything from 2G to 5G, and can reduce interference in the process.
Qualcomm Launches Host Of 5G Offerings
25 February 2019
Qualcomm, provider of tech other companies use to build their devices, isn’t holding back on announcements during MWC Barcelona. During the conference, the company has announced the Snapdragon X55 5G modem, solutions for AR and VR headsets, and the Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform. The Snapdragon X55 5G modem is a 7-nanometer chip that supports 5G NR mmWave and sub-6 GHz bands with 7 Gbps download. Building on that modem, the *cx 5G Compute Platform is a 5G system for PCs. The X55 modem will also see use in AR and VR visors that will launch soon.
Huawei To Bring 5G To The World
26 February 2019
Huawei is using MWC Barcelona to announce a flurry of new partnerships to bring 5G networks to countries around the world. Huawei, a popular choice for networks in many countries (though not the U.S.), has new partnerships with providers in Monaco (Monaco Telecom), Bahrain (VIVA Bahrain), and South Africa (Rain). In the tiny city-state of Monaco, Huawei will provide equipment for smart city applications, while in Bahrain, the goal is to complete a 5G network across the country by June. In South Africa, Huawei’s end-to-end 5G solutions will be used by rain to offer 3.6 GHz 5G coverage in Johannesburg.
Ericsson Providing 5G Network Equipment Globally
27 February 2019
Ericsson has announced a host of new partnerships to build 5G networks around the globe. The company will provide equipment to providers in the United Arab Emirates (Etisalat), Russia (Tele2), Saudi Arabia (STC), and Qatar (Ooredoo). In the UAE, Etisalat will build a 5G network for mobile broadband and fixed wireless access, while in Russia, Ericsson will help Tele2 deploy more than 50,000 base stations in a five-year network modernization deal. STC is using Ericsson tech to launch a 3.6 GHz band network in Saudi Arabia, while Ooredoo is prepping 1,200 base stations to provide 10 Gbps microwave solutions.
Verizon Establishes First Responder 5G Tech Lab
6 March 2019
Verizon has announced that five companies—all specializing in developing technologies for first responders—will be the first cohort of the 5G First Responder Lab. The lab is an effort to develop and test 5G-reliant technologies that first responders can use for public safety. According to the company, the lab is located at Verizon’s 5G DC Lab in Washington DC, and will include a further two cohorts of five companies each, for a grand total of 15. Each cohort will have access to the lab for three months. The companies participating in the first cohort can be seen here.
SK Telecom Will Bring 5G to Guam and Saipan
7 March 2019
The list of places in the world receiving 5G networks just keeps growing. Two relatively small additions to the list are the islands of Saipan—the largest island of the Northern Mariana Islands—and Guam, courtesy of a partnership between SK Telecom and IT&E. IT&E, a provider headquartered in Guam, wants to bring 5G to the region as a more efficient alternative to fixed broadband services. According to a press release from SK Telecom, IT&E has already secured 1150 MHz of frequency in the 28 GHz band for this network deployment.
Sprint Issues Open Letter Over AT&T’s “Fake 5G”
8 March 2019
What’s in a name? A lot, and Sprint isn’t happy that AT&T is renaming its existing 4G LTE service as “5G E.” In an announcement, Sprint’s senior vice president of corporate communications, David Tovar, says that AT&T’s goal is to convince consumers it has a country-wide, functioning 5G network already. The company goes on to say that a Sprint-commissioned study found that 54% of consumers believe AT&T’s 5G E network is “the same as or better” than an actual 5G network, and 43% believe they can purchase a 5G smartphone from AT&T today.
SK Telecom Brings Quantum Cryptography to 5G
18 March 2019
Given the sheer number of devices that 5G networks will be able to connect, it’s important to keep them all secure. To that end, SK Telecom has announced it will incorporate quantum cryptography tech from ID Quantique to bolster the security of 5G networks in South Korea. Specifically, SK Telecom will use ID Quantique’s quantum random number generator to develop strong authentication keys. The company will also use ID Quantique’s quantum key distribution in Seoul-Daejeon to further improve security in the heavy data traffic region.
Ericsson and SK Telecom Team Up for 5G Cloud Cores
22 March 2019
Ericsson and SK Telecom will work together to develop cloud-native 5G architecture. The three-year memorandum of understanding will allow R&D from both companies to collaborate on how to use cloud-based developments to streamline 5G architecture. In a press release, Ericsson states that the efforts are geared toward further improving the performance of standalone 5G networks—that is, 5G networks that aren’t dependent on existing 4G networks in any way. Both companies also believe the developments will make software life-cycles more granular and flexible.
Samsung and KT Demonstrate 1 Gbps Over 5G Network
26 March 2019
In another proof of the high data rates promised by commercial 5G networks, Samsung and KT Corporation have demonstrated 1 gigabit per second speeds over the air on a commercial network in Seoul. The demonstration was done over the 3.5 GHz frequency, using a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. Samsung stated that the goal is to provide consistent and reliable 1 Gbps speeds for users of commercial 5G networks, an important promise as KT separately announced that its 5G wireless network would be available to customers by the end of March.
Nokia Signs 30th Commercial 5G Deal
28 March 2019
Nokia signed a contract with Austrian service provider A1 to deliver 5G technologies for the provider’s network, bringing the Finish company’s signed 5G agreements to 30. Nokia sees the growing number of agreements as ample proof that telecos around the world are invested in bring 5G to commercial fruition. Nokia claims to have the most comprehensive portfolio of 5G technology solutions, which in the company’s mind, makes it only natural that so many service providers would want to sign contracts with Nokia.
AT&T Brings 1 Gpbs Speeds to the U.S.
29 March 2019
Just days after Samsung and KT Corporation demonstrated 1 gigabit per second speeds in Seoul, AT&T did the same in the U.S. According to Igal Elbaz, senior vice president of wireless technology, the 1 Gbps speeds were achieved in multiple U.S. cities over AT&T’s live 5G networks. The demonstrations used the Netgear Nighthawk 5G mobile hotspot, and is equivalent to downloading a 2-hour HD movie in 20 seconds.
SK Telecom Activates 5G Service… For Six People
4 April 2019
The race to 5G is filled with not only pivotal tech updates and network deployments, but also with strange PR stunts. Falling into that later category is SK Telecom’s activation of 5G service for six specific people, two days before the company makes Samsung’s 5G phone available to the public. In a press release, SK Telecom announced that the first six 5G users in Korea are two members of a K-pop group, an Olympic medalist, an esports player, a para-swimmer, and SK Telecom’s longest subscriber. The six were announced at a 5G launching ceremony at SK Telecom’s headquarters.
Huawei Explores Ideas to Improve 5G’s Energy Use
9 April 2019
Huawei, alongside tower operator China Tower, completed a series of tests on how to make 5G more energy efficient. Generally, speaking, a single 5G cell site consumes more power than a 4G site. Considering how many more cell sites are required for 5G, that makes finding energy efficient solutions even more important. According to Huawei, the two companies have been exploring options since December 2018 in Hangzhou. Among the promising solutions are intelligent peak shaving, voltage boosting, and energy storage.
Nokia and ANTEL Place 5G Call in Latin America
10 April 2019
Nokia and ANTEL, the Uruguayan state-owned operator, placed the first successful 5G call over a commercial 5G network in Latin America. The call was placed in Manantiales, a resort town in the Maldonado district of Uruguay. ANTEL also used the opportunity to demonstrate virtual-reality applications. According to Nokia, ANTEL will be the first to provide a full commercial 5G network in Latin America, and currently reaches 78 percent of homes in the country. ANTEL was also the first Latin American provider to make LTE available to customers.
Deutsche Telekom Commissions New LTE Base Stations
12 April 2019
An often-overlooked aspect of 5G rollouts is that many of these networks, especially when they first go live, is that they will depend on existing LTE networks. Non-standalone 5G networks will require the coverage to help meet demand until providers gradually switch over to standalone 5G networks. The company says it will raise the number of base stations in Germany from its current number, 29,000, to 36,000 by 2021. Those additional base stations will bring coverage in the country 97.6 percent to 98 percent of the population, primarily by expanding rural coverage.
Intel Pivots From 5G Smartphones to Infrastructure
16 April 2019
Intel announced that it would be exiting the 5G smartphone modem industry in favor of focusing on developing infrastructure options for 5G networks. Intel CEO Bob Swan said it was apparent “there is no clear path to profitability and positive returns” in the 5G modem space. Intel will continue to prioritize 5G development, despite dropping its development of smartphone modems for the fifth wireless generation, some of which were already planned for launch in 2020. Swan believes the most exciting thing for 5G is the “cloudification” of the wireless network.
Nokia Supports 5G Deployments With VR Testing
23 April 2019
Nokia aims to improve the testing of the complex antennas and waveforms required for 5G through its virtual testing solutions. The company’s test facility blends physical and virtual components to simulate the performance of beam-forming massive MIMO antennas. Crucially, the testing platform validates the AI and machine-learning algorithms that manage 5G’s beamforming and spectrum efficiency optimization, and is helping Nokia authenticate the performance of their ReefShark chipset products.
Verizon Announces 5G for 20 More US Cities
25 April 2019
Verizon has already switched on its commercial 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis, and the company has now announced 20 additional US cities that will receive 5G network rollouts. All 20 cities will gain access to Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network in 2019. Verizon had previously announced a list of 30 cities that would receive partial 5G deployments in 2019, as well as those cities that would receive 5G Home broadband Internet service. By any indication, the 20 new cities will receive full 5G network coverage; you can see the complete list here.
Vodafone Expands Network Sharing in Spain
25 April 2019
Vodafone and Orange have reached an agreement to nearly triple the amount of network sharing they currently participate in. Before the expanded agreement, the two providers shared 5,600 cell sites in Spain, and the new agreement raises that number to 14,800 sites, including 5G cells. According to Vodafone, the company will also gain increased access to Orange’s fiber-to-the-home network, allowing Vodafone to deliver services to an additional million premises.
ZTE Helps Develop 5G Tele-Operated Excavator
26 April 2019
ZTE and China Unicom have teamed up to create a remote-controlled excavator for Shandong Lingong Group. The excavator communicates with its driver over a 5G network, providing a panoramic view, with an overall latency of 25 ms for the controls and 300 ms for the video feed. 300 ms is slower than the usually low latency touted for 5G networks, which companies hope to push into the 1 ms range, but ZTE says that more important for the excavator is the high bandwidth, which guarantees high-quality video and precise control orders.
AT&T’s Network Achieves 2 Gigabits Per Second
26 April 2019
One core aspect of the race to 5G is the race to ridiculously high data rates. Just last month, AT&T’s 5G network was the first to surpass 1 gigabit per second in the U.S., and now the company is claiming its commercial network has surpassed 2 Gbps. Like the company’s previous accomplishment, AT&T says the 2 Gbps milestone—akin to downloading a 2-hour HD movie in 10 seconds—was achieved using the NETGEAR Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. The successful demonstration occurred in Atlanta.
SK Telecom To Build 5G Hospital
29 April 2019
In another example of the never-ending possibilities for what can be “powered” by 5G, SK Telecom announced that it will partner with the Yonsei University Health System to create a 5G hospital. That means AI-enabled voice commands for bedridden patients and AR navigation systems through the hospital, as well as holographic visitors for patients in isolation. According to SK Telecom, the systems will be built into the Yongin Severance Hospital, currently scheduled to open in February 2020. Based on the success of this initial deployment, SK Telecom will upgrade the rest of the hospitals in the Yonsei University system.
ZTE Launches China’s First 5G Smartphone
6 May 2019
ZTE announced the first 5G smartphone from China, its own ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G. At a launch event, ZTE demonstrated the smartphone’s capabilities over the company’s live 5G network, and showed off 5G’s low latencies and high data rates. The company says the phone will soon be available in Finland and Austria. In April, the company says, the Axon 10 Pro reached a download speed of 2 Gbps over an experimental network, however, at the launch event, it only reached 100 Mbps. The phone will also come with a 4000 mAh battery.
China Mobile and Huawei Conduct 4K Live Streaming
9 May 2019
China Mobile and Huawei, along with China Central Television, have demonstrated 4K live streaming on a 5G dual-band convergent network in Beijing. The tests successfully showed that 5G networks can be used to stream high-quality video in mobile situations, rather than the more traditional fixed-point streaming previously available. According to a press release from Huawei, the 4K video had a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels and streamed at 50 frames per second. The companies broadcast the video from vehicles to China Central Television’s headquarters using the 2.6 GHz and 4.9 GHz frequencies.
Deutsche Telekom Demos 100 Gbps Wireless Backhaul
10 May 2019
Deutsche Telekom, with assistance from Ericsson, has demonstrated a wireless backhaul link capable of delivering over 100 Gbps across 1.5 kilometers. The millimeter wave backhaul has ten times more throughput than comparable commercial solutions, according to Deutsche Telekom. Those commercially available solutions operate in the same frequency band (70-80 GHz), but the test by the two companies included an 8x8 MIMO antenna, allowing for the transmission of eight independent data streams simultaneously. During the trials, the transmission rates peaked at 140 Gbps.
Ericsson Places Call on Standalone 2.6 GHz Band
6 May 2019
Ericsson announced that, along with MediaTek, it completed an end-to-end call on a 5G standalone network. Recent months have seen more and more of a shift from companies demonstrating the capabilities of standalone networks (rather than non-standalone 5G, which relies on 4G for support). Ericsson explains that the standalone network testing is a natural development from the non-standalone networks being deployed around the world, and will give operators more flexibility in the future. The call was conducted with a MediaTek chipset and an Ericsson Radio System radio AIR 6488 5G.
Huawei Helps in Launch of First 5G Shopping Mall
16 May 2019
In the trend of making everything 5G, Huawei, alongside the China Real Estate Association and China Mobile, launched the world’s first 5G mall, in Shanghai. The mall will have everything, according to Huawei: Gigabit per second data rates, smart robots, 5G+AI facial recognition, 5G+8K HD video, precise indoor navigation, and crowd flow analysis. These technologies will span the 140,000 square meter, 12 story mall catering to “middle- and upper-income households and elite groups.”
Ericsson and Telstra Launch 5G in Australia
22 May 2019
Ericsson announced that, with provider Telstra, the company has helped launch commercial 5G service in Australia. The rollout includes 10 cities at the start, with an additional 25 cities to be connected over the next 12 months. According to Ericsson, Telstra will also launch a 5G smart hub and commercial 5G smartphones. This is the sixth live 5G network Ericsson is supporting around the world, and the first in the southern hemisphere.
SK Telecom and Seoul Team Up on Autonomous Driving
23 May 2019
SK Telecom has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Seoul in order to develop autonomous driving technologies for the city. Predominantly, the agreement will be for SK Telecom to use its 5G network to transmit data from 1,700 public buses and taxis to build an HD map of the city. SK Telecom says the buses and taxis, each equipped with an “Advanced Driver Assistance System”, will collect 124 different types of traffic data to be transmitted over the network. Seoul will use the data to build the map, which will update in real time.
Vodafone Launches 5G Mobile Esports Tournament
24 May 2019
5G promises low latency connections—and where could that be more valued than the fast-paced world of esports? Vodafone plans to enter that market by partnering with esports company ESL to launch the world’s first international mobile esports tournament, using 5G. According to Vodafone, the tournament will run from May 31 to September 29 in the 17 countries where Vodafone provides service. There is a prize pool of 165,000 euros available for competitors in two mobile games, Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG MOBILE.
Qualcomm and Lenovo Reveal 5G PC
27 May 2019
Qualcomm and computer manufacturer Lenovo announced the world’s first PC that includes 5G connectivity. If you’re wondering why a computer needs to connect to mobile networks, Qualcomm explains that 5G is ideal for bandwidth intensive tasks like large downloads and cloud storage—basically, it’s a handy alternative to Wi-Fi. Qualcomm says the PC is powered by the Snapdragon 8cx 5G Compute Platform and incorporates the world’s first 7 nanometer platform custom built for PCs. The PC is named “Project Limitless.”
NTT Docomo Sends 5G Signal Using Glass Antenna
29 May 2019
NTT Docomo, with AGC and Ericsson, demonstrated that an antenna embedded in synthetic fused silica glass was capable of transmitting and receiving 5G signals. The companies tested antennas embedded into the windshield, side windows, and rear window of a test vehicle, and achieved a maximum downlink of 3.8 Gbps. The antenna averaged 1.3 Gbps in a 100-meter range. NTT Docomo says the antenna is ideal for relaying 5G transmissions in indoor environments and moving vehicles, as 5G’s millimeter waves do not fully penetrate glass, unlike earlier generations of wireless.
Samsung Pushes For 5G Cloud Gaming
3 June 2019
Can the ultra-low latencies of 5G networks make cloud-based gaming an attractive and competitive alternative for mobile gaming? Samsung and Hatch have teamed up to develop a 5G cloud-based gaming app for Samsung’s devices. The app will eventually offer more than 100 games for the Galaxy S10 5G. Gaming, not only for mobile devices but consoles and computers as well, is an emerging area of interest for 5G, because games tend to be resource intensive and taxing on the system. By off-loading the hard work into the cloud, even less than stellar devices could handle the most advanced games.
Deutsche Telekom Launches Country-Wide IoT Network
6 June 2019
Deutsche Telekom has launched a network specifically for IoT devices that spans the entire country of Germany. According to the company, it both covers 90 percent of the country’s area and reaches 90 percent of the population. Deutsche Telekom expects it to be used for large-scale applications, like smart city initiatives. The company says the IoT network, which uses Narrowband IoT technology, is a vital part of its strategy for building up a robust 5G network. Other countries that have built up NB-IoT networks include the US, Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, and several more.