Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Turkmenistan:Finally opening up to the future?


There has been slow growth in telecom services in Turkmenistan which is attributed to the slow development of the private sector and state control over most economic activities.

Turkmenistan’s mobile market had experienced extraordinarily strong growth over 2007 to 2012 period. Over the 2013 to 2018 the mobile market increased at a much slower pace, as the market has moved closer to a saturation phase there has been an inevitable slowing in the growth rate. However there has been a strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past four years however the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development and penetration remains relatively low compared to other Asian nations. Very strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2023.

Turkmenistan has experienced a number of problems relating to communications technology. Despite efforts to upgrade the country’s telecom infrastructure, the telephone network remained poorly developed and many villages have been left without telephone services. Fixed line penetration over the past four years has been increasing slowly from a relatively small base.

Altyn Asyr is the only operator in Turkmenistan. It's state-owned and works under the TM CELL trademark. Its 2G/3G coverage is pretty good and reliable all over the country. 2G GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G up to DC-HSPA+ on 2100 MHz. 4G/LTE started in Ashgabat and Türkmenbaşy in 2013 on band 7 (2600 MHz), is in active development nowadays, already available for all users including prepaid without any surcharges.

MTS Turkmenistan (MTS TM) was historically the first mobile operator of Turkmenistan. It was fully owned and controlled by Russian MTS. It has been previously shut down in 2010 by the government after a dispute and re-opened again in 2012. In 2017 it served nearly 2 million subscribers, before it was shut down again in September 2017. In 2019 Russia-based Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is said to have begun the process of dismantling its equipment in Turkmenistan with a view to fully withdrawing from the country.

In 2017 Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Communication is preparing for the launch of a new operator to offer services under the ‘Ay Nazar’ brand over infrastructure owned by TM-Cell (Altyn Asyr), which is a subsidiary of state-owned fixed line incumbent Turkmentelecom. Ay Nazar is being created within the structure of another state-owned telecoms provider Ashgabat Shaher Telefon Ulgamy (ASTU or Ashgabat Urban Telephone Network).

Turkmenistan is one of the most secretive nations in the world, all satellite TV reception was banned. That's why the internet remains the only accessible media from out of the country. Internet access in Turkmenistan is censored and heavily regulated available only to a small fraction of the population. Censorship is ubiquitous and extensive. Surveillance is significant, and the few citizens who benefit from access to the internet are closely monitored by state agencies.

While there is no 'firewall' like in China or 'blacklist' like in Russia, websites run by human rights organizations and news agencies are blocked. Moreover, ordinary citizens have no access to the WWW and instead are limited to the use of the Turkmenet, an online community in Turkmen language, but effectively a censored version of the internet. Social media and well-known western (and even Chinese) websites and services are blacked out, including LiveJournal, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line etc. are not accessible through the Turkmenet. Note that attempts to get around this censorship by VPNs or proxys can lead to grave consequences.

In 2019 Turkmenistan has launched its own Biz Byarde (We Are Here) social network. All other social networks remain blocked in the country, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Оdnoklassniki and VKontakte. Also VPN applications have been blocked in Turkmenistan from January 2019. Internet services are switched off when the VPN applications are activated on smartphones by Turkmenistan users. Then it's necessary to replace the SIM in order to continue using services. 

In 2018 the Turkmenistan President ordered the Turkmenistan Academy of Sciences to design the state programme 'Digital Turkmenistan'. The programme is planned to be focused on fostering the development of ICT in the country.

Turkmenistan has also recently signed a MOU with South Korea who will share their know-how in 5G network technology with Turkmenistan and contribute to the Central Asian and Caspian region country’s commercial satellite development plan.

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Friday, 8 November 2019

Orange Romania Finally Launches 5G


Orange has entered the 5G fray with the launch of its first commercial network within its footprint, deploying the technology in three major Romanian cities. The operator launched 5G services in capital Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Iasi, with other Romanian cities to follow from 2020 onwards. At a launch event Ramon Fernandez, deputy CEO for Finance, Performance and Europe, explained the country was a natural choice to lead the operator’s 5G charge, having been a key part of its footprint since 1997. He also said the operator had invested “more than €3.5 billion” in its Romanian operations over the past 22 years.



Fernandez explained the operator deployed 115MHz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz bands, “more than double” the amount available to competitors. Orange stated the network offers peak download rates of 1.2Gb/s, with average rates of 600Mb/s.


Orange is the largest operator in Romania with 10.3 million connections according to GSMA Intelligence, just ahead of rival Vodafone’s 10 million.Vodafone and number four player Digi launched 5G earlier this year.

This launch and this network is the result of an attractive exclusive partnership with Samsung. An interesting partnership which works both ways. Samsung devices can only be sold by Orange, and Orange 5G tariffs can only be run through Samsung devices. It might sound unusual that two companies would want to limit this potential in this manner, but considering Orange is the market share leader for 4G (roughly 40%) while Samsung is the devices market share leader (estimates range between 50-55%), there are attractive gains for both parties.


The second interesting element of this announcement is the focus on Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). Orange has never been shy about its convergence ambitions, the success of bundling is evident in numerous markets but with no fixed assets in Romania it becomes difficult. There is a wholesale agreement in place with Telecom Romania, however this is far from an ideal position.

With 5G, FWA becomes a much more apparent opportunity to compete with the fibre services which are being offered by competitors. It certainly isn’t perfect by any means, but if Orange can deliver the promised gigabit speeds over the air, there will certainly be demand from increasingly speed obsessed consumers.

The final interesting aspect of this story could count against the Orange. After performing a number of speed tests across Bucharest, it became very apparent, very quickly, that the 4G network is excellent (60-96 Mbps), providing speeds which even the most demanding consumer could not make use of. In delivering such eye-watering speeds over 4G, one should ask whether this weakens the selling point of 5G. As attractive as 1.2 Gbps download speeds are, who actually needs that much power right now?

Despite the number of features and wild promises here, the success of Orange Romania in the 4G era might undermine the pursuit of early adopters for 5G. This is a difficulty which only remains while the operators discuss little more than speed upgrades, though as the ecosystems develop new services will be pushed at the consumer.


Further Reading:

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Bulgaria taking small steps towards 5G



Bulgaria has three major physical network providers in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:

A1 Bulgaria formerly known as Mtel (Мтел), owned by Telekom Austria
Telenor (Теленор): formerly known as Globul, owned by PPF Group
Vivacom (Виваком): taken over by Russian investors in 2015


The country has good 2G and 3G coverage over 95% of their area. 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz like in most of Europe. 4G/LTE has been started by all operators on 1800 MHz (B3) only, added now by 2100 MHz (B1) and 900 MHz (B8).

All 3

A1 Bulgaria is owned by Telecom Austria and was rebranded in 2018 from Mtel (Мтел), and before that Mobitel (Мобилтел).

A1 Bulgaria  has commenced trials of 5G technology, following the activation of one base station at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. The trial, utilising spectrum in the 3.6GHz band and equipment provided by Nokia, will run for six months. The operator is aiming to commence commercial operations over its 5G network in 2020.




In 2013 Telenor (part of PPF) from Norway acquired Globul from Cosmote in Greece. In 2014 they changed their logo and name from Globul to Telenor. In 2018 Telenor sold its Bulgarian network to the Czech PPF Group.They started 4G/LTE in 2015 on 1800 MHz (band 3) covering 75% of population in 2016.

Telenor commenced its series of practical 5G technology tests by introducing the first remote medical exam over 5G in Bulgaria. The examination of a patient was held by Prof. Asen Baltov, Executive Director of “N. I. Pirogov” Hospital, who was at the Telenor headquarters in Sofia,
During the event, Telenor also made its first 5G video call in Bulgaria. Telenor also intends to  perform demonstrations of 5G technology beyond Sofia covering numerous other geographic locations across Bulgaria. These tests will be related to virtual reality and the streaming of video content and gaming which will be made publicly available. To make this possible, Telenor will use Huawei equipment, which includes both fixed base stations, as well as a mobile base station that can be transported across the country.




Vivacom (vivatel or BTC, BTK) is the 3rd provider in the country, but still has a good coverage in 3G in Bulgaria. In 2015 they were sold to Russian-backed Spas Roussev.

4G/LTE started in 2016 on 1800 MHz (B3) in the towns of Sofia, Pernik and Vratsa. The 4G network was extended to Varna, Bourgas, Ruse and Plovdiv. The operator has the country’s largest towns within its LTE footprint and 2100 MHz band is added.

In other 5G developments the European Commission has stated that the Bulgarian and Greek transport ministers, Ivaylo Moskovski and Nikos Papas, and Tatjana Matić of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications of Serbia, have signed an agreement at the Digital Assembly 2018 in Sofia to develop an experimental 5G cross-border corridor that will test driverless vehicles.

They agreed to work together on the Thessaloniki – Sofia – Belgrade corridor, which will provide a technologically neutral hub for industry, research centres, academia and any other stakeholders for testing and evaluating innovative mobility technologies.

Mr Moskovski stated that Bulgaria is now preparing its infrastructure to accommodate a 5G network for ‘connected driving’. European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel added that “we have agreed that the digital transformation has its challenges, such as cyber attacks and the online spread of misinformation” and that “people need to trust and be able to take advantage of this digitalisation.”

Monday, 4 November 2019

Serbia is Gearing up for 5G


Serbia has three main mobile operators.

MTS (Mobile Telephony of Serbia - not related to MTS Russia) is a consumer brand of state-owned Telekom Srbija under which it offers and provides all of its services to both private and corporate users. At present they have 2129 LTE base stations and are the market leader in Serbia with 45.5% of all mobile SIM cards as of 2018.

MTS have carried out 5G tests in cooperation with Ericsson:




Telenor, formerly called Mobtel Srbija, was sold by the Norwegian operator in 2018 to the Czech PPF Group. It's the 2nd provider in the country with a 31% market share in 2018 and a good coverage.

4G/LTE has started in the two largest cities Belgrade and Niš and has spread to 41 cities in 2016 and currently is available for prepaid trough 1955 LTE base stations country-wide.

On the 22nd June 2019 Telenor launched the first 5G base station in Serbia in Science
Technology Park Belgrade, creating a 5G test environment that can be used by domestic and
foreign companies, startups and students of technical faculties to develop technological solutions
for the future.



Vip Mobile, owned by Telekom Austria, is the smallest provider in the country by customers. Nevertheless, it gives a good coverage. In 2016 Vip opened its 4G/LTE network which is the most widespread in the country right now to prepaid users trough 1912 LTE base stations. Netherthess they are the smallest network with 23% of all mobile SIM cards in 2018.



Serbia has also joined a European project to establish 5G corridors to test driverless cars.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

China's Synchronized 5G Launch


As reported by Mobile World Live:

China’s three major mobile operators officially launched 5G services in parts of 50 cities, claiming the largest rollout in the world just six months after the government issued licences.

The three operations deployed about 86,000 5G base stations and expect to have more than 130,000 by year-end. Market leader China Mobile aims to install 50,000 sites by end-December, while China Unicom and China Telecom each target about 40,000.

China Unicom claimed ubiquitous 5G coverage in 14 cities and 28,000 base stations.

All three operators announced similar packages with different speed tiers. Users without a 5G device can still subscribe to the 5G plans to take advantage of the larger data allowances.

China Mobile, for example, offers five plans with two speed tiers: speed limits of 500Mb/s and 1Gb/s. Monthly prices range from CYN128 ($18.10) for 30GB (low tier) to CNY598 for 300GB (high tier).

It’s giving 30 per cent discounts to existing customers, who have subscribed for three to five years. The company said it already registered 10 million customers to 5G packages.

China Unicom, the third largest operator in the country, claimed ubiquitous coverage in 14 cities, with plans to have service in 40 cities by the end of the year.

Chen Zhaoxiong, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology (centre), kicked off the launch with representatives from the three operators at PT Expo China in Beijing today (31 October).



Arjun Kharpal, China Technology Correspondent at CNBC pointed out in the tweet above that China Telecom has changed its app logo to “Hello 5G”.



Mike Dano from Light Reading points out in his tweet that China mobile is selling 5G 30% cheaper as compared to 4G, which will simulate demand for 5G networks.

Picture Source: Dean Bubley on Twitter

The picture above shows summary of 5G Spectrum that has been allocated to the operators. Both China Telecom and China Unicom has 100MHz in the 3.5MHz band (C-band), while market leader China Mobile has 160MHz of spectrum in the 2.6GHz and another 100 MHz in 4.8GHz band. China Broadcasting Network (CBN), which was established in 2014 by the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) to consolidate the country’s fragmented cable-TV industry also has 100 MHz in 3.3GHz band.

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Emerging 5G Markets: Azerbaijan


There are three major mobile operators in the Azerbaijan market. Azercell dominates the market. Bakcell and  Nar (Azerofon) account for the majority of the remainder of the market.  Mobile broadband subscribers have grown very rapidly over the past five years supported by widespread rollouts of 4G infrastructure and the release of a growing range of mobile broadband packages by the major mobile operators. Market penetration has increased from 107% in 2013, to over 110% by 2017. Moderate growth is predicted over the next few years to 2023. The mobile broadband market will be driven by increasingly faster speeds offered by the mobile operators as they roll out their 4G and 5G networks and falling prices due to growing competition.

2G/GSM is on 900 MHz with Azercell and Bakcell and 1800 MHz with Nar, 3G is on 2100 MHz with all operators up to DC-HSPA and 4G/LTE was started on all three providers on 1800 MHz (Band 3) fairly recently.

Azercell is Azerbaijan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, it is still owned by Swedish Telia group and Turkish Turkcell. Currently, 4.8 million subscribers choose Azercell services they control 49% of market share; while its geographical coverage constitutes 99.2% (excluding the occupied territories); and population coverage 99.8%.  But some of them are on 2G. 3G had started in 2011, to be followed by 4G/LTE in Baku and the Absheron Peninsula with 79% coverage of the capital and Absheron in 2017 and new in Ganja, Barda, Shamkir and Lankaran.

Azercell has selected Ericsson to modernise its radio access network (RAN), under a two-year programme including the nationwide supply of multi-standard radio equipment from Ericsson Radio System and a comprehensive set of services. Based on Ericsson’s RAN and services portfolios, Ericsson will evolve Azercell’s mobile network to be 5G-ready.



Bakcell was the first provider in the country established in 2002. It's partly state-owned and today no.2 in the market with a 30% user share.Today, Bakcell has the largest 4G network in the country in terms of coverage area and capacity, covering almost 91 percent of the country’s population and the central parts of all the regions of Azerbaijan (excluding Nakhchivan AR and occupied territories).

With more than 8000 base stations, Bakcell network covers 99 percent of the population and 93 percent of the land area of the country (except for the occupied territories). In 2017, Bakcell network has been recognized as the “Best in Test” in Azerbaijan by P3 Communications, being one of the most trusted independent authorities in mobile benchmarking. Bakcell has been recognized as the Fastest Mobile Network in Azerbaijan. This award, presented by world-famous “Ookla” company, recognizes Bakcell’s commitment to delivering fastest speeds to customers all across Azerbaijan.

Bakcell, recently entered into an agreement with Kazakhstani Transtelecom and KazTransCom to build a fiber-optic cable line stretching over nearly 400 km (249 mi) along the bottom of the Caspian Sea, which will help increase regional capacity and global connectivity. The initiative is a part of the Trans-Caspian ambitious project implemented by AzerTelecom within its “Azerbaijan Digital Hub” program. With the full completion of the Digital Hub program, Azerbaijan will shift from a local center to a regional hub in greater geography that includes the South Caucasus, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia regions, in which 1.8 billion – one-fourth of the world’s population –  lives.



Azerfon launched its activities in 2007 under brand name Nar mobile. Azerfon claims to reach 80% of the territory which is almost all given that some 15% of the territory is 'under occupation'. In certain remote areas Nar is the only provider offering service, but generally coverage is lower. In 2015 4G/LTE was launched in the city of Baku and 3G extended, but they remain at no.3 with a 25% user share. In 2019 they announced to have covered 97.6% of the country’s population by 3G.

Nar continues to expand its high-speed 4G network across the country. As a result of improvement and expansion works, 4G network now covers 91,5% of the population in the country. The mobile operator has successfully installed LTE base stations in 53 districts so far. Currently, every third customer of Nar is an active 4G user, while the total number of 4G users exceeds 850,000.

Nar provides its customers with the high-speed network with over 2740 4G base stations, including 1018 LTE-A type installed in 2019, as well as 2722 3G base stations. Currently, the mobile operator provides high quality service for more than 2,3 subscribers through over 8500 base stations.



Further Reading:

Monday, 21 October 2019

Tanzania has a Wide Choice of Operators


Tanzania, east Africa’s third-biggest economy has 6 mobile network operators: Airtel, Halotel, Tigo, TTCL, Vodacom, and Zantel. The latest MNO to enter Tanzanian was Halotel in October 2015.



Vodacom is the largest mobile operator with 14,392,174 subscriptions June 2019 (14,143,657 in December 2018), followed by Tigo with 11,675,809 (12,583,640), and Airtel with 11,538,358 subscriptions (10,954,621). Together these three mobile operators accounted for 37,606,341 mobile subscriptions or 86.1% of all the subscriptions, while the other smaller operator accounted for the rest.

Vodacom, jointly owned by Vodafone and South African Telekom, is the market leader and has the widest coverage in the country for the highest rates. In 2016 4G/LTE was started in Dar es Salaam on 1800 MHz (Band 3), now spread to a few more places. In 2018 it won spectrum on 700 MHz (B28) for 4G with the obligation to cover 60% by 2021 and 90% by 2024.

Vodacom  also intend to roll out 4G services  on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in 2020.



Tigo has become the 2nd provider in Tanzania by market shares when it overtook Airtel in 2016. It's run by the Millcom Group that acquired the 4th provider Zantel  in 2015, but markets both brands separately. It was the first to start 4G/LTE on 800 MHz (B 20) in Dar es Salaam and is available for prepaid (coverage map) in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tanga, Arusha with plans to extend connectivity to Mwanza, Zanzibar (Stone Town) and Kilimanjaro (Moshi). By 2017 it has been spread to 23 towns so far.

Airtel by

Halotel backed by Vietnamese Viettel entered the market in 2015. It's their 4th venture in Africa after Mozambique, Cameroon and Burundi under different brand names. Halotel covered more than 95% of the population in 26 provinces by 2500 antenna towers on 2G or 3G in 2017. They've reached a market share of 10% now and are planning to launch 4G/LTE.



Zantel used to be the local provider on the island of Zanzibar. That's why it has a good coverage there, but had almost no coverage on the mainland. It used to belong mostly to UAE-owned Etisalad, but was sold in 2015 to Millicom who runs Tigo. In 2016 it underwent a massive network overhaul. All clients can now roam on the Tigo network for free giving it a good coverage on the mainland. 4G/LTE started in Zanzibar on 1800 MHz (B 3) and roaming on Tigo on the continent.



Indian Bharti Airtel has falllen back as 3rd provider in the country. It has now a market share of 26% and a lower coverage than Vodacom, at slightly lower rates. Their coverage in Northern Tanzania, particularly Ngorongoro and Serengeti,  is superior to that of the other carriers. 4G/LTE is still in testing phase and not yet commercially launched.



TTCL for Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd. is the state-owned monopoly landline provider in the country. TTCL launched its 4G/LTE mobile data network in 2015 with a five-year rollout plan to cover all regions and main roads in the country called T-Connect. It started in Dar es Salaam on 1800 MHz FD-LTE (band 3) and 2300 MHz TD-LTE (band 40).

In 2016 they announced to deploy 4G/LTE services countrywide by 2018, as they intend to accelerate coverage. A number of regions that will benefit from the initiative in phase one: Arusha, Iringa, Mbeya, Dodoma, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Unguja. Their products are more directed to home users in lack of a stable landline connection than to mobile internet users.

Recently the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has threatened to disconnect over 39 million mobile phone subscribers who fail to register their SIM cards via the country's mandatory biometric system by 31 December 2019.

According to the regulator, to date only 5.2 million mobile phone users (12%) of the total number of subscribers have complied.

Vodacom Tanzania managing director Hisham Hendi has warned that the directive could negatively impact the company's operations, with the company so far having managed to register 2 million of the 14 million customers currently on its network.

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Thursday, 17 October 2019

Telefonica: Smart Energy Solution


The evolution of the Internet Of Things (IoT) and the rise in industrial automation are helping provide Smart Energy Solutions that can be applied to our everyday lives and industry.

Telefonica has launched a Smart Energy Solution for companies which aims to yield a deep understanding of energy usage in any building or location and to give advice of the actions to be taken.



The smart solution allows the remote and centralised measurement, control and management of high energy consumption equipment in any installation. The service especially focuses on high consumption points such as air conditioning, heating and lighting, providing control of a whole building or set of buildings.  Here is an example:


Some benefits of such a smart energy solution:

  • Lower energy consumption and bill, by providing valuable information on critical points of consumption and possible improvements.
  • Improved efficiency and obtain operational improvements by managing your energy infrastructure.
  • Make better investment decisions based on data (return on investment).
  • Centralised access to energy consumption informtion from all the infrastructures
  • Reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
  • Improved energy operations due to a better knowledge of the functioning status of the facilities.
  • Adapt the use of energy facilities to business needs by remote management and control of the equipment.
  • Optimise the performance of the facilities by automating operations.

This service is geared to customers that have high energy consumption, especially three sectors; Industry, utilities and services (e.g. banking, hotels, retail, shopping centres). The service provides every required tool for building managers to lower energy consumption and achieve savings.




Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Telia Norway and Ericsson team up for 5G



Telia Norway and Ericsson have announced a four-year 5G network deal that includes deployment of the Swedish vendor’s spectrum sharing technology.

Ericsson is providing 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software from its Radio System portfolio, and was chosen as the sole radio access network (RAN) vendor for Telia’s next-generation network in Norway. Ericsson is helping upgrade Telia’s 2G and 4G networks, with 5G rollouts expected to start in 2020 and extend through 2023.

Ericsson’s dynamic spectrum sharing solution, which enables operators to utilize the same spectrum for both 4G and 5G, is set to become commercially available in December, but it’s unclear how soon Telia plans to deploy it. In a release, Telia said its network modernization project will happen “gradually” over the four-year timeframe.



For Telia’s 5G rollout in Norway, the operator plans to use low-band spectrum. In June 2019 Telia Company secured access to 2x10 MHz in the 700 MHz band which will be a key enabler for roll-out of 5G in Norway. The band will be available from November 1, 2019.  Telia called this band a “key enabler” for the 5G deployment in Norway.

In addition to enhanced mobile broadband, Telia Norway is exploring 5G for IoT applications, industrial uses, smart cities and in-home uses, according to Ericsson.

The pair have already teamed up on a 5G pilot network in Trondheim, Norway, that involves smart transportation, automation and artificial intelligence.

To date, Ericsson has distributed two-thirds of the world's commercial 5G network.

An important part of Telia's social mission is to build critical national infrastructure that facilitates digitalisation for individuals, businesses, public companies and all sectors of society. Telia takes this responsibility very seriously. Telia was the first in the world to turn on 4G in Norway and Sweden, and in partnership with Ericsson will lead the innovation and technology development of 5G.

A point worth noting is that the current 4G network is supplied by Huawei. As part of 5G, Ericsson will also be replacing the 4G Huawei equipment with their own. Some analysts have sighted this as the main reason why 5G rollout will take 4 years.


Further Reading:

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Portugal: Demystifying 5G



The mobile market is dominated by the incumbent Portugal Telecom, owned by Altice Group and operating as Meo, followed by Vodafone and NOS.

2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G is on 2100 MHz with MEO and NOS and on 900 MHz with Vodafone. 4G/LTE was launched in 2012 on all three networks on the 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz bands. It already reaches the majority of population and is open for prepaid on all network providers.

MEO now owned by Dutch Altice Group is the market leader with a 40% share. However the market share held by Meo has fallen steadily in recent years. Altice Labs began working with Ericsson to develop 5G services and applications in 2017.

They recently hosted an event (see video below) which was staged using an experimental network, in collaboration with Ericsson, and simulated a car crash to demonstrate how 5G’s lower latency, higher bandwidth and faster speeds can support emergency workers.

This demonstrated how 5G can support drone footage from accident sites and the delivery of vital information about victims and their condition in real-time.This event also marked the launch of the 5G experimental network for the City of Aveiro, which is aiming to be fully covered by 5G by 2020.

Altice Labs insist technology has no meaning if it is not for improving people's lives and they wish want to demystify 5G. The intense deployment of fibre optics and the modernisation of base stations in recent years across the country puts Meo in a more comfortable position in the evolution to 5G.

 


Vodafone Portugal is the major competitor of MEO in the country with a 33% share and according to Open Signal the best coverage and highest speeds on both 3G and 4G. It lets prepaid customers join their 4G network as part as an ongoing promotion for free. Also on top of 2100 MHz they also have 3G on 900 MHz allowing for better indoor coverage which is rare in Europe and not carried by all devices.




NOS, previously called Optimus, has the smallest network with a 20% share, but still gives a good performance.Vodafone and NOS recently signed an agreement to share fibre infrastructure, which pushed Vodafone’s addressable market to some four million premises. As a result of these efforts DSL is no longer the dominant platform for broadband access.



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