Thursday, 18 April 2019

Telia: Largest Operator in Nordic & Baltic Region


Telia Company has been around for a while. The following is from about the company page:

KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

  • Founded in 1853
  • The share is listed at Nasdaq Stockholm and Nasdaq Helsinki
  • Approximately 483,000 shareholders
  • From Norway to Turkey, we are present in, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Sweden, Turkey.
  • 24.0 million subscriptions
  • 20,400 employees


Like every other operator, Telia did a lot of tests and pilots on 5G last year. Here are a few notable announcements:


12 Apr 2018: Telia, Nokia and Intel bring 5G to the factory floor
12 Sep 2018: Telia Company and Stora Enso bring 5G and AR to the forest industry. The solutions were tested at Stora Enso’s Oulu mill in Finland where real-time information is being used in mill maintenance.
24 Sep 2019Estonia’s first 5G network to go live. Telia Company, Ericsson and Tallinn University of Technology, TalTech, have joined forces to launch Estonia’s first 5G pilot network at the university campus by year-end.
20 Nov 2018Telia opens 5G network in Finnish city of Oulu. A world-class industrial 5G ecosystem will be built in the Nuottasaari industrial area in Oulu, Finland, and with Telia launching a pre-commercial 5G network in the city
03 Dec 2018: Telia and Finavia bring 5G robot to Helsinki airport. Helsinki Airport becomes the first 5G airport in the world as Telia launches a 5G network and together with Finnish airport operator Finavia introduces a 5G-powered robot project.
18 Dec 2018Telia Norway opened its first 5G test network in Norway, marking the beginning of next generation’s mobile networks in the country. First up to try it out is the Odeon movie theatre in Oslo, which is now the world's first 5G cinema.

Here is a video of 5G launch in Oslo, Norway


Here are Telia 5G 2019 objectives


Looks like Telia is just getting started with 5G with a lot more things in the pipeline.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Brazil: Improving 4G, 5G coming in 2020




Brazil is one of the largest mobile markets in Latin America, with four major mobile operators offering a range of voice and data services: Telefónica’s Vivo, Claro Brasil, TIM Brasil, and Oi. 


All four operators have secured spectrum in the 2.5GHz band with which they are expanding their LTE networks to capitalise on consumer demand for mobile data services. The government has also made available the 700MHz band (previously allocated to TV broadcasters) for mobile broadband use, and about 70% of this spectrum had been released by broadcasters by late 2018.


Brazilian telecommunications agency Anatel is engaged in discussions on an international level regarding the deployment of the 5G standards. Preliminary information indicates that the agency is to allocate the 3.5GHz or 28 GHz band for the roll out of 5G in Brazil.





Brazil’s market leader is Vivo, it has a 28.5% market share with 73 million subscribers, 57% of whom are using prepaid plans. People view the service as the best in the country and as having the most reliable network coverage. This comes at a price, though, since it also has the highest rates of all the providers.

Vivo uses 4 GSM bands, 2 UMTS bands, and 1 LTE band. According to Open Signal in their most recent report Vivo delivered the second fastest 4G speed in their tests, averaging 21.3 Mbps.









Tim owned by Telecom Italia, their mobile customers are 55.9 million, of which 34.5 million are 4G users, and they have a 24.4% market share.  They use 1 GSM band, 2 UMTS bands, and 2 LTE bands. Their 2G, 3G and 4G services are available across Brazil.


Their 4G network is present in 3,272 cities, reaching 93% of urban population.


TIM emerged as the clear winner in 4G availability in the recent Open Signal report. Users on TIM were able to find an LTE signal 59.2% of the time. In general, though, no operator in Brazil was able to provide consistent 4G connectivity. 


In 2018 TIM Brasil continued to expand its fixed ultra-broadband network. The FTTH technology (Fiber to the Home) reached 1.1 million homes in 11 cities , of which 5 are capitals and the FTTC technology (Fiber to the Cabinet) 3.5 million in 4 cities, with a total of 4.3 million households in 14 cities.


TIM’s aims to focus on  modernization, simplification and artificial intelligence to build a new and automated 5G network while continuing to dismiss and consolidate legacy assets such as data centers and exchanges. They have started discussions with Open Fiber to explore all possible options, including a business combination to generate opportunity that a single network presents. TIM has reached 99 percent of the population with 4G and 80 percent with Fiber. TIM will expand the coverage, in synergy with 5G deployment. They will be focusing on quality of Giga network. Ultra-broadband penetration will grow to 80 percent of TIM’s broadband client base by 2021 from 45 percent in 2018.

















Claro is the third largest operator in Brazil. It has a 25% market share with more than 50 million prepaid customers. Claro has the best coverage on 4G/LTE and is very popular with the younger crowd who are looking for good prepaid deals.

According to Open Signal the average 4G download speed for Claro is 27.5 Mbps, which was more than double the average speeds measured on Oi and TIM's LTE networks. Claro also had the best 3G performance in their speed rankings, averaging HSPA download speeds of 3.9 Mbps.














Oi (Brazilians use this for hello) is the smallest of the big four operators and has an 18% market share. Oi has the largest Wi-Fi network with more than 1 million access points across Brazil. However they lost 8.5 percent of their mobile clients in 2017/18, ending June 218 with 36.5 million subscribers. Their CEO has also stated that 'We're in judicial recovery, not bankruptcy'. 



Brazil is a good example of mobile operators teaming up,  to deliver coverage in areas especially when hosting football matches during the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

Regulators allowed the deal under the proviso it would improve regional coverage and would not harm competition. The partnerships improved operational efficiencies and allowed operators to deploy infrastructure in smaller regional areas.


One of the agreements, between operators Vivo and Claro, was so successful that the shared approach to cell sites more than double from the initial agreement.


“Today, the shared network of Claro and Vivo covers 5.6 million people in rural areas. From the government’s perspective, the benefits were twofold: first, it accelerated the provision of mobile services; and second, it increased service level competition,” GSMA reported.




Further reading:

Friday, 12 April 2019

Japan allocates 5G Spectrum in 3.7GHz, 4.5GHz and 28GHz bands


The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) has announced the results of 5G spectrum allocation in Japan. The press release (in Japanese) is available here. An accompanying presentation (in Japanese too) is available here.

According to TeleGeography:

The MIC also published on the ministry website its approvals relating to 5G BTS deployments for all four companies. Based on a report from the Radio Frequency Control Council, 5G frequency authorisations are as follows:

NTT DOCOMO: 3.6GHz-3.7GHz, 4.5GHz-4.6GHz and 27.4GHz-27.8GHz

KDDI: 3.7GHz-3.8GHz, 4.0GHz-4.1GHz and 27.8GHz-28.2GHz

Softbank: 3.9GHz-4.0GHz and 29.1GHz-29.5GHz

Rakuten Mobile: 3.8GHz-3.9GHz and 27.0GHz-27.4GHz.

The MIC’s conditions will likely require the four MNOs to balance sizeable investment programmes against the need to remain profitable, and with new competition looming in the shape of Rakuten Mobile – which is set to kick off its fledgling 4G network this October, targeting 15 million subscribers in the medium-term – price competition is expected to intensify.

All four firms aim to commercialise 5G services in 2020, with KDDI and Softbank pencilling in launches in March and Rakuten in June 2020, and taken together the big four will invest JPY1.6 trillion (USD14.4 billion) in the five-year deployment phase, of which at least JPY795 billion is being spent by DOCOMO, JPY466 billion from KDDI, JPY206 billion (Softbank) and JPY194 billion (Rakuten).

This is a big win for Rakuten, Japan's newest mobile operator and their CEO H. Mickey Mikitani was quick to announce this win on Twitter.

It was also interesting to see NTT Docomo get the 4.5 GHz band. They are pioneers of this band and have worked with NEC, Nokia, Huawei, etc. on trials in this band. They have also conducted URLLC tests in 4.5 GHz band. An NEC press release back in January talked about providing 5G base stations to NTT Docomo supporting 4.5GHz and 28GHz bands.

 

NEC was showing its Open RAN (O-RAN) enabled Radio Unit (RU) at MWC 2019 which are planned to be used with NTT Docomo 5G base staations.

NTT Docomo 5G plans can be seen in their MWC 2019 5G presentation that was being shown on their booth and is also available online here.

In a report by Reuters:

One of the conditions from the telecoms ministry was to “take sufficient cybersecurity measures including responding to supply chain risk”.

The condition effectively prevents the telecom providers from using network equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, and follows a de facto ban implemented last year on Japanese government purchases from the manufacturers.

According to Mobile World Live:

Japanese operators are required to install 5G base stations in half of 4,500 blocks, or districts, established by the ministry within five years, Nikkei Asian Review said. Docomo and KDDI both target 90 per cent coverage by 2024; SoftBank and Rakuten are aiming for 64 per cent and 56 per cent respectively.

All four operators are targeting the launch of  mobile 5G services sometime in 2020. In December 2018 they stated they have no plans to deploy gear from Huawei and ZTE in the networks, following a ban on the use of Chinese telecoms equipment by government agencies in the country.

Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank are also working toward launching limited commercial 5G services in 2019, with pilots due to take place at the Rugby World Cup.

Related posts:

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Angola's Emerging Telecom Sectors


Angola is Africa’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria, with a population of approximately 30 million. Its telecom sector has shown consistent recovery following the end of a decades-long civil war in 2002. ICT growth has largely been driven by economic growth from the country’s large oil reserves. 


Political stability has encouraged foreign investment while the government and regulator have started the process of opening up the telecom sector to new competitors. 


The market is a duopoly between UNITEL and MOVICEL.  

Unitel, has 70% of the subscription market share. It is the most preferred provider and oldest GSM mobile network in Angola. Their network covers every major population area and with about 11 million subscribers (including pre-paid), it has a market share of 80%. The network has nationwide 2G coverage in 900 and 1800 MHz bands, UMTS in 2100 MHz and 4G LTE coverage on 1800 MHz (band 3) in Luanda Province.





The remaining 30% is held by Movicel with roughly 3 million subscribers. The company was set up by state-owned Angola Telecom initially using the CDMA technology, but was for 80% privatized later and moved to using GSM based technology. The network utilizes 900 Mhz and 1800 MHz bands for 2G and 2100 MHz for 3G with 4G/LTE coverage on 1800 MHz (band 3) in the provinces of Luanda, Cabinda and Benguela allowing speeds up to 75 Mbps. Movicel has phased out CDMA in March 2016 to make way for digital terrestrial television.




Both operators introduced LTE in 2012, one of the earliest launches of this mobile broadband technology in sub-Saharan Africa. With Long Term Evolution (LTE) rapid expansion and slowdown in 2G and 3G services, the Angola telecom market is evolving rapidly.

Movicel have recently signed a strategic consultancy agreement with Vodafone Group,  to collaborate in a number of business areas. Under the terms of the non-equity agreement, Vodafone will provide “strategic and operational support” in areas including consumer marketing, technology and business operations. It will also see the pair “collaborate on further potential opportunities to benefit their customers”, the companies said in a statement.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

5G and Innovation by Latvian MNO LMT


Latvian Mobile Telephone a.k.a Latvijas Mobilais Telefons in Latvian or LMT is a mobile GSM/UMTS/LTE operator in Latvia. It received a great deal of attention at MWC this year. Visitors appreciated both their sustainable stand which was a little patch of nature - built entirely out of peat moss and the impressive 5G use cases they showcased.




LMT also attracted attention with two Glomo award nominations - the European 5G Pioneer award, and the Mobile Tech Breakthrough award for companies over $10M in yearly revenue - the first Glomo nominations for a Latvian participant.


Both Glomo nominations were for the “smart TV delivered over the mobile network” product. It is a smart TV product built on the Android TV platform and is delivered exclusively over the mobile network, using no fixed cables. It is currently successfully delivered over the 4G network and is the first 5G use case ready to be deployed immediately as soon as the 5G network becomes available in Latvia.





LMT have also partnered with Nokia and Intel to demonstrate live 5G ultra-high bandwidth data streams. 

Previously at the Baltic Sea Region's “5G Techritory” forum the companies achieved peak download speeds of 1.4Gbps in alive test. This was an event that brought together the region's 5G ecosystem.


At the forum, LMT introduced the Baltic digital road initiative - a cooperative intelligent transport system corridor aiming to support development of connected vehicles and cooperative driving. Additionally, LMT also showcased its other technological innovations such as drones equipped with Computer Vision and Computer Hearing, developed in collaboration with Riga Technical University.


Nokia provided a 5G solution comprising of a Nokia AirScale Base Station and a radio access cloud core running on AirFrame hardware. Intel provided the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform as an end device to help ensure that the 5G-compliant specifications for spectrum, band, capacity and handover solutions are met.



The capital city of Riga is also developing 5G use cases in cooperation with LMT such as smart parking, drone services, and drone traffic management platform, IoT sensors for smart cities and more. The first live 5G network in Riga was demonstrated in September of 2018.


For a small operator in a country of under 2M inhabitants this is quite an achievement. Moreover since Lativa is a predominantly forest and bog-covered country it is ideal for exploring 5G use cases and for developing solutions in areas with limited fixed coverage. From search-and-rescue drone projects, to machine vision edge-computing forestry solutions, all the way to last-mile delivery of fixed-wireless broadband and smart TV delivered over the mobile network.



Related posts and Links:

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Malaysia: 5G Trials and Updates



The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has said the optimisation of the existing 4G network is essential before the country can achieve the adoption of 5G network.

While the 5G Taskforce was established by the commission in November 2018, with the aims of exploring practical uses and modes of 5G, as well as to learn and iron out policies, regulations and spectrum planning for 5G, MCMC said full adoption may only take place in a few years’ time. MCMC said in a statement.:

“Thus, what is essential today is for the current network architecture to be fully enhanced and optimised to address congestion and manage high bandwidth. Malaysia’s current network suffers from low throughput of 9 megabit per second (Mbps) or 36% below average during certain times of the day, as a result of congestion or bottlenecks between network elements, i.e. the radio interface and core network,”

This is due to a partially fiberised end-to-end network architecture, and only 40% of the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) are fully fiberised. Accordingly to MCMC currently, the average 4G download speed in Malaysia stands at 21.1Mbps. 

MCMC chief digital officer Gerard K M Lim said 5G technology promises 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) per user and if the core network upgrade work is overlooked, the same throughput issue will continue to plague the country.

Lim said there would be a potential bottleneck or congestion point between BTS and the core network and therefore, the telecommunication providers must ensure that current 4G access is optimised and at the same time, prepare for the upcoming 5G requirements.
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure positive customer experience, when it comes to connectivity without any congestion issues."
No doubt 5G connectivity has the potential to grow the economy by delivering the next generation of digital services, said MCMC, adding that technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and massive machine communications will rely on the future deployment of 5G.


MCMC also released a report and THE DRAFT NATIONAL FIBERISATION AND CONNECTIVITY PLAN (‘DRAFT NFCP’) 

The Draft NFCP sets out, among others, the targets, action plans and strategies to accelerate deployment of digital infrastructure. The 5-year plan aims to:

i. address issues that hinder the widespread availability of high quality and affordable
digital connectivity;

ii. support the needs of the country moving forward and harness opportunities offered by
new services / technologies; and

iii. provide clarity in terms of strategic directions for initiatives to support the digital
economy and adoption of future technology. 





Initially, the Draft NFCP outlined 17 targets to be achieved through four (4) action plans:

A. Ensure optimum deployment of digital infrastructure
         1. Average speed of 30 Mbps in 98% of populated areas;
         2. 100% premises passed in State Capitals and selected high impact areas with up
             to 500 Mbps;
         3. 20% of premises passed in sub-urban and rural areas with up to 500Mbps;
         4. Fibre network passes 70% of schools and government offices, hospitals and police
             stations near schools;
         5. Gigabits availability in selected industrial areas and to all State Capitals;
         6. Phasing out of copper network;
         7. Assessment of technical standards that should be mandated for infrastructure
             deployment;
         8. Allocation of 700MHz and reallocation of 2300MHz and 2600MHz;
         9. Mobile coverage along Pan Borneo highway upon completion;
        10. Submarine Cable Landing Centres (‘SCLC’) in Sabah & Sarawak to link directly to
              international cables; and
        11. Policy position on 5G related issues.

B. Provision of affordable services and improve quality to drive the digital economy
        12. Entry level fixed broadband package at 1% of Gross National Income (‘GNI’);
        13. Double the speed at half the price; and
        14. Yearly publication of Quality of Service Report.

C. Promote competition
        15. Extension of liberalisation in key strategic activities.

D. Participation in the digital economy
        16. 100 rural e-commerce fulfilment centres; and
        17. Quality of Service for courier service. 

These initial targets and action plans were prepared based on initial consultations with limited stakeholders as well as from the initial targets announced by the Minister at the “Malaysia : A New Dawn Conference” in October 2018.

In November last year, MCMC established a 5G task force to explore the practical uses and modes of 5G as well as to iron out policies, regulations and spectrum planning of 5G.

Telecommunications providers have been urged to be prepared for the upcoming 5G requirements.


Maxis Bhd has in collaboration with Huawei kicked off the first 5G live trials in Malaysia, specifically in Cyberjaya earlier this week.

The trials will be conducted over six months and are expected to provide a deeper analysis of 5G characteristics, Maxis said in a statement today.

This includes the use of spectrum in higher bands, co-existence with current services, as well as use cases such as Gigabit high speed mobile internet and ultra high-definition virtual reality applications.


"During the trial so far, Maxis recorded close to 3GB per second download speed," they said in the statement.

The trial follows the recent announcement by the government that Cyberjaya and Putrajaya will become the first smart cities in Malaysia to experience 5G technology. According to Maxis:
"Once available, 5G is expected to provide speeds up to ten times higher than what 4G network can do today for applications such as Ultra High-Definition VR and 360 degree viewing. It will also open up new use cases in areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics and drones," 

Malaysia's national telco Telekom Malaysia (TM) is also in the first stages of testing 5G connectivity in the country. The test will be conducted via their internet service provider division Unifi and the first location will be in the town of Puchong in the Petaling Jaya district. Currently, the telco's LTE network is capable of speeds up to 200Mbps, but with the implementation of pre-5G, the speeds will be boosted up to 500Mbps. The Executive Vice President of Unifi Moharmustaqeem Mohammed stated that the transition to 5G will be done seamlessly and customers will not have to change their current packages or equipment.

U Mobile have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ZTE to support its 5G deployment goals in Malaysia. This will include various 5G related developments including live testing, 5G showcases as well as Massive MIMO implementation.

According to U Mobile, they have a long standing working relationship with ZTE and it is a logical next step to continue to collaborate on initiatives related to 5G. According to the telco’s CEO, Wong Heang Tuck, U Mobile will be working closely with ZTE to conduct live tests in selected areas in KL city so that Malaysians can experience the power of 5G first hand.

Finally Celcom Axiata Berhad, Malaysia’s leading data network provider, has signed an agreement with Ericsson to expand and upgrade its LTE network in Malaysia. As part of this, Ericsson will supply Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its Ericsson Radio System portfolio to help Celcom serve the growing demand for data services in Malaysia. Ericsson’s RAN equipment will also serve as a platform to help Celcom evolve its network to 5G in the coming years.

Mohamad Idham Nawawi, Chief Executive Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad, says:
“We have been at the forefront of providing our customers with the best data experience, and remain committed to evolve our network with the latest technologies. This partnership is strategic as it will not only help us further expand our LTE footprint but create the base for the launch of 5G services. We will continue to drive technology innovations in Malaysia to bring the latest services, and to enable all Malaysians to participate in the digital economy.” 
In 2017, Ericsson and Celcom performed Malaysia's first ever 5G trial, pioneering the evolution of the nation's telecommunications technology. It was the first 5G trial conducted on the 28 GHz band in South East Asia.