RAN Riot: Fistful of Ericsson, Telstra LTE, CA, 5G Developments

Australian communications heavyweight Telstra and Swedish technology partner Ericsson have announced a clutch of mobile network developments including the planned switch-on of 450Mbps capability in selected areas of Telstra’s LTE ‘4GX’ network from April, with compatible devices available from mid-2015, while a voice and video calling over LTE (VoLTE) network trial will also begin in April, leading up to commercial services ‘later in 2015’. Telstra has demonstrated 600Mbps interoperability showing the future potential of LTE Carrier Aggregation (CA). The release continues that Telstra and Ericsson are deploying the latest generation LTE radio and core network technology, and that building on Telstra’s current 300Mbps capability, the introduction of tri-band CA capability will enable Telstra’s 4GX network with theoretical peak speeds of up to 450Mbps, leveraging the cellco’s new 700MHz and 2600MHz spectrum, thereby delivering improved coverage and extra capacity.

Telstra and Ericsson announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of 5G standards and technologies. Mike Wright, managing director of networks at Telstra, said:

“While a 5G world is some time away, it is important to begin key foundational work now to help us to better understand this emerging new technology and what it can do for customers across Australia and the world. For Telstra, 5G will be an evolution of our world leading 4G network, and we are keen to work together with our network partner Ericsson to drive the standards, test new concepts and research the new architectures.”

The pair will collaborate on 5G projects including the following areas:

– 3GPP standards evolution;

– 5G radio test bed (Telstra staff will join Ericsson in their advanced technology facilities in Sweden later this year to test and analyse the latest innovations);

– 5G field trial (Telstra will run a trial in Australia involving industry partners and customers);

– PoC (Proof of Concept) for MTC (Machine Type Communications), a key enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT); and

– Core network evolution (Ericsson adds that ‘for 5G to be an end-to-end network reality, the mobile core network will need to evolve to support the new services. To facilitate understanding in this area, Telstra and Ericsson will collaborate to investigate and demonstrate key capabilities for a 5G ready evolved core network using the Ericsson Cloud System, Router 6000 series, Evolved Packet Core, SDN controller, IMS and other core elements’).

The collaboration activities will commence in the second quarter of 2015 and continue to evolve as the standards mature and 5G becomes a commercial network reality (projected to be around 2020).


Huawei Presents 4.5G/5G Developments; UK 5G Lab Achieves 1Tbps

Chinese technology heavyweight Huawei has given an outline of its ‘4.5G’ strategy, with the vendor reiterating that it expects 4.5G technologies to be deployed commercially by as soon as 2016, as a further evolution of the LTE standard prior to 5G becoming a commercial reality. At a briefing in London, Bob Cai, Huawei’s vice president of wireless network product marketing, presented potential opportunities enabled by 4.5G, ‘with ultra high speed massive connections and low latency, allowing all of us to be fully prepared for the large-scale arrival of applications for cellular Internet of Things (IoT)’, stimulating the increasing popularity of various technologies such as mobile virtual reality glasses, smart metering and drones. The presentation continued: 

“4.5G can deliver up to 1Gbps bandwidth on mobile networks, making mobile virtual reality possible … 4.5G will make cellular IoT a reality. Industry applications such as smart metering require low-power terminals and better network coverage. While LTE is mainly designed to handle smart phone capacity, which is unable to reach a large scale, 4.5G supports up to 100K per cell connections via LTE-M, 100 times that of 4G. LTE-M also provides better coverage (receivers require 1/100th of the signal of existing 2G systems, 20dB Gain) using low-power terminals (ten-year battery life).”

Regarding requirements for lower latency, Huawei’s presentation gave the example of a drone requiring at least a 20ms end-to-end latency for precision control, and noted that 4.5G would provide the capability of less than 10ms end-to-end latency, ‘opening the door for large scale commercialisation of real-time mobile applications.’

Huawei has also announced that it will present 5G-oriented air interface technologies at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next week. The solutions include non-orthogonal access technology based on Sparse Code Multiple Access (SCMA) and Filtered-Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (F-OFDM). Huawei says its new air interface design can ‘effectively improve spectral efficiency, increase connectivity and reduce latency, thus facilitating the deployment of customised scenarios applied to the Internet of Things (IoT) and for high bandwidth-consuming scenarios such as virtual reality.’ Huawei’s 5G air interface architecture also supports the full duplex prototype technology featuring multi-path fading cancellation and large bandwidth, and the vendor added that the new duplex mechanism is ‘able to improve spectral efficiency by 200%, laying a solid foundation for future unification of TDD and FDD spectrums.’

Also in 5G developments this week, the UK’s University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) has achieved data speeds of 1Tbps over a distance of 100 metres in laboratory tests using university-built equipment. While comparable commercial speeds are not thought possible within the 2020 timeframe for the launch of 5G networks, the 5GIC tests are expected to be expanded campus-wide in 2016/17 ahead of public demonstrations scheduled for early 2018.



Singtel and Ericsson Partner to Explore Future of 5G

SingTel and Ericsson have announced their partnership to evaluate and test technologies that are candidates for future 5G standardization.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore future 5G networks and to address a wide range of use cases from consumers to industries. The companies will also study how 5G technology can support Singapore’s vision of being a “Smart Nation.”

Tay Soo Meng, Group Chief Technology Officer, SingTel, says:

“We see 5G as a potential technology that will support very advanced communication needs in the future. We will endeavor to explore, study and possibly trial the 5G technologies to ensure SingTel continues its technology leadership in the mobile communications domain.”

Sam Saba, Region Head of, Ericsson South East Asia & Oceania, says:

“5G will enable the full potential of Ericsson’s vision of the Networked Society, where everything that can be connected will be connected. This partnership with SingTel will enable us to further explore the opportunities that will arise with 5G, utilizing our market-leading technologies to develop our solutions and empower people, business and society in Singapore.”

With the expected 5G adoption to begin around 2020, Ericsson is focusing on how the industry will adopt the 5G standard globally to deliver capabilities and services beyond the mainstream 4G offerings.

Both companies are to form a team to study potential 5G candidate technologies which can be applicable to Singapore. The agreement allows flexibility for Ericsson and SingTel to explore a wide range of areas including, but not limited to, technologies to support Massive Machine Type Communications (MTC) and evolution to a cloud-based network.

Telenor Group

Telenor Group and Huawei Sign Five Year RAN Agreement

Norway’s Telenor Group has inked a five-year deal with Chinese vendor Huawei under which the latter will supply radio access network (RAN) equipment and professional services. This Global Frame Agreement will reportedly focus on modernising existing 2G and 3G networks while also providing Telenor’s subsidiaries with ‘leading 2G, 3G and 4G technologies through Huawei’s innovative solutions and professional services’. Commenting on the deal, Hilde Tonne, EVP and Head of Group Industrial Development at Telenor Group noted:

“We are pleased that Huawei continues to invest and leverage their innovation in mobile technology with Telenor. LTE is a key area of focus for Telenor and with Huawei global experience in building and supplying radio access equipment and professional services, Telenor will continue to bring superior mobile broadband experiences to end users.”

This deal represents the latest in a line of notable deals struck between the two companies; with Huawei having been selected by Telenor Global Services (TGS) as the sole partner for the latter’s Voice & IP network renovation across ten countries in September 2011, in January 2013 Telenor Group and Huawei inked a three-year strategic cooperation framework contract for IP microwave technologies under which the Chinese firm said it would deploy its end-to-end IP microwave solution for LTE backhaul in order to support Telenor’s plans to deploy 4G networks on a large scale.


IBM and Ericsson Collaborate on 5G Antenna Designs

Ericsson and IBM have announced a collaboration to jointly research phased array antenna designs for 5G, allowing networks to provide customers with data speeds orders of magnitude faster than what is available currently.

Ericsson and IBM said that they will research phased-array antenna techniques to develop prototype systems that will serve more mobile users, enable a multitude of new services on the same frequency, as well as offer data speeds that are orders of magnitude faster than today – competitive to existing cable and wired internet access speeds.

The phased-array design allows for more directional antennas that are electrically-steerable and will have significant weight and flexibility advantages over existing mechanical antennas.

The outcome of these technological advances will integrate on the order of a hundred antennas and radios on a single chip smaller than a credit card in size, greatly facilitating the use of these technologies for high-capacity small cells in indoor spaces and dense downtown areas.

Dr. Mehmet Soyuer, Manager of the Communication and Computation Subsystems Department, IBM Research says:

“We have accumulated over 10 years of experience in developing radio frequency (RF) integrated circuit and packaging solutions, demonstrating highly integrated phased arrays for various applications. We look forward to collaborating with Ericsson to help shape the future of mobile communications.”

Samsung Sets 5G Speed Record at 7.5Gbps, Over 30 Times Faster Than LTE

Samsung Electronics announced two industry first milestones in the development of 5G telecommunications networking technology, as the company clocked 7.5Gbps, or 940MB per second, the fastest ever 5G data transmission rate while in a stationary environment.

The company was also the industry’s first to achieve uninterrupted and stable connection at 1.2Gbps, or 150MB per second, in a mobile environment from a vehicle travelling at over 100km/h.

In addition to sheer numbers, Samsung’s recent stationary test was also the industry’s first successful 5G test that was conducted in an outdoor setting. Previous successful 5G tests throughout the industry have been conducted in stabilized, indoor environments, including laboratories. Meanwhile, the mobile test took 5G testing to another level, as it was conducted from a vehicle racing at high speeds on a 4.35km professional outdoor race track.

Both the stationary and mobile tests were conducted over a 28GHz 5G network. Until now, the industry as a whole has not used higher frequencies, such as 28GHz, despite their speed-related benefits, due to the likes of short communication range. However, Samsung overcame these obstacles through the company’s own Hybrid Adaptive Array Technology, which uses millimeter wave frequency bands to enable the use of higher frequencies over greater distances.

While the 5G standard has yet to be ratified, 5G networks are expected to offer data transmission rates that are tens, if not hundreds, of times greater than 4G LTE.

The recent milestones were also a seven-fold increase upon testing results from May 2013, when the company became the industry’s first to achieve 1Gbps over a 28GHz 5G network.

SK, Samsung Partner on 5G Development

SK Telecom and Samsung Electronics announced partnership on 5G network technology and service development. The MOU will see the two Korean companies cooperate on sharing their 5G vision with standardization groups and technology forums in and out of the country, define and select frequency bands suitable for implementation of 5G technology, conduct R&D and experiment on enabling technologies including the next-generation small cell, massive MIMO and next-generation modulation/demodulation, and develop large-volume and high-quality services based on 5G and the IoT. 

Through the joint research with Samsung Electronics, SK Telecom said it plans to define and develop detailed key performance indicators for the next-generation network so as to lead 5G technological evolution. Building on the expected gigabit speeds of 5G, SK plans to develop new services such as augmented/virtual reality, mobile tele-presence and holograms. In addition, the company plans to develop advanced-IoT technology to enable hyper-connected services that connect all objects and humans for interaction without limitation of time and place. SK earlier announced similar development partnerships on 5G with Ericsson and Nokia.

LG U+ and Huawei Establish Mobile Innovation Center in Seoul

Huawei says that it has opened a Mobile Innovation Center (MIC) in Seoul, in cooperation with the local mobile network operator, LG U.

On July 30, 2014, LG Uplus and Huawei signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to mark the announcement at the LG Uplus head office in Seoul. During the signing, the MIC committee, including Mr. Kim Sun Tae, Executive Vice President of Service and Development Division, LG Uplus and Mr. Yang Chaobin, Chief Marketing Officer of Huawei Wireless Networks, came together to discuss the acceleration of LTE-A Carrier Aggregation, innovation in small cell and network quality technologies, new 5G equipment, and the in-building of equipment development at the new center.

Mr. Kim Sun Tae, LG Uplus, said:

“Establishing the new MIC will provide both LG Uplus and Huawei with an increased competitive advantage in the ICT market.”

Mr. Kim went on to add that he expects the partnership to contribute significantly to the development of the country’s ICT industry, and deliver the most advanced LTE products and innovative 5G solutions to people in South Korea in the future.

ANRCETI Awards Three Licences to Orange Moldova

The National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI) of Moldova has awarded three operating licences in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands to domestic incumbent Orange Moldova. The three new technology-neutral authorizations are valid for 15 years, and will be effective from 6 November. In a press release, the regulator noted that the decision was taken in accordance with a spectrum management programme for 2013-2020, under which the expiration date of all mobile licences issued to network providers operating in the Republic should be synchronised. The regulator decided to initiate the synchronization process in order to ensure fair competition in the market, and to create the necessary conditions for the implementation of technological neutrality. On 26 February 2013 the watchdog granted Orange a 20-month provisional mobile licence, just days before its licence was due to expire (7 March); the technology-neutral licensing regime will be introduced for all operators on 5 November 2014, after the concessions held by Moldtelecom (Unite) and Moldcell expire.

Orange Moldova has already paid the required fees, which totalled MDL25.5 million (USD15.16 million). ANRCETI director Gregory Varan said the authorizations will allow Orange to ramp up the capacity of its existing networks and expand the coverage of its 2G/3G broadband infrastucture, which in turn will facilitate the migration of consumers to more advanced services – 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G in the future.ANCETI noted that the remaining licences in the aforementioned bands will be issued to cellcos Moldcell and Moldtelecom, once all the relevant fees have been paid by the two operators. Moldcell will be awarded 2×10MHz in the 800MHz band, 2×10MHz in the 900MHz band, and 2×25MHz in the 1800MHz band, while Moldcell will be issued two authorisations, namely 2×5MHz in the 900MHz band and 2×25MHz in the 1800MHz spectrum bands.

SK Telecom and Ericsson Show Off Elastic Cell, A Key Enabler for 5G

SK Telecom and Ericsson have demonstrated a key enabler for future 5G networks the so called Elastic Cell technology which can boost mobile data speeds at the edges of cell boundaries.

Elastic cell, also known as Flexible Cell, is a new technology that enables multiple cells near the handset to cooperate for every transmission, compared to the current cell-centric one where each handset communicates with only one specific cell.

A serving cell receives information on nearby cells from a handset and selects a group of cells that can improve the network quality in the cell-edge for transmission while temporarily turning off the cells that cause interferences. As a result, Elastic Cell can ensure more seamless data transmission by preventing possible quality degradation that can occur when the handset moves across cell boundaries.

According to SK Telecom and Ericsson, the demonstration confirmed that the technology can improve data transfer rate by up to 50 percent at the cell boundary areas compared to the existing LTE network.

With an aim to commercialize Elastic Cell by 2016, SK Telecom will continue to advance the technology.

Once applied, Elastic Cell will enable SK Telecom to provide the most optimized network service to each individual device regardless of its location while bringing the company one step closer to achieving the goal of ‘1Gbps data throughput anywhere’ which is also one of major issues in the minds of ‘METIS (Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society)’, an EU project for 5G research, and 5G Forum, an industry-academia R&D partnership for 5G in Korea.

Park Jin-hyo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Technology R&D Center at SK Telecom, said:

“SK Telecom, together with Ericsson, succeeded in the world’s first demonstration of Elastic Cell which is expected to become a prerequisite for the next generation network. We will continue to take the lead in developing a variety of technologies necessary to evolve cells.”

Earlier on July 6, the two companies signed a memorandum of understanding at Ericsson’s headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden for joint research on 5G technologies.


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