Seen & Heard at MWC: 5G Across the Globe
BARCELONA -- MWC 2018 -- Network operators are using Mobile World Congress to tout their 5G trials, try to establish themselves as leaders in the next-generation network technology and, if they're European, urge regulators to empower 5G live up to its potential -- and help them make money.
Here's a snapshot of early operator action.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is throwing down the 5G gauntlet, telling Light Reading it will be first with both fixed and mobile 5G in the US, starting with fixed 5G in the second half of this year and then moving to mobile "as soon as possible," by reusing its fixed towers and much of the same infrastructure, says Chris Schmidt, Verizon's executive director of device technology. (See Verizon: We'll Be First With Fixed & Mobile 5G.)
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao warns reporters this week that high licensing fees could hinder the deployment of 5G in Europe, calling on regulators to "take a longer-term view of what the technology can do and not just sell spectrum to squeeze money out of telcos," reports Light Reading's Iain Morris. (See Europe at Risk of 'Slow, Fragmented' 5G, Warns Vodafone Boss.)
Australian operator complink 5687|Telstra Corp. Ltd.} plans to close 2,500 local exchanges and repurpose remaining facilities as distributed, local data centers and build new data centers, to support its 5G rollout, Mike Wright, Telstra's group managing director of networks, told reporters. Telstra expects to launch 5G next year and is working to employ greater automation in network management layers and the back office, he says. Wright says virtualization will support all 5G services. (See Telstra Automates, Builds Out Distributed Cloud to Support 5G.)
Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) says it will start commercial 5G trials this year in countries -- including Germany, Hungary and Slovakia -- where it owns fixed and mobile infrastructure, the carrier told press. Like Vodafone's Colao, DT CEO Timotheus Höttges also criticized European regulators, Light Reading's Morris says, urging them not to overcharge for spectrum in the upcoming auction. (See DT Will Start Commercial 5G Trials in 2018.)
China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) demonstrates the world's first 5G CPE based on 3GPP standards in its booth at MWC. The Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd -made customer premises equipment (CPE) runs on the Chinese 3.5GHz 5G band and is designed for fixed-wireless deployments. (See China Mobile Claims First 3GPP Standard 5G CPE.)
BCE Inc. (Bell Canada) (NYSE/Toronto: BCE) says it has completed successful Wireless to the Home (WTTH) trials in the 3.5GHz and 28GHz spectrum bands using Huawei's 5G Massive MIMO and 8T8R technology. (See Huawei Preps for a Massive (MIMO) MWC .)
Some of the world's largest operators banded together to bring 5G deployment costs down through a new initiative called ORAN. The group combines white box technology with open source software in the radio access network, and is the merging of AT&T and DT's xRan Forum with China Mobile's C-RAN initiative. The group aims to maximize the use of off-the-shelf hardware to move away from vendors' proprietary hardware. (See Major Telcos Pool Efforts to Slash 5G RAN Costs.)
DT joined Telecom Italia (TIM) on the 5G Slicing Association, a group exploring network slicing use cases and setting up trials to prove out the technology, which is thought to be one of the most promising use cases of 5G.
Light Reading's team of editors are on the ground in Barcelona this week, tracking down 5G updates, guzzling coffee and following hot leads on tapas. Be sure to check out the site this week and beyond for full show floor coverage: http://www.lightreading.com/mobile-world-congress.asp.
— Sarah Thomas, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation
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