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WBBA issues IP networking wish list for 5.5G

The World Broadband Association (WBBA) says IP network infrastructure needs upgrading if it’s going to support the kind of services that will be carried by 5.5G and 6G networks.

The industry group has published a white paper that details its technical recommendations for how to evolve these networks to create what it calls a ‘Net5.5G framework’ – a future-proof digital IP transport foundation that can deliver secure operations, reduced construction costs, and improved network efficiency.

“Developments in AI computing applications and the metaverse have raised expectations of service agility and immersive experience assurance in business and consumer markets, and the networks currently in use are struggling to cope,” asserts Tayeb Ben Meriem, WBBA working group co-chair, vice chair of the IPv6 Forum, and co-author of the white paper. “IP transport networks must now be upgraded to support the increasing requirements from homes, business enterprises and mobile sites.”

WBBA says there are three defining characteristics of the ideal next-generation IP network:

– One network for all services

– One network to multiple clouds for cloud-network synergy

– Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) intelligent operations and management (O&M).

Understandably, high bandwidth and low latency are a given for the WBBA’s wish list, since these capabilities will underpin the real-time services and the high throughput that is expected to become the norm in the 5.5G era.

As such, the WBBA recommends metro, core and data centre networks (DCNs) be upgraded to 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GE). On the access side, networks need to be upgraded to 10-Gbps, including mobile broadband, home broadband, campus network, and enterprise private lines. WBBA said Wi-Fi 7 and experience-centric network architecture are needed to guarantee service quality on campus networks.

To support intelligent O&M, WBBA urges network operators to upgrade from level 3 (conditionally autonomous) network operations to L4, or highly autonomous network operations.

WBBA said IPv6 together with SRv6 (segment routing version 6 – a successor to MPLS) is the secret sauce that will make this new framework hang together.

IPv6 “offers flexibility in deploying emerging use cases and technologies such as 10G to the site, Wi-Fi 7, end-to-end 400GE, deterministic networking, and an application/computing-aware network with SRv6 for extensible capabilities,” WBBA said. “Cloud-network convergence with 10-Gbps access technologies, SRv6 IP transport network, and data centre network (DCN) overall single-view management, is the key to enabling true business success.”

WBBA doesn’t give a specific deadline for getting all these upgrades in place; however, it says many of the services that will come to rely on this architecture – AI-powered services, extended reality and so-on – are on course for reaching mainstream adoption by the end of this decade.

“From now through 2030 and beyond, remote-sensing technologies, remote AI applications and supercomputing will be the main drivers for ubiquitous 10-Gbps ultra-broadband deployments,” said co-author Zhong Hua Chen, senior engineer and project manager at China Telecom, and WBBA working group chair. “To support these scenarios, we need networks that can ensure high bandwidth and low latency, while being managed by intelligent end-to-end digital maps.”


Ericsson declares SEK 11 bln Q2 non-cash impairment to reflect lower Vonage portfolio growth

Ericsson has announced that it will record a non-cash impairment of SEK 11.4 billion in the second quarter 2024 for intangibles, mainly attributed to the Vonage acquisition. The impairment reflects lower anticipated market growth in some of Vonage’s current portfolio. The sum will be reported as a net income impact after tax in the Enterprise segment.

Niklas Heuveldop, head of the business area Global Communications Platform and CEO of Vonage, said the market environment has deteriorated and the company has decided to refocus its investments in strategically prioritised areas, leading it to reassess certain growth assumptions.

The vendor said its strategy to develop a new source of monetisation for the telecom industry remains. It said Vonage is at the centre of digitising enterprises and society by developing the Global Network Platform for network APIs, which was the strategic impetus for the Vonage acquisition. Ericsson said that twelve partnerships with major service providers have already been declared, including the addition of Singtel and Telstra in Q2.

Heuveldop said the company still sees a positive momentum throughout the industry. Ericsson is making advanced 5G network capabilities available to the global developer sector, he said, to accelerate the innovation of value-added applications for industry and society. This will open up new revenue streams for Ericsson’s operator customers and spur growth in the telecoms industry.


Nokia expands Industry 4.0 drone sales in Europe, Asia Pacific

Nokia continues to expand its channel activity around the supply of private 4G/5G networks, and related edge computing, hardware, and software applications; the Finnish vendor has announced a new deal with New York-based Westcon-Comstor (Westcon) to distribute its drone-in-a-box solution to resellers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. 

Westcon, with a long-standing deal with Nokia already, will distribute the firm’s 4G/5G drone solution, badged Nokia Drone Networks, via Nokia-certified resellers, integrators, and other service providers. The CE and FCC certified solution works with its private 4G/5G systems, geared towards industrial and public sector markets, as well as with public 4G/5G networks. 

It supports beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations. It is being sold in the US, where it gained FCC approval at the end of last year, with its DAC and MPW private 4G/5G systems via the likes of Kyndryl, DXC Technology, Future Technologies Venture, Graybar, and Trilogy NextGen, plus via the enterprise solutions units of operators AT&T and Verizon.

In a statement, Nokia quoted a forecast from Statista that the global market for “connected automated” drones will grow from $26.3 billion in 2021 to $54.6 billion by 2030. It said: “Drones can serve numerous use cases from site security, machine inspection, predictive maintenance and environmental sensing, resulting in positive ROI versus conventional methods.”

It cited usage in the ports, oil and gas, mining, public safety, telecoms, and utilities markets – with private/public 4G/5G networks, depending on local coverage performance and private security requirements. The drone solution integrates via open APIs with third-party applications, allowing for customisation to add features and capabilities.

It incorporates network measurement capabilities from Germany-based test company Rohde & Schwarz. Nokia said the deal with Westcon raised opportunities for third-party resellers to win new customers and grow business with existing customers via cross-selling and upselling sundry 4G/5G-related industrial edge componentry. Nokia focused on the private networks angle.

Pri Rawal, global head of enterprise campus edge partnerships at Nokia, said: “The use of industrial drones as well as global [4G/5G] spectrum policies to use [them] is growing – [which] accelerates the introduction of Nokia’s… drone-in-a-box system for private and public 4G/5G networks… This milestone [deal with Westcon-Comstor] will help our… deployment projects [and [provide] worker safety and productivity in crucial industries such as mining and oil and gas.”

Antony Byford, vice president of IoT and collaboration at Westcon-Comstor, said: “Drones are a technology of the future, with strong and growing demand across public safety, smart cities, construction, energy and more. We are excited [to bring Nokia’s] drone-in-a-box solution to a wider audience… through our channel partners in multiple geographic territories.”


European telcos release new update on Open RAN technical priorities

The update is the result of the work carried out by the European carriers under the a previously signed Open RAN MoU

European carriers Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, TIM and Vodafone Group have released an update on the technical priorities of Open RAN, the telcos said in a joint statement.

The update is the result of the work carried out by these European carriers under the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Open RAN they had previously signed.

The Open RAN Technical Priorities Release 4 is an update of the previous releases published in June 2021, March 2022 and April 2023, they said.

Each release has prioritized different aspects of Open RAN development. Release 1 focused on the main scenarios and technical requirements for each of the building blocks of a multi-vendor RAN. Release 2 mainly focused on intelligence, orchestration, transport and cloud infrastructure, addressing also the energy efficiency goals and targets to support sustainable Open RAN. Meanwhile, Release 3 mainly focused on developing requirements on SMO and RIC building blocks and to enhance other areas such as Cloud infrastructure, O-CU/O-DU and O-RU, addressing also the security topic to support more secure Open RAN.

The partners noted that the fourth release of the technical priorities has primarily focused on developing further requirements on SMO especially related to AI/ML framework, interworking with traditional RAN and slicing management.  Moreover, this new release focuses in more detail on the RAN hardware acceleration topic and various challenges related to both the look-aside and in-line acceleration card models.  In particular, the RAN HW acceleration requirements are now contained within a dedicated section of the MoU Technical Priorities document.

“The technical priorities are those that the signatories consider priorities for Open RAN solutions. The technical priorities serve as guidance to the RAN supplier industry on where they can focus to accelerate market deployments in Europe, focusing on commercial product availability in the short term, and solution development in the medium term,” the statement reads.

“The overall objective is to promote a fast pace for the development of competitive Open RAN solutions in Europe, across other regions and ultimately accelerate the global adoption of the technology. The Open RAN MoU Group technical priorities will evolve over time following the progress of Open RAN standardization, in the respective standardization bodies, and the market development of Open RAN solutions,” it added.


South East Asia, Oceania to reach 560mn 5G subs by end-2029: Ericsson

The report said 5G subscriber numbers continue to grow in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand

5G subscriptions in South East Asia and Oceania 5G are forecast to reach around 560 million by the end of 2029, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

The updated report stated that the 5G subscriber base continues to grow in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as subscribers migrate to this technology, driven by more affordable 5G devices, promotional plans, discounts and large data bundles from service providers, Ericsson said.

The Nordic vendor added that 5G subscriber base as a percentage of the total subscriber base has reached over 20% in these markets.

Ericsson also highlighted that service providers in advanced 5G markets such as Australia and Singapore continue to focus on innovations in speed, coverage and differentiated services.

“In the Philippines, while 5G network coverage has increased over the past year, 5G penetration and data consumption remain low. In Indonesia, 5G subscriber uptake has been limited, as service providers are waiting to be awarded mid-band spectrum for expanding their 5G coverage,” the report stated. “Indonesian service providers launched 5G in 2021 with the 2.3 GHz, 2.1 GHz and 1,800 MHz bands. Among other countries, Vietnam recently auctioned 5G mid-band spectrum, and the launch of commercial 5G is expected in the next 6–12 months.”

Meanwhile, Ericsson noted that in North East Asia, service providers have invested in 5G to improve coverage and capacity, focusing on indoor coverage. “Strong 5G subscription growth continued in 2023, rising by 234 million to total 908 million subscriptions. 5G is the only growing subscription type and is expected to reach 1.8 billion in 2029. 5G subscription uptake, supported by the availability of more 5G device models, has positively impacted service providers’ financial performance,” said the vendor.

Ericsson’s report also highlighted that major service providers in leading 5G markets, such as mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea, have reported that 5G subscribers have had a positive impact on service revenues and ARPU. The report also stressed that there is strong regional interest in new 5G IoT solutions based on reduced capability or RedCap.

“For example, in mainland China, the regulator is encouraging faster ecosystem readiness, and urban area coverage is planned by 2024 in all major cities. Availability of commercial RedCap services has been claimed by three service providers in early 2024.”

The Ericsson report also forecasts that Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connections worldwide are projected to increase to 330 million by the end of 2029, up from 130 million last year. Of the 330 million projected connections, close to 85% are expected to be over 5G.

Ericsson noted that the number of FWA connections in Asia-Pacific is expected to more than triple in the 2023-2029 period, increasing its share of global FWA connections from 39% in 2023 to 48% in 2029.

“Higher volumes of 5G FWA in large, high-growth countries, such as India, have the potential to drive economies of scale for the overall 5G FWA ecosystem, resulting in affordable customer premises equipment (CPE) that will have a positive impact across low-income markets,” Ericsson said.

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