Verizon signs first private 5G contract in Europe

(Reuters) – Verizon Communications Inc, one of the largest U.S. telecom companies, on Thursday signed its first private 5G contract in Europe with Associated British Ports (ABP) to deploy the mobile network at the Port of Southampton.

Port of Southampton, on England’s south coast, is one of the largest ports for cars and cruises, handling about 900,000 cars and millions of cruise passengers annually. It will also become the first mainland port in the UK to have private 5G.

Verizon in October struck here deals with Microsoft and Nokia for deploying private 5G. In international markets, where Verizon doesn’t have its own network, it is working with Nokia to build private networks for manufacturing and logistics companies.

Private 5G networks remove the need for businesses to jostle for speed with others on a public network and help enable data-intensive applications that use computer vision, augmented reality and machine learning to increase productivity.

The new tech will help the port to enable the use of real-time analytics, asset tracking, autonomous guided vehicles and safety monitoring.

“We have been able to equip ABP to take advantage of the immediate benefits private 5G offers, and … take full advantage of new technology applications and real-time analytics which will digitally transform its services in the future,” said Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business.

Ericsson opens lab in Canada to test new 5G tech

(Reuters) – Ericsson is opening a lab in Ottawa, Canada, to work with customers and partners on new 5G radio access networks (RAN) technologies, the company said on Wednesday.

The Swedish telecoms equipment maker said the technologies would include Open RAN, which would allow mobile operators to build networks that are not tied to a vendor.

“This initiative will help to test the limits of 5G connectivity, working closely with operators and enterprise customers globally, as the industry continues to adopt more open architectures,” said Executive Vice President Fredrik Jejdling.

Ericsson is working with service providers such as KDDI, Orange, Softbank Corp and Turkcell, as well as partners such as Intel and Nvidia.

Nokia last year became here the first major telecoms equipment maker to commit to adding open interfaces in its products that will allow mobile operators to build networks not linked to a vendor.

Cisco unveils gear to cope with pandemic demand, 5G

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Cisco Systems Inc on Tuesday announced new products to help mobile network operators manage increased data traffic generated by homeworking because of the pandemic and as the 5G rollout connects billions more devices to the internet.

Remote healthcare services, streaming video and gaming and homeworking have led to a 25%-45% increase in internet traffic in many regions across the globe since the COVID-19 pandemic, Cisco said.

And 5G will mean billions more internet-connected devices.

Cisco says it expects nearly 30 billion connected devices in 2023, compared with 18.4 billion in 2018.

It is proposing an approach to designing the network, open to all systems, and says its new routing gear will help telecom operators to build up high-capacity networks at reduced cost.

It has signed up clients, including Airtel, Google Cloud, Rakuten Mobile, Telenor and Telia Carrier.

“There’s still 3 billion people on the planet who are under-served, which means they can’t get enough connectivity or they’re completely unconnected,” Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager at Cisco, told Reuters in an interview.

Safaricom launches East Africa’s first 5G network

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s biggest telecoms operator Safaricom has started trials for 5G high-speed internet network using technology from Nokia and Huawei, it said.

Safaricom, part owned by South Africa’s Vodacom and Britain’s Vodafone want to boost its fast-growing data business, amid increasing demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work and learn from home.

The trials, which started with four Kenyan cities and towns on Friday, will be expanded to 150 sites in nine urban areas in the next 12 months, Safaricom said in a statement.

Safaricom said last year it would consider Huawei for its 5G network rollout. The United States has urged countries not to include Huawei in their 5G plans, citing security concerns, which Huawei has denied.

Safaricom is the market leader in the mobile data segment in Kenya, with 67.5% of total users as of last September, statistics from the regulator Communications Authority of Kenya showed.

The company has a 35.6% share of the small but growing internet to home and office by fibre market, CAK said.

The new 5G network will give consumers internet speeds of 700 megabits per second, more than three times faster than the current 4G network, the company said.

It will also allow Safaricom to offer an alternative service for homes and offices in areas which are not currently covered by the its fibre network, the company said.

The technology will also support far many more devices to connect to the internet in a given area, compared with the existing network.

Chile fast-tracking 5G roll-out, but with tight rules on security, official says

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile is fast-tracking an ambitious plan to roll out a 5G mobile technology network across most of the country within two years, a senior official told Reuters, but will assure strong oversight at a time of simmering global tensions over cybersecurity.

With the United States and China at odds over cybersecurity and data protection, Chile, which counts both countries as top trade partners, will keep doors open to any company that adheres to its strict rules, Telecommunications Undersecretary Pamela Gidi told Reuters.

“As long as (the regulations) are respected, we neither have nor are we going to influence the supply chain nor the nationality of the companies,” she said.

Fifth-generation technology networks are expected to power everything from high-speed video transmissions to self-driving cars. The long battle over the safety of critical communications technology led Washington to blacklist dozens of Chinese firms, including telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co.

The blistering two-year timetable would put Chile well ahead of regional neighbors, and Gidi said she hoped it would attract Amazon Web Services. The Inc unit has long toyed with the idea of installing a southern cone data center in Chile or Argentina.

“We think obviously (5G deployment) can help in the decision of Amazon and other companies that in the future decide settle in Chile,” she said.

WOM, a mobile telephone brand launched by London-based investment firm Novator Partners, won a government tender in February to establish a 5G spectrum in Chile, in addition to Spain-based Movistar and the Chilean telecoms firm Entel.

Chilean market analysts have speculated that WOM will hire Huawei, a leader in the sector, to provide the necessary technology.

WOM did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Huawei declined to comment, but has repeatedly denied U.S. allegations that it is a security risk and says it abides with local laws in the countries in which it operates.

Gidi said WOM was free to choose how best to roll-out the technology within the terms of its contract.

“We give freedom to the companies that concession the spectrum to make their commercial decisions freely provided the (cybersecurity) technical standards are respected.”

Nokia partners with internet giants – Shares react

Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia on Monday announced it has partnered with Microsoft, Amazon web services and Google to develop new cloud-based 5G radio solutions with its radio access network (RNA) technology.

The goal of the partnerships is to develop new business cases, the company said in three separate statements.

“Open collaboration is key to the development of new and innovative high value 5G use cases that will equip our customers with the tools they need for digital transformation,” Nokia President of Mobile Networks Tomi Uitto said.

Nokia shares were up over 4% in Helsinki at 1300 GMT.

Nokia signs patent license pact with Samsung

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Nokia has struck a deal with Samsung to license patents covering its innovations in video standards, the Finnish telecom company said on Thursday.

While the companies did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement, Samsung will make royalty payments to Nokia.

Nokia’s patent portfolio is composed of around 20,000 patent families, including over 3,500 declared essential to 5G.

The deal comes months after rival Ericsson filed a lawsuit in the United States against Samsung in a dispute over royalty payments and patent licenses.

The U.S. International Trade Commission said last month it would open an investigation after Ericsson claimed Samsung had infringed on some of its patents in 4G and next generation 5G wireless cellular communications infrastructure systems.

Europe’s largest 5G exhibition center is being built in Hanover, Germany

Deutsche Messe’s exhibition center in Hanover will get its own 5G campus network before the end of the year. This will create Europe’s largest 5G exhibition center, equipped with the new, high-speed generation in mobile communications.

In close partnership with Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Messe AG is gradually transforming the exhibition grounds into a highly innovative multifunctional campus. Deutsche Telekom is ensuring comprehensive, high-performance 5G coverage over a total area of more than 1.4 million square meters.

Telekom is implementing the campus network as a hybrid network. The fair ground thus has a private network that trade fairs and exhibitors can use for their applications. At the same time, visitors to the trade fairs have excellent coverage with the public 5G network covering the exhibition area.

One of the largest 5G campus networks in Europe

With the 5G expansion, the Hanover site will also get one of the largest 5G campus networks in Europe in terms of area. In the first step, Deutsche Telekom is equipping five halls and the entire outdoor area, including adjacent parking lots, with 5G. Telekom will then supply all 30 halls and buildings on the exhibition grounds.

The aim is to create a globally-unique test field for 5G, where technology leaders from a wide range of industries can test their use cases. Deutsche Messe and Deutsche Telekom are developing and marketing the joint 5G offering as partners.

“For Deutsche Messe, the early decision to have its own 5G campus network covering the entire exhibition center is a strategically important step. With the allocation of a private 5G license by the Federal Network Agency and Deutsche Telekom as a partner, we are strengthening our core and new business.

We are thus offering exhibitors and guest organizers of all trade fairs in Hanover the opportunity to present their 5G-enabled products, solutions and applications live to an international audience,” said Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Messe AG. “With the 5G Campus network, Deutsche Telekom is opening up a unique opportunity for our exhibition center to become one of the largest private and self-contained 5G areas in Europe,” adds Köckler.

“Deutsche Telekom is the driving force behind the 5G rollout in Germany – especially for business. With this high-speed 5G campus network, we are delivering a transparent test area for industry here in Hanover,” says Tim Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom. “Digitization and innovation in Germany will benefit from our strong partnership with Messe AG.”

Exhibition ground becomes an innovation campus
In the future, Deutsche Messe’s 5G site will also offer comprehensive coverage with Telekom’s public 5G network. Innovative and forward-looking applications will be researched, developed and tested here. This applies to products, solutions and applications across all industries. 

Köckler: “We are thus changing from a mere organizer to an operator of a site for testing and demonstration purposes in high-tech environments. We are developing our exhibition center into a multifunctional innovation campus.”

The Lower Saxony Ministry of Digitization is supporting the 5G expansion of the exhibition center with more than 2.8 million euros. Minister of Economics and Digitalization Dr. Bernd Althusmann: “Corona will lead to long-term changes in the trade-fair business, as well as other sectors of the economy.

Deutsche Messe AG is consistently aligning itself for the future with the 5G Smart Venue strategy. We now have the opportunity to help shape this structural change and the accelerated digitalization it will bring.” Lower Saxony has so far been a frontrunner in this respect. A total of eleven 5G projects in Lower Saxony have already received concept funding from the federal government. No other federal state can boast more awards in this area.

Lower Saxony is one of the only German states to develop a funding framework to support the establishment of research- and industry-related 5G campus networks. The state government’s 5G strategy aims not only to support individual projects, such as Messe AG’s, but to develop a state-wide 5G ecosystem.

Hagen Rickmann, Managing Director of the Business Customer segment at Telekom Deutschland adds: “5G will bring fundamental competitive advantages, especially for industry. Production and mobility will benefit just as much as applications for smart cities, logistics, or medical technology. The advantages of this future technology will become tangible at the Hanover exhibition center. And thus, tangible for visitors and customers.”

Source: Deutsche Telekom

Qualcomm targets markets beyond phones with new 5G chip

Qualcomm Inc on Tuesday released a new chip for connecting devices to 5G networks that it hopes will be adopted for home internet use and inside businesses as a competitor to WiFi.

The San Diego chip designer is the biggest supplier of modem chips that connect smart phones and other consumer electronics to cellular data networks. Qualcomm is aiming to take advantage of the faster speeds possible with 5G network technology to expand its footprint in other markets.

The newest chip, called the X65 modem, is Qualcomm’s fourth generation of 5G modem but the first capable of hitting peak download speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, about 10 times faster than peaks on previous LTE networks and comparable to fiber broadband services.

A major focus for the new chip will be commercial and industrial applications, such as connecting computers and equipment scattered across corporate campuses directly to cloud computing services when a traditional WiFi network would not be feasible.

Another will be fixed-wireless internet installations, where 5G gear replaces a traditional wire-based home or business broadband internet service.

Cristiano Amon, who will take over as Qualcomm’s chief executive in June, said the networks could offer a faster option for people who live in neighborhoods where fiber-optic internet service is not available.

“We now have the technology in place to start thinking about all those services beyond phones,” Amon told reporters.

Amon said the X65 modem will be used in 40 different product designs for fixed-wireless gear from telecommunications carriers that will start hitting markets in the second half of 2021.

Fixed-wireless sales will be reported in the company’s “internet of things” revenue in the company’s financial results, Amon said. Revenue from those chips grew 48% to $1 billion during Qualcomm’s fiscal first quarter reported last week.

Qualcomm sees strong quarter ahead as 5G ramps up

Qualcomm Inc on Wednesday forecast fiscal second-quarter sales and profits above Wall Street expectations, driven by a wave of phone buyers around the world upgrading their devices for 5G network connectivity.

The San Diego, California-based chip designer forecast sales with a midpoint of $7.6 billion and adjusted profit at a midpoint of $1.65 per share, compared with estimates of $7.10 billion and $1.57 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Qualcomm is the world’s biggest supplier of chips that help mobile phones connect to cellular data networks, providing chips to Apple Inc and other handset makers. But the company is also building out businesses supplying chips to automakers such as General Motors Inc, which last week disclosed a deal to source chips from Qualcomm, and challenging Intel Corp with new processors for laptop and desktop computers.

Two of the company’s newer business lines – radio frequency chips to help devices handle newer 5G signals and internet-of-things chips for devices such as wireless headphones – have now become billion-dollar-per-quarter businesses.

Cristiano Amon, the company’s president who will take over as chief executive in June, said that the company expects chip supplies to remain tight until the second half of the year but that demand was outstripping supply as rivals of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s, which largely did not use Qualcomm’s chips, moved in to take the Chinese brand’s market share after a U.S. blacklisting last year.

“We’re seeing growth of share in a preeminent high tier,” Amon said.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm’s current chief executive, added: “If we could make more, we could sell it.”

Qualcomm forecast a midpoint of $6.25 billion in revenue for its chip business in the fiscal second quarter, beating estimates of $5.62 billion, according to data from FactSet. Qualcomm forecast a midpoint of sales for its licensing business, which has higher margins than its chip business and generates much of its profit, of $1.35 billion, lower than estimates of $1.43 billion, according to FactSet.

The higher sales of chips – and chips with better margins – accounted for the company’s above-expectations profit forecast despite falling short of estimates for its licensing business, Akash Palkhiwala, Qualcomm’s chief financial officer, told Reuters.

“There’s a mix shift that’s happening within our business,” he said.

For the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 27, Qualcomm said sales and adjusted profit were $8.24 billion and $2.17 per share, compared with analyst estimates of $8.27 billion and $2.10 per share, according to Refinitiv data. Chip and licensing revenue were $6.53 billion and $1.66 billion, respectively, compared with estimates of $6.51 billion and $1.72 billion, according to FactSet data.

Qualcomm said first-quarter sales for handset chips were $4.22 billion, jumping 79% from a year before on the strength of 5G phone upgrades. Sales of radio frequency chips, a growth area for Qualcomm, increased 157% to $1.06 billion. Automotive chips sales were $212 million, up 44% from the previous year.