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5G to continue rapid adoption, Molex State of 5G reports

Inside Telecom Staff

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State of 5G

Molex, a global connectivity and electronics solutions provider, released Monday a global survey of decision makers from telecom carriers exploring the “State of 5G” and the significant transformational opportunities it presents.

Additionally, the survey asked about the impact on deployment progress, current delivery challenges and emerging business prospects. Overall, carriers are optimistic: more than half of those surveyed expect to deliver substantial end-user benefits within two to five years while 47 percent reported that users already are seeing value or will within one year.

Carrier insights into the state of 5G

“The 5G market is nearing an inflection point as carriers report steady progress despite continued challenges,” said Aldo Lopez, president, Datacom Solutions, Molex. “Fully realizing 5G’s potential will transform multiple industries and markets. It is a long game that requires collaboration across an entire ecosystem of hardware, software and connectivity companies to innovate to these new mobile network standards, which in turn, will accelerate user adoption.”

Molex commissioned Dimensional Research to conduct The State of 5G Survey in February 2021, polling more than 200 qualified participants in engineering, product and R&D roles at network operators or Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs).

A variety of 5G questions were asked, with emphasis on timing and use cases; more than half of those surveyed reported 5G deployment delays caused by the impact of COVID-19 while more than a third reported future roadmaps delays.

The report highlighted that 92 percent of participants expect to achieve 5G business goals within five years; larger carriers reported a focus on generating new revenue streams while supporting existing business to reduce operational costs and accommodate increasing demand at 65 percent.

In parallel, consumer devices leveraging 5G technology will be first to generate significant new revenue standing at 43 percent, followed by industrial and IoT at 35 percent, while fixed wireless access was reported at 33 percent.

It is worth mentioning that 100 percent of respondents report issues with 5G deployment; top-three challenges are spectrum issues were flagged at 41 percent, lack of consumer use cases at 31 percent, and regulations at 30 percent.

When asked to identify the most important technology or industry changes that will enable network operators to achieve their business goals, respondents cited reduced costs of 5G infrastructure and network equipment presented at 41 percent; innovation in enabling technologies, including semiconductors and sensors standing at 31 percent; availability of new types of devices that require connectivity reaching 26 percent; as well as interoperable and consistent government regulations at 22 percent.

Split Decision on Need for ‘Killer Apps’ to Drive Adoption

Only three in five survey participants reported the need for a “killer app” or transformative use case to drive 5G adoption and significant new business revenues. Augmented reality (AR), gaming and smart home applications topped the list of primary consumer devices while robotics, logistics and factories were the leading 5G-enabled use cases for industrial and IoT.

Rural home access topped the list of primary uses cases for fixed wireless access at 53 percent, followed by city and suburban home access stood at 45 percent and remote industrial infrastructure access at 41 percent.

Additionally, autonomous driving, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications and vehicle telematics ranked highest on the list of primary use cases for the automotive industry. Remote patient monitoring, medical wearables and remote surgery were identified as “killer apps” for the medical market.

Timeline of User Benefits by Region

Only 25 percent of those polled believe that 5G is delivering substantial benefits to consumers today, but 99 percent anticipate substantial benefits within five years. More than half said consumers in Japan and Korea already recognize substantial benefit from 5G.

China also continues to gain traction with more than half of survey respondents indicating that consumers benefit currently standing at 24 percent or are expected to benefit within one year reaching 27 percent.

According to the survey, expectations for the U.S. are that it will take two-to-five years (75 percent of whom) for consumers to fully realize significant advantages nationwide.

5G Technologies and Topologies Take Hold

Small cell (48 percent), mmWave (46 percent) and private networks (46 percent) were identified as the top three technologies/topologies to play critical roles in enabling 5G advantages.

While no consensus was reached on which technology would be first to impact users, mmWave emerged as the long-term leader, garnering 47 percent of the votes, followed by sub-6 at 27 percent, and wide-area low power at 26 percent.

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S. Korean operators to share 5G networks in remote areas

Karim Hussami

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S. Korean operators

South Korea’s three major mobile operators, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus, have agreed to share their 5G networks in remote coastal and farm towns.

The initiative is designed to accelerate the rollout of 5G networks across the country, Yonhap news agency cited the Korean ICT Ministry as saying. The agreement signed by SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus will enable 5G users to access 5G services regardless of their mobile operator in 131 remote locations across the country.

The ministry said telecom operators will test the network sharing system before the end of this year and aim for complete commercialization in phases by 2024.

The ministry noted that the selected remote regions are sparsely populated, with a population density of 92 people per square kilometer, compared with those without network sharing at 3,490 people per square kilometer.

1 million subscribers in 5g network

In addition, South Korea ended January with 12.87 million subscribers in the 5G segment after a net addition of almost 1 million subscribers in the first months of the year, Yonhap reported, citing data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.

As of February, the country had 13.66 million 5G subscriptions, accounting for 19 percent of its total mobile users. South Korea was the world’s first country to commercialize 5G in April 2019.

The big boost in 5G subscriptions during the first month of the year was due to the popularity of Samsung Electronics’ latest flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones, according to the report.

“Korean telcos are expecting a big surge in 5G adoption this year, with top wireless carrier SK Telecom aiming to have 9 million 5G users by the end of the year, and smaller rival LG Uplus targeting 4 million,” the ministry said.

SK Telecom added a total of 1.21 million 5G subscribers in the last quarter of 2020. For full 2020, SK Telecom saw the addition of 3.4 million subscribers in the 5G segment, according to previous reports.

Total mobile subscriptions in the Asian nation stood at 70.69 million at the end of January, with 4G subscriptions at 51.9 million, down 660,000 compared to December.

The move comes as the country races to establish nationwide 5G coverage, with network equipment currently installed in major cities.

The three telecom operators promised in July last year to invest up to 25.7 trillion won (US$23.02 billion) to update their network infrastructure by 2022.

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Romania bans Huawei from its 5G efforts

Inside Telecom Staff

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Romania bans Huawei

The Romanian government approved on Thursday a United States-supported bill banning China and its mammoth telecoms vendor Huawei from participating in the country’s 5G development efforts, reported Reuters citing a member of the IT&C and National Security Committee.

Romania joins the likes of the U.S., UK, India, and Taiwan who consider Huawei to be persona non grata from their domestic 5G endeavors.

The 5G security concerns, which were ignited by the Trump administration’s trade spat with China, includes espionage, sabotage, and blackmail. The U.S. government considers Huawei as a security risk and has urged allies to shun its equipment over fears it could serve as a Trojan horse for Chinese intelligence services.

The consequences of the trade war have spilled over to Europe as it becomes the center of a technological race divided between Beijing and Washington. Earlier last year, Germany ruled to keep Huawei as a part of the country’s 5G future, delivering a diplomatic blow to the U.S., and favoring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s close relations with China.

However, these tensions with the Chinese tech titan have proved beneficial for European rivals Ericsson and Nokia, who have stepped in markets that dumped Huawei.

The fifth generation of mobile networks is expected to become the de-facto telecoms infrastructure that will set the stage for a wide array of services and products such as autonomous vehicles and the fourth industrial revolution.

“The government just approved this bill of paramount importance for Romania, sealing a 2019 memorandum signed in Washington, meaning that China and Huawei are ruled out from any would-be partnership on 5G with the Romanian state,” Romanian MP Pavel Popescu told Reuters.

The August 2019 memorandum entailed that the move would be “as part of risk-based security approach, careful and complete evaluation of 5G vendors is necessary.”

Romania has always considered the United States as an important ally, even before the country joined NATO back in 2004. In parallel, Huawei has repeatedly denied allegations that it reports back to the Chinese state and has even filed multiple lawsuits in the U.S. courts to battle this claim.

“National security is a key goal and protecting Romania’s future generations’ personal data is crucial,” Popescu told Reuters.

The bill says a vendor’s evaluation should say whether a company is subject to control by a foreign government, has a transparent ownership structure, and is subject to a legal regime that enforces transparent corporate practices.

Popescu said the bill, which could be rubber-stamped in parliament in the next weeks, is a prerequisite to launching 5G tenders in the Black Sea state in second half of the year.

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Cradlepoint intros 5G edge router for in-vehicle networks

Karim Hussami

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Cradlepoint intros 5G

Cradlepoint announced its new R1900 Ruggedized 5G edge Router, designed for in-vehicle networks such as first responders. The device comes with a Cradlepoint NetCloud subscription service that includes cloud-delivered software, endpoints, training and support.

The global leader in cloud-delivered LTE and 5G wireless network edge solutions, offers the router which is optimized for in-vehicle networks and offers superior ruggedness, performance, security, connectivity, and utility in a purpose-built, compact design. Again, Cradlepoint sets the bar for 5G edge solutions.

According to a recent IDC report, the market for enterprise LTE and 5G routers is exploding and forecast to reach close to $3B by 2024.

Importance of 5G edge

As 5G proliferates, enterprise and public sector organizations will take advantage of secure and fiber-fast 5G mobile networks to enable immersive applications for field force productivity and enhanced customer experiences.

“While others view 5G as a simple add-on to existing products, Cradlepoint has taken a clean-sheet-of-paper approach with the R1900,” Todd Krautkremer, chief marketing officer at Cradlepoint said.

“5G is more than just a faster pipe – it enables transformative applications that help mobile workforces be safer and more productive while delivering better customer experiences. However, achieving these benefits requires a 5G mobile router that is up to the task from a reliability, performance, connectivity, security, and edge computing standpoint, and the R1900 with NetCloud delivers on all of these attributes,” he added.

Cradlepoint is a first mover in the “5G for Business” market, shipping the industry’s first enterprise-class 5G product back in June 2020.

Second-generation 5G architecture

In addition, the R1900 is the first product to launch using its second-generation 5G architecture – most network vendors have not shipped their first 5G product. The company’s early 5G and long-standing mobile and IoT experience helped create a global mobile platform that supports the fiber-fast speeds and breadth of use cases enabled by 5G worldwide.

Ken Rehbehn, senior principal analyst at OMDIA says that “Mobile applications and use cases serving the requirements of public safety and enterprise organizations continue to expand, forcing an embrace of high-performance 5G mobile broadband services and edge computing.”

He added: “In-vehicle routers, such as Cradlepoint’s R1900, provide an ideal platform for tying remote workers to rich 5G-enabled cloud applications that boost mission capabilities, helping save lives and reduce property damage.”

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