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Four telcos tap 5G auction in North Macedonian

Hala Turk



North Macedonia’s Agency for Electronic Communications (AEK) announced earlier this week that it has obtained four bids from telcos that aim to participate in a planned auction for the allocation of 5G frequencies.  

Makedonski Telekom, A1 Makedonija, and Bitstream Mobile have expressed interest in licenses for national coverage in the 700 MHz and the 3 GHz spectrums. Neotel’s expression of interest concerns licenses for regional coverage in the 3 GHz band. 

AEK invited operators to express interest in participating in a planned auction for the allocation of frequencies for 5G networks on June 1, said AEK in a statement

The Macedonian watchdog plans to permit three licenses for the use of radio frequencies in the 700 MHz spectrum, seven in the 3 GHz band and four licenses in the 26 GHz band. Ten of the licenses will be issued for national coverage, whereas the remaining four will be granted for regional coverage. 

The licenses will be issued for a period of 15 years and may be extended by up to five years. 

As for the financial details, AEK set a starting price of $7.1 million for the licenses in the 700 MHz spectrum, $3.5 million for those in the 3 GHz band and $354,178 for the licenses in the 26 GHz spectrum. 

According to Tele Geography, at least one major city must be covered by 5G technology by 2023. The aim is to have 5G coverage in all major urban areas and terrestrial transport routes by 2027. 

By the end of 2029, the whole population must have access to a 5G signal with a minimum downlink of 100Mbps. 

Hala is a journalist and an editor with experience in the news industry. She enjoys writing motivational stories aiming to inspire people to overachieve.


Canada raises $7.15 billion in auction of 3.5 GHz band for 5G service

Karim Husami



Canada has completed its auction of the 3.5 GHz band, opening up new spectrum for 5G services. The bidding raised in total $7.16 billion, with Bell, Rogers and Telus spending the most.

Vidéotron, owned by Quebecor Inc spent C$830 million to expand its geographic footprint in Canada, buying licenses not just in its native Quebec but also in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

The move indicates that Quebecor plans to become a service provider in those areas, and that the areas where the company did not bid – Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada – both have preexisting strong fourth competitors to the big three.

Vidéotron said in a statement that the investment would help the company to “realize its ambition of boosting healthy competition in telecom beyond the borders of Québec.”

Bell, Rogers and Telus said their investments will help to provide reliable 5G services.

The auction, initially set to take place in June 2020 and delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closed after eight days and 103 rounds of bidding, the government said. read more

Out of 1,504 available licenses, 1,495 were awarded to 15 Canadian companies, including 757 licenses to small and regional providers, Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a statement on Thursday.

The results would boost competition, he added, a reference to Ottawa’s push to open up a market dominated by BCE Inc (BCE.TO), Telus Corp (T.TO) and Rogers Communications Inc (RCIb.TO), known as the big three.

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5G standalone and non-standalone in a nutshell

Adnan Kayyali



5G standalone

Everyone interested in reading about developments in telecommunication technology has had their minds and screens bombarded with news about 5G development and its rapid adoption around the world. 

It’s that thing that, when the ribbon is cut, will give us ten times the throughput, ten times less latency, and 100 times more capacity that the currently available 4G LTE.  

What many telecoms novices don’t know is that there are two types of 5G architectures; 5G standalone and non-standalone. 

Making the slow, methodical, and costly move towards the next generation of network connectivity is an incremental and plan-intensive process. 

The non-standalone 5G standards finalized in 2017, as the name implies, does not stand on its own. It relies on preexisting 4G LTE RAN and core network infrastructure as a basis for deployment. 

This is not to say that non standalone is a worse option. The choice between using standalone or non-standalone, or  sa and nsa in 5G, generally boils down to the business goals and resources in question.  

For carriers looking to deliver better data packages to their customers more quickly for a cheaper price or to accommodate surges in data congestion, then non-standalone is the obvious winner. It allows operators to launch their 5G quickly and gain more market authority in the time that they work on deploying fully fledged standalone, end-to-end 5G capabilities, which is such more expensive, and time consuming. 

This method isn’t just for getting ahead of the game, but to enable the greatly improved broadband speed that facilitate new and emerging technologies. Ultra HD video streaming, Cloud gaming, augmented reality, ultra-low latency, and highly immersive media experiences in general. 

Industry 4.0 is just getting started however NSA 5G will not be able to host the slew of new innovations allowing humans to tame the earth and stars. 

For telecoms that truly wish to take the future by the belt buckle, 5G standalone technology is the way to go. Standalone infrastructure, as costly and time consuming to deploy as it is, will enable smart cities, factories, and infrastructure underpinned by ultra-low latency ultra-reliable IoT technology, and machine-to-machine communications, while also allowing for network slicing functionality.  

5G standalone will empower numerous business verticals to employ the highest possible quality in their dealings rather than having to rely on LTE but utilizing full 5G hardware. 

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Virgin Media O2 selects Ericsson 5G core to power 5G SA

Hala Turk



U.K.- based Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) announced on Monday its collaboration with Swedish Telecom vendor Ericsson to supply cloud native, container-based dual-mode 5G core technology.

This step will pave the way for VMO2 to deliver ultra-fast connectivity to consumers and develop advanced enterprise use cases.

According to the agreement, VMO2 will bring its 4G, 5G non-standalone and 5G standalone services into a single fully integrated Ericsson dual-mode 5G core hosted on Ericsson cloud infrastructure in VMO2’s data centers.

5G standalone will provide VMO2 with gigabit connectivity, ultra-low latency, network slicing and huge data-handling ability. In addition to new services such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR).

“The benefits of 5G Standalone are significant as we aim to supercharge the U.K.’s digital economy, and we look forward to rolling it out for our customers in the near future,” Jorge Ribeiro, director of service platform strategy & engineering at VMO2, said in a joint statement.

In parallel, Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK & Ireland considered that the “dual-mode 5G core will enable the full power of 5G standalone within Virgin Media O2’s network, unleashing the full potential of 5G for consumers and enabling digital transformation in new industries. 5G standalone takes the U.K.’s mobile infrastructure to the next level and will help to boost long-term investment in the country and drive forward our growing digital economy.”

It’s worth mentioning that VMO2, the British newly merged operator, is a combination of Liberty Global’s Virgin Media, a fixed broadband provider, and Telefonica’s O2, a mobile carrier in the U.K.

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