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Indian telcos to run 5G trials before rollout

Karim Hussami

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The launch of the fifth-generation technology in India will take place in the second half of 2021, but first needs to be put into trial to check its effectiveness and efficiency for the public.

That said, India’s telecom operators had no choice but to pressure the government to decide when it plans to auction fifth-generation spectrum, so that they have readability on when to begin area trials to test the technology and roll out services and check the expertise.

Managing and organizing networks

Nearly all advanced countries launched 5G, whether impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or not, however, they keep on testing it, notably for vertical applications. However, the pandemic gave the opportunity to boost 5G trials in many industrial sectors (health, education, logistics, retail…).

Whist companies are competing to offer customers the best service and stay on top of the 5G race, they work on managing and organizing their plans accordingly, especially with their latest rollout plans.

Some of the requested plans are the division’s Wi-Fi planning cell to replace the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP)-2018 with new spectrum bands reminiscent of 26GHz (gigahertz) which have been recognized by the International Telecom Union for 5G deployment.

“Spectrum already identified for IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications)/5G in the NFAP-2018 should be made available for mobile services,” SP Kochhar, director-general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), stated, including that, “timelines need to be defined for the availability of these bands”.

The NFAP is a central coverage that defines the roadmap for future spectrum utilization by all nationwide authorities, together with the telecom division, the division of house and the defense ministry.

Benefits and challenges of 5G

According to a report by a government-appointed panel, the economic impact of the network will be enormous in India and expected to reach $1 trillion by 2035.

One of the accomplishments of the network is the public-private partnerships to get broadband growth and penetration, which brings with it 5G trials and testing, network densification, among others.

This wireless technology will lead to the creation of smart cities and manufacturing, new business models, better education and healthcare among others, Director-General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), SP Kochhar said.

It also brings with it the digitization of whole societies, pushing the government to launch two strategic initiatives addressing such challenges: India’s Smart Cities Mission and Digital India.

These initiatives, which depend on 5G, will focus on easing the stress of urban population growth and closing the digital divide among the citizens from different social backgrounds.

As such, the challenges that India faces regarding its infrastructure are significant leading to limiting 5G deployment, such as the lack of a robust network to connect cellular sub-networks to a core network. Most mobile subscriptions are still 2G whilst organizations began considering jumping from 2G/3G directly to 5G.

Trials on networks usually help define it to activate it later for commercial and business use, for it gives feedback on the status of the wireless network.

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Journalist for 7 years in print media, with a bachelor degree in Political Science and International Affairs. Masters in Media communications.

5G

The race for 5G: Ericsson, Huawei close in on separate markets

Yehia El Amine

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Ericsson Huawei

Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson has partnered with Taiwanese operator Asia-Pacific Telecom (APT) to modernize its current 4G network infrastructure, as well as non-standalone 5G-ready equipment and services.

The agreement, which was announced on Monday, will see Ericsson provide high-performing radio access network (RAN) solutions from its 5G-ready Radio System portfolio as well as 5G NSA licenses to do 5G Multi-Operator Core Networks (MOCN).

“Our enhanced 5G platform provides the technological backbone for the nation’s first Multi-Operator Core Network and we will continue to support both service providers with their successful integration and partnership,” Chafic Nassif, President of Ericsson Taiwan, said in a statement.

With the deployment of Ericsson Network Manager, APT will be able to dynamically operate between 4G and 5G networks, with a set of unified applications to securely manage radio access, transport, and core networks in an end-to-end manner.

The contract also covers Ericsson Network Manager, OSS migration services and upgrade, as well as integration with APT’s rival, Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) on the 3.5GHz frequency band in Taiwan.

Back in September 2020, FET and APT announced a partnership to provide 5G services on Taiwan’s 3.5GHz frequency band through the nation’s first MOCN – where two or more core networks share the same RAN and bandwidth. The collaboration includes 700MHz shared RAN to be used on both 4G and 5G technologies.

“Ericsson continues to accelerate the overall progress of 5G development in Taiwan, supporting both APT and FET to quickly launch new services to market and provide Taiwanese consumers and enterprises with the highest quality communication services,” Nassif added. 

Ericsson now has 124 commercial 5G agreements with communications service providers globally, 74 of which have been publicly announced.

Meanwhile across the Pacific, Chinese telecoms titan Huawei has received the green light by the Brazilian government allowing it to partake in the country’s 5G auction due to be held in June.

According to local media quoting sources close to the decision, the government will not restrict the Chinese vendor from aiding in its 5G deployments. The decision is due to the financial burdens for local operators to replace already installed Huawei equipment, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump’s departure from the West Wing.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is considered to be a massive ally of Trump, whose government has frequently lobbied and pushed for financial programs and initiatives to sway Brazilian operators from buying equipment from Huawei.

However, as inauguration day looms ever closer for President-elect Joe Biden, Bolsonaro is looking to backtrack his view that Huawei shares private data with the Chinese government – a claim made by the Trump administration as the trade war between both world powers escalated.

Brazilian telecom operators were all against the Huawei ban to begin with, as all operators snubbed an invitation from U.S. undersecretary of state for economic growth and the environment Keith Krach, an effort to rally support.

Even the Brazil’s vice president, Hamilton Mourao, also stood against the ban, as he told reporters that any company which is able to prove their credentials in maintaining the country’s national sovereignty and data protection will be allowed to supply 5G equipment and services.

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Nokia to help U.S. federal 5G cybersecurity following Huawei ban

Karim Hussami

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Traditionally, companies and banks with high sensitive information install antivirus software to counter any possible security risks that could compromise their operations.

To counter this growing threat, Nokia has been selected to lend its 5G technology and expertise to a US federal project led by the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE). 

This development came after Huawei was banned from deploying 5G communications equipment in countries like the U.S., Australia, Taiwan, the U.K., and others.

Nokia claimed the throne to become the main 5G solutions provider in NCCoE’s 5G Cybersecurity Project.

Enhancing security

5G’s essential security features will be used for various industry sectors to mitigate risks and meet compliance requirements.

Nokia was selected by NCCoE to participate in the project due to its global success in 5G networks, including hardware and software, and mobile network security and 5G RAN expertise- to help enhance a reference design and build use cases on standards-based solutions.

Details of the project

The 5G Cybersecurity Project will identify several 5G use cases and determine how the elements of the 5G structural design can provide security capabilities to improve identified risks and meet industry sectors’ compliance requirements.

The extent of this project is to leverage the 5G standardized security features which are defined in 3GPP standards to provide enhanced cybersecurity capabilities built into network equipment and end user devices.

In parallel, many experts claim that 5G will bring significant benefits in the fight against cybercrime.

John Marinho, vice president at wireless comms industry body CTIA, says “5G will tailor security updates for every single device, and also boost encryption.”

In addition, leveraging 5G to define method and approaches to achieve: flexible 5G security architecture tailored for a government environment, government-controlled security policy, end-to-end security for the mobile device to the core and approaches to implement interoperable secure unclassified voice across Federal Government departments and agencies.

“5G will touch every aspect of our lives and security must be integrated up front rather than an add-on element of 5G networks,” Kevin Stine, Chief of the Applied Cybersecurity Division at NIST, said. “We’re looking forward to working with our project collaborators such as Nokia to show 5G’s advanced standards based security features as well an architecture that leverages foundational security capabilities available in cloud technologies,” he added.

5G RAN software

 Nokia is also deploying their 5G RAN software and core solution along with IP-Backhaul for the project, to improve its 5g security.

The NCCoE has announced that Nokia is their main 5G solutions provider and collaborator. Nokia will partner with NCCoE’s 5G experts and other vendors to ensure a safe and secure transition from 4G to 5G networks.

Moreover, the crisis that  happened due to Huawei’s ban came to the advantage of Nokia, as someone’s loss is someone’s gain.

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On the road to digitization: Verizon expands 5G mobile and home service

Karim Hussami

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Verizon 5g

The future holds many interesting facts regarding the fifth-generation technology in terms of its usage and benefits in many aspects in our daily lives leading to the digitization.

As such, Verizon announced the expansion of its 5G Ultra-Wideband (UWB) network to cover a greater number of homes and phones.

The American telecommunication company broadened its network to six more cities which will get Verizon’s home 5G service and three are getting its high-speed mobile 5G service this month, in parallel with its continued hard work of spreading fast millimeter-wave 5G across the country.

Details of expanding 5G

Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, said “We create the networks that move the world forward, and our 5G network brings incredible capabilities that will drive us all.” He added that “We’re committed to providing our customers with access to the newest technologies and experiences that will shape our future.”

While Verizon notes that its nationwide 5G service is available for 230 million people across 2,700 US cities, the network also has greater reach, reuses 4G airwaves and has performance similar to 4G.

In addition, the carrier is offering 12 months of access to the new Discovery+ service which IGN describes as “the ultimate streaming platform for foodies, nature lovers, and home repair aficionados,” in order to encourage more customers to become 5G Home subscribers.

New customers also receive a free smart home bundle of Amazon devices including an Echo Show 5, Ring Stick Up Cam, Echo Dot, and Amazon Smart Plug.

5G in homes during COVID

During the pandemic, Verizon’s $50 home gigabit service is a more captivating concept for many people than its outdoor-focused UWB 5G mobile service, however, it’s hard to know how many people in each city can get the home system.

The carrier asks customers to enter their address into a qualifier form to register the service instead of having a coverage map for the home service. For example, Chicago and Minneapolis fell short of the UWB mobile coverage service back in October 2020.

Nonetheless, some measures would change that fact.

Verizon partner Pivotal Commware, discussed in-home repeaters that, when placed on rooftops or outside windows, can help stretch 5G coverage to more homes. Also, Qualcomm plans on setting better 5G antennas that are too large for mobile devices but can fit into home internet units.

Digitization will grow and increase by having 5G reach homes and phones with smart homeowners being able to better access video and images of their property and receive more data faster than before on their smart phone regarding the occurrences taking place in their home.

“We ended 2020 with 2,700 cities with Nationwide 5G service serving 230 million people, 12 cities with access to our 5G Home service; We’re rolling out new services to more customers continuing the digital transformation Verizon has been driving,” Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon said.

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