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Nokia bags 5G deal with A1 Austria, but scrambles for more contracts

Inside Telecom Staff

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Nokia bags 5G deal with A1 Austria, but scrambles for more contracts

Finnish telecom equipment maker Nokia announced on Thursday that it has been selected by A1 Austria to provide comprehensive 5G coverage across the country in a multi-year contract.

The deal – which will push A1 Austria to become a local market leader – will see Nokia supply 5G radio access and core network services. The deployment of products and services is underway with the core element expected to be rolled out in the first half of 2021.

According to a joint statement by both companies, the Finnish provider will supply A1 with its AirScale portfolio including 5G RAN, AirScale base stations, and Nokia AirScale radio access products. These solutions will enable A1 Austria to deliver markedly enhanced connectivity and capacity benefits to their consumer and business subscribers.

The Austrian operator will also launch 4G and 5G network slicing commercially following a successful pilot. The solution will support connectivity from 4G and 5G devices over the sliced network to applications running in private and public clouds.

The slicing continuity between the networks allows operators to maximize their network coverage for new mobile connectivity services and deliver new value and business opportunities, the statement pointed out.

“Our ambition is to ensure Austria enters the digital era with the best connectivity underpinned by our 5G network. With Nokia as our partner, we have already worked side by side on many successful projects and we had no hesitation in continuing our collaboration to ensure that we realize the full potential of 5G technology,” Marcus Grausam, CEO, A1 Austria, said in the statement. 

Nokia has had a long-standing partnership with A1 which has included the successful expansion of 3G and 4G mobile networks and the rollout of Austria’s largest fiber-optic network.

In the past, Nokia and A1 Austria have also successfully deployed several private wireless campus networks in Austria, including installations at Magna Steyr, Vienna Airport, and 5G Playground Carinthia.

“We are delighted to extend our long-standing partnership with A1 Austria into the 5G era by supplying our RAN and core technology. We have already worked collaboratively with A1 on several exciting projects and we take this expansion project as an affirmation that our technology is best-in-class. We look forward to embarking on this next journey as their trusted partner,” Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, said.

A1 – a subsidiary of Telekom Austria – commercially launched 5G services in January 2020.

At the time of the launch, the telco said that its 5G network will cover 350 locations across 129 municipalities in Austria. The company noted its “A1 5Giganetwork” will be the largest 5G network in Austria, spanning 54,000 square kilometers.

A1 acquired 5G spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band in March 2019.

While the deal spells good news for both parties, Nokia still needs to bolster its position within the worldwide telecoms market, and that begins with the company adding more exciting customers to its portfolio.

Earlier this month, the Finnish company’s chief exec Pekka Lundmark warned of troubling times ahead.

According to Nokia’s Financial Report for Q4 and Full Year 2020, Lundmark highlighted a better than expected fourth-quarter revenue and underlying profit but the company forecast 2021 revenue to fall to between 20.6-21.8 billion euros ($25-26 billion) from 21.9 billion euros in 2020.

“These are encouraging results, however, as I said in Q3, we expect 2021 to be challenging, a year of transition, with meaningful headwinds due to market share loss and price erosion in North America,” the CEO warned in the report.

Lundmark is referring to Nokia’s partial loss of the Verizon 5G contract in the U.S. to South Korean Samsung Electronics.

Back in October 2020, Nokia’s chief exec announced a new strategy that will see the company expand into four business types, highlighting that the company will “do whatever it takes” to lead the 5G line, with hopes of taking further market share from Chinese tech titan Huawei.

“We believe that we have year-to-date captured about half of the geopolitically influenced opportunities that are there,” Lundmark added back in October. “Most of these cases have been in Europe.”

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5G smartphones top choice of buyers in India: Oppo survey

Karim Hussami

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5G smartphones

Smartphones enabled with 5G features are becoming the top choice of buyers in India much ahead of fifth-generation’s rollout, a recent survey by leading smartphone brand Oppo revealed.

According to Oppo, 5G smartphones are gaining traction in tier-II and tier-III cities and towns like Halol, Raiganj, Chikhli, Ongole, Rajula.

Although all efforts were focused on deploying fifth-generation technology in India by mid-2021 and preparing for it following several trials, the parliamentary panel on information technology considers that the country is not well prepared for 5G rollout.

“This growth in demand for 5G enabled devices as it will be the key consideration to feed the rise of consumption of content among users is an indication of digital readiness of Indian users,” Oppo said.

In parallel, the findings by Oppo additionally burdened on digital camera and videography options that are probably the most utilized by the shoppers.

69.6 percent of the respondents talked about using videography very regularly, whereas 81.6 percent of respondents selected AI Videography for enhanced smartphone expertise, adapted by battery, efficiency, show, and processor.

While it is planned for 5G to be rolled out in metropolitan cities followed by other areas similar to the launch of 4G, the parliamentary report identified a range of issues holding up the rollout of the service such as spectrum issues, including uncertainty around the sale of 5G spectrum bands, amongst others.

“The Committee finds that inadequate availability of spectrum, high spectrum prices, poor development of use cases, low status of fiberization, non-uniform RoW [right of way] issues, deficient backhaul capacity, etc. are some of the factors coming in the way of rolling out of 5G services in India,” the panel headed by MP Shashi Tharoor said.

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Huawei leads 5G-ready smartphones market as world prepares for mass adoption

Inside Telecom Staff

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5G-ready smartphones

5G is the next significant evolution in the mobile landscape, promising to deliver better and faster connectivity. The technology will also empower innovate variety of existing and new apps, including cloud gaming on the go.

Newzoo’s Global Mobile Market Report shows that there will be over 700 million 5G-ready smartphones active in the market this year (a market share of 16 percent), up from 206 million in 2020.

Despite pandemic-related setbacks in terms of 5G infrastructure and rollout, especially in emerging markets and in the West, manufacturers released an array of 5G-ready handsets last year. And consumers were eager to buy these models, completely shaking up our ranking of the top companies by 5G-ready devices.

Who is leading the 5G-ready pack? In this article, Newzoo will be looking at 5G-ready smartphones actively used in the market—in terms of general usage, not 5G usage.

Huawei overtakes Samsung as #1 manufacturer of 5g-ready smartphones

Huawei had an incredible 2020 in terms of its 5G-ready-smartphone sales. Owing to the success of devices such as the P40 series, the company became the 5G-ready market leader at the end of 2020. Huawei’s share of active 5G-ready devices skyrocketed from 8.6 percent in November to 27 percent in December:5G-ready smartphones.

Huawei’s home market, China, remains the leader in 5G device adoption; therefore, it’s no surprise that the company is also leading the market for 5G-ready smartphones. 

But Huawei’s future position remains uncertain, owing to the U.S sanctions and the fact that it sold the Honor brand (reportedly based on sanctions situation). Soon after this sale, Honor began working with Qualcomm and MediaTek on 5G chips. Nevertheless, Huawei’s impressive market share as of December 2020 is undeniable.

Samsung falls to #2, but enjoys superior presence

Samsung was among the first major brands to push 5G in its flagship devices, with 2019’s Galaxy S10 series already offering 5G-readiness. This helped Samsung secure an early foothold in the 5G-ready-smartphone market, especially in its home market of South Korea. Newzoo’s Monthly Active Mobile Device Data shows that in December 2020:

  • South Korea accounted for 21.8 percent of Samsung’s active 5G-ready smartphones.
  • The U.S. accounted for 9.1 percent.
  • And Russia accounted for 5.6 percent.

Samsung has since expanded 5G functionality to its non-flagship handsets, including devices in its Galaxy A series. As of December 2020, over 21.6 million active Galaxy A21 5G handsets were active worldwide, as shown in Monthly Active Mobile Device Data.

While newer entrants have taken much of the Korean tech giant’s share, Samsung still boasted a 5G-ready market share of 25.1 percent in December 2020. But its biggest competitor, the other half of the overall-smartphone-market duopoly, might be catching up. 

Success of iPhone 12 in China Brought Apple into the Top 3 for 5G

In mid-October, Apple announced the iPhone 12 series, the first iPhones to support 5G connection thanks to their mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G compatibility.

Newzoo expected Apple’s foray into smartphones to significantly bolster the uptake of 5G-ready devices, and that’s exactly what happened. After just one flagship release, Apple is now the world’s #3 smartphone brand by 5G-ready devices, boasting a market share just shy of 20 percent in December 2020:

Apple also enjoyed its best-ever quarter by revenues in its fiscal Q1 2021. In a conference call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that China had a record number of iPhone upgraders during the quarter. Total revenues from Greater China hit $21.3 billion, up +57 percent from last year.

The iPhone 12’s 5G capability was—and continues to be—one of the major drivers for Chinese consumers upgrading their handsets; after all, the country quickly and effectively rolled out its 5G network infrastructure. This certainly bolstered Apple’s strong 5G-ready performance and is reflected in Active Mobile Device Data for December 2020:

– 29.5 percent of Apple’s active 5G-ready smartphones were in China

– 24.7 percent were in the U.S.

– And 8.7 percent were in Japan.

Newzoo expects that the iPhone 12 series drive will further 5G-ready adoption in Apple’s key markets (including China, Japan, and the U.S.) this year and beyond. 

We also expect to see Chinese brands continuing to perform well in the 5G-ready-smartphone space, including Xiaomi and OPPO, who also saw market-share jumps in December 2020.

One thing is for sure: when infrastructure catches up and the pandemic subsides, consumers across the globe will be ready to take advantage of the next generation in mobile internet technology. But how can companies stay up to date with active (5G-ready) smartphones?

About Newzoo

Newzoo clients who subscribe to Monthly Active Mobile Device Data include some of the world’s biggest tech giants—as well as leading app publishers that have underlined growth countries as a strategic priority. Others, closer to the telecom sector, ingest the data into their business intelligence (BI) platform, combining it with their shipping or sales data.


This article has been written by Amsterdam-based gaming market insights firm Newzoo.

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Google, Intel team up to help telcos with cloud-native 5G

Inside Telecom Staff

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cloud-native 5G

Search engine giant Google announced earlier this week a partnership with Intel to bolster its efforts to work alongside the telecom industry on both their 5G and edge strategies.

According to Google, the semiconductor company will aid in developing telco cloud reference architectures for wireless carriers to develop the fifth generation of mobile networks across various clouds and edge locations.

Among these architectures is the deployment virtualized Ran and openRan solutions, with plans to provide software and hardware to help providers migrate to containerized environments.

The search engine giant had already mentioned its desire to work with telco back in March 2020, with CEO of Google Cloud, Thomas Kurian, unveiling its Global Mobile Edge Cloud for 5G. And at the same time, Google announced a collaboration with AT&T to work together on 5G and edge.

“We believe that by partnering across the telecommunications stack — with application providers, carriers and communications service providers, hardware providers, and global telecoms — we can decrease the cost and time-to-market needed for the telecommunications industry to shift to cloud-native 5G, and open new lines of business,” Shailesh Shukla, general manager of networking for Google Cloud, said in a recent blog post.

One of the biggest benefits of 5G is the ability to customize its use for specific cases, which subsequently, allows the supply of bespoke solutions to a wide variety of markets. Tech giants such as Google, AWS, and Microsoft are championing such large use of 5G using virtualizations and cloud agility; this allows these companies to fill the gaps left by the telecoms industry.

Not only that, but these Big Tech companies are also in-need of such partnerships to bolster their very own market positions; Intel, for example, is already a force to be reckoned with in the data center hardware industry and would leverage its partnership with Google to further by taking their data centers to the edge.

Edge data centers are ramping up to become a potentially huge market, especially as next generation tech gains further moment. According to PwC, the global market for edge data centers is expected to nearly triple to $13.5 billion in 2024 from $4 billion in 2017, thanks to the potential for these smaller, locally located data centers to reduce latency, overcome intermittent connections and store and compute data close to the end user.

“Under this partnership, we’ll work closely with Intel in three main areas: accelerating the ability of communications service providers to deploy their Virtualized RAN (vRAN) and Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) solutions by providing next-generation infrastructure and hardware, launching new lab environments to help communications service providers innovate on cloud-native 5G, and making it easier for them to deliver business applications to the network edge,” Shukla added.

According to both Google and Intel, among the tech they will bring to the table will be Google Cloud’s Anthos for Telecom, Intel’s FlexRAN reference software, Intel’s Xeon processors, and the Linux Foundation’s Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK).

“The next wave of network transformation is fuelled by 5G and is driving a rapid transition to cloud-native technologies,” said Dan Rodriguez, Intel GM of the Network Platforms Group, said in a statement. “As communications service providers build out their 5G network infrastructure, our efforts with Google Cloud and the broader ecosystem will help them deliver agile, scalable solutions for emerging 5G and edge use cases.”

Google Cloud has already working been hard to ramp up a setlist of providers to team up with, among them SigFox, Orange, AT&T, Telefónica, and more recently with Canadian telco Telus in a 10-year collaboration deal to accelerate the carriers’ digital transformation, as well as jointly developing new products and services.

It is worth mentioning that Google Cloud is competing for telco customers against Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Oracle.

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