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Small change brought by selling surplus 5G spectrum in Spain

Karim Hussami

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5G spectrum in Spain

Spain has sold off its last two remaining blocks of 3.5 GHz frequencies earmarked for 5G services in an auction that raised next to nothing, compared to many others.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation had two 10 MHz blocks of spectrum and two bidders lined up, this is why it’s no surprise that the auction process was speedy.

After two rounds of bidding, Orange and Telefónica both emerged victorious, paying the starting price of €21 million a piece for their new spectrum.

Regarding 5G spectrum in Spain, Vodafone launched the countries first commercial 5G network in many cities including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville in June 2019, whilst Spanish operator Telefonica’s 5G network already reached 80 percent of the country’s population last year, local press reported.

The 3.5 GHz band covers 3.4 GHz-3.8 GHz. The first half of that band was sold off five years ago, while mid-2018 saw the second half go on the block.

In that second sale, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone together acquired 200 MHz for €437.65 million; Orange and Telefónica added to their existing holdings, Vodafone bought all of its 90 MHz holding, and MásMóvil dropped out of the auction with nothing, but already owned its 80 MHz.

Telefonica currently offers 5G connectivity to approximately 1,300 towns and cities across Spain, according to the telco.

“The next step will be to reorganize the frequencies so that all operators have contiguous blocks of frequencies and, therefore, make more efficient use of the radio spectrum in the deployment of 5G technology and services,” the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation said, in a statement.

Spain is aiming for 75 percent of the population to have 5G coverage by 2025 via the so-called priority bands: 694 MHz-790 MHz, 3,400 MHz-3,800 MHz and 24.25 GHz-27.5 GHz. Thus, the first initiative of its 5G strategy is to make those bands available to operators.

The government has pledged to make €2 billion of public funding available for a 5G rollout, of which €300 million are included in this year’s budget.

While plans for getting spectrum into the hands of the operators may not yet be fully finalized, the right building blocks appear to be in place for 5G in Spain. The telco’s fifth generation network currently reaches 21 cities across the country, Orange is already offering 5G services in 45 cities across Spain.

In parallel, telecom operators had previously inked commercial deals with European vendors Nokia and Ericsson to supply the equipment and services for its 5G launch.

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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

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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