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T-Mobile U.S. leaps ahead of competition in 2020

Karim Hussami

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In our current world, telecom operators try to create a balance between postpaid services and the 5G network they offer to customers to maintain their dominance within the global technology race.

Despite the Coronavirus, T-Mobile US accomplished that goal by adding a record number of postpaid customers for Q4 and full-year 2020, in parallel with expanding its Ultra Capacity 5G coverage and speeds (2.5 GHz) to reach 106 million people, passing its goal of 100 million by year-end.

Postpaid net additions and 5G expansion

The wireless carrier proclaimed​ its fourth quarter results and noted that it ended the fiscal year with a total customer count of 102.1 million, adding 5.6 million net subscribers for 2020 and delivered strong additions during Q4 by 1.7 million.

“Postpaid phone net customer additions were 824,000 in Q4 2020 and 2.2 million for the full-year,” the carrier said, with postpaid phone churn being 0.90 percent for the full-year 2020.

In addition, the company took advantage of its success by expanding its entire 5G network having it accessible to 280 million, with nationwide coverage expected for the end of 2021.

With North America boasting 3.4 million 5G connections by the end of Q3 2020, the telco is considered as America’s 5G leader, distributing fifth generation speeds in more places with the first and largest nationwide 5G network.

Ultra-Capacity 5G is accessible in more than 1,000 U.S. cities and towns including major markets such as Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York City amongst others.

For this part of the world, it amounts to 47 percent quarterly growth in 5G, a gain of over 1 million 5G connections over the quarter.

“Our focus on bringing unmatched value and experience to customers while building and delivering the nation’s best 5G network paid off with record-breaking results in 2020 (5.5 million new postpaid customers) – and we continue to be the growth leader in wireless,” said Mike Sievert, T-Mobile CEO.

“Our 5G leadership position is getting stronger every day. We set some huge goals in 2020 that some thought were impossible, but we smashed them. Today, T-Mobile’s high speed Ultra Capacity 5G covers over 50 times more people than Verizon and it’s growing.”

What are the reasons for the growth?

Part of the reason for this immense growth is due to the early 5G leadership that T-Mobile has taken upon its rivals, according to experts. “In addition, the telco succeeded in offering unparalleled deals that were hard to resist by customers throughout the year,” the experts added.

As such, the end of 2021 is the date set for the company expecting to have its Ultra Capacity 5G service reach nationwide coverage, especially having an incredible performance, delivering download speeds in the 300 Mbps range and peak speeds hitting one GBPS on compatible 5G devices.

The pandemic caused major negative repercussions on whole economies; however, some companies were able to turn 2020 into a positive experience for the business.

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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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