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US Cellular, Nokia partner up to introduce 5G SA core network

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Mobile network operator (MNO) US Cellular will introduce its personal 5G standalone SA core network by the end of 2022 after selecting Finland telecom vendor Nokia as its accomplice to deliver the necessary equipment and services in its future 5G technology.

US Cellular’s standalone future stands on the line as Nokia announced last week its intentions of expanding its cooperation with the Chicago-based MNO to provide needed hardware, software, and service to roll out the telco’s standalone 5G infrastructure.

The deal discloses that US Cellular will benefit from Nokia’s cloud-native, open modular structure to hastily demonstrate and measure network functions for future revenue opportunities. Nokia has already delivered the MNO with 5G RAN equipment, supplied radios for low-band, and mmWave 5G services.

With the remarkable development in connected devices, mobile operators aim to deploy a streamlined network infrastructure that will enable service providers to effortlessly switch to a mobile core network that providers the required functionality of new use cases.

And that is precisely what Nokia’s 5G SA core will deliver to its American partner.

“As we continue to expand and enhance our 5G network, we value the innovation and support that Nokia provides to help us deliver s superior wireless experience to our residential and business customers. As we deploy 5G SA core, Nokia brings expertise, technology excellence and the right mix of hardware, software, and services to meet our requirements for high performance and low latency,” said Mike Irizarry, Executive Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer at US Cellular.

The Finnish vendor already stationed more than 250 cloud core networks and over 75 5G standalone core networks as its cloud-native architecture with network functionalities was initially established as microservices. But since Nokia needs to cover bigger requirements for US Cellular, its SA core will not meet low latency demands for software-driven services.

Software-driven cloud networking is the implementation of network functions virtualization (NFV) and industry-standard generic hardware to avoid a privately operated hardware-based data center infrastructure in support of software-based infrastructure.

By implementing sturdy features, the MNO’s customer base will gain entry to innovative applications such as virtual and augmented reality with high speeds and low latencies, therefore unlocking 5G’s comprehensive potential.

Nokia and US Cellular have been in business together for a while since the telecom operator always relied on Nokia for its networking solutions to create a resilient communications infrastructure.

However, for the telco to be able to succeed in its plan, it will need high revenue opportunities to demonstrate its strength in the US market. In addition to fulfilling its customers’ needs, which rounds up to just 5 million users.

To do so, US Cellular will have to equal its efforts to the U.S.’ biggest three telco firms, T-Mobile U.S., AT&T, and Verizon.

Until now, the company managed to stabilize its performance, but no growth has been marked in the last couple of months. Earlier in August, US Cellular revealed its Q2 revenues with a 4 percent growth to $1.1 billion. During this, the firm showcased the importance of market share expansion.

Yet, despite the American telco’s emphasis on the vitality of revenue growth, its 2021 first two quarters demonstrated pessimistic results concerning both handsets and connected devices revenues.

Daryn is a technical writer with thorough history and experience in both academic and digital writing fields.

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Beijing pins 12 million 5G subscribers with 45,700 base stations

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Beijing Communications Administration released a data report revealing that by end of August, the Chinese capital obtained 45,700 5G network stations with 12 million users, according to local news agency Xinhua. 

Beijing fulfilled full 5G network coverage in the city’s key areas, such as the downtown core area, sub-center, and central business district. With every 10,000 people, China’s telecom operators provided about 20 5G network base stations, ranking the city as the country’s leader in telco services.

Currently, the implementation of 5G base stations has been completed at the country’s focal points for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Games in the city’s northwestern Yanqing district, with 90 percent of venues in downtown Beijing are equipped in various sectors, such as healthcare, education, tourism, and industrial internet.

In parallel, the Beijing-Chongli Expressway and the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway have been finalized and ready for mobilization.

“The technology applies in healthcare, education, tourism, and the industrial internet,” director of the administration, Su Shaolin said in a statement.

China’s domestic carriers have already finalized a 993,000 5G base stations deployment in all cities, with stations covering all prefecture-level cities across 95 percent of countries and 35 percent on Chinese towns.

In parallel, the government revealed that 5G terminals have an exceeding coverage reaching 392 million residences, more than 10,000 5G application cases draped over 22 industries related to the country’s economy, incorporating electric power, steel, and mining fields.

China’s telecom sector has been demonstrating significant and untapped potential to spearhead success. In July, local operators marked a net addition reaching a mighty rise in 5G subscribers with 43.71 million, according to the operators’ data.

State-owned behemoth China Mobile Corp. had an additional 28.91 million 5G subscribers in July alone. The world’s biggest operator in regard to its subscribers base shared that the telco closed July with a total of 279.60 million 5G subscribers, in comparison to the 84.05 million in a fiscal year.

On the other hand, another state-owned telco, China Unicom is maintaining its focus on achieving personal significance and untapped potential in the Chinese market. The state-backed operator said it added a total of 7.74 million subscribers, also during July.

Throughout 2021’s first seven months, the company piled a total of 50.4 million 5G users, ending July with an overall of 121.07 million 5G subscribers.

By the end of August 2021, China closed a total of 579.83 million 5G subscribers, with China Mobile reaching 304.15 million with a 32.0 percent of total subscriber base, China Telecom’s 146.62 million secured 40 percent of the total base, and China Unicom with 129.06 million reaching a 41.2 percent close of the country’s total mobile subscriber base.

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IBM to help Telefonica build cloud-based 5G core network platform

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IBM has been awarded a multi-year contract to help Telefonica build its new ‘Unica Next’ cloud-based 5G core network platform.

In a statement, IBM said the Spanish operator , Telefonica, has engaged IBM Global Business Services – the consultancy arm of IBM, Red Hat and Juniper Networks – to deploy an “open-standard open-networking” platform across multiple central, regional and distributed data centres to deliver low latency and high bandwidth services.

The platform is planned to be a new open-standard open-networking technology compliant platform that will be deployed across multiple central, regional, and distributed data centers offering low latency and high bandwidtt, while able to deliver services in an agile manner.

UNICA Next data centers are planned to be deployed starting in October 2021 and its scalable architecture is designed to address ETSI and other relevant industry standards.

According to a statement by Telefonica, The new network is built on IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation, Red Hat OpenShift, and Juniper Networks Apstra and QFX technology aligned to deliver streamlined end-to-end orchestration and operations.

The platform will enable continuous improvements in deployment and management, as the statement noted, including enabling new services that deliver enhanced customer value. “The integration of IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation software with UNICA Next allows for intent-driven orchestration supporting the end-to-end lifecycle management of different network cloud elements and network functions, including 5G core.”

Pairing it with the power of Red Hat Open Shift and Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes, the combination will present Telefónica with an environment designed for increased observability and control for managing the UNICA Next Kubernetes environment and drive 5G and edge innovation more quickly and with less complexity.

Telefonica’s 5G buildout plans continue marching forward in Spain. Telefonica announced in July that it awarded Nokia and Ericsson contracts to build out its 5G standalone (SA) radio networks across Spain. It’s a significant win for IBM’s Cloud for Communications hybrid cloud architecture, which the company first announced in 2020.

The company gathered 35 ecosystem partners to create the platform to help telcos accelerate the transition to 5G.

Telefonica continues to support open networking standards. Earlier this month, the company announced an agreement with NEC to build Open RAN trials in Spain, Germany, the U.K and Brazil, using NEC’s 5G massive MIMO Radio Units (RUs).

IBM and Telefonica are also frequent collaborators. In Argentina IBM and Telefonica brand Moviestar have an OpenRAN proof of concept running in Puerto Madryn. IBM is working with Telefonica on a new blockchain platform to optimize supply chains and traceability.

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Ericsson powers Singtel’s 5G SA network in Singapore

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Ericsson has announced it will power Singtel’s 5G SA network with 5G radio access products and cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core network services.

The Ericsson product range is designed to deliver connectivity for outdoor coverage in densely populated areas and help drive indoor-mall coverage across the city-state. Ericsson and Singtel have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with several global industry partners to develop 5G enterprise services in Singapore.

According to the May 2021 ConsumerLab report – Five Ways to a Better 5G – indoor 5G coverage at public places has become two times more important than mobile data speed in delivering satisfactory 5G experiences for consumers in Singapore.

Super-fast response times

In addition, Ericsson’s solutions for 5G SA will provide super-fast response times and faster access to higher data rates that are required by cloud gaming, immersive media and vehicles or robot control.

This connectivity will also help drive the future-readiness of Singtel’s network, creating new business opportunities, according to Ericsson statement.

Mark Chong, Group Chief Technology Officer, Singtel, says: “We are pleased to partner Ericsson in our 5G journey. Together, we launched Singapore’s first 5G standalone network and achieved the fastest 5G speeds this year. 5G is a game changer that will drive greater innovation, and in turn strengthen Singapore’s position as a leading digital hub.”

For the past 30 years, Ericsson and Singtel have achieved multiple milestones together in Singapore. This partnership includes leading the way in 5G in the city-state – achieving Singapore’s fastest 5G speeds, the launch of Singtel’s GENIE, the world’s first portable 5G-in-a-box platform powered by Ericsson to enable enterprises to experience 5G’s capabilities; and the establishment of 5G Garage, the country’s first live 5G facility to drive 5G solutions for enterprises in collaboration with Singtel and Singapore Polytechnic.

Develop advanced 5G enterprise solutions

To nurture a growing and vibrant local 5G ecosystem, Ericsson and Singtel have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with several global industry partners to develop advanced 5G enterprise solutions in Singapore. The MoU will utilize test facilities and capabilities to innovate solutions and scale them for global deployment. The partners are ABB, Axis Communications, Bosch, Bosch Rexroth, Cradlepoint, DHL, Hexagon, PTC and Rohde & Schwarz.

Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines, says: “5G SA will allow consumers in Singapore to experience the full benefits of 5G connectivity and also enable businesses across industries to reap the benefits of enhanced mobility, flexibility, reliability and security. As Singtel’s long-standing partner, we are proud to support the roll-out of one of the first 5G SA networks in the world. As a global ICT leader, we have already accumulated a wealth of technology expertise through the deployment close to 100 live 5G networks worldwide.” 

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