|To: Eric L who wrote (29)||6/8/2020 11:07:10 AM|
|From: Eric L|
|Mobile 5G Technology Leadership 2019 Part 4: InfrastructureEquipment Providers|
>> Who Is 'Really' Leading in Mobile 5G, Part 4: Infrastructure Equipment Providers
Senior Analyst: Networking Infrastructure and Carrier Services
Moor Insights and Strategy
July 19, 2019,
There’s lots of buzz these days around 5G and what it promises to deliver beyond today’s 4G LTE networks. Billions of dollars are being spent globally by carriers to upgrade their core and access networking infrastructure to support new services for consumers and businesses alike. This article is Part 4 of our series, focusing on present 5G infrastructure leadership. In Part 1, we analyzed 5G intellectual property and patent leadership. In Part 2, we dug deeply into the 5G chipset ecosystem, and in Part 3 we examined manufacturers integrating 5G components from others into smartphones, notebook computers, hotspots, and other emerging form factors.
What constitutes infrastructure?
Before getting started, it would be helpful to define what constitutes infrastructure. For the purpose of our analysis, we include core network and radio access network components such as base stations and antenna arrays. Let’s take a look at each:
Core network components serve as the central part of a cellular network and knit together mobile, fixed, and converged connectivity in order to ensure more consistent user experience. For 5G, they include a higher degree of hardware disaggregation from a compute and storage perspective as well as software programmability over LTE networks. Companies that deliver industry-standard server platforms such as Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Lenovo have made significant inroads into the telecommunications space and have brought disruption from a cost and deployment agility perspective.
Some of the new capabilities that have come to core networking include machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN). Benefits include faster time to deployment, self-healing for improved uptime, and network slicing aimed at guaranteeing the quality of new service and new monetization opportunities for carriers and service providers.
Radio access network components, on the other hand, play an important role in how your smartphone or mobile device communicates across a cellular network.
Base stations are fixed points of communication within a cellular network that are designed to cover a specific geographic area. Based on the need for coverage, they can take the form of macro-cells that cover a wide area, micro-cells that are used for densification of coverage in highly populated areas, and pico-cells that boost coverage within buildings. From an outbound perspective, they communicate with smartphones, IoT devices and sensors, and soon automobiles. From an inbound perspective, the connect to the core network.
Antenna arrays are attached to base stations covered above to amplify coverage. For 5G, there are new requirements given its ability to deliver significantly lower latency and improved throughput over LTE with Massive MIMO factoring heavily. MIMO stands for “multiple-input, multiple-output” and combines a large number of antennas to improve broadcast efficiency. Base stations and antennas combine to constitute what’s referred to as the radio access network connecting devices to a core network.
Defining 5G infrastructure leadership
There are several factors we have determined as critical in identifying infrastructure leadership in 5G. First, is a provider shipping equipment that is pre-standard or meets “NR” new radio standard requirements. Second, if shipping any publicly announced deployments by the carrier. Third, the depth and breadth of spectrum support spanning low band or “sub 6” to mmWave. Fourth, any unique differentiation such as custom silicon or broader ecosystem program participation. Fifth and final, if not currently shipping any publicly announced trial activity by the carrier. Based on the above criteria, we evaluated and segmented infrastructure providers into two categories (single-purpose and multi-purpose) and within each identify leaders, followers, and laggards.
Single-purpose vs multi-purpose infrastructure providers
Single-purpose refers to traditional infrastructure providers that have historically deployed proprietary equipment to support wireless network buildouts. In our analysis, we included Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE in this category, and all of these manufacturers supply the aforementioned defined infrastructure.
Multi-purpose refers to a mix of enterprise networking companies as well as industry-standard compute, storage and fabric providers that have extended their reach into the telecommunications industry by packaging and certifying their hardware, software, and services. For purposes of our analysis, we included Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise/ Aruba, and Lenovo in this category. Note that these manufacturers don’t supply traditional base stations and antenna arrays but do participate with its products in parts of the core and network edge.
Single purpose provider evaluation
Ericsson is currently shipping 5G infrastructure solutions that span mobile NR, inter-band carrier aggregation, as well as core and integrated radio solutions that include its AIR 1636 and 1623 form factors. From a deployment perspective, the company claims 23 5G contracts that include all four tier one carriers in the US, Vodafone UK, Swisscom, and Telenor in Europe, KT and SK Telecom in South Korea, SoftBank in Japan, and Telstra in Australia. Ericsson supports a broad range of spectrum and its Spectrum Sharing solution leverages scheduler algorithms to facilitate carrier deployments of 5G alongside current LTE networks.
I believe Ericsson is also doing a good job of differentiating itself by investing into AI and open source initiatives through the Linux Foundation to deliver agility, lower operating expense structures, and improved network uptime for operators. From an AI perspective, this is evidenced by embedding intelligent algorithms in base stations as well as equipping field technicians with augmented reality cognitive assistance for improved troubleshooting. Ericsson also has a strong historical incumbent position and given its recent financial performance turnaround is well-positioned to capitalize on 5G.
Samsung is currently shipping 5G infrastructure solutions that span pre-standard and NR fixed wireless access (FWA) and mobility services. From a 5G base station standpoint, the company claims over 53,000 units have been shipped to South Korean operators including SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus. Over the past 12-18 months, Samsung has aggressively expanded out of its core Asian markets to supporting both 5G FWA and mobile deployments in the U.S. for Verizon dating back to October 2018. Sprint is also expected to follow suit after the conclusion of a field test of massive MIMO to support simultaneous LTE and 5G services for the carrier that hopes to merge with T-Mobile this year.
From a spectrum support perspective, Samsung’s 4T4R and 2T2R radio units support the entire breadth of mmWave spectrum as well as sub 6 with the 8T8R that is currently being deployed in Korean commercial 5G NR deployments. On the differentiation front, Samsung has significant capabilities in semiconductors as evidenced by its custom chipsets and also has depth in key 5G use case verticals such as automotive and manufacturing of not only 5G devices but also consumer electronics and white goods. Pointing to the latter, Samsung and AT&T recently launched a smart manufacturing testbed positioned as a “5G Innovation Zone” in Austin, Texas.
Huawei is currently shipping 5G infrastructure solutions that span our infrastructure definition. China’s most successful telecommunications company claims to have shipped in excess of 100,000 5G base stations globally to date backed by 40 5G commercial contracts with nearly half in Europe. Carriers include China Telecom, China Mobile, and China Unicom, LG Uplus in South Korea, Three and O2 in the United Kingdom, KPN in the Netherlands, MTS the largest operator in Russia, and VIVA Bahrain, Saudi Telecom, and Etisalat in the Middle East.
From a spectrum support perspective, most of Huawei’s efforts around trial and deployment seem to be focused on the sub 6 bands. This may be due in large part to its home market operator focus on the mid-band spectrum for initial 5G deployments. Given Ericsson and Samsung are heavily betting on mmWave to support AT&T and Verizon in the US among other carriers, this could be a longer-term competitive disadvantage if Huawei has to play catch up. I also believe the company’s “loss leader” focus on offering low-cost hardware in lieu of more depth in software-defined tools and virtualized core as a potential disadvantage. From a differentiation perspective, Huawei is able to tap Chinese government subsidies to the tune of over $200 million based on its most recent annual report as well as a massive line of credit for its customers that some have estimated reaches a staggering $100 billion. The company is also developing custom AI silicon, and I learned earlier this year at their annual analyst summit they intend to embed it within every networking infrastructure solution. Those “smarts” could help deliver improved automation and remediation capabilities.
Nokia is currently shipping 5G infrastructure solutions that span our infrastructure definition and claim that they have landed over 40 5G contracts that include AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S., all three South Korean operators, China Mobile, SoftBank and Docomo in Japan, and Vodafone Italy among a handful of others in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. From a spectrum perspective, the company is supporting both sub 6 and mmWave with its AirScale base station solutions, but I don’t see a lot of innovation coming out of Finland despite the company’s storied beginnings dating back to the 1800s. In particular, it seems the company has been unwilling to aggressively embrace software-defined tools and AI to bring lower cost structure to operators as possibly a means to continue to milk its services business. A continuation of financial weakness in its core business is also discouraging pointing to an underwhelming fiscal 1Q reported back in April.
ZTE is currently shipping 5G infrastructure solutions that span our infrastructure definition, but one has to ask, why continue in the face of even more adversity than its Shenzhen cross-town rival Huawei? With a recent record loss of $1B in 2018, a massive $1.4B fine in the face of trade sanctions and a complete gutting of executive management, the company has been unusually quiet about its 5G aspirations. However, ZTE claims 25 5G contracts backed by 50,000 5G base stations shipped globally. Current deployments are mainly with the three largest Chinese operators but there are also a handful of wins with mostly smaller, regional operators in Europe and Asia. Like Huawei, most of ZTE’s focus is in the sub 6 spectrum range with announcements of trials around mmWave, technology demonstrations, “co-development” efforts, “innovation labs”, and testbeds with Chinese, Korean, and European operators. The embattled company is also trying to address cybersecurity concerns by copying Huawei’s lead in opening its own assurance centers in Europe and China. I believe ZTE could improve its position by taking an even more transparent approach in dispelling security risks. This could include inviting third party inspection of its manufacturing facilities and supply chain as well as considering western-based contract manufacturers.
Multi-purpose provider evaluation
Leader: Cisco Systems
Although Cisco is not in the business of supplying purpose-built cellular infrastructure, it does offer a packet core platform that bridges cellular, Wi-Fi and IoT connected services as well as integrates LTE today in a handful of devices for use cases such as temporary on-demand links, and redundancy. Examples of the latter can be found in some of its Cisco ISR and Meraki MX routers. However, with respect to 5G the company is embarking on a number of strategic initiatives thorough its service provider organization that are worthy to note. Two of the most recent ones include the OpenRoaming initiative and Cisco Unified Domain Center. Let’s examine each.
OpenNetworking was an initiative birthed by Cisco intended to enable a seamless experience as users pass between Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks. It’s currently in beta test, but with the backing of Boingo, GlobalReach, and others, it has the potential to improve the connectivity experience by eliminating the need to log in and out of portals that are often agonizing tasks.
Cisco Unified Domain Center (UDC) is a software solution aimed at making it easier for operators to generate new revenue with 5G given the past challenges with LTE and a “dumb pipe” approach. The consumer benefits of 5G are obvious given the lower latency that will drive richer video experiences. However, it’s expected that 5G will be much more transformative from a business services standpoint. UDC will help extend enterprise services to mobile endpoints and implement it all through a highly secured, policy-based methodology that can span multiple mobile operators. The applications are diverse and include one of the most talked-about 5G uses cases - smart manufacturing. When I met with the team at Cisco Live North America, they shared that UDC is currently under evaluation by three major carriers with more to follow.
Leader: Hewlett Packard Enterprise/Aruba
Hewlett Packard Enterprise/ Aruba is taking a decidedly edge-centric approach in driving its overall 5G strategy. It’s no secret that CEO Antonio Neri has pledged an investment of $4B+ over the next 4 years to make the vision a reality and the Edgeline platform factors heavily here.
Beyond the network edge, from my perspective, HPE is driving one of broadest sets of telco-certified compute, storage, and networking portfolios aimed at core networking. The global services reach with Pointnext is compelling as well as the set of validated reference designs and NFV blueprints that have been published to date. Layer in a set of communications and media solutions that span industry-standard operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) and the company is delivering an end-to-end set of offerings that span core to edge.
Aruba plays an important role as it leads the enterprise networking portfolio. There has been debate among carriers and networking providers as to the co-existence of 5G and Wi-Fi. Carriers might like to see Wi-Fi die a slow death, but the reality is that they are better together. Based on economics, indoor vs outdoor propagation, and use case/ application both will live on and Aruba is delivering compelling solutions based on the new Wi-Fi 6 standard that supports a greater density of devices, lower latency, and higher throughput for both campus and branch deployments.
Follower: Dell EMC
Dell EMC is leveraging its open standards-based DNA to deliver telco-grade compute and storage and operator collaboration at scale. I like the fact that the company is moving beyond a hardware focus to seek collaboration opportunities with carriers. At Dell Tech World this year, the company’s service provider team announced a partnership with Orange in Europe to develop and validate 5G use cases and business models with an emphasis on multi-cloud deployment to drive scale. The initiative will eventually expand to include 15 carriers that drive 80%+ of mobile broadband services globally.
Dell’s vision to bring a portfolio of companies together with Dell Technologies is another asset that I would like to see Dell EMC further leverage as it sets its eyes on 5G service opportunities. VMWare has a formidable set of capabilities including NFV assurance and SD-WAN with VeloCloud to enable new monetization opportunities. However, I believe Dell EMC could explore co-development opportunities with RSA to solve one of the biggest concerns being raised by governments and large enterprises alike, 5G security given the explosion of connected devices that are anticipated. The latter could quickly propel the company into a future leader status.
Future Player: Lenovo
Lenovo is not currently shipping 5G infrastructure solutions but has put a team in place to pursue a set of telecommunications offerings. I’ve had the opportunity over the last year to meet with leadership that boasts impressive credentials from the likes of Nokia and IBM. I’ve been consequently impressed with Lenovo’s overall telco strategy and ongoing pilot with one European operator. I believe the company can be competitive long term especially given its accomplishments in the server market.
Drum roll please - and the winners are…….
From my perspective, when you evaluate both the quantitative and qualitative attributes, the winner on the single-purpose infrastructure side presently is Ericsson and for multi-purpose infrastructure is Hewlett Packard Enterprise/Aruba. As single-purpose runner ups, Samsung is making great inroads and I expect to see them knock down more opportunities as 5G deployments progress. Huawei has great potential as well as it navigates through the ongoing US vs China trade war and considers some tactical course corrections. Or the multi-purpose runners-up Cisco Systems and Dell EMC, I expect to see continued innovation and leverage of each’s significant global market reach. Bear in mind this evaluation is based on the progress to date of each of these companies and could certainly change over time.
We may be at the apex of the 5G hype cycle but carriers around the world are spending billions of dollars in infrastructure from the likes of traditional providers Ericsson, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE as well as from what I’ve coined as multi-purpose players such as Cisco, Dell EMC, and HPE to cover a range of spectrum in the hopes of being first to monetize 5G use cases. We are probably several years away from the 5G “poster child” application of autonomous driving given the need for IoT telemetry in our roadways, but I expect to see significant 5G impact in areas such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, education, and field service over the next 12-18+ months globally given the participation of all of the infrastructure providers evaluated in this article.
Disclosure: My firm, Moor Insights & Strategy, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided research, analysis, advising, and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry, including Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Ericsson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise/ Aruba, Huawei Technologies, Lenovo, Nokia, and Samsung cited or related to this article. I do not hold any equity positions with any companies cited in this column. <<
# # #
- Eric L. -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|To: Eric L who wrote (29)||6/8/2020 1:54:40 PM|
|From: Eric L|
|Mobile 5G Technology Leadership 2019 Part 5: Global Network Operatord (Carriers)|
>> Who Is 'Really' Leading in Mobile 5G, Part 5: Global Carriers
Senior Analyst: Networking Infrastructure and Carrier Services
Moor Insights and Strategy
July 29, 2019
This article is Part 5 of 6 in Moor Insights & Strategy’s series on mobile 5G leadership, focusing on current (not future) global carrier deployment of 5G networks. In Part 1, we analyzed 5G intellectual property and patent leadership. In Part 2, we examined the 5G chipset ecosystem, and in Part 3 we reviewed manufacturers integrating 5G components into end-user devices. Most recently, in Part 4, we discussed several 5G infrastructure providers and where each stack up from a technology and services capability.
What is a carrier?
A carrier is the most common term used for a company that provides wireless wide area networking (WWAN) or “mobile broadband” cellular service offerings. Martin Cooper, an engineer with Motorola, is credited with both inventing the cellphone and making the first mobile phone call back in April of 1973, and it took nearly a decade later before commercial service realization in 1984. A lot has changed in the last 35 years, but one thing is sure, cellular devices have revolutionized the way we all communicate on a personal and business basis, consume content, and transact our daily lives.
Defining the “G’s”
It’s probably worth revisiting the progression of mobile technology. “G” stands for generation and there have been significant step-levels of improvement over the years. 1G provided voice-only services over an analog network and service was fraught with dropped calls and poor security. 2G brought the advent of a digital network, and with it significant improvements in security, quality, and something we all use daily today – text messaging. 3G represented another technology leapfrog with mobile data support for web browsing and video calls (as well as Apple’s launch of the iconic iPhone). 4G is the current standard we enjoy today improving throughput and performance and helping birth disruptive services such as Netflix video streaming and ridesharing with Lyft and Uber.
What’s revolutionary about mobile 5G beyond faster speeds lies in something called latency. Simply defined, latency is the time it takes for a packet of data to travel from sender to receiver over a network. The lower the latency, the more responsive an application, especially if it’s video intensive and involves multi-player gaming as one example. Measured in milliseconds (ms), today’s 4G networks ring in at ~50ms in comparison to an expected sub 5ms latency for 5G. Latency equates to nearly real-time responsiveness, like in-home fiber, and carriers globally are eager to deploy 5G based on both the consumer and business applications that are poised to benefit.
5G mobile carrier leadership
Consequently, carriers globally are committing to billions of dollars in investment in 5G networks. Case in point, in the U.S., both AT&T and Verizon are each earmarking over a staggering $20B. The objective of our analysis in this article is to evaluate carrier 5G leadership presently, not the future. In the future, carriers could move up and down the stack. We believe there are two critical factors in determining leadership. First, are public announcements identifying specific 5G related services and an evaluation of overall capabilities to deliver a balanced mix of consumer and enterprise offerings. Second, are public deployment announcements with infrastructure equipment providers that we highlighted in our Part 4 article. As in past articles, we will identify leaders, followers, and laggards. For our evaluation, we focused on three regions – North America/ Canada, Europe, and Asia and evaluated the top carriers in each region based on subscriber size for a manageable analysis.
North America/ Canada
Leader: T-Mobile/ Sprint
When T-Mobile U.S. Inc. and Sprint Corp. announced their intention to merge back in April 2018, many were skeptical given Sprint’s historic financial underperformance and inconsistent service quality. However, from my perspective several positive factors were overlooked including strong leadership under then Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure in improving quality, a strong enterprise service base including a budding purpose-built IoT network, and an impressive spectrum footprint. I’ve also spent considerable time with Sprint executive management including CTO John Saw and IoT leader Ivo Rook and see the value in bringing more enterprise service balance to a historically consumer-centric T-Mobile. I’m also on public record from the beginning of the merger announcement voicing my belief that the deal would get done, and governmental approval late last week closed a long and arduous journey for both companies.
Once the multi-state attorney general lawsuit is settled, I firmly believe the combined company will deliver a balanced mix of both consumer and enterprise 5G services. Earlier this year, Sprint announced at Mobile World Congress Barcelona a partnership with Hatch to provide access to over 100 mobile 5G cloud gaming titles as well as live game and tournament streaming given eSports popularity. T-Mobile’s acquisition of Layer3 TV now re-branded TVision Home should provide an opportunity to monetize future 5G services with an Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming service in the home that could extend to mobile over time. From an enterprise perspective, Sprint brings its “Curiosity” IoT network and “solutions in a box” marketplace that aim to simplify deployment by focusing on core use cases such as asset and fleet management, mobile commerce, automation and control, and “smart” buildings among others. This solid LTE foundation should facilitate a rapid acceleration of 5G related IoT solutions given its full digitized architecture. The company also offers SD-WAN and other services that could be leveraged effectively for private LTE and eventually 5G service offerings.
From an infrastructure perspective, the combined companies have engaged Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung on several 5G pilots with an emphasis on massive MIMO. This effort will enable an extremely flexible and cost-effective split deployment of both LTE and 5G NR given that both standards will co-exist into the foreseeable future. Deployment-wise, Sprint has lit-up mobile 5G in major markets including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, MO, and most recently Chicago with a mix of gear from Ericsson and Samsung. . T-Mobile has launched mobile 5G in half a dozen markets to date and is focused on mmWave initially likely to be followed by 600MHz spectrum deployments given the $8B+ paid for the latter in 2017. Intel and Ericsson have both participated in T-Mobile pilots for “sub 6” and mmWave at the higher bands, and I expect both infrastructure providers will be involved in 5G deployments.
Verizon has a proven track record in providing a good balance of consumer and enterprise service offerings as well as a relentless focus on ensuring network quality and reliability. I’ve spent considerable time with the team visiting its labs, network operation centers, and proof of concept labs. I published an article about those learnings, and if interested, you can read about them here. I’ve also spent time with Chief Networking Officer Nicki Palmer to gain further insights into the company’s vision for 5G services. What impresses me most about Verizon is its forward-thinking concerning the application of 5G. I have personally visited the Alley in Chelsea, NY the company’s proof of concept incubator, and was impressed with specific 5G use cases that will be monetized by the company in the future spanning healthcare, public safety, and mobile gaming among others. The standout application from my perspective is with Medivis that utilizes mobile 5G and augmented reality to improve surgical procedure outcomes. Verizon has also created an investment fund called Verizon Ventures that is investing in areas such as virtual reality, IoT, and artificial intelligence to further accelerate possible use cases for mobile 5G.
From an infrastructure perspective, Verizon prioritized a home broadband service launch in late 2018 in four markets in the U.S with Samsung. With respect to mobile 5G services, Verizon has lit-up markets that include Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver with plans to expand to 30+ metropolitan areas by the end of the year. Samsung is a strategic deployment partner for both fixed and mobile deployments as well as Ericsson for mobile 5G.
This grading is a tough one for me because there are so many things that AT&T is doing right – from its depth of LTE enterprise services to a world-class AT&T Foundry program that is focused on birthing proof of concept activity. The telecommunications giant has also done a phenomenal job showcasing the possibility of 5G and related content creation and consumption at its annual Shape events held at the Warner Brothers Studios in Los Angeles. However, a lack of announced 5G consumer and enterprise services despite depth of its trials in key verticals such as healthcare, retail, transportation, and manufacturing is what places them in the follower category today. To complicate matters, AT&T has confused the market with its “5G Evolution” LTE network densification messaging going as far as placing the “5GE” icon on its smartphones when in reality it’s not a true 5G connection. With all of this said, the telecommunications giant could easily catapult itself into the leader category in the future as it completes customer trials and prioritizes which 5G services to bring to market.
From an infrastructure perspective, AT&T has deployed mobile 5G in roughly 20 U.S. markets to date and counts Nokia, Ericsson, and Samsung among its key launch partners. mmWave is the company’s initial priority, and it consequently has inherent challenges given the limited coverage area as well as signal propagation issues but is ideal of densely populated urban areas. However, AT&Ts densification plans should address these challenges longer-term and serve as a solid foundation for mobile 5G network expansion.
Laggard: Rogers Wireless
Canada’s largest carrier Rogers Wireless bet big in a recent 600 MHz spectrum offering paying nearly $1.7B in an auction. The Great White North is a challenging topography given its population clusters and vast distances between cities, but the company is planning to light up major metropolitan areas including Ontario, Northern Quebec, and Manitoba, among others. Currently, Rogers is focused on densifying its LTE networks as a precursor to rolling out mobile 5G and has conducted pilots with Ericsson in Toronto. Consequently, there aren’t a lot of public details related to planned 5G services to date given the fact that deployments haven’t begun.
Leader: Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is the largest carrier in Germany and Europe overall as well as the parent company to T-Mobile U.S. Inc. The carrier boasts its networks span more than 50 countries and its T-Systems division offers business services that span IoT and cloud. From a 5G services perspective, the company partners with 19 start-ups that are poised to deliver services that span sports training and smart manufacturing among others.
Deutsche Telekom is currently deploying mobile 5G in six cities that include Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich with plans to expand to the 20 largest cities in Germany within the next 12-18 months. Initial infrastructure deployment plans include building out 300 5G antenna sites in 100 locations by the end of the year. The carrier counts Huawei among its infrastructure providers and has come to its defense, publicly stating that the ban could put Europe years behind the United States and China with respect to 5G deployments.
EE is the largest carrier in the United Kingdom and a division of BT Group. They are primarily focused on mobile connectivity solutions for consumers and small businesses. From a 5G services perspective, the company has yet to announce any specific offerings for its consumer or business segments.
The company launched its 5G commercial network in May 2019 (the first in the U.K.) in six cities- London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Manchester with plans to expand to 10 more locations this year and an additional 10 locations in 2020. Huawei is EE’s infrastructure partner for initial 5G deployments, and that relationship is expected to remain in place for the next 1-2 years. Given U.S. concerns over Huawei security threats with “backdoors”, EE and parent BT Group are seeking alternatives for both its core and radio access infrastructure longer term.
Follower: Vodafone Group
Vodafone Group can trace its roots back to 1982 - formed out of the United Kingdom’s largest producer of military radio technology. Today, the company boasts a presence in over 25 countries providing both consumer and enterprise mobile services that span fixed and unified communications, IoT, and cloud. Given its history of a balanced approach to both consumer and enterprise markets, I would expect Vodafone to focus on specific 5G services with its recent launch events. Rather, its focus seems to be decidedly pricing oriented. This strategy proved to be a misstep with LTE networks globally in the past as carriers battled each other over unlimited data plans that not only drove down ARPU but also allowed OTT services to better capitalize on monetization opportunities.
To date, Vodafone has launched mobile 5G connectivity in five cities in Italy, 15 cities across the United Kingdom, 15 cities in Spain, and 20 cities in Germany. Embattled Huawei is the company's lead infrastructure partner, but the company has publicly stated that it will second source with Ericsson. I believe Vodafone can become a leader if it takes a more 5G services-oriented approach long term.
Laggard: Telefonica/ O2
Telefonica operates networks in 16 countries across Latin America and Europe, including Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom under the O2 brand. Its consumer and business services are well balanced given Telefonica Business Solutions claims over 5.5M customers with a market reach into 170 countries. From a mobile 5G services perspective, the company and Chinese infrastructure provider ZTE have demonstrated 5G use cases centered on banking applications with Banco Santander in Spain as well as 5G smart city proof of concepts with Nokia and Ericsson, but there are no 5G commercial deployment plans slated until late 2019 to early 2020.
Given O2 is behind from a 5G deployment perspective in the United Kingdom, it recently struck a partnership with Vodafone UK. It's an interesting union given they are rivals, but I applaud the effort. In sharing the cost of infrastructure and deployment, both carriers will reap the rewards of lower capital expenditure and faster time to market for 5G services and subsequent monetization. I believe the partnership will bear fruit long term and could propel Telefonica/ O2 out of a follower status, especially if they embrace 5G software-defined networking tools to improve time to market and lower operating expense.
Leader: China Mobile
China Mobile is the largest carrier worldwide as measured by subscribers. It delivers a balanced mix of consumer and enterprise services with the latter, including tailored solutions for education, government, transportation, and public safety sectors. October 2019 seems to be the date that the Chinese government has set for mobile 5G commercial service deployment, but the company has been demonstrating compelling use cases for some time. I’ve attended several Huawei events in China as well as Mobile World Congress Shanghai (MWC-S) and have been particularly impressed with China Mobile’s smart city platform. Most recently at MWC-S, China Mobile demonstrated a live 5G telesurgery session (that a patient consented to!) as well as interactive sporting and cultural event experiences utilizing 5G and augmented reality. There aren’t any discrete 5G consumer or enterprise service announcements to date from the carrier but given the depth of trial activity they could bridge that gap quickly.
Huawei supplies over half of the infrastructure for China Mobile’s 5G network with Ericsson providing roughly one-third and Nokia and ZTE supplying the remainder. The carrier has ambitious mobile 5G plans that include deploying up to 50.000 base stations to support an initial 50 cities by the end of 2019 and eventually nationwide coverage of 340+ cities by 2020.
Leader: SK Telecom
SK Telecom is South Korea’s largest carrier and offers a range of consumer mobile services that span voice, content, and personal banking. From an enterprise services perspective, the company is focused on eight core segments with automotive, education, retail, and healthcare all aligning well to the benefits of mobile 5G’s improved speed and lower latency over LTE. From a 5G services perspective, SK Telecom is engaged in a number of initiatives that will result in commercialization including telematics for autonomous vehicles and a partnership with South Korean LG Electronics for connected robotics that leverage a 5G mobile edge cloud platform.
From a deployment perspective, the carrier boasts that a staggering 30,000 5G base stations are supporting coverage across 85 cities across the country — infrastructure from Samsung and Ericsson power the SK Telecom network.
Follower: Reliance Jio
Reliance Jio operates in India and may not be the largest carrier in the country, but its hyper-growth warrants attention. Founded in late 2016 by Mukesh Ambani one of the wealthiest persons in India, the company recently hit the 300 million subscriber mark in record time taking massive share from incumbents that have been serving the Indian market for decades. Jio has accomplished this using the latest LTE gear and software-defined tools to provide deployment agility, a lower operating expense structure, and network optimization for video and high availability. The carrier is taking a very pricing centric approach to disrupt the market initially, but I expect that its investment in modern infrastructure will facilitate a fast-path to 5G in the second half of 2020. An IoT based solution offering seems to be the next logical step for Jio from a monetization perspective, and its underlying investment in LTE should serve as a strong base for both IoT and future 5G services.
Laggard: NTT DoCoMo
NTT DoCoMo is the largest carrier in Japan, and its name says it all- DoCoMo is an abbreviation for “do communications over the mobile network.” The company can trace its roots back to 1991 when it spun off of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone to focus exclusively on cellular-based services. It offers a good balance of consumer and business offerings with the latter encompassing cloud, unified communications, and security. From a mobile 5G services standpoint, there haven’t been any formal announcements given the company has stated a commercial service launch date of 2020. However, 5G demo activity looks promising, including remote training applications that utilize virtual reality and security applications that encompass IP cameras and artificial intelligence. The carrier also announced its first 5G lab outside of Japan in Guam to help its global partner ecosystem validate 5G uses cases including the ones mentioned above.
As stated earlier, the objective of our analysis in this article is to evaluate carrier 5G leadership presently, not the future. In the future, carriers could move up and down the stack. Carriers globally are racing to the finish line for the first phase of 5G given the tremendous monetization opportunities. I’ve examined each of the largest by region and call T-Mobile/Sprint the winner in North America, Deutsche Telekom the winner in Europe, and in Asia, it’s a near photo finish but I give the edge to SK Telecom.
In North America, the combination of T-Mobile and Sprint spectrum, leverage potential with parent companies Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank, 5G deployments, and announced 5G service and IoT offerings are compelling and position the union in the lead today. I also expect that regardless of which executives lead the combined companies, T-Mobile will continue to bring added value and disruption to both the consumer and enterprise markets. However, keep an eye on Verizon based on its size, scale, bullet-proof reliability, and grasp of impactful 5G use cases and applications. AT&T is on the cusp of the follower/ leader category, but I expect to see discrete 5G service offerings in the near future given all of its capabilities and investments.
In Europe, that geography, in general, has seemed to follow the 5G aspirations of carriers in both North America and Asia. Many carriers in the region point to inflated auction prices, scarcity of fiber for backhaul, and lack of compelling 5G use cases as a rationale for a more conservative deployment plan. However, these are hurdles that are easily overcome with intra-carrier cooperation as evidenced between Vodafone UK and O2 and infrastructure alternatives such as microwave for backhaul, as well as fixed wireless access/ point to point for last-mile connectivity. Deutsche Telekom, from my perspective, is the leader today given its market position, current 5G deployment plans, investment in ecosystem and 5G use case incubation through its Capital Partners fund, and mix of consumer and enterprise service offerings. However, EE has a similar trajectory to that of Deutsche Telekom with its current and future 5G deployment plans and could gain momentum quickly with a focus on discrete services.
In Asia, I give the edge to SK Telecom today. They have massively deployed 5G infrastructure and are actively working with partners to develop 5G mobile services for consumers and businesses alike.
To reiterate, this analysis is a snapshot today. I expect that global carrier leadership will shift over time. Proof of concept 5G labs will turn trials into services, and carriers will continue to expand mobile 5G deployments based on their spectrum assets at hand. In my mind, the ultimate winners will be the ones that focus on transformative 5G services. Case in point, ridesharing was only possible with the deployment of LTE networks. I can’t wait to see what all of these very capable carriers enable on a global basis with mobile 5G.
Disclosure: My firm, Moor Insights & Strategy, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided research, analysis, advising, and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry, including Sprint and others, cited or related to this article. I do not hold any equity positions with any companies cited in this column. <<
# # #
- Eric L. -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|To: Eric L who wrote (29)||6/8/2020 2:54:44 PM|
|From: Eric L|
|Mobile 5G Technology Leadership 2019 Part 6: Policy, Regulation And Consortia|
>> Who Is 'Really' Leading in Mobile 5G, Part 6: Policy, Regulation And Consortia
Senior Analyst: Networking Infrastructure and Carrier Services
Moor Insights and Strategy
October 12, 2019
Everyone wants to talk about mobile 5G and how they are leading in the space. However, the reality is that mobile 5G is a broadly encompassing wireless standard that will change the way we view the future of cellular communications and the possibilities like never before. As such, it takes a deeper understanding to evaluate who’s leading in mobile 5G.
This article is the final one in our 6-part series, focusing on where regions around the world currently stand on 5G policy and regulations as well as consortia that supports deployment and innovation. As a recap to our series on mobile 5G leadership, we concluded in:
• Part 1 that Qualcomm is the leader in intellectual property and patent leadership
• Part 2 that Qualcomm is also by far the standout in the 5G chipset ecosystem
• Part 3 that Samsung is the undisputed leader in integrating 5G components into end user devices
• Part 4 that Ericsson and HPE are 5G infrastructure leaders
• Part 5 that T-Mobile/ Sprint, Deutsche Telekom, and SK Telecom are carrier leaders given their readiness to deliver 5G services.
How important is the race to 5G?
Many around the world view 5G as a significant technology that could serve as a catalyst for an industrial evolution. Consequently, the term “Industry 4.0” has been coined to capture the notion of factories integrating 5G connectivity, sensors, computational power, and edge analytics all aimed at improving production yields and operational efficiency. Some carriers such as T-Mobile in the United States in its ongoing bid to acquire Sprint argue that a first-mover status could advantage one region over another in the form of job creation. Many political leaders globally also surmise that 5G consumer and business services have the potential to drive significant economic expansion much like what 4G LTE did in birthing a disruptive, multi-billion-dollar ridesharing service that has toppled the taxicab industry.
Defining regional leadership
For our evaluation, we focused on four countries/ regions – United States, China, Asia Pacific, and Western Europe, and evaluated three vectors – published governmental policy related to 5G, spectrum allocation and regulation, and consortia to support 5G applications and use cases. We then assigned a letter grade given where we believe each region stands today: “A” for above average in meeting all criteria, “B” for average in meeting two, and “C” for passing in meeting one.
The United States government has been aggressively backing the deployment of 5G networks. A number of presidential memorandums and reports have been published dating back to 2018 that can be found here. Research has also been directed toward spectrum allocation with three key priorities recently highlighted in a report published by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Titled “Emerging Technologies and their Expected Impact on Non-Federal Spectrum Demand”, the report recommends pursuing spectrum flexibility with an emphasis on multi-band deployment, improving spectrum awareness through research and monitoring, and maximizing efficiency while balancing the needs of both governmental and private business stakeholders. One of the most significant pieces of published U.S. policy related to 5G is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 5G FAST Plan. It outlines three core strategies- making more spectrum available, updating infrastructure policy, and updating regulations.
From a spectrum allocation and deployment perspective, the United States is the only region to deploy both Sub 6 and mmWave spectrum for future 5G services. If you want to learn more about spectrum and the differences between 5G standalone (SA) and non-standalone networks (NSA), I published a recent Forbes article that can be found here. The FCC has been very aggressive historically in wireless spectrum auctions, and the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)/ OnGo Wireless also realized its initial commercial deployment late last month to provide a flexible sharing model that repurposes military spectrum in an effort to provide more of this precious resource to support new service offerings.
From a consortia perspective, the United States lags other regions in the world. However, 5G infrastructure providers such as Ericsson and Samsung have struck strategic relationships with AT&T and Verizon for proof of concept labs and testbeds for smart manufacturing, healthcare, and education applications among others. The University of Texas at Austin also hosts the Wireless Networking and Communications Group tasked with investigating industrial applications tied to next-generation wireless networking. Given the aforementioned initiatives, we consequently believe the United States can check the box in this area.
Dating back to 2018, the Chinese government through its National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has backed 5G investment, research, and subsequent testing. It is widely speculated that Huawei benefits significantly from a resource perspective as well as credit facilities that are made available to carriers that consider Chinese-made infrastructure. The NDRC also recently announced that it would fast-track 5G commercial licenses to spur deployment and service innovation. However, beyond these considerations, there isn’t the same level of published plans and research as compared to the United States.
From a spectrum allocation and deployment perspective, Sub 6 is deployed in the region with mmWave planned. The country’s (and world’s) largest wireless telecommunications infrastructure provider Huawei has invested significant resources to further 5G innovation and engages with the three national carriers in trial and demo activity, but no formal consortia exist. There have been some efforts behind a EUCHINA IoT and 5G collaboration but it seems to have concluded at the beginning of this year. Despite these shortcomings, China recently reported that over 10 million subscribers have signed up for 5G access plans ahead of commercial deployments.
In contrast to China, the government of South Korea has been aggressive in its pursuit of 5G policy due in large part to the country’s poor monetization of prior 4G LTE investments. I attribute this to a singular focus on a national strategy for 5G authored by its Ministry of Science and Technology. With a stated goal of creating over half a million new jobs by 2026, South Korea has identified 10 key industries benefiting from new 5G services that include new content, smart factories, autonomous vehicles, digital healthcare, and smart cities. Today, South Korea is a leader in mobile 5G deployment with an astounding 2 million subscribers across all three carriers.
This past spring, Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication finally allocated and assigned spectrum for future 5G services, but the country is significantly behind the United States, China, and South Korea from both a published policy and deployment perspective. India’s economy is exploding by all measures but ironically 5G deployment has not been a priority even with carrier darling Reliance Jio that has aggressively embraced multi-purpose infrastructure to quickly and cost-effectively build out a reliable 4G LTE network. There is little published Indian 5G policy and spectrum allocations aren’t expected until the end of the year given a 2020 target date for service delivery.
From a spectrum allocation and deployment perspective, Sub 6 is deployed in the region with mmWave planned although there are some indications that Japan is deploying mmWave. The Asia Pacific region would benefit by building a 5G consortia among larger and smaller nations to drive faster adoption and new service innovation.
Western Europe has been decidedly conservative in its approach to 5G deployments, an almost “wait and see” attitude relative to the rest of the world. Could massive governmental subsidies used in the past to build free public Wi-Fi networks be cooling receptivity to mobile 5G in the short term? Time will tell, but the European Union is a much more complicated environment for 5G deployment given individual countries publish regulations and allocate spectrum. From my perspective, they are behind North America and Asia Pacific with only the United Kingdom being the shining star for initial mobile 5G deployments, albeit with an emphasis on access and price versus services. The European Commission guides overall 5G policy, and its 5G Action Plan for Europe attempts to align deployment, set standards for spectrum allocation, promote early deployment and trials, drive standards.
From a spectrum allocation and deployment perspective, Sub 6 is deployed in the region with mmWave planned with the exception of Italy where it has been deployed. However, spectrum auctions by country seem to lag that of the rest of world. From a consortia perspective, Germany is the driving force behind the 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (ACIA). The ACIA is tasked with ensuring the best application of 5G technology for connected industries including manufacturing and process. I believe it’s a model that other countries should consider replicating given its working group focus on use case and requirements, spectrum needs, architecture, and test validation.
Our analysis is based on a snapshot of where these countries and regions are from a 5G policy, spectrum allocation, and consortia effort today. All four have some degree of published policy on 5G, but the United States is the current standout. From a spectrum allocation and deployment standpoint, the United States is also deploying in more bands including the propagation-challenged mmWave high bands, but 5G ecosystem leader Qualcomm is helping to level technical hurdles over time. The company’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing platform and recent mmWave antenna module enhancements have the potential to extend range from 500 feet to 1+ mile. Technology breakthroughs such as these should change the future deployment economics of mmWave and allow other regions to catch up. Finally, consortia can be a powerful element in accelerating the deployment of 5G and supercharging innovation. Western Europe shines in this regard today but gets our lowest mark given that’s the only box they are checking among the three defined criteria.
All of this analysis begs the question, if 5G is a race, is it a sprint or a marathon? I would argue the latter and those regions that align policy, regulation, and consortia effectively should reap the benefit in the form of job creation and economic expansion.
Disclosure: My firm, Moor Insights & Strategy, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided research, analysis, advising, and/or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry, including Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm, and others cited or related to this article. I do not hold any equity positions with any companies cited in this column.
We are a technology analyst and advisory firm with actual industry experience. The markets we address span the the Internet of Things (IoT), client computing, cloud, the software-defined datacenter and semiconductors. We research, evaluate, consult, advise and communicate. Unlike other analyst and consulting firms, we have actual industry experience. MI&S analysts and consultants have held executive-level positions in strategy, product management, product and channel marketing, technology, P&L management and market research at technology companies.
© 2020 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. <<
# # #
Hats off to Forbes who published this 6 part Series in 2019.
The Series is an exceptional backgrounder on the 5th Generation of Mobile Wireless technology in its early stages of commercial deployment and I learned a lot from it.
- Eric L -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Eric L||6/17/2020 8:49:32 PM|
|Huawei and 3GPP Standards Setting ... |
>> Huawei is in even bigger trouble after US standards move
Iain Morris, News Editor
June 16, 2020
The global telecom industry is rejoicing after the US government said American firms would be allowed to work alongside Chinese ones on the development of 5G and other standards. Shares in Chinese technology firms have risen. There is even talk that sanctions against Huawei may be lifted.
Any such optimism will probably be short-lived. While this week's decision protects the global standards-setting system that includes Huawei, it is mainly a defensive measure aimed at safeguarding US interests. US authorities have merely recognized that boycotting groups such as the 3GPP, the mobile standards body, would have been a self-mutilating act. It could have made Huawei, already one of the most powerful companies in that community, look even stronger next to US firms.
"The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation," said Wilbur Ross, the US Secretary of Commerce, in his statement about the decision. "The Department is committed to protecting US national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging US industry to fully engage and advocate for US technologies to become international standards."
The rule change seems to have come after US stakeholders complained it would leave them at a strategic disadvantage. It is also a relief for other telecom stakeholders who feared a return to the old days of different standards for different parts of the world. While that still remains a potential long-term outcome of the current technology cold war, the risks have certainly diminished.
Perversely, the Commerce Department's move could precipitate much keener US interest in contributing to a global standard. China had a similar shift in the days of 3G. Originally determined to build a homegrown standard, dominated by local firms, Chinese authorities changed tack when their TD-SCDMA technology failed to attract much international interest. Subsequently, Chinese companies have concentrated their efforts on being as dominant as possible in the global institutions.
Unsurprisingly, Huawei is today one of that community's staunchest defenders. "If further fragmentation were to take place, the whole industry would pay a terrible price," said Guo Ping, one of Huawei's rotating bosses, during a recent press conference. "The lesson here is that unified standards are vitally important to industry development."
That is a somewhat awkward reality for US hawks. While they can remove Huawei from US networks, they cannot remove the network or technology expertise from Huawei. As a major licensor of mobile technology, the Chinese firm collects royalties on smartphone sales worldwide. Some of its smarts underpin the 5G networks that US operators are building, even if its physical basestations do not.
If the US is to remain a part of the global standards community, as it inevitably decided it would this week, the only way it can become less dependent on Chinese knowhow is to make the Chinese firms less influential in the standards groups. That could mean imitating China's strategy of trying to shape the international standard and essentially crowd out the other players.
How successful that strategy has been is up for debate. Huawei undoubtedly plays a more prominent role in the 5G standard than it ever did in 3G or 4G. Yet critics believe the company's influence has been overstated in the media. Its vast array of patents, they say, includes relatively few that are genuinely "standard-essential," despite the findings of several studies that tout Huawei's significance. Richard Windsor, an analyst with Radio Free Mobile, thinks US semiconductor giant Qualcomm has "a much stronger position in 5G" than one high-profile study gives it credit for. The 3GPP, for its part, remains tight-lipped on this entire subject. Revelations could be awkward.
Whatever transpires in the world of standards, no one should seriously expect a rapprochement between the US and Huawei after all that has already happened. Meng Wanzhou, the Chinese firm's chief financial officer (and daughter of its founder), remains under house arrest in Canada, awaiting possible extradition to the US to face charges of fraud. Countries including the UK are still under US pressure to ban Huawei from their 5G networks. And trade sanctions have not been eased.
Quite the opposite, in fact. A recent tightening-up of Commerce Department rules will stop Huawei from buying any components made with US technology. Previous restrictions covered only US components made on US soil, inflicting limited damage on Huawei and disappointing its US antagonists. Unable to procure equipment from important suppliers like Taiwan's TSMC, Huawei could be finished within a year as a result of the latest measures, according to some analysts. If that happens, any concern about US firms working alongside their Chinese counterparts in standards groups would be largely academic. <<
# # #
- Eric L -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Eric L||6/18/2020 11:18:18 AM|
|Cellular Technology Generations & Cellular Network Standards Evolution ... |
The introductory header of this 5G SI Subject Board has been updated to include reference links to two SI boards that chronicle the evolution of prior generations of mobile wireless telephony:
Earlier Generations of Moble Wireless Technology SI Boards
• 4G IMT-Advanced 'True' 4G Mobile Wireless Technology | Subject 51577
• 3G IMT-2000 Third Generation Mobile Wireless Telephony | Subject 54786
It should be noted that 4G IMT-Advanced LTE continues to evolve in standards and deployment concurrently with the ITU's IMT-2020 5G New Radio (5G-NR) and IoT..
- Eric L
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|To: Eric L who wrote (21)||6/18/2020 12:11:23 PM|
|From: Eric L|
|5G SEP Patent Ownership and Leadership ... |
>> Huawei's patents won't save it, says leading analyst
Iain Morris (Morris Lore), News Editor
June 09 2020
Patents ownership in telecom is a murky affair. Even the experts can't sort which patents matter and which are fundamentally worthless, and standards bodies have kept the lights switched off. Macho posturing is consequently rife. Patent owners regularly crash about in the gloom, boasting about the size of their portfolios. China's Huawei, for instance, needs no encouragement to flaunt its big numbers.
Claims of technology leadership based on these raw figures always looked spurious, as Light Reading wrote in March. Now a leading telecom analyst has also cast aspersions on the data. Formerly a well-respected sell-side analyst for Nomura Securities, Richard Windsor today runs his own research business – Radio Free Mobile – and blogs about technology matters. In his view, size most definitely does not matter in 5G patents, and Huawei is far less impressive than it makes out.
Windsor takes aim, in particular, at a 2019 study by GreyB, a research company, which identifies Huawei, Samsung and LG as the real powerbrokers in 5G. Huawei not only holds more 5G-related patents than any other company (some 13,474), according to that study. It also holds a bigger share of standard-essential patents (or SEPs) – about 19% of them, to be precise, versus 15% for Samsung, 14% for LG, 12% for each of Nokia and Qualcomm and just 9% for Ericsson.
There is an obvious correlation between those two sets of numbers, and Windsor isn't convinced. GreyB's analysis is flawed, he reckons, in its definition of an SEP. Using an airplane as an analogy, he basically says there are two types of SEP – the one that keeps the plane flying and the one used for seats and drinks trolleys. Both are needed for the plane to "fulfil its function," he writes, but "the IP [intellectual property] for the engines, ailerons and wings is much more essential than the seats and drinks trolleys." Huawei's role in the seriously important area is probably overstated.
While it's a hard point to prove conclusively, there are some compelling signals. For one thing, if GreyB is right, both Huawei and Samsung would have had to leapfrog other companies in the patents league table during the transition from 4G to 5G. That's improbable, says Windsor, because 5G relies on a lot of the same "core" IP as 4G, including the OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) coding system.
In his own words: "In the 4G patent count, Huawei and Samsung, in particular, have a much smaller share, raising the question of how they came from so far behind in a similar standard to lead 5G. One answer could be that they have developed IP that looks more like seats and drinks trolleys rather than engines and consequently their contribution is less valuable than it appears."
The other clue is in Qualcomm, which generates more in royalties per device than any other player and seems impossible to avoid. For evidence of that, take note of recent litigation between Apple and Qualcomm, when Apple was forced to give way. "The fact that it felt it had to use Qualcomm is a strong indication that when it comes to working product, Qualcomm (and I suspect Nokia and Ericsson) has a much stronger position in 5G than this study gives them credit for," writes Windsor.
It's a timely intervention by Windsor. The global 5G standard so dependent on Huawei's expertise may rupture if the US continues to treat the Chinese firm like a hi-tech villain, the company has recently suggested. "If further fragmentation were to take place, the whole industry would pay a terrible price," said Guo Ping, one of Huawei's rotating bosses, during a press conference in May. If Huawei is grandstanding about its 5G patents, as Windsor suspects, any threats about standards fragmentation could lose their venom.
Windsor is not the first person who has attempted to shine some light on the 5G patents situation. In 2019, legal experts at Bird & Bird compared several different studies used to support claims of Huawei's technology leadership. Many, they said, were "too simplistic," failing to distinguish between essential and non-essential patents. Determining what constitutes an SEP was another issue, according to the lawyers. Without the clarity the industry is either unwilling or unable to provide, the macho posturing is bound to continue. <<
# # #
- Eric L -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Eric L||6/18/2020 2:00:19 PM|
|What 5G Race? and US vs. Huawei (Robert Clark @ Light Reading) ... |
We are so early into 5G that we still know very little about how this is going to play out.
>> Just which 5G race are they talking about?
Asia News Analysis
June 09, 2020
We are in one of those rare periods when a new telecom technology is at the center of global attention. Yet there is a big disconnect between the 5G "debate" and what the industry is actually doing.
5G is invariably cast as a "race" between the US and China, usually as one that China is "winning."
That's not totally false, and we might also acknowledge that one thing they agree on is that 5G is a huge deal.
Both sides embraced the maximalist view that 5G is going to transform industry, modernize the economy and ensure military ascendancy.
Some of those predictions also turn up on the slide packs of industry executives, but those with actual P&L responsibility for 5G are the first to acknowledge these are just assumptions.
Anyone who remembers the ridiculous 3G valuations will be cautious about these aggressive 5G forecasts, especially from those with a political interest in talking them up.
The "race" that is commonly spoken of is the vendor/technology/network deployment race, which tends to get conflated into one thing. Just framing it that way puts Huawei and China in the lead thanks to volume.
But this discussion misses services and applications, which is the largest part. To the extent it is acknowledged, dominance in network kit is assumed to guarantee services success – but that doesn't follow any more than building airports ensures aviation "dominance."
We are so early into 5G that we still know very little about how this is going to play out.
In pioneering South Korea, people are using more data, and some of the AR and streaming services seem promising, but it is hard to identify compelling new apps or changed consumer behavior. After 12 months, SK Telecom's ARPU has moved by just 1.9%.
In raw numbers China is certainly winning the "race." Operators have deployed more than 250,000 basestations and are claiming some hefty subs numbers. But a huge slice of these – perhaps two-fifths – are 4G users with 4G devices on 5G packages. (See China's 5G subs may be overstated by 40%.)
Operators gain nothing financially from these customers, learn nothing from their behavior, and clog up their 4G networks with users on outsize data plans. That's not winning any kind of race.
Equally unsurprising, despite the rich new network functionality available to them, operators have already resorted to price competition. China Mobile has just trimmed its basic package from 139 yuan ($19.70) to 99 yuan ($14).
China's state monopolies and micro-management may yield impressive supply side results, but they are hopeless at creating bold new services. Competition between operators is so stunted that regulators now set them mandatory annual targets for price and network performance.
China's 5G doesn't have the additional competitive impetus and innovation that Europe and the US will see from CBRS or private networking. As in 4G, the government and the operators will rule the airwaves.
This will be even more true on the enterprise side. China is a low-productivity economy that doesn't know how to take advantage of new technology. In 2018, the China cloud market was just 8% that of the US.
Next time you see someone talking about the 5G "race," it's worth figuring out just which race they mean. <<
>> US vs. Huawei: Be careful what you wish for
Asia News Analysis
June 10, 2020
Huawei could run short of key chips for its networking gear by early next year, as US sanctions take their toll.
The Shenzhen-based vendor is uncertain if it can even fulfill its existing contracts to supply 5G kit to operators in China and around the world, Bloomberg is reporting.
So, the latest and harshest round of Huawei bans is already having the desired effect. But be careful what you wish for.
If Huawei can't fulfill its 90-plus 5G contracts, the result will be messy and costly for operators.
Presumably those telcos will be forced to turn, directly or indirectly, to Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung and/or NEC, and pay whatever it takes. Neither they nor their governments will thank Washington for that.
Even Attorney General Bill Barr is asking just whose equipment are telcos going to buy if they are warned off Huawei.
More than that, the blowback from this kind of total ban could mean long-term harm to the US chip industry.
China accounted for 23% of global semiconductor demand in 2018. Since the US-China trade war began, average annual growth for US chip firms has declined from 10% to around 1%, Boston Consulting Group points out.
It argues that under current restrictions US firms could lose 8% of global share and 16% of revenue. If the US enforces a total semiconductor ban on China, this could rise to 18% of global share and 37% of revenue.
These falls in revenue would mean cuts in R&D spending, capital investment and jobs.
So even allowing for the need to push back against China's forced technology transfers, IP theft and extensive state subsidies – not to mention its alarming penchant for hostage-taking – there are good reasons for trying to cut a deal.
The phase one trade agreement in January did include some measures relating to technology transfers and IP theft, though nothing on subsidies.
But the impact of the latest Huawei measures means the US could return to the negotiating table in a position of strength.
China's efforts to build a world-class chip industry go back to the 1950s.
A recent Brookings Institution research paper says the national champion, SMIC, is around five years behind the world's leaders.
SMIC and the next-biggest firm, Unigroup, received state subsidies equivalent to 40% and 30% respectively of total revenue between 2014-18.
That's not much of a result. In aggregate, China accounts for just 3% of global capacity in advanced chips.
But some analysts believe this may change as the nation turns toward domestic suppliers as a result of the Huawei bans.
In a scale game such as chips, money makes a difference. There's an avalanche of cash waiting to be tipped into the sector. Last year the government created a new $29 billion national IC fund, and Brookings says at least $80 billion has also been raised through provincial and municipal funds.
It might be too much to expect reasonable compromise from either national leader at this stage. But giving Huawei a little breathing space might be better than trying to kill it off altogether. <<
# # #
- Eric L -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Eric L||9/19/2020 10:36:53 AM|
|T-Mobile USA and its potential 5G Moment' ... |
>> Is T-Mobile prepared for its 5G iPhone moment?
The stars are beginning to align for T-Mobile. And the company's management team knows it
Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies
"I have to give Verizon credit: At the dawn of the 4G era, in 2010, they jumped out in front of everybody," explained T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert at a recent investor event this week. "And that established the brand pattern that they were able to feed on for a decade, through the entire 4G era. They had the world convinced that they had the best network. Through much of that era, it was absolutely true."
Continued Sievert: "That's our opportunity in the 5G era. We're way out in front."
Sievert isn't the only one convinced that T-Mobile is positioned to build an early lead in 5G.
"T-Mobile is the industry winner here. And they are already pulling away," wrote the financial analysts at MoffettNathanson in an August note to investors.
However, T-Mobile's Sievert so far has been playing things relatively safe. Now may be the time for him to get a little frisky.
A leading position in spectrum and pricing
"It is simple," wrote the financial analysts at New Street Research in a May note to investors about T-Mobile's future. "The company has close to 50% of the industry's capacity with just 30% of the industry's revenue. Moreover, they ought to have a strong network advantage for the next few years at least, and that advantage will drive share shifts as the first 5G iPhone emerges later this year. The impact of the advantage ought to be heightened by the fact that T-Mobile prices their service at a 20% discount to the two companies with 70% of industry revenues [AT&T and Verizon], particularly as we wade through a recession."
Added the New Street analysts: "Better product, at a time when product differentiation will matter to consumers. Lower price, at a time when households are growing more cost conscious. Seems like it should work."
T-Mobile's biggest and clearest 5G advantage is its spectrum position: The company owns more than double the low- and midband spectrum than Verizon. That's important considering spectrum ownership is directly related to network capacity and a provider's ability to sell speedy services on the cheap.
And Verizon knows it. "T-Mobile's low- and midband spectrum holdings give it such a 'material advantage' in the marketplace that its 'competition doesn't have a path to match for some time,' " Verizon complained in a filing to the FCC recently, as reported by FierceWireless. Verizon was quoting T-Mobile network chief Neville Ray, and is asking the FCC to limit the amount of spectrum T-Mobile can own.
Ray joined Sievert at the investor event this week and offered an almost gleeful view of T-Mobile's 5G position: "Our competition, I think, is terrified of what we're going to bring."
Ray added that T-Mobile has been updating its 5G network with Sprint's 2.5GHz midband spectrum holdings at a rate of almost 100 cell tower sites a day.
So how exactly is T-Mobile going to take advantage of its 5G moment as Apple prepares to release a 5G iPhone? T-Mobile's 5G network "allows us to put offers out there that our competitors just won't be able to match. It's just going to be so exciting," Sievert said, noting that the "new" T-Mobile created through the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile can offer both the nation's best 5G network as well as its cheapest 5G services.
However, he did not specify exactly what kind of "offers" T-Mobile might put on the table.
The company's options span the gamut. T-Mobile could offer an iPhone service plan like EE is doing in Europe, or it could follow the lead of its parent company Deutsche Telekom and launch a cloud gaming service. It could also debut its new TV service.
According to July survey findings from the financial analysts at Cowen & Co., the stage is set for T-Mobile to succeed, if it decides to make a new play. Roughly 49% of Sprint respondents to the firm's survey were happy with T-Mobile and said they would stay through the merger. Just 3% said they plan to leave.
Perhaps even more importantly, Cowen's survey found that just 49% of T-Mobile's customers use an iPhone, but that a record 61% of respondents indicated they would get an iPhone.
"To the extent a 5G iPhone is well received, we believe this could be a share-stealing opportunity for iPhone as well as be a service revenue growth opportunity for the Big 3 [network operators] as we'd note iPhone users all-in bill size have typically been higher than smartphone non-iPhone users," the Cowen analysts wrote.
But Sievert this week urged persistence rather than aggressiveness.
"Brands are stubborn. They're more stubborn than the facts. It takes a while. We're going to have to be patient," he explained while dodging a question about whether T-Mobile would update its challenger, "uncarrier" marketing message given that it's now the nation's No. 2 provider. "Our job is to convince people to buy T-Mobile because of our network superiority."
A problem for marketing
The job of tailoring T-Mobile's 5G network messaging in a 5G iPhone season falls to Matt Staneff, who took over the CMO role from Sievert upon the departure of the architect of T-Mobile's "uncarrier" revival, former CEO John Legere.
Staneff counts over 17 years at T-Mobile, where he's acted as a chief commercial officer, SVP of product and customer management and SVP of customer loyalty. It's unclear what he might come up with.
Many had expected Staneff and T-Mobile to come out of the company's merger with Sprint swinging. "T-Mobile will relaunch the brand with an integrated offering sometime in the summer, we suspect in August," the New Street analysts wrote in May. "This will likely entail a big marketing campaign – "Uncarrier infinity" – that touts the company's strong 5G network advantage. If the message is compelling – and it should be – this will be a positive catalyst."
However, T-Mobile has so far remained relatively calm on the marketing front this year, likely due to a pandemic that has upended the retail sector. But as the fall launch of the 5G iPhone nears, the window for aggressive, eye-catching tactics is rapidly closing.
For their part, T-Mobile executives this week pledged rational strategies rather than an all-out 5G pricing war.
"We will grow this business in a consistent and disciplined way," Sievert said, explaining that shareholders shouldn't worry. "We're not suddenly going to become drunk happy on growth."
"It's always about profitable growth, balancing growth with profitability," added T-Mobile CFO Peter Osvaldik at the same investor event. "There's periods when we could go faster in a quarter, but we're always balancing things in the right way to deliver the ultimate value creation for the enterprise."
While "value creation" isn't the kind of braggadocio investors came to expect from T-Mobile's former, more colorful, CEO Legere, it's not necessarily a bad thing. But Sievert is still living in Legere's shadow following the successful merger of the nation's third and fourth largest wireless network operators. What he does next will define T-Mobile's place in 5G, and his in company history. It might soon be time for Sievert to get a little more carpe diem and a little less soporific. <<
# # #
- Eric L -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Eric L||9/19/2020 10:54:53 AM|
|Huawei's Day of Reckoning | Impact of Sanctions on Chips |
>> Huawei will run out of smartphone chips early next year
Huawei's day of reckoning finally arrived this week.
Starting from September 15, the third and most severe round of US sanctions began, denying Huawei access to any components made with US technology.
Key Asian-based chip suppliers such as TSMC, Samsung, SK Hynix and Mediatek have all had to terminate their supply agreements with the Chinese firm.
Here are three key questions about the US sanctions and their impact.
How long can Huawei last?
The biggest hit on Huawei is felt by its handset division, which for the past two years has accounted for more than half the company's revenue.
In particular the latest ban means Huawei's Taiwan fab partner, TSMC, will no longer make the Kirin chips that power its high-end smartphones – a serious blow that almost certainly will eliminate Huawei as a competitor to Apple and Samsung.
Richard Yu, the head of Huawei's consumer division, has confirmed the termination of Kirin supply, though he did not say how much inventory remained.
China's National Business Daily, quoting a securities analyst with close supply chain sources, says Huawei has warehoused enough Kirin chips to last until early next year.
Already, Huawei has cut its forecast for smartphone shipments in 2021 to 50-70 million, compared to the 240 million units sold last year and an estimated 195 million this year, NBD reported.
By contrast, basestation chips are not nearly as much affected, mainly because of the much lower volume required. Huawei has stored up enough basestation components to support its network business for several years.
What is the impact on the global supply chain?
Taiwan chip and component firms enjoyed a mini boom as they worked overtime to supply Huawei before the latest sanction took effect, with more than 20 hitting all-time records. According to Nikkei Asia Review, in August MediaTek enjoyed a 42% year-on-year bump in sales and TSMC 16%.
But now that the ban has taken effect, Huawei – which spends around $70 billion a year on components – will exit from a large part of the global supply chain.
The broad nature of the ban means compliance could be tricky. Suppliers will need to be certain their products do not end up in Huawei kit. This uncertainty could be why even some Chinese suppliers have suspended sales to Huawei, according to a Digitimes report.
Traditionally, Huawei's most important suppliers have been in the US, which accounted for $11 billion in purchases in 2018. Many of those were able to continue shipping to Huawei in the wake of the initial ban in May 2019, but they will find it almost impossible to skirt the latest measure.
South Korean firms such as Samsung and SK Hynix will certainly feel the pain. Semiconductors are South Korea's biggest export and China its biggest market. It sold $22.5 billion worth of mostly memory chips to China and $11.4 billion to Hong Kong in the first seven months of the year, accounting altogether for 62% of chip exports.
Japanese companies sold about 1.1 trillion yen ($10.4 billion) in components to Huawei last year, Omdia has estimated.
For Taiwan's TSMC, the world's biggest chip fab, Huawei is its second-largest customer, while Mediatak is one of Huawei's biggest suppliers of components for mid- and high-end phones.
These suppliers are already chasing Huawei's smartphone rivals, such as Apple and Chinese brands Vivo and Realme.
Overall, we will see an accelerated restructuring of electronics supply chains and global partnerships.
What happens next?
The next key date is the US election on November 3.
Regardless of the outcome, Washington's China policy is unlikely to significantly change course. Sanctions and the decoupling of tech supply chain are not only here to stay but may well be expanded.
But there's a view that with the election gone the incoming administration will have the ability to dial back some of the harshest measures, not least because of the costly "disruption" to US industry.
In particular, there is no serious reason to constrain Huawei's handset business.
In Washington's 15-year pursuit of the firm, no agency has ever identified Huawei consumer devices as a threat. And it certainly doesn't make sense to sanction Huawei but not Xiaomi and Oppo. <<
# # #
>> Huawei phone prices soar as chips supply gets cooked
The intensifying US-China tech trade war has seen Huawei smartphone prices rise in China, as fears grow over continued access to its Kirin chips.
Prices for both new and used Huawei smartphones in Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei electronics market have risen by 400 to 500 yuan ($59 to $74) since only a month ago. And Huawei's high-end Mate 30 was selling for 14,000 yuan ($2,067), compared with 10,000 yuan ($1,477) in January.
The threat to Huawei's chip supply began in May when the US announced it would tighten its export controls. The US Commerce Department said any chip manufacturers using US equipment, intellectual property or design software would need to apply for a license before shipping chips to Huawei.
Peeling away chips
Where it gets interesting is the Kirin chips Huawei relies on are actually not made in the US, but by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), located in Taiwan's Hsinchu Science Park.
The US regulation, which came into effect on September 15, targets any chipmaker anywhere in the world which uses any US equipment, intellectual property, or software, saying it needs a license to supply Huawei.
It was clearly drawn up with TSMC in mind. It will hurt the Taiwanese chipmaker as well as the Shenzhen consumer electronics maker.
Huawei accounts for between 15% and 20% of TSMC's annual revenue, and is its second-largest client after Apple.
TMSC is the world's most valuable semiconductor company, with a market capitalization of $408 billion.
Other chipmakers that supply Huawei are also warning the market for memory chips, like those made by Kioxia Holdings Corp (formerly Toshiba Memory), could quickly become oversupplied, with prices plummeting.
Huawei, like Apple and Samsung, designs its own chipsets, but outsources the making of them.
And its Kirin chips rely on an advanced technique known as a 7-nanometer process. The cutting edge is shifting towards the next standard, a 5-nanometer technique.
China's biggest homegrown chip manufacturer, Shanghai-based Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), can't yet use 7-nanometer techniques at scale. It also uses US equipment.
Qualcomm would very much like to apply for a US government license to sell to Huawei. And in its favor, it is an American company, based in San Diego. Whether it meets with success largely depends on the outcome of the November US presidential election.
With Trump's sharply anti-China stance, Democratic nominee Joe Biden may try to win support from US tech firms, which would benefit from selling to Huawei. If the stakes are high for Qualcomm, they're enormous for Huawei.
Huawei became the world's largest smartphone vendor in the world in July, selling 55.8 million devices in the second quarter, compared with 53.7 million for second-placed Samsung. Even then, though, its overseas sales were quickly shrinking, dropping 27% from April to June compared with the same period in 2019.
Huawei's smaller Chinese competitors, like Xiaomi and Oppo, are seeing their European sales climb.
A big problem for Huawei is its newest devices can't use Google services. "Due to government restrictions, Google’s apps and services are not available for preload or sideload on new Huawei devices," says Google.
This is less of a problem in the domestic Chinese market, where Google services are blocked anyway – but it's a big one for overseas markets.
There are 1.5 billion active Gmail users. Google Chrome controls about 64% of the browser market, with its mobile app downloaded over 5 billion times. Outside China, Google is a big part of the app market. And without apps, smartphones aren't very smart.
The more reason to worry if you are Huawei, or one of its many suppliers. If you're a competitor, though, you may well be icing the champagne. <<
# # #
- Eric L =
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|
|From: Eric L||9/19/2020 2:50:54 PM|
|New 5G PDF Whitepaper | Global 5G, Rysavy Research for 5G Americas(September 2020)|
Peter Rysavy's Latest Whitepaper for 5G Americas in PDF format is 242 pages and is availble for download here:
This is the ToC for the 1st 62 pages:
# # #
- Eric L -
|RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read|