Industry News

Ericsson: 5G Subscriptions Reach 1bn in 2023

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According to the Ericsson Mobility Report 5G subscriptions will reach 1 billion by 2023, with 5G covering over 20% of the world population just 4 years after the first commercial 5G New Radio (NR) networks go live in 2019.

5g mobileA number of perhaps predictable markets will get the first 5G deployments-- namely the US, S. Korea, Japan and China-- all based in dense urban areas. The forecast period also involves an 8X surge in mobile data traffic, reaching 110 Exabytes per month (or 5.5 million years of HD video streaming) per month.

The mention of streaming is relevant, since video is a main driver of mobile broadband traffic. Young millennials (in the 15-24 age bracket) stream 2.5X more than people over 45 years of age, and higher resolution and immersive 360-degree video will further impact data traffic consumption volumes.


Qualcomm Presents Quick Charge 4+

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Qualcomm is quick to present an update on the Quick Charge 4 standard-- Quick Charge 4+, a set of enhancements vendors can add to Quick Charge 4-compliant devices.

Qualcomm QuickchargeThe enhancements found in Quick Charge 4+ are Dual Charge (or at least a "more powerful" version of the feature found in the earlier version), Intelligent Thermal Balancing (steers current to the coolest dual charging pathways in order to keep temperatures down) and "advanced safety features" (monitor phone and connector temperature against overheating and short-circuit damage).


EC Withdraws 5-Day-Old Roaming Fair-use Proposal

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For more than a decade, the European Commission has been working to reduce the huge surcharges telecoms operators imposed on their customers each time they crossed a border for business or holiday.

"After a long battle, these huge bills belong to the past. We have progressively dismantled them," announced the EC on 9th September in a statement by Andrus Ansip, Commission Vice-President in charge of the Digital Single Market, and Günther H. Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society.

Due for implementation on 15 June 2017, the EC aimed to abolish roaming charges for at least 90 days per year, much more than the average time that a European is roaming with their phone (12 days on average). 

Only five days later--"in light of the initial feedback received"--EC President Jean-Claude Juncker has instructed the services to withdraw that text to work on a new proposal.

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker

A reason for Juncker’s decision were not given-- no one knows if the feedback came from consumer organizations or operators.

[Photo left : EC President Jean-Claude Juncker]

But Spanish and Portuguese operators made their thoughts known publicly: 90 days is too long. Both suggested only 30 days. And operators also made it known their quarterly results suffered big declines during European vacation season, after the EC pressure on roaming charges. (That drop, of course, would be expected if you removed the big profits from gouging charges on roaming...)

The Commission’s initial proposal had been to allow mobile users to ‘roam like home,’ at the same price as domestic services, for a minimum 90 days a year. Consumers would also be expected to connect to their home network at least once every 30 days. In addition, operators could impose a fair-use amount on customers with unlimited plans, based on their average usage in their home market. After exceeding the fair use, mobile customers would be subject to additional charges, at the same level as the proposed wholesale roaming rates in the EU.

Now it's back to the mobile drawing board...

Go EC's Original Announcement on Roaming Proposal

EU Presents 5G Action Plan

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The European Union shows commitment towards faster mobile networks at MWC 2016 as it announces an action plan for "essential" 5G infrastructure within the continent before companies start offering related products and services by 2020.

5G Action planThe action plan builds on previous EU investments in 5G research-- to be worth €700 million by 2020-- and earlier proposals for the coordination of 700MHz band use. The 700MHz offers higher-speed and higher-quality broadband while covering wider areas, thus allowing the EU to catch up with mobile broadband leaders such as S. Korea and the US.

Further work on the spectrum coordination should take place during the Q3 2016 EU telecom rules review.


FT: Apple, Samsung to Adopt e-SIM

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The Financial Times reports Apple and Samsung are in "advanced talks" to join the launch of electronic SIM (e-SIM) cards, an evolution on regular SIM cards that does not lock device users to specific carrier networks.

iPhone SIM Card Reportedly the GSMA is close to an agreement on a common architecture for a standard embedded SIM for consumer devices. Networks supporting the plan including  AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone.

“With the majority of operators on board, the plan is to finalise the technical architecture that will be used in the development of an end-to-end remote SIM solution for consumer devices, with delivery anticipated by 2016,” the industry association says. “We have got everyone back on one point, with Apple and Samsung agreeing to be part of that specification.”