RAN Vendors Targeting Enterprises Aren’t Waiting for 5G

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • The lull between 4G and 5G operator spending motivates RAN vendors to penetrate enterprises before 5G, aided by new RAN technologies relevant to enterprises.
  • In penetrating enterprises, even RAN vendors with enterprise businesses face challenging organizational changes and market hurdles.

When RAN vendors talk about 5G, much of the discussion tends to involve targeting enterprise verticals and the Internet of Things (IoT). Take Ericsson, for example, demonstrating unmanned construction vehicles and remote surgery concepts. But, like many elements of their 5G discussions, RAN vendors aren’t waiting for 5G to target enterprises. Read more of this post

AT&T’s AirGig Announcement: Why Now?

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • AT&T wasn’t very candid in explaining how its latest lab project works, a twist on broadband over powerline.
  • Multiple forces might have given the operator reason to announce AirGig now, before it could say much.

AT&T’s announcement last week of a new technology dubbed AirGig was striking for a few reasons. One was the novelty of the technology itself, which enigmatically promised to transmit wireless signals around power lines rather than through them, putting a new spin on old broadband-over-powerline tech concepts and posing the possibility of self-backhauling mesh networks deployed along the power grid that could deliver 4G and 5G services to the home.

Another thing that was striking about AT&T’s announcement of AirGig was just how little about it the company was at liberty to discuss. For starters, how does the technology work, exactly? AT&T declined to elaborate much. How far could these networks (which use millimeter waves without necessarily being restricted to them and provide both access and backhaul) extend from a wireline backhaul source? It wouldn’t say. How would they be powered if, as AT&T offered, they wouldn’t need to physically connect to the power grid? Inductive (wireless) power transmission is one approach, the company said, but left it at that.

So, why announce a technology that is still being developed if you can’t say much about it? Read more of this post

What Does ‘5G-Ready’ Mean for Mobile Operators?

Ed Gubbins - Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Ed Gubbins – Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Network equipment vendors have been pushing mobile operators to begin evolving their LTE networks toward 5G for some time.
  • Though vendors have their own reasons for this push, operators have several reasons to heed their advice.
  • At the same time, operators do need to avoid moving too early toward 5G.

For some time now, vendors of mobile access infrastructure have been urging operators to start evolving their networks toward 5G, well in advance of the technology being concretely defined.

Read more of this post

600 MHz Incentive Auction Spectrum: 5G or Not 5G, That’s a Big Question

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich – VP, Consumer Services and Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Among the unknowns surrounding the 600 MHz incentive auction, the question of what technology will get deployed in the spectrum is dividing the industry.
  • Technology providers need to settle on a consistent, external message in order to ensure the industry moves forward along with their own priorities.

Not surprisingly, the FCC’s ongoing, 600 MHz incentive auction was a frequent topic of conversation at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week this year. Where any operator actively involved in the auction wasn’t allowed to talk about it, everyone else was free to discuss anything from how long it might go on to who might win and how much they’d end up paying. One question, however, seemed to generate more debate than any other: what technology – LTE or 5G – would eventually get deployed in the spectrum? Read more of this post

MWC16: What’s Already Happening at Mobile World Congress – A Focus on Rural Areas

Ed Gubbins

Ed Gubbins

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile access infrastructure solutions focused on rural and remote areas are already a trend at MWC16.
  • Infrastructure improvements in rural areas pose the potential for growth from at least two primary sources.

The benefit of waiting too long to write a “What to Expect at Mobile World Congress” blog is that you get to write a “What’s Already Happening at Mobile World Congress” blog.

You can already guess many of the topics that mobile access infrastructure vendors will be talking about at MWC16: 5G, unlicensed spectrum, Internet of Things, etc. Some of the pre-MWC announcements they’ve already made have focused on an area you might not have predicted: remote and rural networks. Read more of this post

CES 2016: Day One – Setting the Stage for IoT

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • Beyond drones and phones, AR/VR and connected car, the building blocks of an IoT ecosystem – from silicon to network technologies – were a major part of what people came to CES 2016 to discuss.
  • While IoT deployments are moving forward, the need to build out foundational aspects of the ecosystem at the connectivity layer suggests that expectations of spectacular near-term growth should be tempered.

On the first official day of CES 2016, we saw more news and announcements around the pre-hyped themes that I mentioned earlier; from new smartphone launches to virtual reality headsets to differentiation within the wearables space, my colleagues have been diligently covering most of them. As I continued to focus on what CES 2016 could teach us about network evolutions and service provider technology trends, one thing stood out: IoT. In particular, it was almost impossible to ignore all of the ways in which vendors came to Las Vegas to showcase how they were advancing IoT device and network capabilities. Read more of this post

CES 2016: Day Zero – Has AT&T Finally Got Its Developer Summit Right?

Peter Jarich

Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • While scheduled in the run-up to CES, AT&T’s Developer Summit has slowly evolved towards a focus on B2B and B2B2C applications. With IoT and smart city initiatives taking center stage, 2016 was no exception.
  • If the objective of the summit is to drive developer activity that directly benefits AT&T, this evolution is a good thing.

Even before CES kicked off (the official Day One is January 6th), the key themes and topics were well discussed in the media: virtual reality/augmented reality, drones, IoT and wearables, smart home innovations, connected audio, and smartphone and tablet launches from insurgent players. Pre-launches and pre-briefings virtually ensured that these predictions would be accurate and the announcements coming just prior to the show essentially verified them. Read more of this post