Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: It’s Not Just for 4G and 5G

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) can improve the coverage and capacity of 4G/5G networks by allowing both technologies to efficiently share the same finite, licensed spectrum.

• Spectrum-sharing goes beyond 4G/5G, including 2G and 3G and potentially Internet of Things technologies, increasing its value and diversity.

As the 5G era dawns, a technology known as DSS has become a hot topic. DSS allows operators to use the same spectrum bands simultaneously for different radio access technologies. Specifically, the industry’s 3GPP standards enable using 4G and 5G in the same spectrum. It’s “dynamic” in that the network is continually re-evaluating user activity and reallocating spectrum to 4G and 5G traffic as needed – sometimes as often as every millisecond. Continue reading “Dynamic Spectrum Sharing: It’s Not Just for 4G and 5G”

TM Forum’s ODA Vision Gains Ground, but Vendor Partner Choices Are Still Critical

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • TM Forum’s ‘Open Digital Architecture’ (ODA) vision has received a major endorsement from several Tier 1 telcos and leading IT vendors.
  • While one of ODA’s goals is to enable best-of-breed procurement on a much more granular level, telcos will need to make a major vendor partnership decision to help them reach that goal.

This week, TM Forum announced that eleven new telcos and vendors had signed on to its ‘Open Digital Architecture,’ which incorporates cloud-native design principles as well as telco-specific processes and a focus on governance. In aggregate, these companies constitute a substantial industry endorsement: the telcos include BT, Chunghwa Telecom, DT, Telefonica, and Telenor; the vendors include major rivals Amdocs, Netcracker, Nokia, and Oracle. Continue reading “TM Forum’s ODA Vision Gains Ground, but Vendor Partner Choices Are Still Critical”

U.S. vs. Huawei: Everybody Loses

Summary Bullets:

• The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (DoC) move to prohibit Huawei from buying components manufactured using U.S.-made foundry machines and silicon design tools has major implications for Huawei’s continued operations.

• However, it will also bring immediate negative effects on component suppliers (some U.S.-based), impact competition among ICT vendors, and produce uncertainty going forward.

New sanctions announced by the U.S. DoC on May 15 prohibit foundries using U.S.-made machines and software from selling chips to Huawei. In practical terms, this means that Huawei’s key silicon suppliers – Taiwanese TSMC and Chinese SMIC – would likely need to halt production of Huawei subsidiary’s HiSilicon chip designs. The immediate prospect for Huawei is especially bleak considering that the great majority of the world’s foundries use U.S.-sourced hardware or software in some parts of their process. Continue reading “U.S. vs. Huawei: Everybody Loses”

After the Dali Wireless-CommScope Court Fight, Legal Uncertainties Linger in the Enterprise RAN

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • Enterprise RAN vendors CommScope and Dali each won damages in countervailing patent infringement cases last week, but an injunction against two Dali products may be of interest to the broader industry.
  • That injunction is suspended pending appeal. It may be rendered moot by expiring patents, and its impact may be mild even if upheld. Still, additional suits could foster lingering uncertainty in this space.

A legal battle over patent infringement between enterprise RAN vendors CommScope and Dali Wireless came closer to resolution last week, but a key aspect – an injunction that would prevent Dali from selling two primary products – remains uncertain. A Dallas judge upheld a jury verdict rendered last year that awarded damages to both companies in a patent infringement suit and related countersuit. CommScope was ordered to pay almost $9.5 million, plus additional interest, and Dali was ordered to pay about $6 million, plus interest. Continue reading “After the Dali Wireless-CommScope Court Fight, Legal Uncertainties Linger in the Enterprise RAN”

COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• In their first round of quarterly results since the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, network operators provided few specifics on the true impact of the pandemic on 2020 outlooks.

• Most operators remain hopeful that a fuller picture of the impact of the disease will emerge in time for Q220 earnings releases, but that is likely to vary significantly by region and country.

With most of the world’s largest network operators now having chimed in on Q1 2020 earnings, what is clear is that little remains clear in terms of how COVID-19 will impact them this year. Most operators have withdrawn full-year guidance and have indicated that a reliable picture will not emerge until the true trajectory of COVID-19 becomes clear. Since that answer can vary significantly from country to country, region to region, and city to city, most operators lack the tools to provide reliable guidance. Continue reading “COVID-19: Operators Kick the Can Down the Road in Defining Impact to FY2020 Results”

Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

• Nokia has been excluded from the latest wave of 5G RAN rollouts by major Chinese mobile operators

• Though Nokia has strategies to overcome this obstacle, the underlying trends of geographic polarization don’t bode well for the industry.

Reporting its Q1 2020 earnings today, Nokia acknowledged that it has essentially been shut out of the Chinese 5G RAN market – the largest such market in the world.

This news didn’t come as a shock to anyone who had seen recent reports that – despite a fresh deal to supply China Unicom with a 5G core platform – Nokia was not named as a supplier in the latest wave of 5G RAN contracts awarded by China’s three major mobile operators. As usual, these procurements went mostly to China’s two major equipment vendors, with Huawei earning the lion’s share, and ZTE’s much smaller share still towering over that awarded to Sweden-based Ericsson. Continue reading “Nokia Left Out of China’s 5G RAN – Another Sign of Growing Polarity in the Global Ecosystem”

COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Ericsson provided the most level of detail yet on the steps it has taken, both internal and customer-facing, in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Advanced planning emerges as a key feature of Ericsson’s approach, helping drive a number of important steps that should serve as a template for managing future crises.

As it released its first earnings report since COVID-19 began its rapid global spread, Ericsson took the opportunity to outline the various steps it has taken, both internally and externally, to plan for the known impacts and to predict the unknown effects. The actions taken by the company, which was one of the earliest to make the difficult decision to withdraw from this year’s MWC event in Barcelona, should serve as a case study for ‘how to get it right’ in the case of a crisis. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19: Ericsson’s Proactive Approach Serves as a ‘How To’ in Crisis Management”

COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• U.S. Cellular’s rapid increase in capacity, thanks to new spectrum access, highlights the importance of low-touch deployment and software in today’s radio networks.

• The likely extension of the ongoing lockdown raises the chances that current spectrum lending programs will need to be extended.

When it comes to COVID-19, telecommunications equipment vendors are somewhat at the mercy of forces beyond their control. In the U.S. in particular, reports of crew shortages available for tower climbs are abundant. However, with a boost from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), vendors are helping operators gain additional capacity by temporarily gaining access to new spectrum bands.

Continue reading “COVID-19: Today’s Mobile Networks Are More Prepared Than Ever to Embrace New Spectrum”

COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return

Principal Analyst, Global Telecom Technology and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Even as COVID-19 keeps everyone at home, mobile voice and messaging use have risen across the board.

• The increase in mobile voice traffic underlines its continued value in an era of over-the-top collaboration applications.

As most of the United States and Canada has joined Europe in a period of strict travel restrictions and work-from-home arrangements, network loads are changing in the ways one would expect: conferencing tools, streaming media, and gaming are driving huge increases in home broadband usage. But traditional mobile services are also exploding: AT&T reports that mobile voice minutes are up anywhere from 25-41% compared to an average (pre-COVID-19) day. Even mobile text messaging has increased around 40% compared to the period before the crisis. In Spain, mobile operators banded together to ask customers to shift their calls to landlines after a 50% rise in mobile calls. Continue reading “COVID-19: As Nations Stay at Home, Mobile Voice Makes a Return”

COVID-19 Could Accelerate Wireless Industry 4.0

Ed Gubbins – Principal Analyst

Summary Bullets:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic could accelerate investment in wireless solutions for the digital, ‘big data’ transformation of enterprise verticals sometimes called ‘Industry 4.0.’
  • Changes made in response to both social distancing and recession-induced workforce reductions could last long after the threat of the virus subsides.

The COVID-19 global pandemic is already expected to transform society in fundamental and irrevocable ways that we can’t yet fully predict. One effect of this transformation may be to accelerate initiatives to deploy cellular network technologies, such as LTE and 5G, to fundamentally reorder industrial operations across a range of enterprise verticals. This trend is already underway, as enterprises investigate the benefits of wireless networks that provide more reliability, and lower latency, than WiFi. However, the sudden and severe disruption that COVID-19 has wrought could force near-term changes among enterprises that lead to lasting practices. For example: Continue reading “COVID-19 Could Accelerate Wireless Industry 4.0”