Author Archives: Tim Cosgrove

About Tim Cosgrove

Tim Cosgrove heads two technology companies Co-Star and Cloud-Star who supply 5G and4G LTE connectivity products to the ICT industry globally and are based at Harrogate in the UK. Working at the forefront of the mobile communications industry gives Tim a unique perspective on the latest emerging technologies that help to improve how businesses and people communicate and operate in the future. Tim is keen to share his insights and passion for the latest technologies through the Co-star blog. Please get in touch if you have any technology related news or press releases that you would like us to share.

Open Data Hub offers a new view of how Glasgow operates

Glasgow City Council has recently launched a newOpen Data Hub to open up access to city data managed by the council and its partners. This data gives a new view on how Glasgow operates as a city.

Open Data Hub to give new view on how Glasgow operates

The hub is a place to access data, to provide tools to enable people to visualise this, and to tell some simple stories around what the data means for the city. The aim is for the hub to also be a place to engage with citizens and other stakeholders around particular themes supported by open data.

The development of the hub helps to deliver on some of the underlying objectives of the current Digital Glasgow Strategy, which sets out Glasgow City Council’s priorities and commitments to developing the city’s digital economy and transforming our public services through the use of digital technology, data and innovation.

The hub is also a focus for empowerment of citizens and stakeholders by opening up access to a wide range of data used by the council and partners to inform decision-making, as well as enabling citizens to explore and understand this data about Glasgow in more accessible ways.

The council is focusing on adding a wide range of data to the hub in future on a whole range of subjects including the environment, transport and movement, the economy, education and government. Some of the new data made available have focused on movement across the city such as cycling and walking and also highlight the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other data demonstrates the impact of the pandemic at a neighbourhood level – for example, recently released open data on cycling in the city centre showed at drop of 20% in cyclists as a result of the lockdowns in Spring and Autumn/winter 2020, with a slow recovery of numbers in 2021. The data is available to explore at the App Gallery where users can analyse cycle data all around the city centre for the past three years.

Our pandemic data release has tracked coronavirus cases across local neighbourhoods daily since March 2020, on the Data Hub  and continues to monitor this in real time. To mark one year of the Covid-19 pandemic, a story was posted onto the hub showing its impact up to that point. Users can explore this and other data stories at the Data Hub.

Newly published data tracks footfall across the city centre – that is, how many people are moving around city streets. This data is important as it allows us to understand how busy the city centre is at any one time such as at weekends, at Christmas, or during events.

It has been particularly valuable during the pandemic to monitor Glasgow’s recovery.  For example, city centre footfall increased as a result of the recent easing of restrictions in late July / early August – there were 5% more people in the city centre during August than in July.  This figure jumped by 86% for late night footfall where the hours of midnight to 4am were compared. More footfall data can be accessed from App Gallery.

Councillor Angus Millar, Chair of the Digital Glasgow Board, said: “The use of data can help us understand our city better, support innovation and drive improvements in the delivery of public services. Glasgow’s Open Data hub offers us – the council and our partners, as well as residents, business and organisations in the city – the chance to take a new and unique look at how Glasgow operates, to see what works well in the city and how it could be improved.

“We want to allow people to engage with the portal to not only gain information on aspects of the city they are interested in, but to help shape decision-making and understand how the delivery of public services can be transformed through the use of data. This is a great resource, and we will be working with communities and partners across the city to build on the content already available on the portal to make sure we can get the most out of the opportunities our Open Data hub can offer the city.”

Source: Glasgow City Council

IoT solution to monitor smart lift performance in Singapore

Transforming scheduled and preventive lift maintenance regimes into digitalised and predictive maintenance, the AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution addresses key challenges in the industry while elevating standards in lift safety and reliability

Lloyds lifts, 01/02/09, Mike's blag

ST Engineering have announced that its non-intrusive AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution will be progressively installed on lifts in Singapore starting this year, in one of the largest scale deployments of a smart lift monitoring solution to date. The solution enables 24/7 remote lift status monitoring and diagnostics, providing centralised, real-time visibility of lift operations across different manufacturer brands, models and locations to the building owner, lift operators and technicians. This enables early anomaly detection, reporting and resolution to enhance operational efficiency, lift safety and reliability.

Co-developed with established lift measurement device manufacturer Henning GmbH & Co. KG (Henning), the cloud-based AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution employs remote diagnostics and edge analytics which is backed by proven smart sensor technology. Brand-agnostic and compatible with most manufacturer brands and models, the plug and play solution eliminates the need to integrate with existing lift systems, allowing quick installation in a flexible and scalable manner that supports multi-tenancy, multi-asset and multi-site management. Additionally, its patented rope sensor technology allows for quick deployment and enables technicians to perform lift rope tensioning accurately and efficiently to optimise rope life.

“Large-scale lift maintenance is both complex and laborious, yet there is little room for error as every lift needs to be maintained at the highest standard for safety. The AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution provides unparalleled transparency of lift performance data which will significantly change the way lifts are being maintained, delivering improved reliability, safety and productivity while alleviating the industry’s manpower issues,” said Yao Shih Jih, Head of Smart Utilities and Infrastructure at ST Engineering. “The AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution is a great example of how our innovations are helping industries digitalise to create new value and seize new possibilities.”

How it works

Smart sensors are installed on the lifts for multi-edge computing and data collection, and undergo sense-making at the secure and unified Internet of Things (IoT) platform. This  generate real-time insights on lift performance and provides predictive analytics of individual lift components for maintenance planning that leads to reduced lift downtime and optimised component service life. These improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary costs and wastage, leading to more sustainable lift maintenance in the long-term.

Integrated with a mobile application, the AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution provides real-time alerts and incident updates on the go, including remote diagnostics that identify possible causes and provide recommendations for more accurate and quicker diagnoses of lift issues.

The AGIL Smart Lift Monitoring solution is part of the smart city solutions suite comprising smart mobility, smart utilities and infrastructure, and urban environment solutions offered by ST Engineering’s Urban Solutions global business area. With more than 700 smart city projects across 130 cities in its track record, ST Engineering helps cities transform into connected, resilient and sustainable spaces to enhance quality of life for communities all over the world.

Source: ST Engineering

Porsche to revolutionise electric van design in the future

Inner Life – the interior of the future


What can Porsche van drivers expect from the interior of the future?

To shape the future, Porsche designers cross boundaries. They take the best from traditions and origins—the brand essence, the values that have made the company successful. At the same time, they boldly add something new. To do so, they study people and their habits in general and Porsche drivers in particular. “In the past, we used to type our destination into the navigation system before a journey. Today, we prepare the route on our smartphones while sitting on the sofa, and then send it to the car.” For Ivo van Hulten, director of user experience design (UX), the possible has long been taken for granted. At the Weissach Development Center, UX stands for everything you can experience in and with a Porsche. It’s about a desire for convenience, flexibility, and timeliness—condensed into a brand experience.

Together with chief designer Michael Mauer and Markus Auerbach, head of interior design, van Hulten experiments every day with what will meet these needs in a few years’ time. The designers keep their minds fresh with the “first principle thinking” method. In doing so, they move away from familiar analogies and break hypotheses down into their smallest components. They focus not on familiar forms but on functions that might be of interest in the future. They ask themselves what a Porsche could be—and what it could not be. This process provides answers to questions that no one has asked before.

Porsche Vision „Renndienst“ (2018), 2021, Porsche AG
Insight: interior of the Renndienst Study The designers at Style Porsche in Weissach journey far into the future of mobility. They think and design visions for the day after tomorrow in order to derive steps for tomorrow. They ask themselves how far they can expand Porsche’s design language and to which products it could be applied. This is how the Renndienst came into being. A minivan; a family-friendly interior design concept for up to six people. Challenges such as these keep the designers’ world of ideas fresh.


Interior of the future

“We thought about how we could still give a distinctly Porsche flair to a passenger compartment that is so far removed from the classic sports-car interior. And how autonomous driving could be designed,” Mauer explains. The second aspect is certainly worth discussing. After all, sports cars are a symbol of self-determination. “We don’t assume that our customers want to give up using a steering wheel,” says Mauer. But in order to be able to think freely about the future, boundaries must be crossed when carrying out these finger exercises. This, he says, is how the centered driver position of the Renndienst came about. “When I want to drive, I have more cockpit feeling than in any other car. And when I don’t, the driver’s seat can be rotated 180 degrees—with one swivel, it turns to face the other passengers. We worked on materializing these basic ideas for about a year,” the chief designer explains.

Porsche Vision „Renndienst“ (2018), 2021, Porsche AG
Space capsule: the bodywork as a logical consequence of the modular interior.

The overall UX, when it comes to interior design, is dedicated to the digital lifestyle and the relationship between driver, passengers, and vehicle. “In the Taycan, we have shown how much we think ahead,” says forty-three-year-old van Hulten. “Now we were looking at a possible next overall innovation. For this, we thought and worked from the inside out.”

Porsche Vision „Renndienst“ (2018), 2021, Porsche AG
Asymmetry: a privacy screen on the left and a large sliding door on the right.

The side windows are designed asymmetrically. “One side is closed; passengers can retreat there,” explains interior design chief Auerbach. “The other side enjoys a large window bank for an unobstructed view outside. When we close the doors, the interior feels like a protective capsule.” A feeling of security and comfort dominates the modular interior. The passengers in the first row sit offset to the right and left in ergonomically shaped bucket seats. They can enjoy an unobstructed view of the road ahead and of their own dashboard screens. The rear seat headrests are installed in a floating position, which allows a clear view through the rear window. The luxury of adaptable space is made possible by the powertrain: fully electric and hidden in the underbody.

UX as a success factor

Ivo van Hulten deals with the clientele of the future—the smartphone generation. “In the past, the hunger for something new was satisfied with the purchase of the product. Today, many young people are no longer just fascinated by the aesthetics of a product, but by the opportunities it offers them.” The aesthetics of the interior therefore depend on many more factors than just shapes and materials. “The questions are: Is the interior modular enough to adapt to changing circumstances even a few years after purchase? Will I be able to run updates remotely and around the clock?” He is confident of finding answers in the form of a new aesthetic: “We are building on an impressive brand history with the UX department—and are boldly looking far into the future.”

 A sense of space with a soul

The visions on which the specialist departments in Weissach work together are complex because they design spaces where people sit. “Seen from the outside, a Porsche is a sculpture, a work of art. The interior adds another dimension. Cars with an unsatisfactory interior do not survive for long, because no emotional connection can be built with them,” summarizes Auerbach. For the interior designer, it is clear that there will still be switches and buttons in the future: “The balance between analogue and digital control panels is shifting. Nevertheless, haptic buttons in the vehicle cockpit are perfect because you don’t have to take your eyes off the road. However, if one day, as the driver, I have much less to do, that may change too. But we cannot solve everything through optics, because otherwise we lack dimensions.”

Porsche Vision „Renndienst“ (2018), 2021, Porsche AG
Cockpit: flexible center – the central seating position is imbued with symbolism and underscores the self-determination that Porsche sports cars represent. The seat can be swiveled 180 degrees with a flick of the wrist. The cockpit becomes a communication center. Five round instruments are on this journey into the future; this maintains tradition and is part of the brand DNA. Haptic buttons have a raison d’être as well. The screens for the passengers on the right and left can be operated individually or folded away on the dashboard.

Source: Porsche


The Roar of the Crowd


When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, there was a general feeling that it would all be over in six months. Few expected the global shutdown of live events and professional sports. Concert tours were postponed and sports arenas stood empty as the effects of the pandemic rolled on into the year. I had bought tickets to see the My Chemical Romance reunion tour in September 2020, for my son Max’s 18th birthday. But of course, it’s been postponed (twice) and it looks like I’ll be taking him for his 20th birthday instead! Pro sports are starting to open up in many countries, and people like me are itching to go to concerts to see our favorite bands, comedians and theater productions, and be immersed in the collective cheers and applause of the audience again. In the immortal words of the late, great Freddie Mercury, “the show must go on!”

BlueRiver® for Stadiums

Software Defined Video over Ethernet (SDVoE™), powered by Semtech’s award winning BlueRiver® technology, is changing the way we transport content in Professional Audio/Video (Pro AV), providing software-defined workflows and greater flexibility using standard IP-based infrastructure. In Pro AV verticals, where low latency performance and pristine, artifact-free image quality really matters, SDVoE is the ideal solution for AV distribution over high performance networks. When it comes to live sports and events, it is critical that the fidelity of video content is maintained when shown on the big screens, and the audio remains synchronized, not only with the video on the screen, but to the actual event itself. Keeping latency to a minimum is key to a flawless presentation; avoiding unnecessary processing such as compression will ensure that there is no perceptible delay between what you see live and what’s on the big screen.

Let’s take a look at the AV infrastructure in a typical large venue or sports stadium, illustrated in the diagram below. At the heart of this AV distribution system is a high performance IP network, utilizing standard Ethernet equipment and infrastructure. All AV sources and displays connect to this network via SDVoE endpoints, or through direct integration of the BlueRiver chipset. The SDVoE stadium delivers:

  • Crystal clear live action up to 4K resolution
  • All AV sources throughout the venue, inside and out
  • Near zero latency which means everyone cheers at the same time
  • Configurability to meet the needs of sports, live music and exhibitions
  • Flexibility to support stunning, customized digital signage
  • Simple centralized software management and control via a single application programming interface (API)
  • Centralized AV production
  • Unified advertising and billing systems
  • Integrated security, control and building management

The SDVoE Stadium

The SDVoE™ Stadium

Advanced Digital Signage and Displays

The use of advanced signage and displays is commonplace in today’s stadiums and arenas, whether it be your “center ice” display cluster, where you have multiple high resolution displays showing the game live, scoreboards, player stats, or promotional content in between the action. All these displays can be driven from a centralized production center. If you think about a typical sports game, there’s a live production occurring in parallel, with a dedicated crew who is determining what everyone in the stadium is seeing on each of the displays, not only at center ice, but also on the ribbon displays around the arena.

Of course, playing surface projection is very popular in many sports venues, with the ability to project team logos and player information directly onto the ice surface or basketball court. Most modern stadiums also provide very high quality digital signage around the exterior of the venue. You can watch pregame events outside, in the parking lot or while lining up for tickets before entering the stadium itself. All this is tied into the AV distribution system powered by SDVoE.

Don’t Miss a Thing

Outside the seating area of the main arena, there are concession stands and merchandise kiosks where screens are provided, so you can continue watching the live action while ordering food and drinks. How many of you have experienced the roar of the crowd when a player scores, but the display you’re watching above the concession stand is a few seconds behind the live action? You want to be cheering at the same time as everyone else, and you don’t want to miss a thing while queuing for refreshments! Only an AV system with near-zero transmission latency, such as SDVoE, can deliver this experience.

Many stadiums provide private suites and boxes where you are given access to a variety of AV content; not only the video production of the live game itself, but other games in progress around the league, unique programs advertising upcoming events, even regular TV channels to keep guests entertained during breaks in the live action. Again, all this can be sourced and distributed using the power and flexibility of SDVoE.

In large venues, safety and security of both staff and guests is paramount, especially when attendance can be in the many thousands. By giving security staff access to the high quality live camera feeds throughout the stadium, displayed on state of the art control room displays, emergency response teams can be better directed and informed. The advanced multiview processing feature of BlueRiver provides display systems the ability to show many video feeds, placed in custom layouts on a single display.

Why Live Events Need SDVoE™

The key features of SDVoE that are critical for high performance AV distribution systems in stadiums and for live events are:

  • Low latency: essential for lip sync and audience reaction at live events. There’s nothing more annoying at a concert when the big screens at the side of the stage are not in sync with the music. It can be very off putting to hear an amazing drum solo but see the drum sticks hit the drums a second after hearing it.
  • Lossless video performance: large venue displays are getting bigger, with higher and higher resolutions up to 4K. With the size of displays used for stadiums and live events, it is essential to maintain the fidelity of a high quality source when scaled up to the size of these displays. Distribution systems that need to employ video compression will introduce artifacts that will be very noticeable (and objectionable) when blown up on the big screen.
  • Fiber transmission medium: optical fiber is the only way to distribute AV over IP in stadium-scale installations. Fiber is critical to meeting the transmission distances in a distributed AV over IP system which benefit from a centralized source equipment room that may be kilometers of cable distance away from the remote displays.
  • Leveraging existing infrastructure: many large venues and sports arenas are pre-wired with optical fiber cabling, which is typically provisioned for broadcast signal distribution, where the broadcast team rolls up to the venue and hooks in to this fiber network. This same fiber network can be utilized for SDVoE, so when event crews using SDVoE-based equipment arrive at the venue, they simply plug directly into the stadiums AV network and take advantage of all the displays within the venue, saving time and rental costs.

SDVoE is the only fully interoperable AV over IP standard that delivers pristine visually lossless image quality, up to 4K resolution, with imperceptible latency. Join the growing team of SDVoE adopters today and reap the benefits of a rapidly expanding ecosystem of products and services that enable the next generation of AV distribution systems for stadiums.

The Roar of the Crowd

As lockdown restrictions ease, many will feel the need to gather and experience that sense of community that can only be derived from cheering for our favorite sports team, or pumping our fists into the air collectively to the musicians—who need our support more than ever. At the same time, providers of Pro AV systems for live events are poised to take our entertainment to another level, with ever more sophisticated displays, sound systems and lighting displays, and SDVoE as the backbone of their AV distribution solution.

You can learn more about the power and flexibility of BlueRiver solutions for SDVoE in the webinar, “BlueRiver ASIC: Enabling a New Class of SDVoE Products,” and why key Pro AV verticals such as entertainment and live events require the power and flexibility of SDVoE in the “Spotlight on Key Verticals for BlueRiver” webinar.

Source: Semtech

Ericsson and John Deere partner to boost 5G innovation in agribusiness

Ericsson Brazil and John Deere have established a partnership agreement to research and develop technological innovation using 5G technology to boost new agribusiness revenue.

The agreement enables the companies to work together to develop solutions focused on 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) to identify and solve issues in the sector through connectivity.

Ericsson and John Deere R&D and innovation centers will apply IoT Mobile ecosystem technologies such as Narrowband IoT (NB-loT) and Cat-M1 to drive agribusiness solutions based on 3GPP standards.

The proofs of concept will initially be jointly developed at John Deere’s Central Office for Latin America, in Indaiatuba (Sao Paulo), and John Deere’s Center of Agriculture and Precision and Innovation (CAPI) in Campinas, where 5G equipment will be installed. The agreement includes equipping John Deere’s factories with fifth-generation equipment to contribute to the journey of digital transformation and immersion in 5.0 agriculture.

5G will bring greater efficiency in the use of spectrum and lower energy consumption in comparison with 3G and 4G LTE. According to the Ericsson 5G Business Potential study, the agriculture sector has the potential to make U$ 9,6 billion by 2030, with U$ 1,9 billion in additional earnings boosted by 5G.

Murilo Barbosa, Business Vice-President for Southern Latin America, Ericsson, says: “It’s essential to understand agribusiness as a complex and plural value chain, from farm to table, to ports and cars, which employs millions of Brazilians, contributing with almost 25 percent of Brazil’s GDP. The entire agribusiness ecosystem, from 5G onward, can make the country even more productive than it already is. 5G technology will play a key role in this new cycle of innovation and we are delighted to be able to move forward in this direction in partnership with John Deere.”

Rodrigo Bonato, director of the Intelligent Solutions Group (ISG) at John Deere Latin America, says:

“We are democratizing the use of connectivity in rural areas and providing cost-free solutions for the farmer, who from now on will produce in an increasingly efficient and environmentally sustainable manner. Connectivity unlocks all the potential and innovation available in the field, also benefiting other sectors of society, from Telemedicine to E-learning, for example. Not to mention that technology still attracts more and younger people back to the countryside, promoting job creation and entrepreneurship.”

Source: Ericsson

Seoul’s public Internet of Things (IoT) network will be “in every corner of the city” by 2023

seoul-mathew-schwartz-01hH6y7oZFk-unsplashSeoul’s public Internet of Things (IoT) network will be “in every corner of the city” by 2023, Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) said this week.

The 421 km long-range (LoRa) network will be established this year, with 1,000 base stations installed at public facilities such as community centres by 2023. SMG is also setting up an operations platform at city hall which will work as the central command centre to oversee data collection and distribution and the real-time management of the network.

Once the network rolls out, IoT services that were provided through existing mobile networks will be offered over the public network, reducing data fees. SMG said the network will enable services such as smart meters, fire detection, and remote monitoring for older residents who live alone to be implemented more widely.

The IoT network is part of Seoul’s larger plan to increase connectivity offerings, including deploying free public Wi-Fi throughout the city.


IoT sensors will collect data related to areas including transportation, safety and the environment to be used for trend analysis and to deliver new services. The data will be transmissible between Seoul’s 25 district offices and will also be made available for start-ups and research institutions to spur innovation.

Lee Weon-Mok, Director General of Seoul’s Smart City Policy Bureau, said: “We are expecting a considerable increase in object-to-object communications as well as people-to-people communications in the future. In this regard, the S-Net will serve as a core infrastructure connecting the whole IoT network in Seoul.”

Test IoT services will be launched in three districts — Eunpyeong, Guro and Seocho — this year, including safety management for dangerous facilities, smart lighting and fine dust monitoring.

Seoul also recently announced plans to use IoT data and blockchain to continuously monitor older buildings to detect potential safety issues automatically.

IoT growth

IDC predicts that by 2025 there will be 55.7 billion connected devices worldwide. Other cities are also taking steps to gear up for this growth. New York City, for example, launched an Internet of Things (IoT) strategy covering issues such as governance, privacy, security, equity, sustainability and public engagement.

Source: Sarah Wray. Cities Today

Leeds reputation in digital and tech sector grows with UtterBerry investment in the City

Secure operational messaging solutions for TETRA radios

“SmartChat was designed to improve overall situational awareness for mission critical users. For these users, their next action is often dependent on the information they have to hand. By sharing data as widely as possible, in a simple user interface, the application seamlessly joins smartphone, control room and TETRA radio users”.

This improves operational efficiency and supports staff safety.


Using chat-based messaging to support voice communications means it is easier to share complex or hard to remember information such as an address or a specific location, a car registration or a maintenance part. Messages are stored on the device and available for reference when required.

Similarly images can be shared and used for reference during operations; for instance the image of a missing person sent to rescue teams; an image of a burst water pipe sent to maintenance teams, or an image of a missing part sent to the purchasing team to allow a repair to be completed.

By using the secure TETRA network, SmartChat ensures crucial information is received by users even when the broadband coverage is poor – this is frequently the case in large buildings, underground locations or remote spots.

SmartChat enables text and image-based information to be shared to field officers using either TETRA radios or smart devices, without risking security by using commercial messaging applications.

“We are seeing an increase in the number of smartphone users in the commercial and mission critical environment, but these users are unable to share information with front line users of TETRA radios.

This is as relevant in critical national infrastructure such as transport and utilities as it is in public safety. SmartChat is a powerful solution to support these organisations; using the benefits of a secure TETRA platform and ensuring that voice channels are kept free for emergency communications”.




  • Productive messaging across operational teams
  • Self-hosted and secure without reliance on commercial clouds
  • Flexible integration to IT systems and data sources
  • Forward critical messages to radios across TETRA networks

Source: Sepura

South Korea leads the 5G race and lays out the blueprint for the rest of the world


In this report we took an in-depth look into how South Korea became the 5G power house that it is and why many countries and especially the United States are so far behind in the 5G race.

The US operators have misled Americans since 2019 about the capabilities that 5G can offer. Remember AT&T claiming 4G as 5G, with its new logo and icon 5GE. Still today, the US carriers are confusing the public with different names of 5G. For instance, AT&T uses three different nomenclature for 5G, such as 5GE, 5G and 5G plus. The same is the case with Verizon, which has two flavours of 5G, namely 5G Ultrawideband and 5G Nationwide. These are all the marketing tactics to hide US operators’ incapability, which still fail to provide fast and seamless 5G like South Korea.

It’s probably news to most Americans that South Korea’s 5G networks are No. 1 in terms of fastest download speeds. In this article, we look at the various factors contributing to the overall success of 5G in South Korea. There is much to learn for the rest of the world in order to enjoy fast speeds and budget-friendly mobile internet at the same time. We have analyzed and compared the US and South Korean markets in the following sections.

World’s highest download speeds: 10 times faster 5G speeds as compared to the US!

South Korea ranks No.1 with 449 Mbps in 5G median download speeds, based on speedtests conducted during February-March 2021 by Speedcheck. On the other hand, 5G operators in the US provide only 43.4 Mbps, ten times slower than Korean operators. No doubt speed thrills, especially when a subscriber feels enhanced and immersive experience while downloading big files/movies, enjoying AR/VR content or even playing online games.

Relative speeds (Mbps) and prices per Gigabytes shows an out of proportion ratio in both markets

The exciting result of our analysis shows that consumers in the US are paying a little less per Gigabytes than in South Korea, but at the same time getting ten times slower speeds. These figures show a considerable gap between the cost per GB and relative internet speeds in both countries. What’s the main reason for this huge gap? The situation could have been avoided by allocating a mid-band spectrum in the range of 3.5 GHz and following an aggressive rollout strategy by covering a more extensive US population, with much more 5G sites.

The following table shows the data prices of major mobile operators in the US and South Korea.

Operators 5G Data Plan Comparison in the US and South Korea
Mobile Operator
Verizon Play More 80$ /line per month 50 GB Premium data After exceeding allowance 600 kbps speed for the rest of the month
AT&T Unlimited Extra 75$/line per month 50 GB premium data After 50GB, AT&T may temporarily slow data speeds if the network is busy
T-Mobile Essentials 65$/line per month 50 GB of premium data Essentials customers may notice speeds lower than other customers and further reduction if using >50GB/mo. due to data prioritization
LG U+ Data Special D KRW 110,000 (98 $) 40GB/month+4GB/day After that up to 3Mbps
SK Telecom 5GX Prime KRW 89,000 (80 $) 30 GB/month
KT Super Plan Basic Choice 90,000 KRW (80 $) 40 GB data Speed limit at 200Kbps

Yet another insight of our research shows that the average price per Gigabyte in the US is around 1.5 USD, while in South Korea, it is 2.3 USD. Our study also indicates that affordability is not a constraint; US citizens could pay more if they can get faster speeds. The Purchasing Power Index (PPI) score published in 2020 shows the US well ahead of South Korea in terms of purchasing power. The US is placed at No.3 in the world ranking with a PPI score of 109.52 compared to SK, which is 20th place with a PPI score of 85.21.

5G Price Comparison between US and South Korean Mobile Operators
Mobile Operator
Price per Gigabyte
Verizon 🇺🇸 $1.6
AT&T 🇺🇸 $1.5
T Mobile 🇺🇸 $1.3
SK Telecom 🇰🇷 $2.6
LG U+ 🇰🇷 $2.45
KT 🇰🇷 $2

Mid-band is a must for 5G, whereas FCC is late to auction the required spectrum in the US!

Another important factor contributing to the successful deployment of 5G in South Korea was spectrum allocation in 3.5 GHz and 28GHz bands. The telecom regulatory authority released enough chunks of the spectrum (100MHz and 800 MHz in 3.5GHz and 28GHz, respectively) to power the telecom sector in SK. The three telecom operators got 280 MHz in 3.5 GHz and 2400 MHz in 28 GHz bands.

Available Spectrum in SK: 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz

South Koreans were lucky to get enough chunks of 3.5 GHz spectrum from the very beginning of the 5G launch in 2019. South Korean operators took advantage of the 3.5 GHz (C-Band) spectrum for 5G services due to its radio propagation characteristics, providing a perfect balance between coverage, capacity and speed. On top of that, SK operators used a 28 GHz (mmWave) frequency spectrum to ensure faster internet to a more extensive customer base in dense urban areas.

Available Spectrum in the US: 600 MHz, 850 MHz, 39GHz… (NO 3.5 GHz)

Unfortunately, the US operators were left with limited choice when it comes to spectrum availability for 5G. The absence of a mid-band spectrum (3.5GHz/C-band) was the bottleneck to have successful 5G. Operators in the US used lower frequency bands (600/850 MHz) to cover larger geographical areas. However, they could not provide faster speeds due to the radio propagation characteristics of the low band spectrum. Even worse, in some areas, the 5G speeds were slower than 4G.

Moreover, to bear the fruits of the high-end spectrum (39 GHz), a more significant 5G cell site density is required to cover a more extensive consumer base. However, the US has fewer 5G sites, resulting in insufficient capacity and lower speeds.

The US is too late to auction the mid-band/C-band, which is called the golden band for 5G. Instead, the US either relied on lower and higher bands. The lower bands are good at coverage but not at speed, and higher bands are best for speed but not to cover a broader area. FCC is planning to auction 5G mid-band (C-band) later this year, at least three years behind SK.

The question is why the US delayed the C-band spectrum, while other countries like South Korea were too quick to set aside the C-band for mobile operators. It seems the US was too cautious about using C-band for mobile operators, considering the interference issues it may have caused for the devices already used in the military, aviation industry and satellites.

South Korean operators adopted an aggressive rollout strategy reaching a 5G penetration rate of more than 20 % just in three years, while in the US, the penetration rate is still under 10%

SK operators implemented an aggressive 5G rollout strategy since April 2019. As a result, the total 5G subscriptions in SK surpassed 15 million at the end of April 2021, which is more than 20 % penetration given 52 million people. Today, 5G is available in 85 cities of SK. The big boost in 5G subscriptions in 2021 came due to Samsung Electronics latest flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone. Three SK operators have deployed more than 166,250 5G base stations.

On the other hand, the 5G penetration rate is just under 10 % in the US. The US operators claim to have 75 % nationwide 5G coverage, with 5G available in 279 cities, and the performance of 5G networks remains uneven.

SK government boosted the competition by providing a level playing field and introduced independent MVNOs to reduce the prices further

Local 5G products and R&D helped fuel 5G in SK: In SK, the contribution of local industry and R&D from telcos such as Samsung makes it easier to deploy and cheaper to roll out. Whereas the US is primarily dependent on foreign companies for its 5G, though there is some change in the mindset to use indigenous products, it will take time.

South Korea provides a level playing field to boost the competition further. Unlike the US, in SK, there is no restriction on any company. Prominent vendors like ZTE and Huawei are allowed to participate in SK 5G, which provides a level playing field to all the telcos irrespective of the country of origin. Thus SK benefits from state of the art technologies at a lower cost.

Introduction of independent MVNOs: Till today, only the three players, namely SK, KT, and LGU+, dominate the Korean market. Recently the SK government has come up with a novel idea to further boost the 5G competition by allowing MVNOs to offer 5G data plans independently. According to a local news agency, the Mobile Virtual Network Operators will be offering 5G data plans (30 GB) at the cost of 35 USD. It is essential to mention that three leading operators do not currently provide 5G data plans at a similar price for the same amount of data. On the other hand, though many MVNOs are already operating in the US, they are not independent of legacy telcos, thus cannot provide the data prices feely.

SK mobile operators are offering compelling content and partnerships to boost 5G subscribers further

In SK, a considerable amount of content and value-added services (VAS) are bundled by carries into mobile plans to attract more 5G subscribers. Most of the VAS is related to gaming (e-sports and cloud gaming) and applications like AR/VR, which are very popular among South Koreans, ensuring an immersive experience while watching 360 live sports, dancing, and training sessions. While in the US, there is still a lack of rich AR/VR content to attract 5G subscribers. Only recently, big operators are acquiring media companies which is a positive sign.

Finally, we summarise our analysis in a tabular form, illustrating the main differences between the US and SK market.

Comparison of 5G in South Korea and the USA
South Korea
Speeds Slow (43Mbps) Fast (450Mbps)
Spectrum Limited, No C-Band, Only low and ultra-high bands are available Enough spectrum in low, mid (C-band) and higher bands
Price per GB Relatively Low Relatively High
MVNOs Dependent Independent
Healthy Competition No Yes
Vendors Dependent on foreign companies with limited options due to restrictions No restriction on local and foreign vendors
Aggressive Rollout No, it results in the low penetration rate Yes, it results in a high penetration rate
Content Limited to the media industry Rich AR/VR content and VAS, extended partnership to media and other verticals

BT and ABP’s Port of Ipswich trial IoT solution to digitise port operations

 Ipswich crane

BT deploys its Intelligent Asset platform across the Port

BT and Associated British Ports (ABP) are trialling the next generation of Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor technology to speed up the movement and processing of cargo goods and digitise the Port of Ipswich’s logistics and operations processes.

ABP and BT have installed IoT devices on cranes and transport equipment, which are used for the safe and efficient collection and transportation of cargoes across the port. The data generated by BT’s IoT solution are captured, analysed and visualised on BT’s Intelligent Asset platform to make the unloading and transportation of cargoes more efficient – in near real time.

The solution interprets the data from a wide range of port equipment, providing a record of time, travel distance, routes taken, and weight of goods unloaded. The information is then automatically sent to port management, allowing them to track the progress of the ship-to-shore operations. This allows the Port of Ipswich operational team make rapid, data-driven management decisions, and facilitate more collaborative decision-making with customers, making the best use of resources and assets to meet customer demand.

In addition to tracking the movement of assets, the data collected from BT’s IoT solution also monitors periods of inactivity, underutilisation, and maintenance requirements. For instance, the data provides better understanding of the resourcing of crane drivers and uses that analysis to reduce costs as well as greenhouse gasses. Cranes are used more when downtime is assessed accurately, and resources can be flexibly deployed to reduce periods of inactivity. The solution also gathers insights such as how often the equipment is being used, and how much distance they have covered. This provides an accurate view of maintenance requirements for plant equipment and machinery.

Dean Terry, Managing Director, Corporate and Public Sector, BT’s Enterprise unit said: “It’s fantastic to see the early success of our partnership with ABP as we support their ambitions for the Port of Ipswich to become a leading smart port. In deploying our IoT solution, we’re able to help produce intelligent, actionable insights to support the teams on the ground to monitor equipment in real-time, and make instant, autonomous decisions to speed up the supply chain. This is made possible by combining our award-winning 4G EE network with our deep expertise in sensor technology, network infrastructure and supply chains.”

Andrew Harston, Region Director, Wales and Short Sea Ports, Associated British Ports, said: “The trial with BT is an exciting step in the Port of Ipswich’s journey to becoming a smart port. The data generated by the Internet of Things solution gives the team in Ipswich the power to manage our resources and assets more effectively, improving our productivity and reducing our costs. Ultimately this trial will help us to provide even better customer service.”

Source: BT