Tag Archives: 5G

EE brings first live 5G trial to the UK with Canary Wharf trial

  EE 5G trial canary wharf

EE has seemingly just hit a major milestone with its 5G trials and testing, as it has launched its first live 5G trial, which it also claims is the UK’s first live 5G trial.

Hosted in Montgomery Square, Canary Wharf, the trial is designed to test 5G spectrum and devices for coverage, speeds and performance, and Canary Wharf was an obvious choice of location, as it’s a very busy area, with 150,000 people coming to the Canary Wharf estate every day.

5G will have to cope with huge data demands from vast numbers of connected devices, so it’s important to trial it in an area such as this that really will put it to the test.

Indeed, EE notes that high capacity zone testing is a critical part of its 5G launch programme, and as such it’s not stopping with Canary Wharf, as the network also plans to put ten more 5G sites live across east London later this month, with the trials aimed at both consumer and business technology.

Using 3.4GHz spectrum and Huawei equipment

This trial will use 5G New Radio over the 3.4GHz spectrum that EE acquired 40MHz of at Ofcom’s recent spectrum auction. This spectrum is likely to be the cornerstone of early 5G networks and EE wants to test how it behaves in a real-life setting. The trial will be carried out using Huawei equipment.

Fotis Karonis, 5G Technology Lead at BT Group, said: “This is the latest milestone in our 5G rollout – a live test of our 5G network, in a hugely busy ‘hotspot’, where we know there’s going to be demand from customers for increased mobile capacity. With constant upgrades to 4G, and laying the foundations for 5G, we’re working to always be able to deliver what our customers need – both consumers and the vertical industries that will make the greatest use of 5G. We were UK pioneers with 4G and today we saw the UK’s first live connections on 5G – this is a huge step forward for our digital infrastructure.”

This of course isn’t EE’s only 5G test. The network previously tested 5G in lab conditions, hitting download speeds of 2.8Gbps in the process. This was done using 3.5GHz spectrum. Last year it also became the first UK network to demonstrate pre-5G backhaul technology.

Source: James Rogerson-5G.co.uk

 

Vodafone to launch MediaCityUK hub to foster 5G innovation

 

Media City

Vodafone is launching a new Innovation Hub at The Landing (shown above) in MediaCityUK, Salford.

The Landing already offers workspace for companies and has developed a reputation for fostering high-tech and digital businesses. Vodafone’s new hub will give entrepreneurs and start-ups access to the latest tech resources, such as 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), high-speed fibre and more.

Gigabit cities

Vodafone says it is opening the Innovation Hub as part of its commitment to Greater Manchester as one of the UK’s seven ‘gigabit cities’.

Last year, Vodafone struck a deal along with wholesale fibre network infrastructure provider City Fibre to deliver superfast Gigabit broadband to 12 cities in the UK by 2025, benefiting up to five million UK homes and businesses. Under the agreement, Vodafone has a period of exclusive rights to market ultra-fast broadband services on City Fibre’s fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

The seven cities announced so far are:  Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.

Vodafone says it plans to roll out Innovation Hubs in other cities too.

Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford, called MediaCityUK “an emerging smart city”. He said Vodafone’s input would set Salford up as an example of what new networks and interconnectivity can deliver for a city and its citizens. He highlighted potential in areas including transport, energy and health.

Related: What is Gigabit LTE?

A living lab

The Innovation Hub will offer the opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop, test and commercialise their products.

Jon Corner, Chief Digital Officer for City of Salford and CEO at The Landing, said the Innovation Hub will turn the venue into a ‘living lab’. He said it will help to demonstrate that 5G is about more than just new handsets and faster speeds, noting that it will also have an impact on how networks are organised, and the way we share data and consume content.

Further, Corner said, 5G will enable businesses – such as the ones based at The Landing – to use immersive technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) to create completely new applications that change the way we interact on a day-to-day basis.

Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director at Vodafone UK, commented: “I am delighted that Vodafone, in collaboration with the Mayor of Greater Manchester and MediaCityUK, will open the Digital Innovation Hub located in the heart of this connected city. The hub at The Landing will give UK businesses, start-ups and tech innovators access to 5G, IoT, high-speed fibre and our best technical resources and we plan to roll out these innovation hubs throughout UK cities.”

Source: Sarah Wray-5g.co.uk

 

Vodafone and 5G deveopment in the UK

Vodafone 5G in the UK

Vodafone 5g coverage

Updated 18th September 2018

Vodafone has amassed a decent amount of spectrum, won big at the recent 5G spectrum auction and is already carrying out various 5G trials, including some UK firsts.

It’s got big plans too, with seven UK cities set to get 5G trial networks imminently and an ambitious goal to bring 1 gigabyte per second speeds to its customers at home, work and everywhere in between.

Vodafone is in no rush though, having revealed that it probably won’t launch a 5G network before 2020 and probably won’t have widespread coverage until years after that. But doing things right is surely better than doing them fast, and its roll out timing and speed should still be roughly in line with most rivals.

Here’s everything you need to know about Vodafone 5G in the UK, including its launch plans, its spectrum holdings and what it’s currently working on.

Network and launch plans

Network

Vodafone has a large 4G network, with over 98% of the UK population covered at last count, which could help with 5G as well, because initially networks will likely use a mix of 5G and 4G technology.

This widespread coverage also shows that Vodafone has a strong commitment to upgrading and expanding its network, which will likely continue into 5G.

It’s also focused on speed, as Vodafone also has a 4G LTE Advanced network in some locations, which can be seen as a stepping stone between standard 4G and 5G.

With all that in mind it seems likely that Vodafone would make a big push into 5G, potentially seeing it catapult ahead of rival networks and develop new technologies faster.

Spectrum holdings

Vodafone came out of Ofcom’s recent 5G spectrum auction with 50MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum, which it paid £378,240,000 for and specifically acquired the 3410MHz – 3460MHz part of the band.

That’s more than any other rival acquired, as EE and O2 each got 40MHz while Three won just 20MHz. That could put Vodafone in a strong early 5G position, as 3.4GHz spectrum should be ideal for the upcoming technology, though notably Three already had some before the auction.

Vodafone also has 176MHz of immediately useable spectrum in other bands. This is less suited to 5G and Vodafone has less of it than EE, but it still has a reasonable amount.

Immediately useable spectrum 3.4GHz held 3.4GHz allocation Total spectrum held
176MHz 50MHz 3410-3460Mhz 226MHz
Note: ‘Immediately useable spectrum’ refers to spectrum in various bands that can be used now for 4G, 3G and 2G. Vodafone holds spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1.4GHz, 1.8GHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Note also that Vodafone should have plenty of opportunities to acquire more spectrum, as Ofcom is set to auction off some in the 3.6GHz – 3.8GHz range and the 700MHz band at some point, and is also planning to look into other frequency bands that might have auctionable spectrum suited to 5G.

Launch plans

Vodafone plans to start offering 5G services in early 2020, which could see it launch slightly behind EE and BT, but probably around the same time as Three and O2.

This slightly later launch may also mean Vodafone is less dependent on existing technology from day one – a situation which O2 claims will lead pre-2020 5G networks to be ‘5G lite’.

Vodafone has additionally said that it sees its 5G roll out as following a similar timeline to 4G, which is to say it will be gradual, with 50% of UK devices getting a 5G connection by the mid-2020’s.

We don’t know which places will get Vodafone 5G first, but London is sure to be among them, as it’s the biggest UK city and as that’s where Vodafone’s 4G network started.

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester may also be first in line, given that the network has announced trials in those cities (more on that below).

Current trial and development activities

5G trials

Vodafone has carried out the UK’s first trial of 3.4GHz spectrum for 5G use. The network also tested Massive MIMO in the process.

Perhaps even more excitingly, it’s announced 5G trials in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester, which are set to kick off between October and December 2018.

This is apparently the most comprehensive 5G trial in the UK to date and will be used to test virtual and augmented reality in factories, hospitals and offices.

Vodafone is additionally set to carry out 5G New Radio field trial collaborations with Nokia and Qualcomm.

And Vodafone’s focus on speed has already hit a major milestone, as in partnership with Huawei it’s achieved 20Gbps speeds in a 5G field test.

Vodafone has also become the first mobile operator to complete a standalone pre-standard 5G test, and along with other companies has approved the first 5G standard.

These trials and Vodafone’s 5G plans in general are part of a ‘Gigabit UK’ plan the network has, which would see customers able to access speeds of 1Gbps or more wherever they are, using a combination of 5G and fast fixed broadband.

Other development activities

Vodafone seems primarily focused on speed and Internet of Things (IoT) applications with 5G, but it’s starting with the basics, and has partnered with Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Ericsson and Intel to both research 5G and prepare its network for the technology transition.

Vodafone has already started working towards a 5G network, including building some Massive MIMO sites in the UK. Massive MIMO base stations use 64 transmit and 64 receive streams, rather than the two elements used by current antennas. It’s a foundational 5G technology which will allow more data to be transferred as well as improving coverage, and Vodafone claims to be the first European network to deploy it.

And when it comes to the Internet of Things, Vodafone isn’t even waiting for 5G to expand its capabilities, as it plans to add Narrowband-IoT support to its existing network to bring 5G-like benefits ahead of time, by improving indoor coverage and supporting a high number of low-power devices within close proximity.

It’s already carried out a Narrowband-IoT test on a live commercial network, so we may see the fruits of its labour soon, but we’d expect even better IoT services from Vodafone once 5G does arrive.

Source: 5g.co.uk

5G used to send data to a self-driving vehicle at record speeds

Warwick 5G

One thing that 5G could make a lot more viable is self-driving and connected cars, as a new trial has shown, because researchers in the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick have just set a 5G communications speed record to a ‘Level 4’ low speed autonomous vehicle.

The trial used the 28GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) band to send data at speeds of up to 2.867 gigabits per second, which is almost 40 times faster than you’d get with fixed line broadband.

To put that into perspective, the researchers note that this is the equivalent of transferring an entire HD film in under 10 seconds, or a detailed sat nav map of the UK in just 1 second.

Useful and potentially life-saving

Being able to send data this fast is important, as it will allow vehicles to share data both with traffic management systems and with each other near instantly, which could help with a number of things from optimising the routes they take to avoid congestion, to potentially life-saving things.

Because, after all, autonomous vehicles will have their passengers’ lives in their hands, so they’ll need to know and be able to respond to situations on the road as fast as possible.

Examples of the information that could be transferred in this way include traffic information, high definition video images of the surroundings, and precise 3D road maps.

However, the ability to send and receive data at such high speeds could also transform in-car entertainment systems, since films would instantly be available.

Not the only test

The test was carried out using WMG’s 5G mmWave test facility, which is said to be one of the most advanced in Europe, and it’s part of an ongoing series of tests using mmWave spectrum with connected vehicles.

But this is just one of a number of recent trials involving autonomous vehicles. FiveAI is currently working towards a driverless car service in London for example, and moving away from cars, another recent trial has been exploring the potential of autonomous drones.

Source: James Rogerson- 5g.co.uk.

 

Vodafone made a holographic 5G call and accelerated its launch plans

Vodafone made a holographic 5G call and accelerated its launch plans

Vodafone 5G

Vodafone has just completed the UK’s first live holographic call over 5G, with England and Manchester City Women’s Football Captain, Steph Houghton MBE being projected as a hologram from Manchester to Newbury.

During the call she gave footballing tips to 11-year-old Manchester City and Lionesses fan, Iris, emphasising in the process the potential for holographic calls to be used for remote coaching and training, as unlike just a phone call or even a video call, it’s almost like the person is actually there.

There are all sorts of useful things this technology could be used for, such as essentially placing all participants of a conference call in the same room, letting fans get closer to their idols – whether sports stars, musicians, actors or anything else, or just making calls a lot more personal and more like a face to face conversation. It’s one of many new technologies that the high speed and low latency of 5G could power.

Vodafone 5G

Of course, there’s other tech involved in holograms than just 5G, and as Richard Foggie of the Knowledge Transfer Network explained to the BBC, headgear or an enclosed ‘cave’ is required to view holograms currently, limiting their viability, but he predicts that five years from now that hurdle will have been overcome. By which point 5G should be widely available.

Coming sooner than you might think

In fact, you shouldn’t have to wait long at all to start getting 5G from Vodafone, as the network has also announced that it will bring 5G to Cornwall and the Lake District during 2019, with 1,000 5G sites set to be active by 2020.

That’s notable for two reasons. Firstly, Vodafone had previously said not to expect 5G from the network before 2020, so it seems as though it has accelerated its launch, putting it more in line with EE and BT.

Secondly, it sounds like the network will be putting a lot of focus on rural areas in the early days, which is surprising, but potentially a good thing, as there has been concern that rural places could initially get left behind, leaving a greater digital divide between them and cities than there is now. It seems Vodafone doesn’t want to let that happen.

Source: James Rogerson 5G

O2 uses light to transmit data in latest network trial

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LED light bulbs will be used to provide high-speed wireless connectivity in a brand new network trial unveiled by mobile operator O2 at its HQ in Slough today.

The cutting-edge trial, conducted in partnership with pureLiFi, uses LED lights to send large amounts of data, while appearing as white light to the human eye. The move is the latest in a series of O2 network trials as it paves the way for its 5G launch in the UK.

As part of the trial, O2 has installed pureLiFi’s LiFi-XC system, comprising of nine LiFi-enabled LED light bulbs, in the ‘Explore Room’ of its Slough HQ. The system enables data to be transmitted from a LED light bulb and back at high speeds through adjustments in the bulb’s brightness. The result is a high-speed, bi-directional and fully networked wireless communication of data.

The LiFi system has the potential to serve as a serious contender to WiFi, which uses radio frequencies. Its reliance on the visible light spectrum aims to enable safer, more reliable and more secure wireless data communication than WiFi. It also has the potential to reduce infrastructure complexity and energy consumption.

Derek McManus, O2’s Chief Operations Officer, said: “At O2 we’re committed to building the best network possible for our customers, and a huge part of that is making sure we’re ahead of the pack in testing the latest technology.

“Our LiFi trial shows how you can deliver high-speed connectivity to customers in new ways and is another example of how we’re future-proofing our network as we pave the way for 5G in the UK.”

Alistair Banham, CEO of pureLiFi, said: “With the proliferation of internet-of-things devices and continued growth in mobile users, the demand for spectrum is under increasing pressure. LiFi is capable of unlocking unprecedented and much-needed data and bandwidth, and we are delighted that O2 has chosen to partner with pureLiFi to explore this tremendous potential. O2 is at the forefront of championing technologies to provide real solutions for 5G and beyond, and we look forward to working with them towards our common goal.”

Data-gathering cars to hit London streets ahead of autonomous trials

 

Five A1

UK company FiveAI has been given the go-ahead to deploy data-gathering cars on London’s streets to pave the way for a potential driverless car service.

FiveAI plans to spend the next 10 months deploying five cars (with drivers on board) in Bromley and Croydon to collect data on roads, including layout, topology and traffic flow, as well as road user behaviour. The data collected will be processed in line with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and used to feed into the development of FiveAI’s planned services.

FiveAI notes that all its data collection vehicles will be clearly branded and feature an “obvious array” of sensors to ensure transparency.

Towards trials

The shared service the company is working on will target commuters who drive at least part of their journey. FiveAI hopes to run a supervised trial of autonomous vehicles in London in 2019.

FiveAI co-founder Ben Peters says that autonomous vehicles will be much safer than human-driven cars and the data-gathering exercise is a crucial stage towards getting them onto the roads.

He commented: “By supporting London’s transport objectives with a shared driverless car service, FiveAI can play a crucial role in reducing congestion, emissions, incidents and the cost and time of journeys to benefit all Londoners.”

5G and autonomous vehicles

Some say that autonomous cars will only be a reality when we have 5G. Elsewhere, alongside data-gathering initiatives such as FiveAI’s, trials are ongoing to ensure that 5G connectivity will be in place to support driverless cars in the future.

For example, at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedford, as part of the AutoAir project, led by Airspan Networks, advanced 5G test networks are being deployed to validate connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies. The researchers are focused on areas such as complicated cell-tower hand-offs and issues related to bandwidth. They are also looking at how the work they are doing on 5G connectivity could be transferred to road and rail systems.

Meanwhile, government mapping agency, Ordnance Survey (OS), is leading an initiative to help better understand the infrastructure needed to support a nationwide network of CAVs. The E-CAVE project will run for four years and will focus on the geospatial aspects of how CAVs exchange safety-related messages between themselves and the supporting environment.

OS is also working with the 5G Innovation Centre and the Met Office on a digital twinning tool to help determine the best places to put radio antennae to underpin a 5G network.

Source: Sarah Wray www.5g.co.uk

T-Mobile and Nokia ink $3.5 billion, multi-year 5G network agreement

  • Nokia’s largest 5G agreement globally will provide end-to-end 5G solutions for T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network

30 July 2018

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Bellevue, Washington and Espoo, Finland – T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) and Nokia today announced a landmark $3.5 billion agreement to accelerate the deployment of a nationwide 5G network. Nokia will provide T-Mobile with its complete end-to-end 5G technology, software and services portfolio, assisting the Un-carrier in its efforts to bring its 5G network to market for customers in the critical first years of the 5G cycle.

“We are all in on 5G,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile. “Every dollar we spend is a 5G dollar, and our agreement with Nokia underscores the kind of investment we’re making to bring customers a mobile, nationwide 5G network. And together with Sprint, we’ll be able to do So. Much. More.”

As part of the agreement, Nokia will help build T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G network with 600 MHz and 28 GHz millimeter wave 5G capabilities compliant with 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standards.

“Nokia and T-Mobile will advance the large-scale deployment of 5G services throughout the United States,” said Ashish Chowdhary, Chief Customer Operations Officer, Nokia. “This is a testament to our companies’ strong and productive working relationship, one which has produced several important technological milestones in recent months, and which now allows us to make 5G a commercial reality.”

5G promises to enable faster speeds, massive connectivity, decade-long battery life for sensors and super-responsive and reliable networks for customers. This will unleash on-demand virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences, driverless vehicles, medical monitoring, advanced industrial automation services, and so much more – all requiring ubiquitous low latency connectivity.

T-Mobile will leverage multiple products across Nokia’s end-to-end 5G technology, software and services portfolio, including commercial AirScale radio platforms and cloud-native core, AirFrame hardware, CloudBand software, SON and 5G Acceleration Services.

Using 5G, Nokia and T-Mobile will develop, test and launch the next generation of connectivity services that will cover a wide range of industries, including enterprise, smart cities, utilities, transportation, health, manufacturing, retail, agriculture and government agencies.

Source: Nokia





Deutsche Telekom and DEKRA test 5G for connected mobility

  • The Lausitzring is Europe’s largest independent testbed for connected driving
  • Deutsche Telekom is developing 5G technology for communication between vehicles
  • Ideal environment for car manufacturers to test intelligent mobility across various driving scenarios
Deutsche Telekom and DEKRA test 5G for connected mobility.

Deutsche Telekom and DEKRA test 5G for connected mobility.

In just a few years, cars, traffic signals and street lighting will exchange information via 5G. And these are just three examples for traffic in the future. The systems involved will have to be secure. For this reason, DEKRA and Deutsche Telekom are expanding the facilities at the Lausitzring test- and race-track to include a 5G testbed for smart mobility.

There is a wide variety of scenarios – connected cars and autonomous vehicles will communicate with each other in real time, and also with buildings, the road infrastructure and other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. Navigation information will be precise to the centimeter. In addition to innovative assistance systems, drivers can also use infotainment and other services in the car. This is all based on new connectivity solutions for vehicles. Experts from many different areas work together at the Lausitzring.

It is a place to test intelligent mobility in real situations

This creates the perfect environment for automotive manufacturers and suppliers and communications equipment providers alike. It is a place for them to test intelligent mobility in real situations. The results help in developing technologies and services. Telekom Deutschland will provide the latest 4G and 5G infrastructure for the testbed. Other new technologies also come into play, such as Edge Computing (in which cloud-based computing power ensures real-time communication), Precise Positioning (Driver assistance systems require reliable accuracy in the centimeter range) and C-V2X, the telecommunications standard for communication between vehicles, network infrastructure and road infrastructure.

Wolfgang Linsenmaier, Chairman of the Management Board of DEKRA Automobil GmbH: “The DEKRA Technology Center is Europe’s largest vendor-independent test center for the mobility of the future. The spotlight is on automated and connected driving. We are delighted to have Deutsche Telekom on board as a strategic partner. We are confident this will be beneficial to both sides – but above all for road safety as a whole.”

It is Europe’s largest independent test area

Hagen Rickmann, Director for Business Customers at Telekom Deutschland GmbH: “Mobility is playing an ever greater role in our society. By equipping the Lausitzring with our 5G infrastructure, we and our partner DEKRA are offering industry the perfect testing environment for developing new, future-oriented services. This applies to the requirements on the part of the automotive industry in moving toward autonomous driving, and also to intelligent traffic control as part of smart city projects. Together, we are paving the way toward safe and efficient mobility in the future.”

The DEKRA Technology Center at the Lausitzring already provides the whole range of approval tests for manufacturers. Covering an area of around 545 hectares, it is Europe’s largest independent test area for connected and automated driving. This is an area equivalent to more than 700 football pitches. The roads recreate downtown, country road and highway conditions. There are also special asphalt zones for testing autonomous parking systems.

The industry will be able to use this new facility in the future to test connected functions as well as the enabling systems. As a result, of the entire communication system can be tested, all the way to the car manufacturers’ servers.

About Deutsche Telekom: Company profile

About DEKRA:
DEKRA has been active in the field of safety for more than 90 years. Founded in 1925 in Berlin as Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein e.V., it is today one of the world’s leading expert organizations. DEKRA SE is a subsidiary of DEKRA e.V. and manages the Group’s operating business. In 2017, DEKRA generated sales totalling more than 3.1 billion Euros. The company currently employs more than 44,000 people in more than 50 countries on all five continents. With qualified and independent expert services, they work for safety on the road, at work and at home. These services range from vehicle inspection and expert appraisals to claims services, industrial and building inspections, safety consultancy, testing and certification of products and systems, as well as training courses and temporary work. The vision for the company’s 100th birthday in 2025 is that DEKRA will be the global partner for a safe world.

What Le Tour can teach us about 5G

In just a few days, the FIFA World Cup Final will be over and soccer (football, if you must) fans all around the world will go back to being productive members of society. And if you’ve got used to must-see sports on TV nearly every day, what can fill the hole in your schedule? I’d suggest the Tour de France.

Okay, the overlap in World Cup and Le Tour fan bases may not be significant. But, with more than 10 million people showing up roadside to watch the world’s biggest bike race, the 3.5 million that turned up in Brazil for the World Cup four years ago seems nearly pitiful. And where the epitome of technology innovation on the soccer field might be goal-line cameras or new technical fabrics in team uniforms (let’s forget about video assistant refereeing), I’d argue cycling – with $15,000 superbikes, hidden motors and carbon fibre everywhere – should carry a special interest for the tech fans among us.

Oh, and if you’re looking for one more reason to watch, consider all of the things it can tell you about 5G. Things like:

Tech (wireless of bike) is sexy… I’d wager more people follow July’s big bike race for the technology it highlights – lightweight disc brakes, aerodynamically dimpled wheels, increasingly inventive ways to hide doping – than could actually name the race’s top contenders. It mirrors a 5G fascination around the wonders of massive MIMO, network slicing or time-sensitive networking. 5G technology innovations may be nothing more than a means to an end (the services they enable), but they drive engagement and that’s a good thing in and of itself.

…but can’t ensure success. The best bike in the world can’t win a race on its own. Neither can the best-trained rider. Course reconnaissance, team strategy, luck and the support of cheering crowds all play a role. Luck in particular. No operator will admit to luck playing a role in their success. They all need to recognise, however, that 5G success won’t be built upon 3GPP Release 15 and Release 16 features and capabilities. Lots of hard work will be critical, with business decisions and competitive differentiation around partnerships, service innovations and marketing being more important than the standardised 5G technologies available to everyone.

5G isn’t an IoT certainty. When Dimension Data became the Tour’s official technology partner in 2015, we got a big dose of analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) as a part of the fan experience. We got GPS sensors on bikes. We got real time insights. We got deeper analysis of rider performance. We got this all without 5G (even including NB-IoT in that definition). We can imagine a future Tour with 5G-connected bikes and riders. In the meantime, 5G will need to earn its right to play in IoT based on its unique capabilities and a solid understanding of use case requirements: it’s not a given.

Dark horses and favourites. A few days into this year’s race and we already have some surprising results. Fernando Gaviria has won two stages, holding off super-sprinter Peter Sagan. Team BMC, which is currently searching for a sponsor, won the team time trial and has three riders in the top 15. An American is tied for first place. While you can usually count on a handful of contenders to be on the podium at the end of any given stage (much less the end of the race), it’s the unexpected wins that keep things fun. And, with 5G representing a new technology impacting the network core, RAN and device landscape, there’s no shortage of new players vying for unexpected wins against the incumbent wireless suppliers. Watching those dark horses fight for their piece of the 5G pie will be nothing if not exciting.

It’s not about nations. The Tour de France is a race of professional teams, not national teams. That’s easy to forget when you’ve got teams sponsored by the Emirates and Bahrain, not to mention the capital of Kazakhstan (Astana Pro Team). Regardless, it’s not a country-versus-country competition in the same way the World Cup is. Neither is 5G. The first country to 5G won’t automatically win some sort of prize. Instead, the real winners will be the businesses which figure out how to tap global 5G scale to build success across national borders.

 

diabetes cycle rideOf course, if there’s one thing that’s nice about events like the World Cup or Olympics where countries compete against one another, it’s that we all know who the competitors are. So, if you have a hard time getting to grips with Tour de France teams like Sunweb, Bora-Hansgrohe, Direct Energie or Katusha-Alpecin, I have good news: there’s a lesson here too.

For a professional cycling team, casting a wide sponsorship net is a necessity: it takes a lot of money to keep everyone fed, transported and trained. The same holds for 5G. If 5G does nothing more than touch the same set of industries and customers as 4G, it should be considered a failure. Executing on the promise of 5G as a foundational, transformational communications technology will mean touching a broad set of industries and interests. It will mean seamlessly integrating into various use cases and everyday life. That’s a lot to ask, sure. But the stakes are high, and isn’t that why people watch races (to a metaphorical or physical finish line) so closely?

Source: Peter Jarich, head of GSMA Intelligence