News Feature | November 12, 2019

The Week in 5G: 11/12/2019 — Apple AR Headset by 2022, T-Mobile to Launch 5G in U.S., Chinese Govt. Kicks Off 6G Research

By Ed Biller


Pending approval of its merger with Sprint by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), T-Mobile plans to launch 5G wireless broadband in select cities nationwide on Dec. 6, 2019. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the $23B merger in October.

According to Government Technology, “T-Mobile plans to provide free service to 10 million households in the United States who qualify based on their income, as well as to police, firefighters and other emergency responders in the United States over the coming 10 years.”

In Singapore, Microsoft has inked a Memorandum of Intent with that nation’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), under which a development hub will be created that aids tech companies, government entities, and other organizations in building “proof-of-concept 5G applications on Microsoft's Azure cloud platform,” reports ZDNet.  The report adds that IMDA and Microsoft will work together to “provide technical consultancy and offer best practices on 5G standards, interoperability, and design principles.”

In Bahrain, leading telco Zain has tabbed Ericsson as a partner for its 5G network in that nation, according to an Ericsson press release. The collaboration aims to launch its first commercial 5G services before the end of 2019, with Ericsson “providing 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio, including Massive MIMO solutions. Ericsson is also providing Ericsson Cloud Packet Core and Voice over LTE solutions.”

Ericsson also announced this week its successful completion of the first over-the-air spectrum sharing 5G data call with a service provider — along with partners Qualcomm and Swisscomm — at Swisscom’s Digital Lab on Oct. 31, 2019.

“Swisscom, with Ericsson as its sole 5G vendor, was the first communications service provider in Europe to launch commercial 5G services in April 2019 – on the 3.6 GHz band. Swisscom is targeting 90 percent population coverage by the end of 2019,” states the Ericsson press release.

Finally, Ericsson and Finnish telco Nokia both have reportedly landed several 5G deals in China. Per RCR Wireless, “China Mobile and Ericsson will continue to work together in 2020, with China Mobile planning to purchase 4G and 5G network and core equipment from Ericsson… China Telecom and China Unicom also intend to purchase communication equipment and services from Ericsson next year. In addition, China Unicom reportedly has plans to work with Ericsson in the area of artificial intelligence and automation technology.”

Nokia, meanwhile, has reportedly inked 5G deals with all three of China’s major operators: China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.

Related, China’s government has hinted that Brazil is likely to choose Huawei to build its 5G mobile network, Bloomberg reports.

In more news out of China, Quartz reports that China’s science and technology ministry has formed a pair of expert teams to research and study of 6G on behalf of the government.

“One team consists of government departments who will be in charge of pushing through the execution of 6G technology, while the other consists of 37 experts from universities, science institutions and corporations, who will provide technical advice for the government’s major decisions on 6G,” the report states.

In technology news, The Information reports that Apple is aiming to release an augmented reality (AR) headset in 2022 and a pair of AR glasses by 2023. Several outlets parroting the report have claimed that it is likely to be accurate, since 5G will be necessary for these devices to meet their potential, and Apple generally does not seek to be a first-mover; rather, the tech giant prefers to release its tech only when the supporting technology or infrastructure is mature enough to support said device.