News Feature | March 17, 2020

The Week in 5G: 3/17/2020 — Norway Welcomes 5G; FCC Completes Largest-Ever Spectrum Auction

By Ed Biller


Telenor Norway has launched commercial 5G in nine locations across the country. Per a Capacity Media report, the service was launched via a virtual video conference in light of “Coronavirus” (COVID-19) safety precautions. The carrier partnered with Ericsson on its rollout.

“Today we not only open the 5G network in Trondheim, we also open the first commercial 5G network in Norway,” said Petter-Børre Furberg, CEO of Telenor Norway.

In France, Reuters reports that officials will authorize the use of some of Huawei’s equipment in the rollout of its 5G network, despite U.S. pressure to ban the Chinese telecoms giant from Western nations’ 5G rollouts over security concerns. The news comes on the heels of the U.K.’s January announcement that it will welcome Huawei equipment in a similarly limited role.

Per the report, “French cybersecurity agency, ANSSI, is due to tell telecoms operators which equipment they are allowed to use for the deployment of their 5G network in France, but has not made public any decision.”

In the U.S., the FCC’s auction of upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz spectrum for 5G use, pulled in $4.47 billion, plus about $3 billion in incentive payments to hasten the removal of existing licensees from the bands.

VentureBeat reports the auction “effectively adds three additional millimeter wave bands to previously auctioned 24 GHz and 28 GHz frequencies, giving carriers the ability to offer exceptionally high-bandwidth wireless services on a national basis.”

Verizon secured 4,940 licenses, followed by AT&T (3,267 licenses), Dish Network (2,651) and T-Mobile (2,384). VentureBeat noted that the FCC plans to start bids later this year in two separate mid-band auctions, “with a block of 3.5 GHz spectrum beginning the process on June 25 and 3.7 GHz C-band spectrum on Dec. 8.”

In technology news, ZTE Corp. has announced that its ZTE AXON 11 5G will be released in China on March 23. Gizchina reports that ZTE’s third 5G phone supports SA and NSA dual-mode 5G, and speculates that the device will set new benchmarks in video shooting functions / video creation, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 flagship platform.

Nokia, meanwhile, has added 5G capabilities to its Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) program (provides operators with global IoT connectivity and managed services), claiming the upgrade will “allow operators to offer new applications with stringent latency, security and speed requirements,” reports Mobile World Live. As part of the initiative, the company plans to open a 5G WING lab in Dallas, Texas, where global operators can test new use cases.

Finally, in news almost too asinine to report, but still a relevant enough part of the 5G conversation to warrant mention, some are claiming COVID-19 either is a hoax invented to distract from “5G Syndrome,” or that the virus is itself a 5G-caused illness. Common sense and overwhelming scientific evidence state the opposite.

To wit, China’s ZTE is among a number of vendors using 5G technologies to actively combat the pandemic by “working with industry partners to deploy innovative applications such as new media, distance education, and security in the 5G industry to fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19),” reports RCR Wireless.

The virus’ spread, continues the report, “will further promote remote collaboration in various industries such as education, medical care, industrial manufacturing, and logistics.”