News Feature | October 30, 2018

The Week In 5G: 10/30/2018 – President Trump Plans 5G Spectrum Strategy, OnePlus To Launch EU's First 5G Phone

By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq


United States President Donald Trump has issued a memorandum directing executive departments and federal agencies to create a comprehensive national 5G wireless spectrum strategy. Within 180 days, they will submit their reports to the Secretary of Commerce, who will, within 270 days, submit the long-term National Spectrum Strategy itself to the President.

According to the White House, the Strategy should include recommendations to increase spectrum access to all users, create flexible models for spectrum management, develop research and development on spectrum access, build a secure capability to assess spectrum use, and improve the global competitiveness of the U.S. terrestrial and space-related industries.

"It is imperative that America be first in fifth-generation (5G) wireless technologies — wireless technologies capable of meeting the high-capacity, low-latency, and high-speed requirements that can unleash innovation broadly across diverse sectors of the economy and the public sector.  Flexible, predictable spectrum access by the United States Government will help ensure that Federal users can meet current and future mission requirements for a broad range of both communications- and non-communications-based systems," stated the memorandum.

The White House wants the private sector to take the lead in 5G deployment in America, contrary to earlier reports that the Trump administration wants a nationalized program.

"We will prioritize efforts to accelerate the private sector's development of 5G, so that the American people can reap the rewards of this incredible technology," White House adviser Michael Kratsios told reporters, according to CNBC/Reuters.

The memo also calls for the creation of a Spectrum Strategy Task Force, including representatives from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, The National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the National Security Council, the National Space Council and the Council of Economic Advisers, noted Smart Cities Dive.

The Task Force shall serve as a coordinator between the Commerce Secretary and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and the other agencies, and will consult with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

Over the last couple of years, FCC has revamped regulatory rules to open up spectrum use and make 5G deployments in the U.S. faster.

“We commend the administration for recognizing the importance of establishing a national spectrum strategy. With the right approach based on licensed wireless spectrum, America’s wireless carriers will invest hundreds of billions of dollars and create millions of jobs to deploy next-generation networks and win the global 5G race,” wireless industry trade association CTIA said in a statement.

American wireless companies are priming rollouts of 5G services, with Verizon's network going live early in October in select U.S. cities, and AT&T planning to launch 5G services in a dozen cities by the end of the year.

AT&T this week unveiled its first standards-based device that will work on the carrier’s mobile 5G network: the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot, which is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 5G modem, reported ECN. John Donavan, the company’s chief executive of mobility business, said the carrier is on track to introduce 3GPP standards-based 5G mobile services “in the next few weeks.”

Chinese company OnePlus is the latest smartphone manufacturer to announce that it is working on a 5G phone for launch as early as the first half of next year, and that it is working with European carriers for the launch.

“We’re confident we’ll be the first 5G phone in Europe,” OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, through a translator, told The Verge. Lau added that OnePlus became interested in developing a 5G device early so it can better learn what the technology is capable of and optimize what it offers to customers.

The number of devices interconnected by 5G networks are expected to multiply considerably, as more 5G networks become operational, says a top industry executive.

"More devices, higher bandwidth, and lower latency," Andrew Morawski, President and Country Chairman for Vodafone in the Americas, told ZDNet. "If you look at it from a capacity perspective, if I take the first one, there are only so many devices that can be connected at one time to a cell tower, let's just say. In 5G technology, the number of those devices is going to multiply by 10 or 50 fold, even. What that means is, if you think about the Internet of Things or connecting things to the Internet, the limits that we had before around how many things could be connected are going to go away, or the limits are going to rise considerably."

Morawski added that 5G will offer lower latency — down to a mere one or two milliseconds — and higher bandwidth that will cut to one-tenth current download times under 4G networks, making possible applications like autonomous vehicles and virtual surgery.

Related, Nokia and Viavi Solutions announced this week that they have achieved single-user downlink speeds of 1.6 Gbps in the last phase of China’s national 5G testing program, according to RCR Wireless. The test conformed to 3GPP-compliant 5G NR specifications, and utilized Nokia's AirScale Massive MIMO 5G base station that enabled the achievement — almost the theoretical peak throughput of a 4X4 multiple-input multiple-output configuration — with a 2.5 millisecond single-cycle frame structure.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Ericsson and Fujitsu are set to combine R&D efforts and their radio access and core network portfolios to deliver 5G mobile network services and solutions across Japan, reported ZDNet. Ericsson said it will offer its global expertise in 5G and knowledge of the Japanese market to the partnership. Fujitsu, on the other hand, said it will provide open and standards-based "flexible 5G network systems" using its wireless technology expertise.