News Feature | September 10, 2019

The Week in 5G: 9/10/2019 ā€” Sprint Claims U.S. 5G Coverage Crown, Ericsson Claims World's First 5G Data Call Using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing

By Ed Biller


Sprint claims that it’s 5G coverage now extends to more than 11 million people across nine cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and Washington, DC. Per a report by PC Mag, this coverage places Sprint atop all other U.S. carriers in terms of 5G coverage.

Installing 5G on mid-band" spectrum, Sprint has been able to use its existing (4G) cell sites, rather than installing new “small cell” sites associated with millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G.  This strategy also has attracted phone supplier OnePlus to partner with Sprint. Per PC Mag, OnePlus has stated it only wants to work with 5G carriers avoiding mmWave systems.

Deutsche Telekom announced last week – on opening day of the 2019 IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin -- that its 5G mobile network is live in five German cities: Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Bonn and Darmstadt. Deutsche Telekom plans to offer up to 1 gigabit per second speeds in 20 cities by the end of 2020, states a Reuters report.

U.S. Cellular is touting a 5G rollout built on “fairness.” Specifically, the carrier promises to provide customers “with reasonable pricing and a reliable network, and critically, will include bringing 5G to rural areas,” reports RCR Wireless.

Pledging to “start in areas where other carries are not,” U.S. Cellular aims to use Ericsson equipment for its initial 5G launch on the 600MHZ spectrum before expanding to other bands.

In Japan, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Inc. and OMRON Corp. are focusing on 5G’s industrial applications. The trio will conduct joint field trials using 5G at their plants and other production sites. Nokia will provide the 5G technology, OMRON will supply the factory automation equipment, and NTT DOCOMO will run the 5G trial, according to a Nokia press release.

The trial “will aim to establish the feasibility of the concept of a layout-free production line with Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs)” and “will see AMRs automatically conveying components to the exact spot where they are required based on communication with production line equipment,” states the release.

The trial also aims to use 5G to achieve “real-time coaching using AI/IoT,” wherein an AI-based system will use cameras to monitor workers and will provide feedback on their performance “based on an analysis of their movements. This will help improve the training of technicians by detecting and analyzing the differences of motion between more skilled and less skilled personnel.”

Qualcomm Technologies, meanwhile, along with partner Ericsson – claimed it has achieved the world’s first 5G data call “using spectrum sharing on a 3GPP Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) low band using commercial hardware and software based on Ericsson Radio System, and a mobile test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System,” according to an Ericsson press release.

This is a major breakthrough for wireless communication given that frequency sharing had never been done between any cellular generation since 2G,” the release states. “This technology is poised to change how new generation radio access technologies are introduced in operator networks using one of the most limited resources in mobile, which is spectrum.”

In technology news, Qualcomm pledged last week that its high-end modem would bring 5G mobile phones to the masses, and claimed its chips will power mid-price devices hitting the market next year. Fifth-generation chipsets from Qualcomm now run on five devices, according to a Reuters report.

Qualcomm’s 5G chips typically have hailed from its most expensive line, Snapdragon 8, but the company plans to add 5G capabilities to lower-cost Snapdragon 6 and 7 series devices, too.

Huawei, for its part, touted the company’s Kirin 990 chipset — announced at IFA 2019, the same event where Qualcomm made its announcement — as superior to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 series.

“The Huawei Kirin 990 (5G) can be considered as the first real 5G SoC in the world today. There are 5G modems but they are separate from the main chipset. What it offers is 5G connectivity where such is allowed. It will greatly help a lot of smartphones that will run on the new processor,” writes Rei Padla for Android Community.

As for who trusts Huawei technology’s security this week, it looks like Hungary will welcome the telecom giant’s gear, while India is leaning toward shunning it.

South Korea’s SK Telecom and Samsung are teaming to jointly develop and commercialize the world’s first 5G-8K TV, reports Light Reading.

"The 5G-8K TV is the culmination of ultra-low latency 5G networks combined with ultra-high definition TV technology," said Park Jin-hyo, CTO and Head of ICT R&D Center at SK Telecom.