News Feature | April 28, 2020

The Week in 5G: 4/28/2020 — U.S. House Introduces $750 5G Bill; GSMA Claims First 5G SA Network Slicing PoC Case

By Ed Biller


Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation on Friday intended to financially boost 5G wireless technologies.

The Hill reports the USA Telecommunications Act “would set aside $750 million within a grant program overseen by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to help support the deployment and use of 5G networks in the U.S.”

The bipartisan bill also would establish an advisory committee including individuals from the FCC and other federal agencies, plus private and public sector representatives. The bill builds on the Trump administration’s Secure 5G and Beyond Act of 2020, signed by the president in March.

Related, a Brookings Institution report released in April outlines a U.S. path to success in its battle for 5G dominance with China. Brookings Fellow Nicol Turner Lee lays out a three-point plan focused on spectrum usage, global supply chain mastery, and innovation.

China has met U.S. talk with action, pushing network rollouts through its own pandemic experience — moreso now that the country is “opening back up,” as common parlance phrases it these days. Newsweek reported last week that the nation expects to build 500,000 5G base stations by the end of the year, citing Wen Ku, director of the department of Information and Communications Development of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

As of March, “there were 198,000 5G base stations constructed nationwide and more than 50 million users of the new wireless technology across China,” the report states.

Also in China, the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) has released what it claims is the first 5G SA network slicing proof-of-concept (PoC) case. Per a report by Light Reading, “China Southern Power Grid (CSG), China Mobile, and Huawei jointly conducted research on the application of 5G network slicing in smart grids in early 2018. So far, the E2E field test of 5G SA power slicing has been completed, and the standard three-layer network slicing management architecture has been built. The entire process is streamlined, from slice subscription, configuration, deployment, to monitoring.”

In the Netherlands, provider VodafoneZiggo will launch 5G with Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson 5G Core, states a company press release.

The release notes how the Dutch have approached their 5G spectrum auctions and network rollouts differently from other European countries: “In June of 2020, the 700MHz frequency will be auctioned, but the 3.5GHz band, which is currently being used by the country’s defense satellite system, will not be available by auction until 2022. By deploying Ericsson Spectrum Sharing already now, VodafoneZiggo can quickly introduce 5G over a wide area, using existing frequency bands and existing Ericsson Radio System equipment.”

In Australia, communications regulator RTR has established minimum security standards for telecommunications infrastructure, and 5G, in particular. The document is available for review/comment and is slated to enter into force in June, according to a report from Telecompaper.

Per the report, RTR built its draft “existing international and European security standards as well as effective security management measures for the operation of 5G networks.” RTR will police the new standards, and has mandated that operators will provide the regulator with any information necessary to combat security concerns.

In technology news, Apple reportedly is delaying 5G iPhone production by at least a month, reports The Wall Street Journal.  The article states that Apple remains bullish on four new iPhone models covering three sizes — 5.4 in., 6.1 in., and 6.7 in. — and will scale back its production in the latter half of 2020 by about 20 percent.