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COAI favours 5G auctions only around second half of 2019

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NEW DELHI: Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has said auction of spectrum for 5G services should happen only around the second half of 2019 as it would offer telcos better visibility into market dynamics and potential revenue streams of the next-generation mobile services.

The pricing of 5G spectrum, which would be required in larger blocks or chunks than seen before, would also be “critical component of success of these auctions” that should ideally take place in the “mid to latter part of 2019”, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews told PTI.

Further, the ongoing financial stress in the industry will also have to be dealt with for the telecom operators to make investments into 5G auctions, he said.

The advent of 5G is seen as the next technological frontier, and India is positioning itself as a globally synchronised player in the design, development and manufacturing of 5G-based technology, products and application.

Accordingly, the government constituted a high-level committee last year comprising secretaries of the Telecom Department, IT and Electronics Ministry and Science and Technology Department to work out the vision, mission and goals for India’s 5G ambitions, and prepare a roadmap and action plan for the same.

As per some reports, the panel is said to have recommended making available around 6,000 MHz of spectrum in nearly a dozen bands.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan had earlier said that India wants to be a frontrunner in adopting 5G technology and will prepare the roadmap for it this year.

The government has also called upon industry, academia and startups to do their bit to help India take a lead in the 5th-generation wireless system which enables higher-speed mobile broadband, mission-critical services and massive Internet of Things (IoT) deployment.

Mathews said that the industry will take a close look at emerging use cases for 5G and government policies while evaluating auctions.

“Most critical things is emerging use cases…where are the best revenue opportunities…Also what is government’s national policy on 5G…e-health, e-commerce, e-governance, e-education…because government will be pushing to ensure that those are the services that will be necessary…these will be the most important aspects that the industry will watch out for,” Mathews said.

He acknowledged that 5G offers a plethora of opportunities for telecom operators, but added that outcomes and revenue streams will have to be far more defined than they are at present.

“We have to get a clearer picture on what is the emerging revenue stream that attaches to the use of the spectrum,” he emphasised.

Another important factor will be the financial health of the industry, he added.

“You also have to address the financial health of the industry to be able to allow operators to afford investments in spectrum. Unless you allow industry to get back on their feet…who is going to lend to the industry for spectrum?” Mathews added.

The industry has run a cumulative debt of Rs 7.7 lakh crore and is facing severe financial distress.

The established operators have been flagging pressure on revenue and profitability, blaming the rock-bottom data tariffs and free offerings of Reliance Jio for deteriorating financial health of the sector. The telecom operators have traded charges on multiple occasions, blaming each other for the sector’s financial difficulties.

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Ericsson signs $8.3 billion 5G deal with Verizon

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NEW DELHI:Ericsson said that it has signed $8.3 billion agreement with Verizon to provide its industry-leading 5G solutions to accelerate the deployment of Verizon’s world-class next-generation 5G network in the U.S.

Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, says: “This is a significant strategic partnership for both companies and what we’re most excited about is bringing the benefits of 5G to U.S. consumers, enterprises and the public sector. We’re looking forward to working with Verizon to leverage solutions like Cloud RAN and our Street Macro, adding depth and versatility to 5G network rollouts across the U.S.”

“With this new agreement, we will be able to continue driving innovation and widespread adoption of 5G,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon. “We are pleased to continue this work through our long-standing relationship with Ericsson.”

Under this $8.3 billion USD agreement, Verizon will deploy Ericsson’s 5G MIMO C-band, low-band and millimeter wave (mmWave) solutions to enhance and expand Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, network performance and user experience. Ericsson’s technology solutions, including Massive MIMO, Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson Cloud RAN, complement the high-performing Ericsson Radio System portfolio to support 5G services. Ericsson’s industry-leading software functionality provides end-users with the speed and performance they expect from 5G networks.

In 2020, Verizon was the first communications service provider to receive a commercial 5G mmWave Street Macro base station from Ericsson’s award-winning new state-of-the-art U.S. smart factory in Lewisville, Texas. Ericsson is committed to building and accelerating the nationwide build-out of 5G across the country.

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JioPhone Next, co-developed with Google, to be most affordable smartphone globally: Mukesh Ambani

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NEW DELHI: Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani on Thursday said Jio and Google have jointly developed Made for India ‘JioPhone Next’, a power-packed and affordable smartphone that will be available from September 10.
Ambani promised that JioPhone Next will be the most-affordable smartphone, not just in India but globally, although the pricing was not disclosed.
The companies have also expanded their partnership, wherein Jio and Google Cloud will collaborate on 5G technology.
Speaking at RIL’s 44th annual general meeting, Ambani asserted that an ultra-affordable 4G smartphone is essential to make India ‘2G-mukt’ (free of 2G). India still has nearly 300 million mobile users who are unable to escape from inefficient and exorbitant 2G services since most basic 4G smartphones remain unaffordable, he added.
“I am pleased to announce that Google and Jio teams have jointly developed a truly breakthrough smartphone that we are calling, JioPhone Next that has been jointly developed by Jio and Google especially for the Indian market,” he said.
To be available from September 10 on Ganesh Chaturthi, JioPhone Next packs a punch with cutting-edge features including voice assistant, language translation, automatic read-aloud of screen text, and smart camera with augmented reality filters and security updates.
“As you have come to expect from Jio, it is my promise that JioPhone Next will be, by far, the most-affordable smartphone not just in India but globally,” Ambani said.
Last year, Google had announced an investment of Rs 33,737 crore for a 7.7 per cent stake in Reliance Industries’ technology venture Jio Platforms. The tech giant had teamed up on technology initiatives, including development of affordable smartphones for the price-sensitive yet tech-savvy Indian market.
The fully-featured smartphones will support the entire gamut of applications from both Google and Jio, as well as Android PlayStore through which users will have access to the full universe of Android apps.
“This is a testimony to a global technology giant and a national technology champion working jointly to make a breakthrough product… that can be first introduced in India and then taken to the rest of the world,” Ambani said.
Jio has democratised digital connectivity in India, offering the highest quality, most affordable 4G broadband services in the world, he added.
“Sundar (Google CEO Sundar Pichai) and I had talked about Google and Jio co-developing a next-generation, feature-rich, but extremely affordable smartphone aimed at providing first-time internet access for 2G users,” Ambani said while making the JioPhone Next announcement on Thursday.
Pichai said an optimised version of the Android OS has been developed especially for this device.
“It’s built for India and it will open up new possibilities for millions of new users, who will experience the internet for the first time,” he said.
Pichai said Google’s vision is to bring affordable access to information for Indians in their own language, to build new products and services for India’s unique needs, and empower businesses with technology.
The smartphone is built for India and will open up new possibilities for millions of new users who will experience the internet for the very first time, he added.
For users who might not be able to read content in their language, the phone will allow users to translate what’s on their screen with a tap of a button, and even have it read back to them in their own language.
‘Read Aloud’ and ‘Translate Now’ are now operating system (OS)-wide features that will work with any text on users’ phone screen, including web pages, apps, messages, and even photos.
The smartphone comes equipped with a fast, high-quality camera that will yield clearer photos at night and in low-light situations. Google has also partnered with Snap (parent company of photo sharing app Snapchat) to integrate India-specific Snapchat Lenses directly into the phone’s camera.
Rival Bharti Airtel, meanwhile, welcomed the low-end smartphone initiative announced by Reliance Jio and Google.
“We support every effort that triggers the upgradation of feature phones to smartphones so as to bring more Indians online,” it said in an e-mail response claiming that as customers with entry-level devices upgrade to quality smartphones (priced over Rs 7,000), they demonstrate a strong preference for Airtel.
India is among the biggest smartphone markets globally with devices under Rs 10,000 accounting for a significant share. According to Counterpoint Research, India’s smartphone shipments grew 23 per cent year-on-year to reach over 38 million units in the March 2021 quarter, the highest-ever first quarter shipments.
New product launches, promotions and financial schemes, as well as higher demand on account of work and study from home amid the pandemic have been strong drivers for the market in the last few quarters. The top-five players in the Indian market include Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo and Realme.

The feature phone market registered a 14 per cent y-o-y growth during the quarter driven by strong shipments of JioPhone under its new model and subsequent promotions, as per Counterpoint.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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Samsung launches new 5G Radio with integrated antennas

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NEW DELHI: Samsung Electronics said that it has unveiled a new radio designed to help mobile operators overcome the challenges they face in deploying 5G networks.

Announced at “Samsung Networks: Redefined,” the new One Antenna Radio features integrated antennas, providing operators with the ability to simplify and speed up 5G installations by consolidating a 3.5GHz Massive MIMO radio with low-band and mid-band passive antennas into a single form factor.

As operators continue to extend their 5G coverage, a key challenge they face is the space and footprint restrictions at sites and on towers. Samsung’s all-in-one radio will address varied environmental and site demands–easing installation, saving space and reducing OPEX for operators. The new solution will become part of Samsung’s Radio Access Network (RAN) portfolio in early 2022, initially targeting the European market.

Key benefits of Samsung’s One Antenna Radio are:

Site Simplification: The streamlined solution uses compact hardware to blend into a municipality’s environment, and reduces cabling and hardware elements to minimize visual impact in dense urban areas.

Simplified Installation: Deployment is made simple by eliminating the need to install and connect radios and multiple antennas separately, accelerating installation and reducing labor costs.

OPEX Savings: By requiring less space on sites or towers, and with a smaller footprint, operators can save on expenses, including rental and maintenance costs.

“We are proud to introduce our One Antenna Radio to provide industry-leading performance that’s designed to address various deployment environments,” said Wonil Roh, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Strategy, Networks Business at Samsung Electronics.

“Recognizing that mounting hardware, cabling, crew site time and space limitations are a challenge for most operators, we created a solution to help tackle this issue, and expand deployment boundaries,” he added.

Samsung has pioneered the successful delivery of 5G end-to-end solutions including chipsets, radios, and core. Through ongoing research and development, Samsung drives the industry to advance 5G networks with its market-leading product portfolio from fully virtualized RAN and Core to private network solutions and AI-powered automation tools. The company is currently providing network solutions to mobile operators that deliver connectivity to hundreds of millions of users around the world.

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