In today's regional roundup: BT and Nokia become 5G buddies; Swisscom runs a steady ship as it shifts towards all IP and ultra-broadband; an eye-watering 20 Gbit/s broadband service is announced in UAE.
With the UK's largest mobile operator (EE) now part of its portfolio, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is getting in on the 5G partnership action, striking a relationship with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) that covers "potential customer use cases for 5G technologies, the creation of 5G Proof of Concept (PoC) trials and the development of the emerging technology standards and equipment." For more insight and details, see this Telecoms.com report and this press release.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) reported better-than-expected second quarter financials and raised its 2016 profit guidance thanks to a better performance (and a one-time compensation payment) at its Italian subsidiary Fastweb, reports Reuters. The Swiss incumbent, which is still majority-owned by the state, has managed to maintain its financial performance while investing aggressively in high-speed fixed broadband infrastructure and a transition to all IP: The operator says that at the end of June, around 3.3 million homes and offices were connected with "ultra-fast broadband" services (speeds of more than 50 Mbit/s), while 1.3 million fixed voice lines (about half of the total) are now all IP. Its conversion to all IP is set to be completed by the end of 2017. For more details, see this press release.
Dreaming of a Gigabit broadband service? That's so yesterday… Residential users in the UAE can now sign up for a 20 Gbit/s FTTH connection from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) , which has developed the capabilities for the service with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. . The operator says this remarkable "ultra-broadband speed will allow du's fixed subscribers to have a much better experience of high bandwidth services such as 4K TV, Network Gaming, virtual reality and cloud services." But the question is – how much of a better experience will customers get with 20 Gbit/s compared with 10 Gbit/s, for example? And what will the price point be? The current monthly cost of a 1 Gbit/s broadband service, with TV channels and free voice calls, is about US$1,250. Really.
Of course, but only Korean and Chinese are actually building 5G networks for launch around 2020. European telcos will be late to 5G party once again, as was with LTE. They have no money to build 5G networks after having spent several tens of billions on spectrum auctions. Accordingly, Nokia and Ericsson who depend on European telcos are in big trouble in 5G era as they will be shut out from very first 5G network deployments.
Japan is in an oddball situation, because this time there is no Japanese 5G standard and Japanese 5G rollout plan is in a disarray.
Beijing expects to implement the pre-commercial service of the 5th generation mobile networks, or 5G, in key locations by 2020, according to a development plan on big data and cloud computing released by the municipal government.
The locations include the city's subsidiary administrative center, the Horti Expo Park of 2019, the new airport, and stadiums of 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The trial run is likely to happen in 2018 to 2019, and full implementation will "definitely" be ready by the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.