European Telcos Slam '5G' Efforts in Asia, US

Iain Morris
1/9/2017
50%
50%

European telcos, including Vodafone and Orange, have insisted that Europe is not falling behind parts of Asia and North America on the road to 5G.

Championing the role of Europe and European companies in developing the next-generation mobile technology, both Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) have also dismissed some of the 5G initiatives in Asia and the US, saying these are based on "niche" applications and that non-standard forms of 5G will not succeed.

While 5G is attracting interest from operators globally, a handful of service providers in the US, Japan and South Korea are typically seen to be in the vanguard of its development. US-based Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has talked about introducing a 5G service this year, while Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) and South Korea's KT Corp. are also plotting early rollouts of the technology. (See 5G on Track but Fragmentation Still a Concern.)

The current industry focus on the 28GHz spectrum band, which will not be available in Europe for use with 5G services, has exacerbated concern that Europe could trail some other economies on the rollout of 5G technology.

"Handsets will probably become available for that 28GHz band before [manufacturers] then build them for the European frequencies," said Amit Nagpal, a partner at spectrum advisory group Aetha Consulting, during a previous conversation with Light Reading. "Europe won't be happy about that but it's likely the reality." (See Spectrum Hurdle Could Trip Europe in 5G Race.)

Any such lag would reinforce a perception that Europe's telecom industry has recently lost out in the innovation stakes to North America and Asia. The late introduction of 5G technology could also have broader ramifications, given its apparent value to other sectors of the economy.

Yet Vodafone has criticized what it sees as an unfair representation of Europe's 5G status. "Europe is not lagging the US and Asia on the development of 5G," said Luke Ibbetson, the operator's director of research and development, in comments provided to Light Reading. "The 5G standard has not yet been fully agreed and is unlikely to appear on a commercial network for a number of years … It's difficult to see how Europe could be regarded as 'lagging.'"


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.


Most industry observers agree that commercial services based on the first 5G standard will not appear until 2020, at the very earliest. Yet operators, including Verizon, are keen to use 28GHz-based 5G before then to provide broadband services in areas that are hard to reach with fixed-line technologies. (See Verizon Updates 5G Spec, Could Launch Ahead of 3GPP.)

Ibbetson says this "fixed wireless access" scenario is a "relatively niche opportunity and does not lend itself to the massive scale of mobile broadband."

He is also critical of the focus on 28GHz, pointing out that it does not represent one of the candidate 5G bands identified by the World Radio Conference (WRC). "Solutions designed specifically for this band will have limited geographical opportunity," he says.

Even so, while the 28GHz band will not be used globally with 5G, its availability in the advanced economies of the US, Japan and South Korea has already caught the industry's attention. "28GHz is emerging as a bit of a priority," says Gabriel Brown, a principal analyst at the Heavy Reading market-research business. "A 34GHz product won't exist in as near a time frame."

Next page: Spectrum shuffling

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
TV Monitor
50%
50%
TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/11/2017 | 3:30:00 PM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Dan Jones

"from the position of already being an incumbent in 4G infrastrucure."

Huawei doesn't own LTE standard, an pays through nose in loyalty because of that.

Hence both Huawei and Samsung are pushing out clean sheet 5G standards that replace LTE, whereas Ericsson, Nokia, and Qualcomm try to extend LTE.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
1/11/2017 | 3:12:35 PM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Semantics, dude, really. Huawei wants to establish a 5G standard from the position of already being an incumbent in 4G infrastrucure.
TV Monitor
50%
50%
TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/11/2017 | 12:48:49 PM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
DanJones

"Huawei is still not a "challenger" in any sense."

Huawei is a challenger in establishing an LTE replacement standard.

This is why Chinese government is so determined to push out the Chinese 5G standard and promote it across developing world markets.

Only when you see this you understand Chinese actions.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
1/11/2017 | 11:58:28 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Huawei is still not a "challenger" in any sense.
TV Monitor
50%
50%
TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/11/2017 | 11:40:46 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Gabriel Brown

"Huawei is not a challenger."

Surely it is in terms of standard setting. Huawei doesn't own LTE.

"It would obviously benefit from a global 5G standard has been explicit about this itself. "

Not as much as a 5G standard that is wholy controlled by itself and ZTE. Why share when you can have the whole pie for yourself? Chinese and to a lessor degree Koreans have very different mentality from Europeans in terms of cooperation and co-existence. This is all about world domination for them. Hence the mad rush to launch any form of 5G as soon as in 2019, they want to be out first, then flood the world market with their respective versions of 5G technologies.

Samsung has basically no competition in 28 Ghz band, anyone who wants to launch 5G in the 28 Ghz band has to buy from Samsung for both base stations and Galaxy 5G phones.

Chinese do have European competition in 3.5 Ghz band market, so they are trying to push out Chinese 5G before 3GPP spec is finalized and preempt Nokia and Ericsson with their proprietary Chinese 5G standard.

"I know there's a fashionable palour game where people speculate that "China Inc." will develop its own 5G spec"

I have been reading on the subject on the specifics of Chinese 5G quite a bit to affirm that it exists, this is how China plans to launch 5G BEFORE the 3GPP spec finalization anyway.
Gabriel Brown
100%
0%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/11/2017 | 3:52:17 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Huawei is not a challenger. It's one of the top three incumbent vendors with business on every continent. It may even be the biggest RAN vendor worldwide based on 2016 revenues. It would obviously benefit from a global 5G standard has been explicit about this itself. 

I know there's a fashionable palour game where people speculate that "China Inc." will develop its own 5G spec, come what may, and try and make an end-run around "the West" in export markets. No smoke without fire, I suppose, but it doesn't make much sense as a strategy to me -- certainly not for high-tech exports.

Samsung is a challenger -- agreed -- and it has the capability and incentive to gain influence in standards and technology in 5G. But it doesn't have enough scale, or backing, or customer support, to drive this on its own.
TV Monitor
50%
50%
TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/10/2017 | 11:58:48 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Gabriel Brown

"Who does it benefit to have several competing sub-scale 5G standards? "

The challengers like Huawei and Samsung.

"Mid-band spectrum seems like the best bet for global harmonization"

The problem is that 3GPP low-band 5G does not offer improved bandwidth over LTE, it only offers improved latency. Yes there are a few latency sensitive applications in the IoT market, but smartphones do not need low-band 5G.

So does low-latency justify spending hundreds of billions in spectrum auction and an entirely new network deployment? This is why the 3.5 Ghz 5G doesn't make financial sense whether it is 3GPP or Chinese variety, it is technically easier to do but the cost per bit is much much higher than Samsung 5G, which has both multi-Gig throughput and low latency.
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
1/10/2017 | 11:51:38 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
In fact, the US has anticipated licensed bands for 5G at 28, 37 & 39GHz, none of which have been allocated by the FCC yet, and there's no given dates by when that will happen. So, no, the US doesn't have a 28GHz 5G band yet in fact.
Gabriel Brown
100%
0%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/10/2017 | 11:39:21 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Who does it benefit to have several competing sub-scale 5G standards? 

Mid-band spectrum seems like the best bet for global harmonization, albeit, this is challenging in the U.S. in particular.

Fwiw, I think you're right to say there will be more variation in this cycle due to spectrum differences. But I don't think that means there will be multiple succesful 5G standards that each specify a different stack top-to-bottom and end-to-end. There won't be enough large markets to sustain the R&D costs.

 
TV Monitor
0%
100%
TV Monitor,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/10/2017 | 10:57:55 AM
Re: There is no phone vendor backing European 5G standard
Gabriel Brown

"The point is that the best results, in the market, will come from a global standard"

There can't be a global 5G standard because 5G frequencies cannot be harmonized across regions unlike 4G era.

The US has 28 Ghz as its only 5G band, and 3.5 Ghz CBRS is just too specialized to support 3GPP or Chinese low-band 5G.

China has only 3.5 Ghz as its 5G band with no mmwave 5G planned.

In Europe, telcos are cash-strapped after paying huge sum at frequency auction and is struggling to fully deploy 4G, much less 5G. This makes Europe irrrelevant in 5G race, because European telcos don't have the cash to buy 3.5 Ghz frequency and spend hundreds of billions to deploy Ericsson and Nokia's 3GPP low-band 5G that delivers only 30% spectral efficiency gain over LTE at best.

Japan is unique in that it has dropped out of the standard format war, having chose to adopt Chinese 5G at 3.5 Ghz and Samsung 5G at 28 Ghz to maintain roaming with both Chinese and Korean/American visitors.

So what's clear is that there won't be single global 5G standard like the case with LTE, because of frequency fragmentation and the early development is led by nations that are not used to cooperating the way Europeans are.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>