The FCC this summer passed the Spectrum Frontiers proposal, which allows for the use of a broad swath of millimeter wave spectrum to be used for 5G networks. That includes four new bands of high-frequency spectrum above 24GHz. The move was lauded by an array of industry groups and players. FCC (News - Alert) Chairman Tom Wheeler commented that the order makes “the United States the first country in the world to identify and open up vast amounts of high frequency spectrum for 5G applications. The big game-changer is that we are using much higher-frequency bands than previously thought viable for flexible uses, including mobile. The ability to use this high-frequency spectrum opens much bigger chunks of spectrum. Current blocks of licensed low-band spectrum are usually 5 to 10 megahertz in width. With 5G, however, we are looking at blocks of at least 200 megahertz in width. This will allow networks to carry much more traffic per user – gigabits of throughput instead of megabits. We’re talking about fiber-like capacity to wireless users.”
AT&T recently revealed it is experimenting with leveraging drones to provide LTE-based broadband connectivity to people at remote and/or temporary locations, like music venues. John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T Technology and Operations, blogged that drones both enable AT&T to remotely inspect its cell sites and offer the promise of new applications like expanding the network for disaster response or special events.
Cellcos, NEMs Work to Standardize 5G
In other recent AT&T news, the wireless service giant and some other big names in the cellular industry have joined forces to work on 5G standards in an effort to expedite the availability of this technology. The other partners in this effort are China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson (News - Alert), Huawei, Intel, KDDI, LG, Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., Samsung, SK Technologies, Telstra, and Vodafone.
Aeris, SoftBank Form JV
Japanese giant SoftBank has formed a joint venture with Internet of Things business Aeris to provide IoT and telematics services around the world. The company, called Aeris Japan K.K., will offer solutions based on the Aeris IoT platform. This expands business or Aeris not only into Japan, but also to Europe, India, and a broader swath of the U.S.
Vodafone Report Assesses IoT Benefits, Growth
More than half (55 percent) of IoT adopters in the Americas are seeing revenue growth of more than 20 percent following these implementations, according to Vodafone’s latest Internet of Things Barometer Report. The report also indicates that 86 percent of survey respondents in the Americas have increased their IoT spend in the past 12 months; a third of IoT adopters in the Americas are using IoT to connect multiple organizations and/or industries; 49 percent of adopters in the Americas have seen increased staff productivity as a result of implementing IoT; globally, IoT now accounts for 24 percent of the average IT budget; and 64 percent of businesses globally consistently use big data and analytics platforms to support decision-making.
LTE Chipset Company Readies Hybrid IoT Chipset
Altair Semiconductor (News - Alert) plans to make samples of its dual-mode FourGee-1210 CAT-1/CAT-M chipset available later this year. This will enable a smooth transition to the next standard for cellular IoT networks, the company explained. “Like any migration to a new cellular network, the complex transition from CAT-1 to CAT-M will take time and could potentially delay carrier and vendor rollouts,” said Eran Eshed, co-founder and vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Altair. “Altair’s FourGee-1210 chipset will facilitate a smooth migration to CAT-M adoption, providing the ecosystem with the combined solution it needs for the next 18-24 months.”
Cellco to Pilot CAT-M1 in San Fran
AT&T will pilot CAT-M1 network technologies in San Francisco starting in November. Cisco Systems and Microsoft will also be involved.
Ericsson, College Demo 5G Robotic Surgery
Ericsson and King's College London demonstrated a 5G use case of tactile robotic surgery at 5G World 2016 this summer in London. It showed a probe as a robotic representation of a biological finger that gave a surgeon the sense of touch in minimally invasive surgery. It also was able to send accurate real time localization of hard nodules in soft tissue. Valter D'Avino, head of Ericsson Western & Central Europe, explained: "Through this 5G simulation demonstration we can show how latency is a critical part of what 5G can deliver, bringing both the sense of touch and an essential real-time video feed to remote surgery."
Ovum Offers a View of 5G’s Future
5G commercial services will launch in 2020, and there will be 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2021 for mobile and fixed broadband services, according to industry analyst firm Ovum. “The main use case for 5G through 2021will be enhanced mobile broadband services, although fixed broadband services will also be supported, especially in the US,” said Mike Roberts, Ovum practice leader covering carrier strategy and technology. “Over time 5G will support a host of use cases including Internet of Things and mission-critical communications, but Ovum does not believe those use cases will be supported by standardized 5G services through 2021.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi