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5G Focus: Global telco partnership; Rogers, Sky Mobile rollouts; ZTE investment

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5G Focus: Global telco partnership; Rogers, Sky Mobile rollouts; ZTE investment

5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It also features in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.

Last week, a group of telecom carriers led by Verizon Communications Inc. formed a partnership to develop 5G standards. Meanwhile, Canada's Rogers Communications Inc. and Sky Ltd.'s Sky Mobile became the latest operators to launch 5G services. On the other side of the globe, Chinese tech company ZTE Corp. plans to raise funds for its 5G research efforts.

Chart Watch

As a multistate lawsuit against the T-Mobile US Inc.-Sprint Corp. transaction began in New York Jan. 15, Wall Street analysts and investors remained skeptical of the deal's approval, with Sprint's stock trading at a significant discount to the value of T-Mobile's proposed all-stock deal. Jeffrey Kvaal, an analyst with Nomura's Instinet, said his firm is "as yet unconvinced by the rationales led by 5G leadership, job creation, consumer benefit, or DISH [Network Corp.] as a fourth competitor."

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Must read

TSMC: US export ban could disrupt business short term: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. CEO C.C. Wei said 5G-related smartphone and network equipment sales will drive revenue growth, although U.S. restrictions on exports to China may impact takings.

CES 2020: From cars to content to phones, annual trade show did not disappoint: Several burgeoning technologies powered by the new powerful 5G mobile standard will advance toward consumer and enterprise markets in 2020, crowds at CES, the Consumer Technology Association's annual technology and media trade show, heard.

US AND CANADA

* Canadian communications and media company Rogers began rolling out the country's first 5G network in downtown Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Rogers plans to expand its 5G network to more than 20 additional markets by the end of the year.

* Verizon teamed up with Rogers, U.K.-based Vodafone Group PLC, Mexican telco América Móvil SAB de CV, South Korea-based KT Corp. and Australian telecommunications company Telstra Corp. Ltd. to create a 5G-focused forum. The 5G Future Forum will develop uniform interoperable 5G specifications to accelerate the delivery of 5G and mobile edge computing-enabled services around the globe, according to a Jan. 15 news release.

* U.S. Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced a bill to support companies that can compete with Chinese telecom-equipment makers, such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., The Wall Street Journal reported Jan. 14. Under the proposed Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act, $750 million will be allocated to companies developing 5G technology.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* ZTE is considering raising about 11.51 billion yuan from a private placement of class A shares, according to media reports. The Chinese company intends to use the proceeds for research and development of 5G networks and for working capital.

* South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT plans for 30 trillion won from private and public sectors to be invested in 5G services by 2022, Newsis reported Jan. 16.

* Taiwan completed its 5G spectrum auction after 261 rounds of bidding, with total bids reaching NT$138.08 billion, according to the country's National Communications Commission. Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile Co. Ltd., Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. Ltd. and Taiwan Star Telecom Corp. Ltd. each won bids for securing spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band.

* Vodafone Idea Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and BSNL submitted their respective applications for 5G field trials in India, The Economic Times reported Jan. 15.

* DiGi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd. is teaming up with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. and Panorama Langkawi to launch a 5G-powered virtual tourism experience zone at Langkawi International Airport, The Edge Markets reported Jan. 15.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission reaffirmed that the country will make commercial 5G services a reality in May, Matichon reported. The regulator also expects to make 54.65 billion Thai baht from the February 5G spectrum auction.

* Maxis Bhd. is collaborating with Huawei for the development of a 5G TechCity in Malaysia, Digital News Asia reported Jan. 14.

* The Thai government greenlit the proposed merger of state-owned wireless carriers CAT Telecom PCL and TOT PCL, Reuters reported Jan. 14. The new entity, National Telecom, will participate in upcoming 5G spectrum auctions.

* KT and Samsung Medical Center began trials of 5G-powered medical solutions designed to enhance healthcare, The Korea Herald reported Jan. 14.

* The Vietnamese government plans to launch 5G services this year, Post Today reported. Vingroup JSC inked a deal with Qualcomm Inc. and Fujitsu Ltd. in 2019 to produce 5G networks in Vietnam.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. acquired network services provider TeleWorld Solutions Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is expected to allow Samsung to improve its 4G and 5G networks.

* The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute and Qualcomm are teaming up to develop millimeter wave-based 5G New Radio small cell technologies, ZD Net Korea reported.

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Sky Mobile rolled out its 5G service in 20 cities and towns across the U.K., including London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Leeds. The company aims to deliver 5G connectivity to 50 U.K. areas by the summer.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with leading members of Parliament to discuss the participation of Chinese mobile device manufacturer Huawei in the country's 5G network expansion, Handelsblatt reported Jan. 15.

* MásMóvil Ibercom SA is unlikely to join the 700 MHz band auction in Spain if the government fails to reserve frequency blocks for new operators, Telecompaper reported Jan. 15, citing CEO Meinrad Spenger's statement to EFE. Spenger is calling on the government to provide "reasonable conditions" in the upcoming 5G auction.

* The Czech government approved a document on the auction for the distribution of frequencies for 5G networks, Telecompaper reported Jan. 15. The auction will start in the first quarter of the year.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. will seek the best technology for the rollout of next-generation wireless networks in the country and suggested those opposed to certain brands name an acceptable alternative, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 14.

* Vodafone expanded its 5G network's reach to Belfast in Ireland; Edinburgh in Scotland; and to Leeds, as well as the towns of Cheadle, Rochdale and Stockport in Greater Manchester, in England. The telecom operator also rolled out 5G roaming in five places in Ireland.

* The Greek government is still waiting for the European Commission's recommendation on whether it will or will not allow Huawei in its 5G network rollout, Telecompaper reported Jan. 13, citing Digital Governance Minister Kyriakos Pierrakakis' statement to Skai TV.

* Italy's Ministry of Economic Development will allocate about €5 million in grants for 5G projects involving Telecom Italia SpA, Linkem SpA, Tiscali SpA, Wind Tre SpA, Vodafone Italia SpA, and other universities and organizations in the country, Telecompaper reported Jan. 13.

Featured research

Turkey tests 5G, grows postpaid amid currency free fall: Turkish operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS installed 5G-compatible mobile antennas, while Türk Telekomünikasyon AŞ conducted 5G tests with Huawei.

2020 outlook for Latin American multichannel, broadband and mobile market: Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico are preparing for upcoming 5G spectrum auctions, while Peru plans to reorganize frequencies to make space for 5G services.

UAE doubles data in plans at backdrop of 5G base race: Telecom operator Etisalat UAE built out 5G sites through the first nine months of 2019, while du plans to build more 5G-enabled sites.

Asia-Pacific tower, small cell, DAS projections through 2029: Although traditional towers still dominate, small cells and distributed antenna systems are gaining momentum in Asia-Pacific due to the aggressive push for 5G by China, Japan and South Korea.

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