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5G Focus: US rural funding; Dutch auction; Verizon/Amazon tie-up

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, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced plans to fund 5G rollouts in rural America. Meanwhile, the Netherlands unveiled details of round one of its 5G spectrum auction. And Verizon Communications Inc. will work with Inc. to test cloud infrastructure on Verizon's 5G network.

Must read

Wireless experts: Rural 5G deployment key for US to lead next-gen tech race: Industry experts urged U.S. lawmakers to prioritize unserved and rural areas when freeing up spectrum for 5G deployment, noting this step is crucial for the U.S. to lead in the global race to next-gen technology.

Huawei: FCC ban damages reputation more than revenues: China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. said the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's decision to prohibit the subsidized purchase of its telecom equipment, including for 5G services, damages its reputation more than its revenues.


* Huawei mounted a legal challenge to overturn a U.S. Federal Communications Commission order that prevents rural carriers from using Universal Service Fund subsidies to buy Huawei equipment. Alan Fan, vice president of IP strategy and international legal policy at Huawei, said the U.S. 5G network deployment will be delayed as a result of the restrictions.

* FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced plans to launch a $9 billion 5G fund for rural America. The fund would replace the planned Mobility Fund Phase II, which would have offered federal support for 4G LTE service in unserved areas. Leaders of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee expressed concerns about Pai's announcement, with Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., saying the plan lacks specific details.

* Verizon and Amazon will partner to test cloud infrastructure and processing at the edge of Verizon's expanding 5G mobile network. Verizon will test Amazon's AWS Wavelength platform on its 5G Ultra Wideband network, beginning in Chicago, the companies said Dec. 3.

* Huawei may move its research center from the U.S. to Canada, Reuters reported, citing the company's founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei's statement to The Globe and Mail. Ren also plans to set up a factory in Europe to develop 5G network equipment.

* Apple Inc. completed the purchase of Intel Corp.'s smartphone modem business in a transaction valued at $1 billion. The transaction will allow Intel to focus on developing technology for 5G networks, according to a Dec. 2 news release.


* Advanced Info Service PCL, True Move H Co. Ltd. and Total Access Communication PCL may opt out of Thailand's 5G spectrum auction in February 2020 as the three operators are unhappy with the bidding condition draft rules laid out by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. The operators complained that the reserve prices are too high, Prachachat reported.

* Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. developed a key smartphone component that will free up space in 5G devices, allowing the Apple supplier to make multilayer ceramic capacitors that take up only one-fifth the space of existing ones, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Dec. 5.

* The Indian government will likely hold a spectrum auction for 4G and 5G airwaves between April and June 2020, India's The Economic Times reported Dec. 4.

* Xiaomi Corp. and OPPO will use Qualcomm Inc.'s latest 5G chip, Snapdragon 865, in their flagship devices that will be launched in the first quarter of 2020, Reuters reported.

* Telekom Malaysia held a live 5G transmission on Dec. 5, the first deployment of 5G stand-alone network in the country, Malay Mail reported Dec. 3, citing a source.


* Telenor ASA said Dec. 6 that it achieved maximum speeds of 1.7 Gbps in 5G tests via the 3.5 GHz band on its Swedish network. The trials were conducted at Telenor's country headquarters in Solna, Sweden.

* Telefónica SA will select a second equipment vendor in 2020 to support the rollout of its 5G network in Spain, Reuters reported Dec. 6, citing a company spokesman. The telco, however, will still purchase some of the core 5G equipment from Huawei.

* Three Ireland (Hutchison) Ltd. is set to select Ericsson over Huawei as its 5G network partner, Dublin's Irish Independent reported Dec. 6.

* The Netherlands expects to raise at least €900 million from its first round of spectrum auction for 5G networks, Reuters reported, citing Dutch Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Mona Keijzer. The first auction of the 700 MHz, 1400 MHz and 2100 MHz airwave ranges is scheduled to take place by June 30, 2020.

* Deutsche Telekom AG halted all deals to buy 5G equipment in light of the "unclear political situation" over whether Germany will ban Huawei, Reuters reported, citing a statement. Lawmakers in Germany's ruling coalition government are divided over whether to impose the ban.

* Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte denied U.S. President Donald Trump's statement that Italy will not allow Huawei's involvement in 5G network infrastructure development, Telecompaper reported Dec. 5. A Dec. 4 Reuters report quoted Trump as saying that Italy had confirmed a plan not to use Huawei equipment.

* U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to ban Huawei from the country's 5G buildout, citing concerns over its security cooperation with allied countries such as the U.S., London's Financial Times reported.

* Orange SA on Dec. 4 said it will sell about 1,500 nonstrategic tower sites in Spain to Cellnex Telecom SA for about €260 million. The announcement forms part of the French operator's five-year strategic plan, called Engage 2025, which also includes targets to roll out 5G in most European countries in 2020.

* Vodafone Group PLC unit Vodafone Business struck a deal with Amazon Web Services Inc. to offer the AWS Wavelength service across the telco's European footprint, according to a Dec. 4 statement. The service enables developers to create apps over 5G networks.

* Ericsson is scaling up plans to capture a larger share of the world market for core 5G networks, Affärsvärlden reported Dec. 4.

* Ericsson said Dec. 2 that its spectrum sharing technology was used to connect two continents over live commercial 5G networks and devices. Data call tests using the technology connected Bern, Switzerland, with Gold Coast, Australia.

* German Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier is considering industrial policy funding for European 5G equipment suppliers, Handelsblatt reported Dec. 2. Altmaier wants to ensure there is no monopoly when it comes to the supply of 5G equipment.

Featured research

Belgium regulators not buying the 5G hype: While carriers in many developed markets have focused on 5G rollouts, Belgium has halted 5G due to the country's radiation standards. The country's minister for the environment has pressed pause on 5G in Belgium until 2020.

4G users double amid regulatory headwinds in Pakistan: While LTE devices increased to account for 20% of all wireless subscriptions in Pakistan as of mid-2019, mobile operators were locked in a dispute with the government over costs associated with renewing their 2G licenses, which still account for 60% of subs.

Global markets update — the Netherlands: Ahead of other Dutch operators, T-Mobile Netherlands is eyeing the launch of the first nationwide 5G network by 2021.

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