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5G Focus: Huawei's Polish deals; Polkomtel's rollout; AT&T's expansion

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.

Our first 5G roundup for 2020 focuses on Poland, with some of the country's telcos retaining their tie-ups with China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. despite a U.S.-Poland 5G security accord. Polish operator Polkomtel Sp. z o.o. launched its commercial 5G network, while U.S. carrier AT&T Inc. expanded the coverage of its mobile 5G+ service.

Chart watch

Apple shares surged into the new year, with analysts citing strong demand for the Apple Watch and investor anticipation for the release of a 5G-enabled iPhone in the fall as primary drivers for the company.

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Apple/Imagination licensing deal could boost iPad, Apple Watch performance: Apple Inc.'s new licensing deal with Imagination Technologies Group PLC could see the British chipmaker's components make it into iPads, a future 5G Apple Watch and a rumored augmented reality headset, according to analysts.

The US Week Ahead: 5G to take center stage at CES: Next-gen wireless technology 5G is one of the main themes of this week's influential global technology conference in Las Vegas.

US AND CANADA

* AT&T's mobile 5G+ service is live in parts of 35 cities in the U.S. The new cities include parts of Baltimore; Cleveland; Detroit; Menlo Park, Calif.; Miami, Miami Gardens, Fla.; Ocean City, Md.; Oakland, Calif.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Redwood City, Calif., and San Bruno, Calif.

* AT&T also rolled out 5G services to New York City, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., TheVerge.com reported. With the addition of the six new cities, AT&T is now providing 5G services to 19 cities in total.

* Verizon Communications Inc. launched its 5G ultra wideband mobile service in six new cities, bringing its 5G coverage to 28 cities. The U.S. carrier's 5G service is now available in Miami; Salt Lake City; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Spokane, Wash.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Greensboro, N.C.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Philippine telco PLDT Inc. confirmed a plan to sell some assets as it seeks to finance its capital expenditures in 2020, BusinessMirror reported Jan. 2. PLDT is also looking to introduce the Philippines' first 5G mobile service in the first quarter of the year.

* China Broadcasting Network Co. Ltd. secured regulatory approval to test its 5G network in 16 cities, Cnstock reported Jan. 3.

* Xiaomi Corp. will invest more than $7.18 billion over the next five years in artificial intelligence and 5G technology, Reuters reported Jan. 2, citing company CEO Lei Jun.

* The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission announced Jan. 1 that the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands are under consideration for allocation to a single entity comprising a consortium formed by multiple licensees, instead of individual licensees. The commission will undertake a tender process to allocate both bands, which were identified as the pioneer spectrum bands for the rollout of 5G in the country.

* Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty. Ltd. selected Nokia Corp. to become its 5G network vendor. Under the partnership, Nokia will support Vodafone's efforts to accelerate its 5G delivery and to activate its first 5G sites in the coming months. Vodafone is expected to roll out 5G services in the first half of 2020.

* The Indian government invited all telecom service providers and gear vendors, including Huawei, to participate in the country's 5G field trials, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

* Singapore-based StarHub Ltd. will partner with Malaysia's U Mobile Sdn. Bhd. to perform 5G stand-alone roaming trials. The tests, which will include live cross-border holographic calls and multiparty video calls, will begin in the first quarter of 2020.

* Malaysian telco Maxis Bhd. showcased the use of 5G in a virtual learning environment, Digital News Asia reported.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will offer 5G frequencies across four spectrum bands in an auction set for Feb. 16, Bangkok Post reported. The telecom regulator will first auction off licenses for 700 MHz spectrum, before proceeding to the 1,800 MHz, 2,600 MHz and 26 GHz bands.

* Sumitomo Corp. will set up a joint venture with seven other companies, including Internet Initiative Japan Inc., to provide 5G wireless networks to cable TV operators.

* China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology aims to offer 5G in all of the country's nearly 300 prefecture-level cities by the end of 2020, VentureBeat reported.

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Polkomtel began rolling out its commercial 5G network in Poland, with an aim to make the service available in at least seven cities within the first quarter of 2020. The mobile operator, which operates the Plus network, aims to make the next-generation mobile service initially accessible in Warsaw, Gdańsk, Katowice, Łódź, Poznań, Szczecin and Wrocław.

* Saudi Arabian telecom services provider Mobily tapped Ericsson to deploy a broad range of products and solutions, including 5G products, from its radio system portfolio, according to a Jan. 3 news release. Mobily said the agreement will help accelerate its deployment of digital services and expand internet of things usage.

* Several Polish operators kept their partnerships with Huawei despite a joint 5G security declaration between the Eastern European country and the U.S., Telecompaper reported, citing Rp.pl. Orange Polska SA and T-Mobile Polska SA tapped Huawei to upgrade their respective telecom towers in Warsaw. Meanwhile, mobile operator P4 Sp. z o.o., or Play, will work with the Chinese telecom equipment company for 5G trials that will begin Jan. 7. Play is launching 5G services in the tri-city area of Gdansk, Gdynia and Sopot, Telecompaper reported, citing Telepolis.pl.

* Telefónica SA unit Telefónica UK Ltd., or O2, switched on its 5G hotspots in 13 new locations, including Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. The recent launch brings its 2019 5G rollout to 20 locations.

* Portuguese telecom regulator Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações will offer frequencies in the 700 MHz and 3.6 GHz bands, as well as free spectrum in the other bands, as part of an upcoming 5G spectrum auction, Telecompaper reported.

* Polish telecom watchdog Urząd Komunikacji Elektronicznej is expected to raise as much as 2.68 billion Polish zlotys in 2020, with the majority of the revenue coming from an upcoming 5G spectrum auction, Telecompaper reported, citing Telko.in.

* Greek operator Cosmote SA is set to award a €170 million network upgrade contract to technology company Ericsson, Telecompaper reported, citing sources mentioned by Ekathimerini.com. The contract, which covers both 4G and 5G equipment, is expected to be signed in early January.

* The U.S. government warned the U.K. against giving Huawei access to its 5G networks, London's Financial Times reported. U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said such a move would pose security threats to U.K. secret intelligence services MI5 and MI6, as China's Communist party would be able to "micro-target" British citizens' details and possibly steal state secrets "wholesale."

* Mobile operator Bite Latvia aims to deploy a 5G base station on Kipsala island in Riga, Latvia, at the start of 2020, Telecompaper reported, citing CEO Kaspars Buls' statement to Db.lv.

* Brussels Airport is developing a private 5G network in cooperation with Nokia and Belgian operator Citymesh NV, Datanews reported.

* Swisscom AG-owned Fastweb SpA and Italy's Linkem SpA teamed up for the installation of their respective 5G fixed wireless access networks, according to a statement.

Featured research

Fiber remains key driver for telco commercial revenue in Q3'19: CenturyLink Inc. believes fiber will be the go-to and long-standing technology over all other services including 5G.

5G drives near-term global small cell forecast to $2.2 billion: Small cell technology will be fundamental in mobile network coverage expansion over the next five years, as both wireless operators and enterprises leverage a combination of indoor and outdoor solutions to deliver 5G services as broadly as possible.

Western Europe's continued fiber investments could benefit 5G: 5G represents a real opportunity to deliver broadband connectivity over relatively short distances, particularly in markets where large volumes of millimeter-wave spectrum have been earmarked for 5G use.

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