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5G Focus: Singapore's roadmap; Hong Kong's spectrum auction; O2's rollout

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

Singapore last week detailed plans for its 5G rollout, while Hong Kong's telecom watchdog raised HK$1 billion in a spectrum auction. Further west, mobile operator O2 launched its 5G service in selected areas across the U.K.

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The U.S. government believes Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is a threat to national security and has banned it from participating in the rollout of next-generation wireless technology 5G. The British government has taken a cautious approach thus far as it considers the views of local telecom players who rely on Huawei technology, according to Holger Hestermeyer, an expert in international dispute resolution at the British Academy, the UK's national organization for the humanities and social sciences. Vodafone Group PLC has said banning the supplier will delay 5G rollout at huge cost.

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FCC chair says agency still weighing competing 5G spectrum proposals: U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, speaking at a congressional hearing, offered little fresh insight on how to open up the spectrum needed for 5G networks, though he stressed that the effort should benefit federal taxpayers.

Full-fiber broadband not only answer to UK connectivity plans, MP says: The United Kingdom is prepared to use 5G and gigabit-capable technology to deliver faster internet speeds, said culture secretary Nicky Morgan.

Second wave of 5G use cases underway, Nokia exec says: Operators need to increase automation efforts and plan new data center locations strategically as the second wave of 5G use cases arrive, said Nokia Corp.'s head of digital design Evren Tosyali.

US AND CANADA

* Apple Inc. set a 2022 timeline to introduce its own 5G modems for iPhones, FierceWireless.com reported Oct. 15, citing an earlier media report. However, the complexities of the task could push that date back until 2023.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Xiaomi Corp. founder Lei Jun said the company plans to launch more than 10 models of 5G smartphones in 2020, across all price tiers, Tencent News reported Oct. 20.

* Huawei is in early-stage discussions to license its 5G network technology to some U.S. telecom providers, Vincent Pang, senior vice president and director at the Chinese company, told Reuters. The telecom equipment provider received interest in both a long-term partnership and a one-off transfer, although it would still be "a long journey" before any transaction is finalized, Pang reportedly said.

* LG U+ selected Ericsson as a 5G radio access network vendor, according to an Oct. 18 statement. Ericsson will supply services for LG U+'s 3.5 GHz non-stand-alone 5G network.

* In more LG U+ news, the South Korean mobile carrier formed a strategic partnership with China Telecom Corp. Ltd. to cooperate on 5G businesses, ZDNet Korea reported Oct. 18. The companies will co-produce augmented reality and virtual reality content, develop 5G service solutions and technologies, and work on cloud games and other services.

* Singapore on Oct. 17 unveiled plans to begin deployment of 5G services in 2020, with the next-generation wireless service expected to cover at least half of the city-state by end-2022. The Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore's telecom regulator, will facilitate the rollout of two nationwide stand-alone 5G networks.

* Huawei reported securing more than 60 commercial contracts for 5G with global operators in the first three quarters of 2019. The company also said it shipped 400,000 5G core components called massive MIMO active antenna units.

* In other Huawei news, the company launched a suite of technology tools for businesses using 5G networks, Sina reported Oct. 17. Among the tools is ADN Mobile, which targets self-driving cars.

* Indonesian telecom operator PT XL Axiata Tbk is collaborating with Huawei to develop core network technology that can help manage traffic in 2G to 5G networks, Katadata reported Oct. 17.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. tapped Ericsson to strengthen its core network in India, according to an Oct. 16 statement. Under the tie-up, Ericsson will deploy its 5G-ready Cloud Packet Core and other services on Airtel's network.

* Hong Kong's Office of the Communications Authority raised HK$1 billion after it auctioned off a total of 200 MHz of 5G spectrum to four mobile network operators, The Standard reported Oct. 15. China Mobile Hong Kong Co. Ltd. secured the 60 MHz bandwidth in the 3.5 GHz frequency band with an HK$300 million bid. Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) Ltd. and SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. both won 50 GHz bandwidth for HK$252 million each, while Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Ltd. obtained 40 MHz bandwidth for HK$202 million.

* Huawei is willing to sign a "no backdoor" agreement with India to allay security concerns, Reuters reported Oct. 14, citing Huawei Technologies India Pvt. Ltd. CEO Jay Chen. The Chinese company is also offering to put its source codes in an escrow account to reassure the government that Huawei's 5G equipment is secure.

* Ericsson plans to produce 5G radio products in India for domestic use and export, India's The Economic Times reported Oct. 14, citing Nunzio Mirtillo, senior vice president and head of the Southeast Asia, Oceania and India market area at Ericsson. Meanwhile, Huawei India CEO Jay Chen said the company is open to starting 5G radio manufacturing in the country, along with previous-generation technologies gear such as 2G and 4G.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission expects 5G technology to be deployed in the country's Eastern Economic Corridor in October 2020, Bangkok Post reported Oct. 14.

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* VEON Ltd.'s joint venture unit KaR-Tel LLC, operating as Beeline, rolled out a large-scale 5G trial in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, according to an Oct. 21 statement. The trial initially clocked a downlink speed of 1.0 Gbps.

* Telefónica UK Ltd., or O2, on Oct. 17 rolled out its 5G network in six locations across the U.K. The mobile operator initially made its next-generation wireless service available in key parts of Belfast, Northern Ireland; Cardiff, Wales; Edinburgh, Scotland; and London, Slough and Leeds in England. The Telefónica SA unit aims to expand its 5G coverage to 20 towns and cities by year-end and to 50 areas by summer 2020.

* Ericsson raised its sales target for 2020 amid stronger demand in the 5G market. The company also said it remains focused on developing a full 5G and cloud-native portfolio.

* Nokia said Oct. 17 that it will power Telia Finland's 5G network at the Mall of Tripla shopping center in Helsinki under a new deal. Nokia's solution will comprise 5G base stations backed by small cell technology units. Telia Co. AB owns Telia Finland.

* Chinese tech giant ZTE Corp. agreed to supply 5G-ready base stations for the upgrade of GO Internet SpA's network in Italy's central Marche region, Telecompaper reported Oct. 17.

* The Czech Telecommunication Office is delaying the launch of its 5G spectrum auction to early January 2020 from this fall, Reuters reported Oct. 17, citing a notice on the regulator's website. Frequencies in the 700 MHZ and 3.5 GHz bands will be sold off under the auction.

* The German government wants multiple manufacturers to take part in the expansion of the country's 5G mobile network amid security concerns over Huawei, Reuters reported Oct. 16.

* Altice France SA's SFR began offering three 5G smartphones, following experiments in Paris, Nantes and Toulouse, according to an Oct. 16 news release. SFR made the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, Huawei Mate20 X 5G and Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G available on its shops and on SFR.fr.

* Finnish operator Elisa Oyj said Oct. 16 that it launched a 5G network in the city of Lahti. The network, which initially covers Lahti's central portion and an exhibition center, will be expanded by year-end.

* Oman's Telecommunications Regulatory Agency granted Omantel and Ooredoo the rights to use 100 MHz of spectrum for 5G services, the Oman Daily Observer reported Oct. 16. The two telcos are expected to build and install 4,400 5G stations across Oman over the next five years.

* Germany's Federal Network Agency continues to push ahead with the revision of safety documents for the provision of its 5G mobile network, Reuters reported Oct. 15. The draft regulation stipulates that data processing system components will require certification and that supplier trustworthiness must be proven.

* Germany will not ban any telecom equipment vendor, including Huawei, from 5G network build-out projects in the country, Reuters reported, quoting German government spokesman Steffen Seibert. The decision is laid out on the country's security catalog, which is set to be published soon.

* Sunrise Communications Group AG and Huawei launched a joint 5G innovation center in Europe, according to an Oct. 14 statement. The facility will allow the two companies to work together to research and develop 5G applications for private and business sectors.

* Telenor ASA said Oct. 14 that it rolled out a 5G pilot project in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard in Norway. The pilot will test new standards against the Arctic's extreme weather.

* Huawei unveiled plans to open a 5G OpenLab in the Middle East in December, Telecompaper reported Oct. 14. The facility will focus on boosting 5G services in the business market, including in areas such as artificial intelligence and fixed wireless access.

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Cloud gaming's annual revenue passes $3.5B in 5-year outlook: Mobile-focused cloud gaming services, such as Hatch, may gain some traction in the next five years as 5G rollouts enable fluid gameplay for users on the go.

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