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5G Focus: Verizon rollout; Vodafone/TIM network deal; partnerships in China

5G Focus is a weekly global roundup of 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.

Tech and telecom companies were busy touting their respective 5G initiatives last week. Verizon Communications Inc. flagged the ongoing expansion of its 5G service, as Vodafone Group PLC and Telecom Italia SpA agreed to include 5G services in their network-sharing deal in Italy. Meanwhile, partnerships in financial technology, interactive entertainment and gaming dominated China's 5G scene.

Chart Watch

As telcos around the world prepare to launch 5G, we look at which regions are allowing Chinese equipment supplier Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to participate in rollouts.

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Verizon CEO: Fiber deployment rate up in Q2, 5G rollout on track: Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg confirmed that the U.S. carrier is on track to launch its 5G services in its previously planned 30 markets this year as well as add new devices to support the technology.

Altice USA CEO: Launch of mobile service 'imminent': Altice USA Inc.'s upcoming mobile service, which will rely in part on a partnership with Sprint, is set to be expanded to the new T-Mobile network and will include 5G services.

MediaTek to debut 2nd 5G chipset, Q2'19 net income down 12.6% YOY: MediaTek Inc.'s second 5G chipset will feature in smartphones from the first half of 2020, as the Taiwan-based chip designer estimates there will be around 140 million 5G handsets in 2020.

Sprint reports fiscal Q1 loss, looks ahead to T-Mobile merger approval: Both Sprint Corp. and T-Mobile US Inc. have touted their pending merger as a key driver to speed up the deployment of next-generation 5G wireless services.

With DOJ approval, New T-Mobile set to win big — DISH might, too: New T-Mobile plans to leapfrog Verizon and others by getting first to 5G breadth rather than spot coverage in urban centers with 5G depth, as Verizon is attempting. At the same time, DISH Network Corp. gets full access to New T-Mobile's LTE and 5G networks for seven years.

Analysts weigh DISH's options for multibillion-dollar wireless build: DISH Chairman Charlie Ergen said the acquisition of wireless assets from Sprint and T-Mobile will support its build-out of a next-generation 5G network, which will cost the company an additional $10 billion.

DISH changes course on wireless build plans after Sprint/T-Mobile deal: DISH has requested that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission modify the deadline on its spectrum licenses, with the satellite operator now eyeing the deployment of a facilities-based 5G broadband network capable of serving 70% of the U.S. population by June 2023.

Home truths about UK fiber broadband's 5G challenge: 5G network technology could help telecom operators take a slice of the fixed market in homes across the U.K., but analysts predict that doing so is unlikely to be risk-free.


* Verizon launched its 5G Ultra Wideband mobility service in parts of Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. The U.S. carrier aims to expand the reach of its 5G service across the four cities in the coming months.


* Thai telco TrueMove H has tested a 5G video call in a cross-border exchange with Huawei, Manager reported. A TrueMove H executive team staged a real-time, 5G video call in HD quality with Huawei staff based in Chengdu, China, according to the report. TrueMove H is owned by True Corp.

* South Korean operator LG U+ will start testing Ericsson-LG Co. Ltd.'s 5G telecommunications equipment, with an aim to complete the test phase in August and start the installation from September, ZDNet Korea reported Aug. 1. LG U+ has also set up a process to improve 5G network design and quality monitoring, according to a separate ZDNet Korea report. The company developed an app for 5G service quality monitoring and a solution for antenna angle measurement.LG U+

* Intel Corp. and Baidu Inc. have renewed a three-year agreement to collaborate on cloud, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, 5G and edge technologies, Sina reported.

* Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. is planning to hire at least 3,000 engineers at home by the end of 2019 in a bid to accelerate the development of chips tailored to artificial intelligence and 5G mobile networks, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Aug. 1. The company is expected to invest at least US$10 billion every year through 2022 to realize its goal of mass production of 3nm chips.

* Huawei entered into a partnership with China Construction Bank Corp. that will cover financial technology, consumer ecosystems and human resources development. The two entities will collaborate on 5G, among others.

* ZTE Corp. reached a strategic cooperation agreement with China's Dadi Cinema Group to develop 5G technology in the interactive entertainment industry. The two will set up a creative entertainment laboratory and will develop marketing, project creation and payment solutions.

* NEC Corp. has started shipping radio units for 5G base station equipment to Japanese operator NTT Docomo Inc., the mobile unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Telecompaper reported July 30. NEC is providing three types of small-cell radio units that support the 3.7 GHz, 4.5 GHz and 28 GHz bands and can be installed on the rooftops and walls of buildings.

* Qualcomm Inc. subsidiary Qualcomm Wireless Communication Technologies (China) Ltd. joined forces with Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s gaming unit to collaborate in the field of digital entertainment. The companies will develop cloud gaming, augmented reality, virtual reality and 5G gaming use cases.

* India's Department of Telecommunications has issued guidelines for 5G trials across all available spectrum bands, fixing a uniform fee of 5,000 Indian rupees for the trial license, with validity ranging between three months and two years, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing PTI. The government is planning to conduct spectrum auction for 5G services by end-2019.


* Sivers IMA Holding AB has secured a 5G-connected design-in order from its Chinese reseller Matrix Electronic Co. Ltd. The contract, worth 1.3 million Swedish kronor, includes radio frequency products and is linked to 60-GHz unlicensed 5G in mainland China.

* Telecom Italia has signed a new three-year 5G partnership with the Turin city council, which will see the two parties jointly working to convert Turin into a model of a 5G-enabled "digital city," Telecompaper reported Aug. 1.

* Finland's Elisa Oyj has signed a 5G network agreement with the Port of Helsinki. The deal contracts Elisa to build a commercial 5G network at Helsinki's Western Harbour and adjacent Terminal 2 West in 2019.

* Russian operator ER-Telecom JSC has secured a range of frequencies for its 5G trials, which could begin in the autumn, Broadband TV News reported July 31, citing Izvestia. The spectrum was issued by the State Radio Frequency Commission.

* Free Mobile has obtained its first authorization for a 5G test site, Univers Freebox reported. French telecom regulator ARCEP said the Iliad SA unit can access the 3,600 MHz spectrum band to conduct technical non-commercial experiments at Station F in Paris.

* Belgian technology federation Agoria has suggested changes to industry rules that will enable the rollout of a 5G network in Brussels, Le Soir reported. The suggestion came as the 4G network in Brussels will become saturated by 2022, with radiation levels expected to exceed the prescribed threshold. However, concerns have been raised in Belgium about the safety of 5G radiation.

* Vodafone and Telecom Italia have agreed to combine their existing tower assets in Italy and to expand their network-sharing partnership to include 5G services. The two telcos will jointly roll out 5G infrastructure in Italy, including higher-capacity fiber-optic cables.

Featured Research

21 markets worldwide have commercial 5G services: As of July 2019, 36 mobile operators from 21 markets worldwide have launched their commercial 5G services to business or individual consumers, either through mobile or fixed wireless services.

Spotlight on HSD-underserved rural America at 2019 Independent Show: The subject of 5G was touched upon at The Independent Show conference held in Chicago, but the panelists reminded the audience that the technology was off to a relatively sputtering start.

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