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5G Focus: Vodafone NZ rollout; Russian telco tie-up; Nokia's Japanese deals

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.

The 5G spotlight traveled Down Under last week as Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. rolled out its 5G service. Four Russian telecom operators agreed on a potential joint venture for 5G development, while Nokia Corp. is teaming up with five companies to bring 5G and the internet of things to business customers in Japan.

Must read

FCC advances proposal to clear mid-band spectrum for Wi-Fi, other services: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to advance a proposal to repurpose mid-band spectrum for Wi-Fi and other unlicensed services, a move that could help promote 5G development and deployment.

PE makes beeline for tech assets in bid to recession-proof portfolios: The technology sector is expected to see the greatest private equity deal activity in 2020, with firms particularly interested in 5G technology and artificial intelligence.

Cable group CEO: Operators are not making a 'wholesale exit' from video: Matthew Polka, president and CEO of U.S. cable industry group ACA Connects, said additional spectrum will open up opportunities to roll out 5G in more densely populated areas.

US AND CANADA

* Canadian mobile operator Videotron Ltd. selected Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as a network supplier. Under the deal, Samsung will supply 4G LTE-Advanced and 5G radio access networks solutions to Videotron.

* AT&T Inc. on Dec. 13 launched its 5G services in 10 more U.S. cities. The company made the next-generation mobile service available to consumers and businesses in Birmingham, Ala.; Indianapolis; Milwaukee; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.

*Verizon Communications Inc. on Dec. 16 switched on its 5G ultra-wideband network in Los Angeles. Earlier, the company's 5G ultra-wideband service went live at Newport News Shipbuilding, a unit of military shipbuilding company Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

ASIA-PACIFIC

* South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT conditionally approved LG U+'s proposed acquisition of a majority stake in cable TV operator CJ Hello, The Korea Herald's The Investor reported. LG U+ is required to offer 5G and LTE services to local mobile virtual network operators and support companies that plan to sell affordable data plans.

* Vodafone New Zealand launched its 5G mobile service in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, New Zealand.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. secured a license from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to operate the core infrastructure for 5G networks, C114 reported Dec. 13.

* ZTE Corp. will introduce 10 5G smartphones in 2020, Xu Feng, president of ZTE's mobile device division, said in an interview with The Paper. Some models will be priced below 3,000 yuan.

* NEC Corp. plans to increase revenue in India to US$1 billion from $400 million in five years through offshore support centers, smart city projects and 5G, CEO Takashi Niino told India's The Economic Times.

* China Mobile Ltd. signed an agreement with China Publishing Group Co. Ltd. to work together in areas including the application of 5G technologies in the publishing industry, Tencent News reported Dec. 12.

* Telekom Malaysia unit TM One struck an agreement with the Malaysian municipality of Subang Jaya for the deployment of three 5G-enabled use cases, according to a Dec. 12 statement.

* Nokia said Dec. 11 that it is joining forces with five companies to bring 5G and the internet of things to enterprise customers in Japan. Nokia will work with NS Solutions Corp. for factory internet of things; Marubeni Corp. for global internet of things; Internet Initiative Japan Inc. for full mobile virtual network operator; Equinix Inc. for multi-cloud and global data centers; and Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc. for smart social infrastructure and smart cities with video solutions.

* Chinese handset maker OPPO will spend about US$7 billion on research and development in the next three years. The investment will help to develop core technologies in 5G, among other fields.

* LG U+ tapped Canada-based iBwave Solutions Inc. to design its 5G in-building network, Yonhap News Agency reported Dec. 10.

* Japan's governing party recommended that Tokyo should offer tax incentives for companies that invest in 5G infrastructure, Nikkei Asian Review reported Dec. 9. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's Liberal Democratic Party plans to include the proposal in its tax revision outline for 2020.

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

* Telenor ASA selected Ericsson to build its 5G radio access network in Norway.

* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC trialed a two-way holographic video call between its 5G pilot zones in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Advanced Television reported Dec. 13. The Russian operator teamed up with Huawei for the demo.

* Government critics of Huawei's involvement in building Germany's 5G mobile network are increasing their pressure on the country's political parties, Reuters reported Dec. 13. Foreign policy leaders from the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party have drafted a joint resolution that would make it harder for Huawei to participate.

* Telecom operators Rostelecom PJSC, MegaFon, MTS and Vimpelcom agreed to jointly develop and enhance the use of 5G networks in Russia. The agreement includes an option to create a joint venture, which will focus on freeing up spectrum and looking for other frequency bands that can host 5G services.

* Telefónica SA unit Telefónica Deutschland Holding AG selected Finnish company Nokia and Chinese equipment maker Huawei for its 5G network build-out, amid Germany's pending security guidelines on equipment suppliers.

* Orange Belgium SA said Dec. 12 that it launched a 5G testing hub for business in Belgium.

* Vodafone España SAU is planning to extend the coverage of its 5G network to five more Spanish cities by summer 2020, Advanced Television reported Dec. 12, citing El Español. The Vodafone Group PLC unit is working with Huawei and Ericsson for the rollout.

* The Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications lowered the minimum bidding price for 5G frequencies by more than €55 million to about €293.3 million, after consultation with operators, Telecompaper reported Dec. 11. The regulator opened the public invitation for tenders in the 700 MHz, 1,500 MHz and 2,100 MHz frequency bands.

* Ericsson said Dec. 11 that it teamed up with TDC A/S for a 5G project in Denmark.

* Deutsche Telekom AG plans to launch about 1,500 5G antennas by 2020-end, PC Welt reported Dec. 10.

* Telenor Denmark said Dec. 10 that it exceeded a speed of 1 Gbps in a 5G-enabled call using Nokia equipment. The Telenor unit began testing 5G station in Aalborg, Denmark, in June.

* Elisa Oyj said Dec. 9 that it rolled out a 5G network in the city of Vaasa, Finland.

* Portugal will consider Chinese companies, including Huawei, as equipment suppliers for the country's 5G network build-out, despite U.S. warnings, The Associated Press reported Dec. 5. Portuguese Foreign Affairs Minister Augusto Santos Silva said his government will rely on Portuguese and EU regulations to evaluate bids from 5G operators.

Featured research

5G tender in Israel aims to break wireless dry spell: To resuscitate Israel's wireless segment amid local carriers' struggles, the Ministry of Communications issued details for a 5G auction by 2020.

Bump in global smartphone shipments in Q3'19 breaks 7 quarters of declines: With the holiday season capping the end of the year, continued shipment growth is not out of the question as some vendors have started rolling out 5G-capable handsets in anticipation of wider availability of 5G networks in 2020 and beyond.

2019 LatAm groups report: Groupwide capex shrinks 5%, AT&T's drops 55%: Among Latin American operators, América Móvil SAB de CV's capex has been preparing for the rollout of 5G technologies and consumers' increasing demand for data by deploying FTTH networks, increasing data transmission capacity using photonic technology, widening mobile coverage and implementing 4.5G wireless networks.

Vietnam aims to launch 'home-grown' 5G by 2021, but 4G woes remain: Uptake of 4G remains sluggish in Vietnam despite near-nationwide network coverage, yet the Ministry of Information and Communications is already looking forward to a 5G launch in 2021.

Indonesian telcos keep positive earnings outlook despite 26.5% sub drop in 2018: Indonesia's spectrum market remains focused more on solving the country's 4G woes and less on preparing for 5G.

4K HDR Summit: Exploring 4K's viability beyond TV: At the fifth edition of the 4K HDR Summit held in Malaga, Spain, Kagan has found that greater access to fixed and mobile connectivity through fiber and 5G will be key for 4K UHD to grow beyond the traditional TV space.

Kagan is a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence's TMT offering.

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