Ericsson helps expand LTE and IoT in Saudi Arabia

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NEWSBYTE: Saudi telco looks to Ericsson to assist LTE network expansion in the kingdom.

Saudi Telecom has inked a deal with Ericsson to help in a major nationwide expansion of its 4G network in Saudi Arabia, including the deployment of LTE Advanced and NB-IoT.

The deal is part of the telco’s drive to overhaul mobile broadband for its customers and open up business opportunities in the IoT, as well as laying the groundwork for 5G.

The LTE Advanced expansion will include the deployment of Ericsson’s 5G-ready baseband hardware. LTE Advanced will be deployed in a new 700MHz band spectrum acquired by STC. It will increase STC network throughput in 4G/LTE by up to 50 percent for smartphones, said a statement from the two companies.

In addition to the ramped-up access speeds delivered by LTE Advanced, subscribers will benefit from extended coverage, much longer battery life, and the low-cost devices enabled by NB-IoT, it added.

Expanding IoT network

STC will also deploy NB-IoT across its expanded network to “drive and support enterprise IoT ecosystem innovation and business opportunities”, said the announcement. This includes smart city applications, such as metering, parking sensors, and connected cars.

Read more: TomTom brings connected car services to Kia and Hyundai

STC recently renewed and upgraded its managed services contract with Ericsson. In addition to existing network planning/optimisation, network operations, and telecom field services, the contract now includes field services efficiency, as well as first- and second-line support.

“By making digital transformation real and effective for STC through 4G expansion, we will enable their customers to enjoy enriched experiences, whether that means lightning-speed video and media access for subscribers, or IoT business innovation and opportunities for enterprises,”said Rafiah Ibrahim, head of market area Middle East and Africa, Ericsson.

“Our partnership with STC shows that 4G network evolution is already happening and paving the way for 5G.”

Internet of Business says

In the light of a raft of recent announcements from Western companies working in partnership with China, India, and elsewhere, it is good to see international partnerships extending to the MENA region too: yet more evidence that the IoT is a global movement.

Read more: Vodafone teams up with China Mobile to drive global IoT expansion

Read more: AI: $ 16 trillion GDP boost will mainly benefit China – PwC

Read more: South Korea most automated nation on earth, says report. The UK? Going nowhere

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T-Mobile rolls out Ericsson Expert Analytics to more quickly identify and resolve VoLTE issues

T-Mobile has long placed a focus on Voice over LTE (VoLTE), and now T-Mo is rolling out a new platform to try and improve its VoLTE experience. T-Mobile has deployed Ericsson Expert Analytics, a platform that will gather data from thousands of multi-vendor sources and process all of T-Mo’s nationwide VoLTE calls and data sessions to produce more than 8 billion records every day. With Ericsson’s algorithms, T-Mo will be able to identify VoLTE issues … [read full article]

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AT&T furthers IoT professional services capabilities with Ericsson

AT&T is furthering its professional services capabilities for IoT with Ericsson to help companies adopt and expedite IoT related solutions.

Global Device Certification is offered by AT&T with Ericsson including testing, verification and white glove support with regulatory approval for IoT devices. The Ericsson-AT&T team up implies that AT&T customers can lower their risk and speed timelines for the global expansion of IoT in over 150 nations.

On the Ericsson-AT&T collaboration for global device certification, Jeff Travers, head of IoT, Ericsson, said, “Through our collaboration for global device certification, AT&T and Ericsson are building a global ecosystem for IoT, enabling enterprises to capitalize on the opportunities of the Internet of Things. With these services, enterprises can reduce the risk of launching devices and decrease their time to market as they expand globally.”

Launched in January 2017, AT&T’s IoT professional services portfolio has drawn attention from enterprises across all sectors. Consequently, AT&T is expanding its core capabilities to include consulting, application solutions, device lifecycle solutions, and managed services and support.

Mike Troiano, vice president, IoT Solutions, AT&T, commented, “Companies want to connect things to extract value. We’re meeting that demand head-on by expanding our IoT professional services capabilities. Our services help businesses achieve scale and longevity in design, lower cost implementations, save time and resources, and innovate quicker.”

Smart water meter company, Badger Meter, which uses secure AT&T networks and AT&T Global SIM wireless connectivity, recently approached AT&T for its professional services to certify the water meter devices as it ventures into fresh markets. Both AT&T and Ericsson worked hand-in-hand to manage the global pre-launch process to bring down regulatory and technological complexities.

Meanwhile, AT&T is planning to offer mobile 5G with multi-gigabit speeds to customers of 12 US cities, including select parts of Dallas, Atlanta and Waco, Texas, by the end of 2018.  Additional cities to avail this service will be announced by AT&T soon. Latest from the homepage

Nokia, Qualcomm and Ericsson complete work on new 5G NR standard

Telecoms equipment companies Nokia, Qualcomm, and Ericsson are continuing to make good progress in 5G readiness, with tests and upgrades in line with 3GPP’s 5G NR (New Radio) Release 15 Standard.

Finnish vendor Nokia and chip giant Qualcomm have collaborated on tests of 5G NR specifications between network infrastructures and mobile devices.

The companies completed tests in both the 3.5Ghz and 28Ghz spectrums that were compliant with the standard, which was formally confirmed in December, using a Nokia AirScale base station and device prototypes from Qualcomm.

The tests were carried out at Nokia’s 5G centre of excellence in Oulu, Finland, which will host 5G NR field trails with operators in 2018.

The two companies, plus mobile operators including BT/EE, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, KT, LGU+, NTT DOCOMO, Optus, SKT, Telia, and Vodafone Group, have committed to working together in verifying and trialling 5G NR technology.

Nokia and Qualcomm are preparing for wide-scale 5G deployments in 2019, based on 3GPP standard-compliant 5G infrastructure and devices. They hope this will enable commercial network launches in 2019, particularly in the US, China, Japan, Korea, and Europe.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s Ericsson has announced that it has upgraded its 5G commercial software. The platform, which was launched in February last year, will allow carriers to launch 5G services from Q4 this year, and will also enable multi-band spectrum support to allow for deployments globally by carriers that have differing 5G frequency availability.

The upgrade means that the platform can support 5G radio access network (RAN) commercial software based on the 5G NR standards. All Ericsson Radio System products will also be backwards compatible with 5G NR capabilities.

Internet of Business says

The moves by all three vendors reveal just how quickly the market can change once standards are set. The 5G NR standard was the first ever 5G specification to be officially signed off by the 3GPP, the body that governs cellular standards. It was formally approved in December. Also in December, Vodafone, Ericsson and King’s College London claimed they had completed the first successful UK 5G trial.

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Vodafone, Ericsson and KCL claim first successful UK 5G test

Vodafone and Ericsson claim first successful 5G test in UK

British telecommunications company Vodafone and Swedish networking vendor Ericsson have collaborated with King’s College London (KCL) to perform what they claim is the first successful 5G test in the UK that works independently of existing 4G technology.

The three organisations used a prototype device in a central London 3.5 GHz spectrum field trial, as well as other technologies such as Massive MIMO, which uses multiple antennae to send and receive data with the aim of boosting capacity when a vast number of people try to connect to the network at the same time. Vodafone has already deployed this technology in its network as it believes MIMO will be crucial for the introduction of 5G.

Read more: 5G connections to reach 1.4 billion by 2025, says Juniper Research

Different bands

The project also involves the combination of different bands of mobile spectrums across the UK in a bid to increase capacity and boost data speeds. Vodafone said that combining four bands of spectrum has enabled the latest smartphones to achieve data speeds in excess of 500 megabits per second.

“These fast and ultra-reliable technologies are becoming essential for data-hungry video applications and as the Internet of Things (IoT) expands into people’s homes, vehicles and the workplace,” Vodafone said in a statement.

According to Ericsson’s annual Mobility Report, 5G will be able to transmit data about 10 times faster than 4G. In the report, the Swedish company said it expected 5G to first be deployed in metropolitan areas, and therefore IoT applications in smart cities such as smart streetlights would be some of the first use cases. Thereafter, the technology could be used as a more reliable connection for self-driving cars which would require a constant connection to the internet for safety reasons.

Read more: Wait for 5G? The IoT needn’t hold its breath

Still work to do

But while Vodafone, King’s College London and Ericsson were keen to notify the industry of their claim to a first standalone 5G test in the field, Kye Prigg, Vodafone UK head of networks emphasized that building a 5G network would take time.

“Right now, we’re also modernising our network by making smarter use of mobile technology to keep ahead of consumption demands and provide the mobile coverage our customers deserve,” he said.

5G also requires the use of fibre optic cables, and Vodafone’s next step will be to work with digital infrastructure provider CityFibre to install the necessary backhaul connection requirements.

Read more: UK government explains next steps towards 5G future

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Ericsson and Qualcomm with 9 other telecom operators achieve multi-band 5G NR interoperability

Ericsson together with Qualcomm and in collaboration with 9 leading telecom operators AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, SK Telecom, Sprint, Telstra, T-Mobile US, Verizon, and Vodafone today conducted a multivendor 5G interoperability test compliant with the global 3GPP standard for 5G New Radio (NR) Non-standalone (NSA), which also got its specs approved today. This was held in both … Continue reading “Ericsson and Qualcomm with 9 other telecom operators achieve multi-band 5G NR interoperability”
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T-Mobile and Ericsson record speeds of 1.1Gbps in LAA lab demo

Following an announcement earlier this year that T-Mobile had started testing LTE Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) on its network, T-Mo has now come out with some details on its latest LAA lab demo. T-Mobile recently teamed up with Ericsson to perform LAA tests in T-Mo’s lab in Bellevue, Wash. Using 12-layer LAA technology, T-Mobile and Ericsson recorded speeds of 1.1Gbps, making them the first to achieve speeds above 1Gbps on unlicensed spectrum. In addition to … [read full article]

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Ericsson Predicts Mobile TV Viewing to Reach 50 Percent by 2020

TV is quite literally following us everywhere we go. Ericsson’s eighth ConsumerLab TV and Media Report detailed how we are moving away from traditional TV watching while still being loyal to its formats. Included in their findings was that an increasing number of people are following the trend towards mobile, that virtual reality is here to stay, and that on-demand remains in the ascendant

Ericsson asserts that by 2020, 50 per cent of TV and video watching will be on mobile, with consumers watching on their smartphone, laptop, or tablet screen: an 85 per cent increase from 2010. In particular, the smartphone is expected to become even more popular, accounting for approximately 25 per cent of TV viewing. Even now, 70 per cent of consumers watch video content on their smartphone, a 100 per cent increase from 2012.

Record viewing hours being watched

Ericsson states in its report that consumers are watching more TV and video than ever, at a record 30 hours per week, including on-demand, recorded or downloaded content, and traditional linear television. Close to 60 per cent of consumers have a preference for on-demand, as opposed to scheduled linear viewing. The number of on-demand services consumed by the typical viewer has risen by 2.2 to 3.8 within the last seven years. Further, 40 per cent of viewers said that they are paying for on-demand television, with 32 per cent intending to invest more in on-demand over the next 12 months.

This shift is very clear among 16-19-year-old group, who are spending 33 hours per week viewing content, the highest over any other age group. The report also explains that over 50 per cent of this age group consumes content on-demand and over 60 per cent of these viewing hours are on mobile devices.​

Where there is entertainment, there is mobile

Mobile devices are also replacing other forms of what was once home entertainment. The music industry has been transformed with streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora, offering a vast selection of music. The latest challenger to the throne is Apple Music. Thanks to its free trial strategy, it has pushed ahead of its competition, in terms of unique users at least, and on mobile, in particular. Mobile devices are also popular in online gaming. Consumers feel safer when comparison sites such as Casino Quest recommend online gaming companies, with an option to watch the video on playing for real money at the casino. That provides additional comfort to those who enjoy the thrill of spinning a roulette wheel, pulling the lever on their favourite slot machine, or buying gems and credits for games such as Clash of Clans.

Consumers demanding content search

While viewing hours are on the rise, that is also the case with time spent on searching for content. The average amount of time invested in searching for content has risen close to 60 minutes per day, 13 per cent higher than 2016. Further, 6 in every 10 consumers have come to regard content discovery as a significant factor when choosing to subscribe to a new service, with 70 per cent wanting universal search for all TV and video content.

Consumers will likely continue their support of VR, with an estimated one third to be using the technology by 2020. Challenges remain however. The cost of a headset is a bone of contention for 55 per cent of consumers, with over 50 per cent asking for greater choice in immersive content. A third of those surveyed expressed interest in a VR bundle from TV and providers.

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Ericsson, Qualcomm and MTN carry out first IoT Cat-M1 test in Africa

First CAT-M1 test in Africa for IoT

A trial of Cat-M1 technology in South Africa will pave the way for local telco MTN to capture new IoT-related revenue streams. 

Ericsson, Qualcomm and MTN South Africa have announced that they have concluded a successful trial of a Cat-M1 IoT network. Cat-M1 is an IoT-friendly version of LTE that can extend battery life, potentially by up to ten years.

This is the first such implementation of the technology on the African continent and paves the way for a wider test in future. The Cat-M1 trial uses IoT devices integrated with a Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modem and the Ericsson Massive IoT Radio Access Network product.

MTN South Africa will continue trialling devices and applications for Cat-M1 in its Test Bed lab.

According to Ericsson, Cat-M1 enables advanced IoT applications by providing hundreds of kilobits per second in throughput, mobility, and VoLTE (voice over LTE) support. It might be used in such IoT applications as smart watches or fitness bands with integrated voice communications services, pet tracking devices, point of sale terminals, vending machines and vehicle tracking with emergency calling support.

Read more: Singtel to launch nationwide cellular IoT network in Singapore

Low-cost Cat-M1

The successful trial proves that Ericsson and Qualcomm have the ability to support new IoT services and technologies for MTN, said Giovanni Chiarelli, chief technology and information officer at MTN South Africa.

“Cat-M1 provides key advantages of low-cost devices, long battery life, extended coverage, and supports a wide range of use cases,” he explained.

Today, the bulk of telecom operators’ IoT revenue comes from machine-to-machine connectivity, said Rafiah Ibrahim, president of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, “but in the next five years, this will change to revenue from platforms, applications and services.”

This trial, he added, ensures that MTN South Africa will be able to capture new revenue streams and deliver the best experience to its customers.

James Munn, vice president of business development at Qualcomm South Africa said that the MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modem is designed to support LTE Cat-M1, NB-1 and E-GPRS and global RF bands, and “brings many enhancements and optimisations to LTE that can help reduce IoT complexity and up to ten years of battery life and low device costs”.

Read more: Ericsson launches new network services in preparation for massive IoT

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MTN, Ericsson and Qualcomm complete Cat-M1 IoT test in Africa

South African telecom provider MTN, alongside Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, have announced the successful demonstration of end to end Cat-M1 capabilities, claimed to be the first in Africa.

Cellular IoT technologies, such as the Cat-M1 and their evolution into 5G, have set a solid foundation for massive IoT by reducing complexity, lowering power consumption, expanding coverage, and increasing device density. Cat-M1 allows advanced IoT applications by providing hundreds of kilobits per second in throughput, mobility, and VoLTE support.

The Cat-M1 test implementation aims to demonstrate the first stage of a wider scope of test activity. The trial is conducted using IoT devices integrated with a Qualcomm MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modem and the Ericsson Massive IoT Radio Access Network product. The successful test will ensure MTN to continue its technological IoT advancements and prepare for a new wave of solutions that can be implemented in the future.

James Munn, vice president of business development at Qualcomm South Africa, said: “This trial supports the first wave of IoT use cases requiring extended coverage and battery life, compared to today’s baseline 2G/GSM and LTE.

“Our MDM9206 global multimode LTE IoT modem, designed to support LTE Cat M1, NB-1 and E-GPRS and global RF bands, brings many enhancements and optimizations to LTE that can help reduce IoT complexity, up to ten years of battery life and low device costs, and support operators such as MTN South Africa.” Latest from the homepage