News Feature | February 4, 2020

The Week in 5G: 2/4/2020 — Coronavirus Impacts China's 5G Rollout; Samsung Launches 5G Tablet

By Ed Biller


In 5G tech news, Samsung released its first 5G-capable tablet, the Galaxy Tab S6 5G, last week. The device boasts a 10.5-inch sAMOLED display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip, 6 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage. A version of it includes the Snapdragon X50 5G modem.

Nokia, meanwhile, plans to unveil “a suite of supplier-agnostic network management tools designed to provide communication service providers (CSPs) with automated and scalable software for managing 5G networks,” reports Computer Weekly.

The Nokia Network Operations Master suite is expected to match the operations automation demanded by complex 5G rollouts. Per the report, previous, manually driven 2G/3G/4G networks have been incapable of “managing the volume of network slices, offering parts of network capacity tailored to different subscriber and application needs.”

In network rollout news, Ericsson, has applied the use of ethical hacking — recruiting “white hat hackers” to identify software vulnerabilities — to its 5G radio equipment, rationalizing that 5G’s “greater adoption of common distributed IT architecture and protocols, such as Service Based Architecture (SBA) in addition to common HTTP2 and JSON standards for signaling,” warrants the approach.

In November, according to the company blog, Ericsson turned loose 40 hackers on its equipment, “equating to almost 120 full working days of hacking,” and awarded hacker teams with up to €10,000 based on their success.

“The vast array of expertise on display gave our security professionals valuable insight into their unique way of thinking when it came to identifying vulnerabilities,” noted the company.

Carrier Vodafone – working with Ericsson, Huawei, and Qualcomm – announced last week that it had successfully “demonstrated the world’s first 5G dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) on a combination of two low spectrum bands,” according to a company press release.

“While the technology has already been demonstrated, the unique aspect of last month’s test was the simultaneous use of two low frequency bands (700MHz and 800MHz) on a 5G non-standalone device,” the release states. “800MHz was used as the ‘anchor band’ while 700MHz was shared dynamically between 4G and 5G, allowing operators to seamlessly allocate spectrum resources according to demands on the network.”

In South Africa, Vodacom Group has announced it expects to offer 5G mobile services to customers in 2020, using a network being built by African operator Liquid Telecom, Reuters reports, citing Vodacom Chief Executive Shameel Joosub.

Liquid Telecom’s 5G network will use its share of the 3.5 GHz spectrum required for 5G. While Liquid Telecom will allow other other operators to roam on its network, it has not named a technology partner for the rollout.

In regulatory news, commentary on the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) blog praises the EU Toolbox of risk mitigating measures (published last week) for not reducing “the complex question of network security” to the “gravely oversimplified” decision of whether to include Huawei in rollouts.

Without directly mentioning China’s ZTE or Huawei, “The EU appears set to use the tools it has available to enhance European technological sovereignty. This includes EU Research & Innovation Funding programmes as well as industrial policy tools and the foreign direct investment screening mechanism, which was one of the key achievements of 2018-19, designed in light of Beijing’s market-distorting practices and demonstrating the possibilities of united European action.”

China’s 5G dominance goals also have taken a hit from the coronavirus outbreak, whose repercussions could delay the nation’s deployment effort, reports CNBC. Analysts at China Renaissance stated Monday “We expect the extended Chinese New Year holiday and a series of quarantine measures to cause delays to the 5G base station installations on towers.”

Finally, in other sour news, here are T-Mobile and Verizon’s Super Bowl ads from Sunday – both lacking much substance as to why consumers should care enough to favor one carrier over another. However, the green screen effect used to place Anthony Anderson’s mom at the beach is… something.