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27 October 2020

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news

By Wireless Watch Staff

Telkom Indonesia expands national IoT infrastructure

Telkom Indonesia, the country’s largest telco, is expanding its national IoT network infrastructure in partnership with Everynet BV, a leader in the LoRaWAN low power WAN field. Everynet’s role is to invest, build out and operate the national LoRaWAN network infrastructure and so help bring Industry 4.0 processes to Indonesia.

“Over the last year, Everynet has been laying the ground work along with our partner Telkom Indonesia to ensure full compliance with the stringent national requirements,” said Lawrence Latham, CEO of Everynet. “We were among the first to achieve Kominfo approvals, and so were first to deploy pilot coverage and successful trials in Indonesia, which we undertook in Bali”. Kominfo is Indonesia’s media and communications regulator.

The project aims to combine an open technical architecture with wholesale business model allowing all the country’s MNOs, ISPs and other service providers to share a common infrastructure to benefit from scale economies and minimize time to market.

5G-Encode switches on industrial private 4G network

5G-Encode, a £9m ($11.7m) UK collaborative project aiming to develop clear business cases and value propositions for 5G applications in manufacturing, has switched on the Phase One Industrial Private 4G Network at the country’s National Composites Centre (NCC).

The aim is to establish a baseline for existing cellular technologies, against which results from the private 5G network, which will be installed in Phase Two of the project, can be benchmarked. The goal then is first to establish the value of 5G before demonstrating the extent to which businesses will obtain a real return on investment from deploying private cellular networks within manufacturing.

The Phase One 4G network has been designed and developed by partners Zeetta Networks and the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab. 5G-Encode is part of the government’s 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, and is one of the UK’s biggest investments in 5G for manufacturing to date.

Nokia puts Qualcomm 5G RAN in indoor base stations

Qualcomm has announced a collaboration with Nokia to provide chipsets for the latter’s Smart Node indoor 5G base stations. The companies said the target market was “smaller indoor network use cases” with availability starting in Q1 2021.

At the same time, Qualcomm unveiled a portfolio of 5G infrastructure semiconductor platforms, including support for macro base stations incorporating Massive MIMO arrays, as well as micro base stations. The three new platforms are the Qualcomm Radio Unit Platform, Distributed Unit Platform, and Distributed Radio Unit Platform, all with the aim of supporting virtualized and disaggregated networks.

China Tower elevated by 5G boom

China Tower revenues were boosted for the first three quarters of 2020 by the country’s rapid deployment of 5G sites, the company has stated in its latest earnings release. A total of 345,000 5G sites had been constructed in China by the end of September, with China Tower itself responsible for 215,000 of those sites by the end of June.

This translated into operating revenue of CNY60.2bn ($9bn), up 5.6% year-on-year, while profits rose more steeply by 17.8% to CNY4.6bn. Tower business revenues grew

by 2.2% year-on-year to CNY54.8bn, while DAS (distributed antenna system) revenue for the first three quarters of the year scaled CNY2.6bn, up 36.9% year-on-year.

By the end of September, China Tower was managing 2.02m tower sites, up from 1.99m sites nine months earlier at the turn of the year.

Telefónica Spain contracts with Juniper for 5G backhaul security

Telefónica Spain is to use Juniper Networks’ Security Gateway portfolio to secure its 5G backhaul. It wil deploy Juniper’s SRX5800 Services Gateway platform, which includes both virtual and containerized firewalls, along with an upgraded services processing card (SPC3) with security acceleration for IPsec. Juniper says the platform supports 338m concurrent user sessions while the AutoVPN feature allows for one-time  configuration for all gNodeB points including newly added ones.

In the future, Telefónica said it may use the platform to support additional services, including carrier-grade network address translation (NAT) stateful firewall, intrusion prevention system, denial of service, application security, VPNs, unified threat management, quality of service, and large-scale multi-tenancy.

The operator already uses Juniper’s Junos network operating system, CTO Joaquin Mata said: “We need to ensure that the network traffic from all connected devices can traverse our network securely without impacting network performance.”

DT tests stratospheric flying base stations to expand mobile coverage

Deutsche Telekom has revealed plans to broaden its mobile coverage using unmanned aircraft in the stratosphere, carrying “high-flying” radio equipment. The operator’s CEO, Timotheus Höttges, said: “With the help of an airplane, we have taken mobile to the edge of the stratosphere” in partnership with Stratospheric Platforms (SPL), which has been developing hydrogen fuel cell-powered remote control aircraft.”

DT’s Telekom Innovation Pool fund has taken a 38% stake in SPL and says its technology provides a cost-effective, and European-designed, alternative to Elon Musk’s SpaceX or Google’s Loon.

The aircraft would behave like a terrestrial base station and be fully integrated with the rest of the mobile network, providing coverage to rural and remote areas, and other not-spots, cost-effectively. One aircraft could cover the same area as about 200 terrestrial macro base stations, said DT. The partners have already conducted several test flights in Bavaria at an altitude of 14 kilometers and claim to have delivered up to 70Mbps downlink speeds for LTE in a 10 MHz channel in the 2.1 GHz band.

Three UK investing £2bn in superfast UK network

Three UK says it is investing £2bn in its network to increase 4G speeds by as much as 150%, and deliver the fastest 5G network in the country. It recently signed a £100m infrastructure investment agreement with SSE Enterprise Telecoms, and says it has already deployed 198 exchanges, with a further 259 to be added in the near term. This expanded unbundled exchange footprint will enhance existing 4G and enable 5G, and the number will rise to 750 in the longer term. It has also signed a deal with Colt to boost fiber backhaul capacity by 20 times.