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6 October 2020

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news

By Wireless Watch Staff

Software AG reports uptick in Industrial IoT after two contract wins

German analytics and integration firm Software AG has scored two major Industrial IoT wins, running respectively into seven- and eight-digit euros in value for multiyear subscriptions, causing it to revise its 2020 revenue predictions substantially upwards. The bigger deal is with an unnamed elevator company geared towards running data insights from the field related to almost one million individual lift units, chiefly for maintenance. The smaller deal is with a medical manufacturer. While the larger deal has sparked a spate of contract wins, the second has highlighted the surging appetite for industrial IoT in the healthcare sector in the wake of Covid-19, according to the company.

Ericsson and Nokia share 5G spoils at Finnish telco Elisa

Finnish MNO Elisa has announced 5G agreements with both Ericsson and Nokia. Ericsson has been picked for a deployment spanning 5G core and RAN,, including both Non-Standalone and Standalone products. This builds on the Ericsson Cloud Packet Core products already live in Elisa’s 5G network. As part of the partnership extension, Ericsson says it is now deploying its dual-mode 5G Core package to add support for Standalone technology.

Nokia, meanwhile, says it will supply its Airscale 5G RAN equipment nationwide, to deliver ultra-fast mobile broadband services to both consumer and enterprise customers.

Ericsson questions O-RAN again, this time the near-real time RIC

Ericsson has followed up its attack on open RAN for its potential security weaknesses with another criticism. This was of the Radio Intelligent Controller (RIC), a cornerstone of the O-RAN Alliance’s particular approach to open networks, and also of the Open Networking Foundation’s recently launched SD-RAN initiative to devise a more operator-driven RIC.

Ericsson said it had no issues with the non-real time RIC, which can sit higher up the network stack than the real time version, because it does not have critical timing and latency requirements. However, Ericsson is critical of the near-real time RIC, arguing that existing 3GPP radio control and optimization protocols are strong enough, and that moving near-real time functions out of the base station could lead to performance trade-offs.

Hitachi installs dedicated 5G network in Silicon Valley

Hitachi has installed a dedicated 5G network at its Silicon Valley Research Center in partnership with Ericsson, will the avowed aim of accelerating development and demonstration of digital transformation across vertical industries.

The network’s first task is to test 5G collaborative teleoperation technology co-developed with the Georgia Institute of Technology, which declared Hitachi’s research center to be a “critical proving ground for currently emerging technologies relating to collaborative robotic systems”.

“Adaptive automation requires access to high quality, multimodal data from a wide range of sensors. Hitachi’s 5G capabilities are poised to revolutionize how such data is collected, aggregated, and analyzed at scale in real time, helping to make the next generation of advanced robotic systems possible,” said Sonia Chernova, associate professor in the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech.


French operators bid well over reserve price for midband 5G spectrum

France has closed its latest spectrum auction after three days of bidding, with Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad/Free committing a total of €2.8bn for spectrum in the 3.4 GHz and 3.8 GHz bands. There were bids for all 11 blocks of 10 MHz each.

Regulator Arcep said Orange bid €854m for a total of 90 MHz; SFR €728m for 80 MHz, and Bouygues and Iliad each bid €602m for 70 MHz apiece. Arcep plans to conduct a frequency position process this month, which will allocate precise blocks of spectrum to each MNO, before allocating licences. The price paid for each 10 MHz block reached €126m, well over the €70m reserve price.

Licensees are required to activate 5G service on 3,000 sites by the end of 2022, on 8,000 by the end of 2024 and on 10,500 by the end of 2025.

UK regulator starts to open access to EHF spectrum

UK regulator Ofcom announced plans to open access to extremely high frequency (EHF) spectrum. It has begun accepting applications for licences covering spectrum in the 116-122 GHz; 174.8-182 GHz; and 185-190 GHz bands. The move is part of plans to allocate 18.2 GHz of EHF spectrum though further allocations may follow in future. The main aim is to facilitate high capacity, localized networks to support industrial usage, in environments such as factories, campuses, hospitals and others. Ofcom cited potential manufacturing and healthcare applications including health screening; 3D imaging; holograms; IoT; and product assembly and quality assurance services.

Enea buys Aptilo to add WiFi and IoT policy capabilities

Sweden’s Enea plans to make acquisitions to support an enhanced portfolio for the 5G core, and its latest purchase is of WiFi policy and access control specialist Aptilo. The total price amounts to SEK92m, which equates to an enterprise value of SEK150m on a cash- and debt-free basis. Aptilo is expected to generate sales of SEK88m for full year 2020.

Aptilo’s flagship product is its Service Management Platform (SMP), which is used in large-scale deployments of carrier WiFi, and it also offers SMP IoT for connectivity and security management over both cellular and WiFi IoT networks.

“I’m pleased to announce this acquisition, which complements Enea in an excellent way,” says Enea’s CEO Jan Häglund. “The acquisition strengthens our data management portfolio, expands our reach with existing and new customers, and creates interesting business opportunities in the fields of 5G, IoT and SaaS.” Aptilo will continue to operate under its own brand as a business unit within Enea, and the business unit will be headed by Paul Mikkelsen.