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20 July 2020

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news

By Wireless Watch Staff

After two years, TPG and Vodafone Australia finally merge

The merger of Australia’s third and fourth operators – Vodafone Hutchison (VHA) and fixed provider TPG – has finally taken place after two years of negotiation with the Competition and Consumer Commission. As in many other markets, Australia’s antitrust agency was concerned about the reduction of the number of MNOs from four to three. But the Federal Court overruled the Commission in February, arguing that TPG would not invest in 5G infrastructure if it were left standalone, whereas a stronger third player would increase competition to the leaders, Telstra and Optus, and improve consumer choice.

The combined entity will be worth AUS$16.63bn (€10.03bn). It will be called TPG Telecom. TPG has also separated its Singaporean mobile business into a new entity, Tuas.

 

BT switches on NB-IoT for UK’s largest smart water project

UK utility Yorkshire Water has reached the final stages of a pilot trialing AI algorithms over NB-IoT wireless links to connect almost 4,000 acoustic, flow, pressure, and water quality monitors to manage leaks and interruptions in the north of England’s water network. The NB-IoT network has been deployed by BT through its mobile operator EE, which claims it to be the UK’s largest smart water network pilot. Yorkshire Water said NB-IoT was chosen because it promises “significant improvements in data quality and battery life”, while enabling identification and then prevention of leaks more effectively.

Samsung “brings forward” 6G launch to 2028

Eager perhaps for a distraction from speculation over possible partnership with Huawei over its foundry, Samsung has indicated 2028 as the likeliest year for launch of 6G services, with mass commercialization to follow in 2030. In so doing Samsung has leapfrogged Japanese telco NTT Docomo in the 6G hype stakes, with the latter’s forecast of 2030 for initial launch. Samsung identifies overcoming the limited computational capabilities of mobile devices as a major challenge for 6G, suggesting an even greater role for edge compute. Major use cases cited include holographic projection and Extended Reality, at peak bit rates of 1Tbps and air latencies down to 100ms.

 

ETSI extends MEC to enterprise WiFi

ETSI has extended its Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) specifications to WiFi in order to support a wider range of enterprise scenarios with the release of ETSI MEC GS 028. This adds a new MEC service for wireless LANs to its standardized set of service APIs for applications at the edge of the network. The extension allows those apps to take advantage of up-to-date information from the underlying WiFi access networks. These features are addressed through specific RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs).

“This new API meets enterprises’ requirements as they increasingly take advantage of a heterogeneous wireless network access strategy, comprising both WLAN and mobile technology-based solutions” says Alex Reznik, chair of ETSI MEC.

Rogers forms 5G smart city partnership in Canada

Canadian operator Rogers is working with smart city platform provider bciti to expand

municipal services supported by the MNO’s 5G and IoT networks. Rogers has an advanced strategy to gain enterprise and IoT market share to boost its 5G business case. The municipal systems will support remote access to municipal services and information, from the home or smartphone.

The platform and mobile app will be integrated with existing city websites and allow users to submit and track requests in real time and view upcoming community events and meetings. Through the bciti ecoLocal app, community businesses can sell products for in-store pickup or home delivery from a local partner. The app also includes an intelligent dashboard that anticipates residents’ needs based on analytics driven by city data and AI.

SWAN helps LoRa Alliance drive IoT into water

The Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN) has formed a strategic liaison with the LoRa Alliance to drive adoption of the LoRaWAN open standard in the water metering sector. This comes as utilities generally and water metering in particular have generated leading use cases for low power wide area networking (LPWAN) and set to continue as the biggest market segment over the next five years. LoRaWAN’s ability to communicate over long distances and through barriers, such as concrete and to reach sub-surface pipes at low cost per connection, were cited as attractions for the water sector.