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13 September 2022

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news

By Wireless Watch Staff


Vodafone tests centimeter accurate satellite positioning

Vodafone has begun testing a satellite positioning service capable of improving accuracy from the meter level of current systems down to a few centimeters, in collaboration with US-based GNSS system developer Topcon Positioning Group.

The tests are being conducted with select customers in Germany, Spain and the UK, and will be followed by commercial launch upon their successful completion. The operator promises to offer a “singular module configuration” for operation across borders.

This is being achieved through technology that corrects errors in existing GNSS measurements, rather than any innovation in combining multiple platforms, and the operator says this will also be applied to 5G-based cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology. It also cited new use cases for scooters, ebikes and robot lawn mowers.

Mavenir and NEC deploy Massive MIMO for Orange

NEC and Mavenir have deployed Massive MIMO over an experimental 5G Standalone (SA) network for Orange, near French capital Paris. This features Mavenir’s cloud-native Open vRAN software running on Orange’s cloud infrastructure, and uses NEC’s 32T32R Massive MIMO active antenna unit (AAU) to increase capacity and coverage.

This is an extension of Orange’s Project Pikeo, an automated cloud-based 5G SA experimental network. “Mavenir and NEC’s successful Open RAN deployment of mMIMO on Orange’s Innovation 5G SA experimental network is a major stepping stone on the road towards Open RAN deployments and illustrates Orange’s commitment to support the development of multivendor Open RAN solutions with innovative partners,” said Arnaud Vamparys, SVP of radio access networks and micros at Orange.

NTT Docomo combines millimeter wave and midband on 5G SA network

Japan’s NTT Docomo has revealed details of a 5G Standalone (SA) network activated in December 2021 that combines millimeter wave and midband frequencies.

Users with compatible devices can access 5G NR Dual Connectivity (DC) capabilities, which aggregate those frequencies to boost both download and upload speeds.

Docomo collaborated with NEC to deploy the 5G SA network, upgrading software to convert 5G Non-Standalone base stations to SA mode. The two firms have undergone interoperability testing for 5G SA centralized and distributed units for conformance to O-RAN Alliance specifications.

All devices tested support the 5G NR DC feature use using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Mobile Platform, including phones from Samsung, Sharp and Sony. The service delivers up to 4.9Gbps download and 1.1Gbps upload, according to Qualcomm.

Apple supports Dish’s Band 70 in iPhone 14

One of Dish Network’s challenges as a new mobile operator in the USA is that its Band 70 spectrum is configured in a unique way that lacks a global device ecosystem. Dish went live with its 5G services with only Motorola providing Band 70 support in handsets, but it has received a significant boost because Apple has included the band in its list for the new iPhone 14.

The band covers a total of 40 MHz of spectrum – 20 MHz of AWS-4 downlink, 5 MHz of PCS H-Block downlink and 15 MHz of AWS-3 uplink.

“This is a huge step forward for the company, as millions of devices with Band 70 will be sold over the next few quarters,” wrote Wall Street analysts at New Street Research. “Even if it takes another year for the band to be enabled, when it is enabled, there will be millions of iPhones in circulation capable of using it.”

Dish is building a 5G network that uses Band 71 (600 MHz), Band 66 (AWS) and Band 70 (AWS-4). It also owns licences in CBRS and in 3.45 GHz, among others.

Indian government approves 33% stake in Vodafone Idea

India’s finance ministry has approved the proposal to convert Vodafone Idea’s accrued interest on deferred adjusted gross revenue (AGR), worth INR16,130 crore ($2.02bn), into equity.

This will leave the government owning almost one-third of the financially troubled operator, India’s third largest MNO after Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. This will help stabilize finances at the operator, which will still struggle to match the 5G investment and roll out of its larger rivals, having also acquired less spectrum in the recent 5G auction.

The INR16,130 crore liability is the accrued interest on the telco’s licence and spectrum usage charge (SUC) dues. All telcos were given an option to convert their statutory dues into government equity.