SKT, DT, Ericsson plan transcontinental 5G trial
South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT), Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Sweden’s Ericsson signed an agreement to deploy a transcontinental 5G trial using network functions virtualisation (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) distributed cloud and network slicing technologies.

The three companies said it will be the “world’s first transcontinental trial to provide optimised end-user experiences by providing consistent quality of services and roaming experiences for advanced 5G use cases”. The partnership will also jointly develop 5G use cases, conduct global marketing promotions, and work for potential standardisation, they said in a statement.

China drives $5B centralised-RAN market
Global centralised RAN (C-RAN) equipment revenue expanded 18 per cent last year to $5 billion, with growth driven mainly by Chinese operators.

According to IHS Technology, China was the key driver last year as China Mobile and China Unicom aggressively expanded their C-RAN deployments. Japan’s NTT Docomo also increased its “advanced C-RAN architecture” rollout.

Looking ahead, the Chinese operators have aggressive 5G R&D initiatives that include C-RAN, said Stephane Teral, IHS senior research director. China Mobile has deployed C-RAN in three cities and one province, which led to a rollout of 2,000 sites.

Nokia again led the C-RAN market, and Ericsson remained in second place — but Huawei gained 4 percentage points year-over-year to move into third place, displacing Samsung.

Huawei unveils NB-IoT platform
Chinese equipment vendor Huawei launched its narrow-band IoT (NB-IoT) platform that can support large-scale commercialisation of IoT services.

The offering includes: Smart Device solution enabled by LiteOS and NB-IoT chipset; eNodeB base stations that can evolve to NB-IoT; IoT packet core that supports flexible deployment of ‘Core in a Box’ and network functions virtualisation (NFV); and a cloud-based IoT Connection Management platform with big data capabilities.

The solution is designed to meet operators’ requirements for IoT services with low-power and wide-area (LPWA) coverage, the vendor said.

“The number of cellular IoT connections worldwide will grow seven-fold over the next three to four years. NB-IoT will be a key driver for this trend – it will also be one of the key untapped markets for operators,” said Jiang Wangcheng, a Huawei VP.

Huawei plans to conduct commercial trials in Q4 and release the platform for large-scale commercial use in late December.

The NB-IoT standard was ratified by the 3GPP last month. Huawei is a strong proponent of the technology for LPWA services and will be hoping it is able to steal a march on already deployed rival LPWA tech such as Sigfox and LoRa.