The Register Columnists

Wireless Watch

Contact Mail Follow RSS feed

Russia's bid for mobile self-sufficiency may be the saviour of Sailfish

Comment The quest for freedom from US technologies and patent fees has been a persistent theme in China and has helped shape the new mobile landscape, in which Baidu and Alibaba, not Google and Amazon, dominate the user experience. Less is heard about another massive market, Russia, but here too, the push for technology self-sufficiency …
Wireless Watch, 07 Dec 2016
Photo by Windover Way Photography / Shutterstock

US telecoms industry weighs up the Trump effect

Comment As in every sector of US life, the telecoms industry is trying to work out what the shock election of maverick candidate Donald Trump to the presidency will mean for its operators and suppliers. There are few clues, of course – telecoms, even broadband, were not major campaign issues; Trump obviously has no track record of …
Wireless Watch, 21 Nov 2016
Man heaves giant rock above his head in the middle of the woods. Photo by Shutterstock

Facebook Telecom Infrastructure Project starts chucking rocks at mobile model

Analysis Nine months after announcing its Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), Facebook has held its first summit and unveiled new partners and a first concrete project, a white box transponder/router for fibre backhaul, called Voyager. This is an indication, if any were needed, that the social media giant was not just tub-thumping …
Wireless Watch, 17 Nov 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Vodafone UK hails results of Massive MIMO trial with TD-LTE

Massive MIMO is an increasingly important element of operators’ plans for LTE-Advanced Pro and for 5G, despite a lack of devices and mass market chipsets on the near horizon. But the tests are piling up, many of them in China, Japan and Korea – but Vodafone UK is claiming the first in Europe in the 2.6 GHz TDD band. The …
Wireless Watch, 08 Nov 2016
Image from Shutterstock 161369036

Will rush for New Radio compromise 5G quality?

Analysis The US operators have ended their long love affair with sub-1 GHz spectrum, which was so important to their LTE coverage roll-outs, and are leading the world in harnessing high frequency bands to address the challenge of the expected capacity demands of the 5G era. While regulators and operators in some areas – many in Europe …
Wireless Watch, 20 Oct 2016

Google Pixel: Devices are a dangerous distraction from the new AI interface

Analysis There was a distinct whiff of the retro about Google’s launch of its Pixel smartphone. Exclusives with selected large mobile operators; yet another attempt to create a unified Android experience; even the clear focus on Apple as the primary competition – all these should be issues of the past. "Premium is a very important …
Wireless Watch, 12 Oct 2016

Will 5G give Samsung a chance at global Radio Access Network glory?

Analysis Will 5G bring Samsung the network infrastructure success which has largely eluded it outside of its home country? Samsung was part of a group of network equipment vendors – also including NEC and Motorola – which missed out on the W-CDMA 3G market, except in a few niches. All these companies had plans to seize share back from …
Wireless Watch, 05 Oct 2016

Ericsson’s patent pool is far from the new start the IoT needs

Analysis There are many interesting aspects to the announcement that Qualcomm, among others, is joining Ericsson’s Avanci patent pool scheme. Some of these appear contradictory. On the one hand, Avanci illustrates how the old patent structures of the mobile industry will no longer be fit for purpose for the Internet of Things (IoT). …
Wireless Watch, 03 Oct 2016
Jean-Claude Juncker speaking in front of EU flag

EU chief promises modernised spectrum policy to avoid mistakes of LTE

The European Union announced its 5G Action Plan last week, and president Jean-Claude Juncker set out some ambitious connectivity goals in his State of the Union address. These include promises to enable free Wi-Fi in public spaces in every town and village in the EU states, and to achieve “full deployment” of 5G by 2025 ( …
Wireless Watch, 21 Sep 2016
End of the line (train line). Photo by Shutterstock

Nokia's 4.9G races Ericsson's almost-5G, yet the finishing line is a mirage

At Mobile World Congress this year, Nokia emerged as the most aggressively "5G-ready" of the big vendors, while Huawei was still stressing "4.5G", a term it coined, but which has been widely adopted. This week saw Nokia going one better with "4.5G Pro" and even "4.9G", recalling the build-up to LTE, when some vendors and …
Wireless Watch, 07 Sep 2016
Handsome man has fuchsia-painted skin. Photo by Shutterstock

Google Fuchsia OS eyes non-Linux things

Google’s latest operating system project, Fuchsia, may be largely a mystery, but it reinforces a truth that platform vendors are having, grudgingly, to acknowledge: one operating system does not fit all. For a company which has put so much effort into making Android an OS for all purposes, Google has a remarkable number of …
Wireless Watch, 24 Aug 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

LTE-U’s window is closing and bigger 5G disputes may be coming

One of the presumed outcomes of the 5G process is full convergence of licensed and unlicensed spectrum, with one or more air interface standards which can span both, using frequencies entirely flexibly according to requirement. This is a very long way off, if the current quarrels over extending LTE into licence-exempt bands are …
Wireless Watch, 22 Aug 2016
Robot AI Woman

Chip giants pelt embedded AI platforms with wads of cash

Analysis Artificial intelligence and machine learning engines are underpinning many emerging applications and services, from making sense of big data for enterprises, to supporting hyper-personalized consumer content, or virtual reality gaming. The current challenge is to move AI from the supercomputer to the mobile device, supporting …
Wireless Watch, 17 Aug 2016
Man loads in blanket into the washing machine. Photo by Shutterstock

Facebook and Google show how the world really will be blanketed in 5G

Facebook has outdone even Google recently, in its efforts to shake up the mobile industry and accelerate the delivery of broadband services (and its revenue generators) to the entire planet. This is no longer just about using balloons and new spectrum to push affordable wireless access to underserved communities. It is about …
Wireless Watch, 18 Jul 2016
Gunther Oettinger, EU digital commissioner. Photo by Shutterstock - must mark as editorial use only

EU operators’ 5G manifesto misses the point

Never before have events coincided so neatly to demonstrate the gap between mobile operators’ thinking about 5G, and how future networks will really be deployed for disruptive effect. While Europe’s leading MNOs were presenting a backwards-looking "5G Manifesto" to the European Commission, veiling pleas for net neutrality …
Wireless Watch, 13 Jul 2016
Man checks mobile while sitting on skateboard ramp. Photo by Shutterstock

Verizon, KT, Telefonica: On three continents, operators prepare for 5G

In the week of Brexit and Iceland, a London event perhaps did not need any more reminders about falling behind the rest of the world – but a final, unavoidable conclusion from last week’s 5G World was that the east Asian operators, always very technically progressive, are also in a league of their own when it comes to detailed …
Wireless Watch, 06 Jul 2016
US Navy man crawling under barbed wire in tough mudder competition

Ericsson: 5G migration won't be a terrifying slog. No. We have ‘plug-ins’

Analysis All the network equipment providers are engaged in major operator projects which they hope will guarantee them a place in those MNOs’ 5G rollouts in the coming years. This week, it was certainly the turn of Ericsson to score 5G marketing points, with a series of operator engagements around the world, and the announcement of 5G …
Wireless Watch, 24 Jun 2016
Google's car puts it in the pink

If Android’s wings are clipped, other Google platforms may gain

If Google's Android wings are clipped in the mobile market by European Union judgments, other elements of its portfolio may gain heavier strategic weight as it pushes to create a dominant platform that looks well beyond PCs and mobile devices, and into every object which will have a web connection in future. Like Facebook, the …
Wireless Watch, 25 Apr 2016
shutterstock_236128771

5G is looming, but network innovations are needed far more urgently

In all the excitement about 5G, it is easy to forget that the most intensive innovations of 2016-2020 will go on in "4.5G" – in Release 13 and 14, of course, but more importantly in the way the carriers and their vendors reinvent their cellular networks with new approaches like virtualization and HetNet, in the desperate bid to …
Wireless Watch, 18 Apr 2016

Ruckus: A strong buy for Brocade, but leaves Juniper isolated again

Comment Pity poor Juniper. The networking company’s alliance with Ruckus Wireless last summer raised hopes that it would strike it third time lucky in the Wi-Fi market, filling the gaping wireless gap in its platform. Now Brocade has snatched carrier Wi-Fi leader Ruckus from under its rival’s nose with a $1.2bn acquisition. It's the …
Wireless Watch, 13 Apr 2016
Philips Hue Starter Pack

Hue, not Three, could be Hutchison’s crown jewel as MNO model morphs

The European Commission has two months to decide whether to allow the takeover of Telefonica’s O2 UK arm by CK Hutchison, owner of 3UK, and if it does, what conditions will be imposed. One of the most likely demands will be for the merged entity to divest some of its infrastructure for a new entrant, or at least to earmark a …
Wireless Watch, 04 Apr 2016
Promo pic of Intel-acquired Replay Technologies FreeD product.

Intel in 3D and virtual reality dash

Comment Intel and Qualcomm are increasingly extending their reach beyond their core chip technologies and into surrounding technologies and even applications. Both seek to enhance their revenues and account control with end-to-end offerings in key emerging areas of technology such as virtual reality. Last week, Intel acquired Replay …
Wireless Watch, 21 Mar 2016
Hiker checks dead battery on smartphone... against wild valley backdrop. Photo via Shutterstock

Intelligent Energy secures $7.5m to develop smartphone fuel cell

Fuel cell specialist Intelligent Energy has announced that it has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with “an emerging smartphone OEM” to develop an embedded hydrogen fuel cell for powering smartphones for up to a week. The £5.25m ($7.5m) project will develop a fuel cell that will coexist with the smartphone’s existing …
Wireless Watch, 22 Feb 2016

India's ‘Facebook ruling’ is another nail in the coffin of the MNO model

Nobody could accuse India’s telecoms regulator, TRAI, of being in the operators’ pockets. This month it has, once again, set eye-watering reserve prices for the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction (see separate item), and now it has taken one of the toughest stances in the world on net neutrality, in effect banning zero rated or …
Wireless Watch, 15 Feb 2016
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Nokia kicks off pre-MWC race with tech show-and-tell

And then there were four: the Big Five mobile network vendors are reduced to a quartet, though Cisco will be hoping that its new alliance with Ericsson will admit it to the inner circle, while Samsung and NEC remain hopeful of harnessing virtualisation to improve their radio access network (RAN) business. But the fight is …
Wireless Watch, 09 Feb 2016