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Wireless Watch

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Another AI assistant... It's getting crowded in here, isn't it, Siri?

Analysis Voice-activated speakers and digital assistants may just seem like the modern, more annoying version of the old Microsoft paperclip, continually offering help and reminders where they are not needed. But while Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Home/Now and Amazon Echo/Alexa may have a long way to go, we will look back on …
Wireless Watch, 03 May 2017

ITU's latest specs show that 5G is not just a wireless network

Analysis We can no longer see 5G as a wireless standard alone. Its heart may still be a 3GPP-defined radio, but to deliver commercial benefits to operators (old or new), wireline links will be as important as wireless ones, and architectural change will be more important than an updated air interface. Several important developments …
Wireless Watch, 27 Apr 2017
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ITU and IEEE fail to put technology flesh on fascinating 5G concepts

Most work on 5G radio standards is driven by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project* (3GPP) with the IEEE and the Wi-Fi community remaining a separate, and even competing, wireless path. However, most stakeholders would welcome convergence between the two, and this was once promised as a byproduct of "5G" – through common …
Wireless Watch, 12 Apr 2017
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Russian mega-telco exec: 'No business case' for 5G

While the 5G enthusiasts often hit the headlines with visions of AI-driven robots and virtual reality, many operators remain sceptical of the new business models 5G will drive, at least in the short term. Vasyl Latsanych, CMO at Russia's largest telco, MTS, echoed the sentiments Wireless Watch hears from many of its MNO research …
Wireless Watch, 30 Mar 2017

UK's BT Openreach settlement highlights wider issues of 5G convergence

Comment There will be far tighter integration between fixed and wireless connectivity in 5G than ever before. Dense virtualized networks will require huge numbers of high-capacity fixed links; fixed broadband will be delivered over wireless as well as wireline; fixed/mobile convergence for content and service delivery will become table …
Wireless Watch, 15 Mar 2017
Cell tower, view from below. Image by Shutterstock.com

Hutchison's 3UK and Google push 3.5 GHz on both sides of the pond

Analysis Some are talking about 3.5 GHz as a 5G band, but Hutchison’s deal to acquire UK Broadband to bolster its 3UK arm is all about the good old fight for LTE spectrum. This deal shows that it is not just the US’s opening of its 3.5 GHz band, via its CBRS scheme, that has thrust this spectrum into the limelight. In many parts of the …
Wireless Watch, 15 Feb 2017
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MNOs will lose 5G rewards to new entrants if they will not share networks

Analysis The advantages of network sharing seem glaringly obvious in a world where the mismatch between mobile data demand and mobile data ARPU is rushing MNOs’ profits. The need to reduce the cost of delivering those rising tides of data is urgent, but many operators are ready to discuss almost any tactic – Wi-Fi offload, automation, …
Wireless Watch, 02 Feb 2017
robot smart home assistant illustration

Huawei could rescue Amazon's Alexa from the smart home

Analysis Huawei’s upcoming launch of a smartphone incorporating Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant will mark a new phase in one of the most important battles for the modern internet experience. Voice-activated assistants - which use powerful AI engines to deliver detailed, context-aware and personalized answers to users’ questions – are …
Wireless Watch, 26 Jan 2017

LTE-Broadcast has broad deployment models. What it doesn't have is the iPhone

Analysis LTE-Broadcast is poised for mass adoption at last, claims the Alliance which was set up last April to promote it. The Alliance aims to make a splash at next month’s Mobile World Congress, to boost operator confidence in the mobile TV standard and outline some of its use cases beyond the consumer TV sector. For instance, the UK …
Wireless Watch, 18 Jan 2017
Car polishing photo via Shutterstock

Qualcomm/NXP, Nvidia and Intel: The race to define the car platform

CES 2017 So the stakes are high, and many companies are already playing hard. There were important announcements from two of the most established chip suppliers in the auto sector, NXP and Nvidia – the former particularly closely watched because it will soon be part of Qualcomm. Its launches reminded the industry how strategic an …
Wireless Watch, 12 Jan 2017
Google bikes outside Google HQ. Photo by Randy Miramontez/Shutterstock - for editorial use only.

'Twas Brillo but then Android Things, which watched as Google Weaved its Nest

Comment Google has launched the developer preview of Android Things, updating and rebranding the Brillo IoT operating system which was unveiled over a year ago. Designed for medium-complexity devices, like home hubs, thermostats, and security cameras, the stripped-down version of Android has had zero success in the market. The new …
Wireless Watch, 22 Dec 2016
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Radical 5G rules proposed, but UK can address woeful coverage right now

Analysis The UK’s National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has blasted the level of coverage achieved with 4G and urged early action to deploy 5G more effectively. The organisation’s report particularly highlighted the role small cells will play in providing good services in urban areas, and on roads and railways, where the NIC says …
Wireless Watch, 21 Dec 2016
Matthew with the magic spheres

Bluetooth: Remember us? Internet of Things before it was a Thing?

Analysis Bluetooth 5 has finally been unveiled, with headline claims of 200-metre range (quadrupling that of Bluetooth 4) and doubled bandwidth (now 2Mbps). There is a clear focus on Internet of Things devices and applications, but no sign of the proposed mesh protocol, which would do even more to improve the spec’s capabilities. The …
Wireless Watch, 14 Dec 2016

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

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