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#TBT: Vodafone Spain starts 5G trials; AT&T names 5G launch markets; Qualcomm cancels offer for NXP … this week in 2018

Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Vodafone Spain starts 5G trials

Vodafone Spain has announced the launch of 5G trials in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Malaga and Seville. The announcement follows the recent acquisition of 90 megahertz of spectrum in the the 3.6-3.8 GHz band. Vodafone had paid EUR 198 million ($232 million) for the 5G spectrum. The Spanish telco said it will be using the recently acquired spectrum for the pre-commercial 5G non-standalone (NSA) tests. Vodafone Spain also said it has already installed more than 30 antennas in collaboration with Chinese vendor Huawei in the six selected cities. Last week, the Spanish government said it had raised a total of EUR 438 million for the sale of 5G frequencies. The government auctioned spectrum in the 3.6G HZ-3.8 GHz range, which will be key for the launch of commercial 5G services in the country. The government had set a reserve price of EUR 100 million for the 5G spectrum. Rival operator Orange acquired a total of 60 megahertz of spectrum for EUR 132 million. The operator already holds 40 megahertz in this band. … Read more

AT&T names 5G launch markets

AT&T on Friday added some detail to its commercial 5G launch plans by identifying three more cities where it will deploy a standards-based mobile service by the end of the year. Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City, Okla., join Atlanta, Ga., and Dallas and Waco, Texas, as among the 12 markets the carrier will turn up its next-generation cellular service. Based on the details released so far, AT&T will use a hot spot device to provide high-capacity cellular using millimeter wave spectrum. The carrier began testing millimeter wave transmissions in 2016 in Austin, Texas, and expanded testing, which included enterprises of varying sizes as well as residential housing, to other locations. AT&T said it’s purposefully planning to launch in cities of varying sizes because “all Americans should have access to next-gen connectivity to avoid a new digital divide,” according to a statement. In Waco, the carrier tested its service at Magnolia Market at the Silos, a business operated by HGTV Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanne Gaines. The carrier said it’s 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum supported wireless speed around 1.2 Gbps using a 400 megahertz channel and latency rates between nine and 12 milliseconds. Melissa Arnoldi, president of AT&T Technology and Operations, said customers will have access to the service and device this year. … Read more

Charter expands LTE small cell trials

U.S. cable operator Charter Communications announced plans to expand LTE small cells trials to Los Angeles and New York City within the next few months, Craig Cowden, SVP of Wireless Technology said. “The next step in our mobile evolution will be to deploy LTE licensed small cells and then 4G LTE and 5G wireless access technologies and integrate them with our existing infrastructure.  We are conducting extensive trials using small cells in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina. These trials will inform how we will leverage these innovative technologies to improve our wireless products,” the executive said. The announcement was made during Cowden’s remarks for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which held a hearing titled “The Race to 5G: Exploring Spectrum Needs to Maintain U.S. Global Leadership.” Last month, Charter Communications had launched mobile services through a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) scheme. Charter is currently Verizon’s wireless network together with its own Wi-Fi network to offer mobile services. “We also have been exploring how 5G and other new wireless technologies can be used to deliver significantly improved broadband services to homes and businesses small and large,” Cowden said. … Read more

Qualcomm calls off offer for NXP

Since announcing the proposed $44 billion acquisition of Dutch semiconductor firm NXP in October, 2016, Qualcomm has worked to gain worldwide regulatory approval for the deal, and extended the tender period numerous times. Now the San Diego, Calif.-based semiconductor giant has called off the deal and has to pay NXP a $2 billion termination fee. NXP has a strong foothold in the growing automotive chip business, which Qualcomm regarded as an opportunity to expand its reach into new vertical markets. Even though the deal is dead, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf says the company’s growth strategy will stay the same. “Our core strategy of driving Qualcomm technologies into higher growth industries remains unchanged,” Mollenkopf said in a statement released July 26. “We will continue to focus on our strong momentum in these growth industries with projected revenues of approximately $5 billion for fiscal year 2018, up greater than 70% from fiscal year 2016. We believe our technology leadership and disciplined execution will drive significant value creation for our stockholders.” It has been an interesting year for Qualcomm. In addition to the NXP deal, the company had to fight off an attempted hostile takeover from Broadcom that was backed by some activist shareholders. Ultimately that deal was killed through the direct intervention of President Trump who used national security as the basis for blocking Broadcom’s $117 billion bid, which would’ve been the biggest ever in the semiconductor segment. … Read more

Inside Verizon’s Sideways House

In a tucked-away corner of Verizon’s Fios network nerve center, there is a tween girl’s dream bedroom: a double bed with a posh gray-and-white bedspread, complete with a collection of fashionable matching pillows and a comically round stuffed unicorn. A framed drawing of a black-and-white elephant splashed with pink overlooks a fluffy pink rug, on which a pair of monogrammed white slippers rest.But this entire slice of trendy decor — bed, side table, chair, rug and all, right down to the slippers — is mounted to a vertical wall, looming upwards and defying gravity. Encountering it is a bit like stepping into a cozily modern version of an MC Escher painting, or perhaps an art installation meant to illustrate the world being turned upside down — or at least, sideways. Sideways is, in fact, the whole point of the room, because this is Verizon’s Sideways House. When a company tests how well their residential Wi-Fi access points work, they want to replicate the home environment as closely as possible, right down to building materials and furniture. Often that means renting or purchasing a more-or-less typical suburban home to use as a test house. Some even outfit the house with tracks on which device-equipped test robots can run, to assess device and network performance as a user moves from room to room. Verizon took a different approach to its home Wi-Fi testing facility: it designed a space that replicated a three-story house, but flipped the entire thing on its side. … Read more

Boingo brings CBRS to Dallas Love Field

In what the company calls a first-of-its-kind deployment at an airport, Boingo Wireless today said it has brought live a trial private LTE network using the shared 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) at Dallas Love Field. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which granted Boingo special temporary authority to conduct testing, is considering rules that govern shared access to the CBRS band. A three-tiered spectrum access system is designed to protect incumbent use of the band while allowing new users access under priority and general access licenses. The FCC needs to decide on licensure terms and geographic coverage area. In an interview with RCR Wireless News, Boingo Chief Technology Officer Derek Peterson said the company is supporting users from Love’s IT department who are equipped with dongles for laptops. Ruckus provided the five radio nodes deployed in the airport and Federated Wireless provided the spectrum access system. While he declined to go into specifics, Peterson said, “The speeds we’re getting are what you’d expect from an LTE network and what you’re seeing today on some of those networks that have 40 megahertz available to you. We’re getting great distances because of the noise floor. For the entire airport we only put in five radios and it covered the entire thing. Obviously each node could probably support 50 to 100 users and still give them great speeds.” For comparison, there are more than 100 Wi-Fi access points in the facility. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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