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#TBT: 5G turn-ups; 5G chips ramp up; 24 GHz auction wraps up … this week in 2019

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 those sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

Sprint lights up 5G in its first four markets

Sprint has officially launched its commercial 5G service in four markets, with 5G availabile in the Kansas City, Missouri area as well Atlanta, Georgia and Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and touting a “true mobile 5G experience.” Devices will start selling on Friday, with Sprint’s 5G offerings including the LG V50 ThinQ 5G and the HTC 5G Hub, and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G expected to arrive this summer. Sprint executives sent a steady stream of tweets as the carrier made final preparations for its launch announcement. The launch event in Dallas also included a bus tour with members of the media and analysts, in which screens displayed available 5G speeds as the vehicle moved around the city. … Read more

EE launches 5G

U.K. operator EE has officially launched commercial 5G services in a number of U.K. cities, the telco said in a release. The carrier said that 5G services are initially available in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. EE will also be introducing 5G across the busiest parts of Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield during the rest of the year. In 2020, Aberdeen, Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Dundee, Exeter, Ipswich, Norwich, Plymouth and York will receive 5G coverage, EE said. The telco said that consumers and businesses can order 5G devices, including smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and Oppo, a mobile broadband device from HTC, and a 5G home broadband router from Huawei. The operator also said it expects customers to experience an increase in speeds of around 100-150Mbps even in the busiest areas. … Read more

NXP buys Marvell’s Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/IoT chip business

NXP is buying Marvell’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless connectivity business assets for $1.76 billion, in a move that NXP says will boost its ability to offer turnkey offerings in its target IoT, automotive and industrial markets, as well as in communication infrastructure. NXP will add about 550 employees around the world in the transaction. Richard Clemmer, CEO of NXP, described the acquisition as “a team with the right set of complementary connectivity technologies” that will allow NXP to “offer our customer base the broadest portfolio of edge solutions which includes tailored security and a full suite of wireless connectivity spanning WiFi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, Zigbee, Thread and [Near-Field Communications].” The Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless tech operations represented about $300 million in revenue for Marvell in fiscal 2019, NXP said, and the company anticipates that the revenues associated with those new wireless assets will double by 2022 — and contribute positively to operating profits in the first full quarter after the all-cash transaction closes, which is expected in the first quarter of 2020. NXP is a major supplier to the connected automotive market, where NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and other wireless are increasingly integrated into vehicles for offerings that range from simply pairing smartphones for handsfree use, to the ability to remotely access and lock or unlock a vehicle, and personalized infotainment or internet access for passengers. … Read more

What’s going on in 5G chipset development?

Chipset makers, network infrastructure companies, device OEMs and test and measurement companies have been heavily involved in the research and development process and the standards work for 5G for years at this point, and that work is coming to fruition as 5G devices begin to hit the market. Both consumer smartphones and a variety of other devices, from 5G-backed routers and mobile hot spots to IoT devices, are emerging this year. But that is just the first wave of 5G chipsets — the development of 5G is still in its early days. For a more detailed look at what’s happening on the 5G chipset front, RCR Wireless News reached out to Qorvo for an email Q&A with Ben Thomas, the company’s director of mobile 5G business development. Qorvo announced in late February that its integrated front-end modules for 5G were in high-volume production in support of the device and infrastructure ecosystem that is ramping up this year. … Read more

NI sees 5G chipset production ramping up

Chipset production for 5G has been ramping quickly over the past six months and is expected to continue through the rest of this year, according to David Hall, head of semiconductor marketing at National Instruments. NI used its annual NI Week event to highlight its work in millimeter wave testing, unveiling a new vector signal transceiver that supports mmWave. It both announced and demonstrated a 5G mmWave wafer probe test solution which it developed in collaboration with Tokyo Electron, FormFactor and Reid-Ashman. The direct dock probe solution “simplifies the signal path, provides the necessary signal integrity for mmWave applications and supports both top and bottom load probe applications,” NI said in a release.  The new VST debuted at NI Weekas part of demos including packaged part and wafer-level test and in validation test configurations using over-the-air measurements. The focus on production test for mmWave is a reflection of the state of the industry and the pressure on suppliers to get 5G chips to market as quickly as possible. The spectrum engineering for mmWave and support for many different bands means that companies must conduct much more testing of semiconductors, according to Hall. … Read more

24 GHz auction is a wrap

The Federal Communications Commission has officially wrapped up its first two millimeter wave spectrum auctions of the year, raising more than $2.7 billion in gross bids for more than 5,800 spectrum licenses from a total of 55 bidders. The agency is already looking ahead to its upcoming December auction of spectrum in the upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz bands, which it said will be the largest spectrum auction in U.S. history. The FCC said that its 24 GHz spectrum auction — aka, Auction 102 — concluded as of Tuesday afternoon, with the end of the assignment phase for spectrum blocks. Of the 2,909 licenses available in the 24.25-24.45 and 24.75-25.25 GHz band, 2,904 of them received bids. Those licenses were based on a Partial Economic Area geographic basis which divides the country into 416 sections. Auction 102 began with a clock phase in which the 38 qualified bidders (which included AT&T, T-Mobile US, Verizon and Sprint, U.S. Cellular, Dish Network,  Starry Spectrum Holdings and Windstream Communications) competed in 91 rounds that raised more than $1.988 billion in bids. The auction then continued with an assignment phase, which the FCC said was “designed to give highest priority to assigning bidders within a PEA contiguous blocks of spectrum to the extent possible and to simplify the bidding process,” the FCC has said. In the clock phase, bidders were competing for generic blocks of 24 GHz spectrum, either in the upper or lower portions of the band. In the assignment phase, the winning bidders had a chance to bid for specific spectrum blocks. The FCC reported that as of its conclusion, Auction 102 raised $2.024 billion in bids. … Read more

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


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