Skyworks CEO Liam Griffin may already have an Apple 5G phone. (Production is beginning, although the big ramp is late. Some July-August chip orders have been delayed two or three months.

"The 5G performance is going to be incredible. Consumers are going to line up to get it. It's going to be the biggest incremental performance change that we've seen in cellular." [mmWave 5G will often be a gigabit. However, mmWave will be a minority of locations. Low-band "5G" will be slower than decent 4G. ed]

Skyworks, a $15 billion chipmaker, is the key supplier of the front end radio parts for Apple. Just about everything on the phone except the camera and the display has to work well with the radio front end, so he's been briefed in depth.

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Huawei is the strong favorite of Canadian network builders, for good products and extraordinary support. It displaced the incumbents at Bell Canada years ago and has a joint "Living Lab" in Vancouver with Telus. Huawei had already won the 5G contracts. It has a thousand researchers and spends a quarter billion dollars on Canadian R & D. 

It was a government decision. Bell Canada told the Canadian Press, "Huawei has been a reliable and innovative partner in the past and we would consider working with them in 5G if the federal government allows their participation."

I infer that the Telus and Bell decisions to block Huawei from 5G is a political decision made under pressure from the U.S. Canadians are insulted by the many Americans who think Canada is effectively ruled by the U.S., but Canada is deeply dependent.

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US 5G Q1 2020 All SamsungNone of them had a 5G network worth a damn, but buyers of $1,000+ S20 phones are thinking ahead. 93% of 3.4 million 5G phones sold in the first three months were Samsung S20's, the first three bars in the illustration. Other phones were only 7%. T-Mobile is now offering an OnePlus and an LG for $700, so will not continue that dominant. Apple 5G won't be out until late fall.

I'm guessing that Verizon pushed premium buyers to the Samsung 5G and they were willing to spend the extra. One reason my estimate for 5G in 2020 is probably the highest in the world is I believe that many will choose 5G phones as the price gap narrows. 

In Europe, 5G phone prices are down to 400 euros. In China, many are under US$300 and falling. The difference between 4G and 5G phones may be as little as $50-75. 90% of Korea is covered with 5G. 50% of China will be covered yearend and most of the U.S. and probably Japan in 2021. In those countries, 5G phones are or soon will be the right choice for all but the poor. Most people keep phones 3-5 years.

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NTT DOCOMO has set a goal of 2.5 million 5G connections in the next year. It expects 20 million in 2022 or 2023.  It has 500 upgraded towers and rapidly will cover more than half the country. 40,000 signed up in the first few weeks. 

Capex guidance for the year is 570 billion yen, US$5.35 billion. That's far below the 2017 figure of 643 billion yen, $6 billion. That's consistent with Deutsche Telekom, Verizon, AT&T, and FT/Orange, all building 5G without a significant capex increase. 

Softbank and KDDI also have launched some 5G service. Softbank intends to reach 90% of the population in Q1 2022.  They are doing competitive builds in the cities but working together in rural areas.

Rakuten, the extremely innovative 4th carrier, intended to turn on 5G in June but is behind schedule.

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China Mobile reports 31 million 5G "contracts" at the end of March. That's an increase of 16 million in one month. If that pace continues, by the end of 2020, over 170 million of China Mobile's 946 million wireless customers will have 5G contracts. It will reach 350 million in 2021.

China Telecom reports 17 million. China Unicom didn't offer a figure, but typically is about half the China Telecom figure. The total is over 50 million.

But probably only half are actually connected to 5G. A second source reports only 6 million 5G mobile phones were sold in China in March. Even adding some routers for fixed wireless, many of the 5G contract holders were still using 4G phones.  One estimate is that only 20 million are actually connected.

The gap will probably narrow. Phones are just becoming widely available at prices between US$285 & $450.

150 million actual connections by the end of 2020 are likely.

Boswell of Ericsson 2303GPP calls the coming release of 5G standards "Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication" (URLLC). However, key members of 3GPP strongly disagree. Jason S. Boswell, Ericsson's head of network security for North  America, cautions, "[5G] will create new mobile security challenges. There will be broader attack surfaces, more devices, and greater traffic."  

Primary 5G safety is not adequate. Instead, those needing certainty will have to pay extra for "tailored security solutions such as 'network slicing.'" These enhancements will be necessary, although not a guarantee. 

Boswell sees a problem. "We must have networks that are trustworthy, resilient, and secure by design – all on day one." Given that 50 million people are already connected to 5G that will be difficult.

The standards are not yet ready.

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Simpson and wheeler 120

Some politicians think keeping Huawei out of U.S. networks ensures security. I believe that does very little. The Chinese government does not need to compromise Huawei because there are so many other ways to crack the systems. Former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler and his security lead, Rear Admiral David Simpson note

"Never have the essential networks and services that define our lives, our economy, and our national security had so many participants, each reliant on the other—and none of which have the final responsibility for cybersecurity,"

5G networks will be vastly more complicated, with far more points of attack. Software-defined networks are harder to protect than traditional, known hardware. Control - and vulnerability - is more distributed. Running on commodity hardware and software offers more ways in. 

That 5G is not secure is well known. Congress was told that by Ericsson’s Lynn Starr, Barbara Baffer, and Jason Boswell, presumably informed by the engineers building about half of U.S. 5G networks.

"5G is ultra-reliable" is a lie.

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CEO Dirk Wössner's "5G" claims are now meaningless. DT is now using DSS and calling connections "5G." Since the actual speed is about the same as 4G, that proves the industry definition of "5G' is now meaningless.

It's so slow - and the latency so high - DT refuses to provide figures. Verizon President Ronan Dunne has a similar offering, but explains, "The lower down the spectrum tiers you go, the more that will approximate to a good 4G service." That's what DT is now selling, a good low-band 4G service.

Until now, DT had said it would bring 5G to 20% of Germany by the end of 2021. It didn't consider low-band "5G," even though it uses 5G NR software.

DT has changed its actual network and capex plans. It changed what it considered 5G to the 3GPP marketing dream or anything that runs "5G NR" software. The software has only a minimum effect on the performance of below 2.5 GHz - 19% or probably less. DT is providing no figures, but its new 5G is going to be slower than some available 4G.

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dave ask

@analysisbranch for latest updates


Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers and say thank you when you find an error.

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