5G, using 3GPP standardized wireless technology, has been commercially deployed by 15 mobile network operators worldwide, according to 5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas and TeleGeography (GlobalComms Database). There will be an additional 47 launches of 5G technology expected before the end of 2019 for a total of more than 62 live 5G networks.
LTE will provide the solid foundation for 5G. Already, more than half of all the mobile wireless technology connections worldwide are LTE technology, with a reported 51 percent market share at the first quarter of 2019, providing 4G mobile broadband access to a large portion of the world’s population with 4.4 billion global connections, according to data from Ovum.
“LTE continues its momentum worldwide, at the same time that 5G becomes a commercial reality in many parts of the world,” said Chris Pearson, president, 5G Americas. “The mobile wireless industry has worked hard to provide technical innovation for both LTE and 5G for the benefit of customers globally.”
LTE is currently deployed on 646 networks worldwide according to TeleGeography. In addition to growth in LTE deployments and connections, the LTE technology evolution continues to expand with 299 LTE-Advanced networks worldwide at 1Q 2019. In addition, although not publicized to any great extent, 60 networks may be considered LTE-Advanced Pro; 58 of which have deployed Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and/or LTE for Machine-Type Communications (LTE-M) 3GPP Release 13 technology features for the Internet of Things.
“The Cellular Internet of Things is future-proofed by 3GPP standards, with many different use cases enabled by Narrowband-IoT and LTE-M, as we fully enter the massive Internet of Things era,” stated Vicki Livingston, Vice President, Communications, 5G Americas. “These 4G LTE IoT technologies will form the foundation of the future success of 5G IoT services with Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications requirements for smart factories, connected car, public safety and other critical communications.”
1Q 2019 – North America
LTE metrics for the U.S. and Canada continue to show regional leadership. LTE achieved 445 million connections and reached 121 percent penetration of the total population or 1.2 connections per person as of March 2019 compared to 140 percent overall wireless technology penetration. This is the highest penetration rate for LTE of any region in the world.
Comparatively, North America’s market share for LTE at 87 percent far exceeds all other world regions; the next highest world regions are the Oceania, Eastern and South Eastern Asia region with LTE share of 70 percent followed by Western Europe at 54 percent (data by Ovum).
North America is also among the world’s leading 5G innovators with three national operators offering live 5G services in numerous markets across the country and a fourth expected deployment this year. According to U.S. President Donald Trump, a proponent of 5G technology leadership for the country, there will be 92 U.S. cities with 5G services at the end of 2019.
1Q 2019 – Latin America and the Caribbean
“Antel in Uruguay has launched the first 5G network in the region, with more 5G planned deployments to come, as Latin America and Caribbean operators continue to invest in advanced network deployments for LTE,” commented Jose Otero, Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean, 5G Americas. “With the support of governments in the region by providing more licensed and globally harmonized spectrum, the momentum and societal benefits provided by LTE and 5G will continue.”
LTE’s market share increased to 44 percent at the 1Q 2019, and is forecast to be the most widely used cellular technology in the region by the end of 2020.
1Q 2019 – Global
At the end of March 2019, global LTE connections reached 4.4 billion and market share reached 51 percent. LTE connections are forecast to reach 6 billion by year-end 2022 (forecast includes M2M) and 61 percent share of market. 5G technology is forecast by Ovum to achieve 37 million by year end 2020, grow to 156 million by end of 2021 and then increase to more than half a billion in 2022. 5G Americas’ member company Ericsson has forecast that 5G subscriptions are expected to reach 1.9 billion in 2024.
The noteworthy development is that 3GPP standardized 5G technology has been launched in 15 markets globally with 62 expected total deployments by the end of 2019 (TeleGeography).
Carolina West Wireless has signed a multi-year network modernization deal with Ericsson to use the Ericsson Fast VoLTE Launch, which will allow Wi-Fi calling and future 5G access, as well as VoLTE. The agreement also includes network densification, expansion and upgrade to 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software capabilities.
Slayton Stewart, CEO of Carolina West Wireless, said the contract helps the carrier today with improved LTE service and tomorrow with next generation cellular.
“Ericsson has a field-proven VoLTE solution, and we’re making the investments today that will help us evolve our networks tomorrow. Ericsson has been a long-standing partner of ours, and their end-to-end 5G-ready solution offerings allow us to provide our customers with the most advanced technology,” Stewart said.
With VoLTE in place in the network, consumers will have access to more flexible and easy-to-use communication services integrated on a multitude of devices, which will work seamlessly when users move between different accesses like LTE and Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi calling enables operator voice services to be provided in more locations, such as indoor environments by complementing macro network coverage.
In 2018, Carolina West Wireless announced an agreement to use Ericsson’s cloud-based Network Management as a Service solution to offload end-to-end management of monitoring, troubleshooting, configuration and optimization of their network.
In line with the FCC’s efforts to launch the Citizens Broadband Radio Service, Ericsson has launched Ericsson Industry Connect, which offers dedicated cellular networks at factories and warehouses starting with 4G/LTE, with a clear path to 5G. The offering strengthens Ericsson’s private networks and IoT portfolios by making 4G and 5G technologies accessible to new industrial markets.
Pierce Owen, principal analyst, ABI Research, said, “The technology case for private LTE has existed for some time now, but with Industry Connect, Ericsson has productized that technology in a way that empowers implementers and operators to deliver the benefits of private LTE to factories and warehouses with a real business case.”
Purpose-built for industrial environments such as factories and warehouses, the dedicated cellular connectivity solution enables secure, reliable coverage with high device density and predictable latency. Swedish provider of transport solutions, Scania has already implemented Ericsson Industry Connect in its smart production lab in Södertälje, Sweden.
Roger Hartonen, senior manager industrial IT, Scania Group, said, “High quality, fast, and secure connectivity of our industrial environment is now an absolute must for us. Ericsson Industry Connect gives us reliable wireless connectivity which will enable flexibility for us on the factory floor. At Scania, we are driving the shift toward sustainable transport by continuously innovating our manufacturing processes”
With a network management experience designed to be easy to use and manage for information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) professionals, the solution aims to make cellular technology rapidly deployable for factory and warehouse staff.
With industrial-grade wireless connectivity, Ericsson Industry Connect can enable innovative Industry 4.0 use cases such as: digital twin inspection (a real-time digital replica of a physical entity) with massive amounts of sensors; mobility for human machine interface (HMI) instructions for workers; collision avoidance and remote control for autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs); and collaborative robotics for automated operations.
Vodafone Idea Limited has partnered with Nokia to deploy single RAN Advanced, 2X2massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) and small cells.
Nokia’s Single RAN solution simplifies network installation and management, and the deployment of massive MIMO technology will enhance capacity and speed. Further, the installation of Nokia’s small cells will supplement operator’s macro network and ensure improved coverage and capacity, both indoors and outdoors, in line with the HetNet architecture to enable their next generation networks.
Vodafone Idea Limited is also deploying dynamic spectrum sharing (DSR) to make the most productive use of the spectrum and is extensively utilizing ultra-broadband radios UBR radios to further lower opex per site and ease the deployment challenges.
Galtronics has introduced a 10-port panel antenna for next generation 4G Advanced and new 5G wireless systems.
Designed for small cell fill-in and densification applications, the Galtronics GP2410-06636 4×4 port coverage for 1695-2690MHz Midband, 4×4 port coverage for 3400-3800MHz CBRS and 2×2 port coverage for 5150-5925 LAA frequency bands with average 65° horizontal beam widths for all bands. The GP2410-06636 is fully 5GHz UNII band pattern and gain compliant.
The GP2410-06636 offers impressive average gain specifications of 14.3dBi midband, 13.2dBi 3.5GHz band and 4.7dBi 5GHz band. Port to port isolation is specified at 20dB minimum, with return loss specified at 14dB minimum for all ports. Front-to-back ratio (180°) is specified at 27dB minimum in all bands, with RF power handling of 100 watts per port for midband ports, 50W per port 3.5GHz and 1W per port for 5GHz. Passive Intermodulation (PIM) is specified as -153dBc maximum in all midband ports, tested with 2x20W carriers applied.
A unique feature of the GP2410-06636 is that it provides 0-10° Mechanical Electrical Tilt (MET) for all four midband 1695-2690MHz ports simultaneously with one simple adjustment knob (located center top of image at right). This allows customers to dial in the narrower vertical beam midband coverage to match 3.5GHz band coverage.
The GP2410-06636is specified to operate over a wide -40° to +70°C temperature range, and is IP65 rated environmentally to allow both indoor or outdoor operation. Product dimensions are 24.5” (622mm) high x 12.0” (308mm) wide x 5.9” (149mm) deep, and weight is 26.4lbs (12kg). Connectors (10x) are 4.3/10-F type. The GP2410-06636antenna is configured in gray color and comes standard with MK-06853 mounting bracket (GP2410-06636-112), however optional 62-45-09 mounting bracket can be ordered to be used with either horizontal or vertical poles and offers a wide range of verical and horizonatl axis adjustment.
The GP2410-06636 antenna, MK-06853 and 62-45-09 mounting brackets are all rated rated to survive 150mph (241 km/h) wind speeds for outdoor applications.
The design of the product allows for installation is very small “niche” areas where spot fill-in is needed for small cell/desnification applications. The product was purposely designed to be low profile, occupying only 8.52” (216.5mm) of depth when installed against a wall using the standard MK-06853 mounting bracket, and closely adheres to 24” x 12” hight and width dimensions. Having separate ports for midband, 3.5GHz and 5GHz allows either jumper connection for remote radios, for radio installation close to the antenna, or combination of both. This is a particular advantage for 3.5GHz and 5GHz radios as cable losses are higher at these frequencies and having adios in close proximity to the antenna ensures maximum transmit power is applied to the antenna, and receive power is coupled from the antenna to the radios with minimal loss.