U.S. Cellular has chosen Nokia’s standalone 5G core network for deployment by the end of 2022, according to a statement from the manufacturer.
“By implementing Nokia’s 5G SA core, U.S. Cellular will be able to unlock the full potential of 5G for its customers, delivering the high speeds and low latencies that will power new applications such as virtual and augmented reality,” the statement reads. “U.S. Cellular will also be able to leverage Nokia’s cloud-native, open modular structure to rapidly introduce and scale future network functions for new revenue opportunities.”
U.S. Cellular’s deployment of Nokia’s 5G core adds to its existing support for the radio access network (RAN), where Nokia said it is is supplying its AirScale radios for both low-band and mmWave 5G.
“As we continue to expand and enhance our 5G network, we value the innovation and support that Nokia provides to help us deliver a superior wireless experience to our residential and business customers,” said Mike Irizarry, executive vice president and chief technology officer at U.S. Cellular. “As we deploy 5G SA core, Nokia brings expertise, technology excellence and the right mix of hardware, software and services to meet our requirements for high performance and low latency.”
Ed Cholerton, president of Nokia North America, said that his company’s 5G SA core and 5G radios provide not only new capabilities, scale, operational efficiencies and revenue opportunities, but they also provide a better user experience that customers expect. “Working with U.S. Cellular to provide the core network function software and cloud infrastructure continues our momentum in the North American standalone 5G core market,” he said.
According to Nokia, the company’s 5G SA core is a cloud-native architecture with network functions deployed as microservices that can be moved to the network edge to meet low latency requirements for software-driven services, like network slicing. It said that Nokia has deployed more than 250 cloud core networks and more than 70 5G standalone core networks internationally.
5G telecom vendors — like the 5G telecom carriers profiled in a Sept. 9 eDigest story — are stepping up their green initiatives to meet the power-hungry demands of 5G base stations, which can consume up to three times more power than 4G and LTE networks.
Telecom manufacturers such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei have invested heavily in green energy programs during the last few years.
“Can we rollout 5G and reduce energy consumption?” Ericsson asks on its Twitter page. “The answer is yes. It is possible to break the energy curve. We see this as an opportunity to rethink how to build, operate and manage networks in a smarter and more strategic way. It is not only an option it is an industry responsibility. The report presents how to reduce energy consumption of mobile networks, as well as solutions to manage mobile broadband traffic growth including 5G roll-outs.”
Ericsson estimates the global energy cost of running mobile networks is about $25 billion yearly, making energy consumption one of the wireless industry’s biggest challenges — Huawei from both cost and carbon footprint perspectives.
A supporter of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and an active member of the Exponential Roadmap initiative, Ericsson has invested in solar power and other alternative energies. According to an Ericsson blog written by Saud Saya, site product and portfolio director at business area networks, “Ericsson acknowledges the energy challenges, costs and associated emissions that our industry is currently facing and is playing a leading role in addressing them through site products and solution innovations. These include industry best practices and designs, which enable service providers to build and deploy 5G with safety, simplicity and cost effectiveness front of mind.”
Meanwhile, Nokia’s website says the company is on a journey to a greener world. “Our aim is that every new product is more energy efficient than the previous model,” the website reads. “Nokia is using renewable energy in its own operations wherever available. For example, our operations in Finland are powered 100 percent by renewable energy sources.”
Nokia’s website features this statement: “80 percent of a mobile network’s energy is consumed by base station sites. Mobile operators report an increase of 10 to 30 percent annually in mobile network energy use. For example, the addition of LTE to existing GSM/WCDMA base station sites accounts for a 20 percent increase in energy consumption. Nokia’s zero emission site can cut the energy consumption of such sites by 70 percent.”
In July 2021, Aron Heller, lead writer and editor at Nokia Cloud and Network Services, posted an article discussing the importance of sustainability in the 5G market. “The telecom industry has had a long reputation of being wasteful,” the article reads. “But as climate change continues to worsen, sustainability has become a major corporate driving force with companies investing heavily in boosting productivity without further taxing the planet. Judging by revenue, more than a third of the mobile industry has already credibly committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or before.”
Meanwhile, Samsung has a won a number of the EPA’s Energy Star program awards, including the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership and superior contributions to the EPA’s Energy Star program. The award recognizes EPA partner businesses and organizations in good standing that demonstrate superior leadership, innovation, and commitment to environmental protection through energy efficiency and Energy Star.
Samsung, which manufacturers most of its products domestically in South Korea, has closer ties to the United States than its European rivals Nokia and Ericsson — both of which have significant manufacturing operations in China. Furthermore, Samsung purchases 100 percent renewable energy in the United States,
In July 2021, Samsung launched its SmartThings Energy, a new service within its app that allows consumers to take control of their energy consumption with monitoring, target-setting and notifications of its Samsung appliances and HVAC systems. By improving consumers’ household energy IQ, SmartThings Energy has the power to reduce monthly energy bills and contribute to a lower carbon footprint.
“People are spending more time at home and using their appliances more frequently, driving a need for larger capacity and better energy efficiency,” said Chanwoo Park, vice president and head of IoT business group at Samsung Electronics. “Our consumers want to be part of building a better, more ecofriendly tomorrow, and we are proud to help them achieve that vision by offering a more energy-efficient smart home experience.”
Huawei International, a China-based multinational designer and developer of telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics, said it is “working to build a greener, better and smarter world.” On Aug, 27, Huawei said it gathered the sharpest minds and impactful voices at Huawei Digital Power Summit 2021 Singapore to engage in conversations on creating a future where energy and technological innovation go hand in hand to create a sustainable ecosystem. Foo Fang Yong, CEO of Huawei International, said, “Huawei will mark its 20th anniversary in Singapore with core products and initiatives designed to push industry standards, systems integration and more.”
Terry Gao, managing director of Huawei Digital Power Singapore, said, “Like many nations across the globe, Singapore has outlined its future roadmap towards net-zero emissions, and Huawei’s commitment to energy transformation will play a pivotal role. A significant component of this transformation is made possible with digitalization. For digitization to be successful, we need more efficient data centers to be powered sufficiently and reliably. The establishing of Huawei Digital Power will allow Singapore to push ahead with more support as power digitalization takes shape.”
Mike Harrington is a contributing editor.
The maker of Nokia-branded phones has debuted its latest line of new devices, including a “military grade” smartphone that’s equipped with 5G capabilities.
HMD Global, which was created by former Nokia executives in 2016 and bought Nokia’s ailing mobile phone unit back from Microsoft in a $350 million deal, said that the new Nokia XR20 will be the most durable phone its ever created.
“Built to survive anything life can throw at you, the Nokia XR20 can withstand much more than you’ll ever demand of it,” the Espoo, Finland-based firm said in a statement.
The XR20 phone comes with a 6.67-inch Gorilla Glass Victus display and can resist damage from scratches and drops from as high up as about 6 feet, according to the company.
“With an ultra-solid case and the toughest display glass we could find, it’s scratch-resistant, drop-resistant, temperature-resistant, water-resistant and kid-and-pet-resistant,” the company’s promotional material says.
The advertising for the XR20 taps into the popularity of the Nokia brand, which has become known for the strength and durability of its phones from years ago.
The reputed invincibility of older Nokia phones has often been the target of viral memes that circulate on the internet. In a marketing video for the new phone, HMD shows a woman spilling coffee on the device and then rinsing it in the sink.
Nokia’s service enablement platform (SEP) delivers radio network programmability, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) innovation across the Open RAN (O-RAN) ecosystem, according to information released by the company.
Launched in coordination with Nokia’s RIC xApps, including advanced traffic steering and anomaly detection, which are in proofs-of-concepts and trials with communications service providers (CSP), the SEP platform combines the near-real-time RAN intelligent controller (RIC) and multi-access edge computing (MEC) together on a single platform. The combination provides unique value and new innovative use cases, according to Nokia.
Nokia SEP makes use of low-latency information to boost optimization through closed-loop automation and faster, more flexible service deployments. It also adds programmability with AI/ML technologies, enabling innovative RAN use cases, including automated AI/ML-based network optimization xApps and enterprise-specific RAN adaptation. It is a single platform that deploys both RIC and MEC capabilities for intelligence and innovation, and it can be adapted for specific CSP or enterprise requirements.
Using Nokia’s edge-optimized AirFrame servers, SEP can run on the edge and share infrastructure with cloud RAN and other virtualized network functions. AirFrame Open Edge provides secured, high-performance ultra-small footprint edge cloud infrastructure for indoor and outdoor environments.
The platform launches with Nokia RIC xApps, a suite of plugins that give CSPs advanced control of 5G radio network use cases, including the Nokia advanced traffic steering xApp, an AI/ML-based optimization algorithm that dynamically improves the efficiency of traffic distribution in the radio access network. It will also include the Nokia anomaly detection xApp, which uses machine learning to quickly detect and classify irregular behavior patterns in the RAN. SEP supports xApps from different providers.
Daryl Schoolar, practice leader for service provider networks at Omdia, said that the level of activity in the Open RAN space has rapidly evolved over the last 12 months. “Nokia’s latest announcement about implementing the O-RAN standardized near real-time RAN intelligent controller function together with MEC on its service enablement platform product, which supports xApps from multiple sources, including third-party, reinforces Nokia´s firm commitment to O-RAN and Open RAN solutions,” he said.
Pasi Toivanen, head of edge cloud BU at Nokia, said that embracing open collaboration is key to the development of 5G use cases and harnessing the true power of the technology. “Nokia’s service enablement platform adds a new intelligence layer to the RAN and enables the creation of high-value-add use cases,” he said. “This is part of Nokia’s continued commitment to leading an open mobile future with a strong network performance and security. We are committed to making it easier for our CSP customers to actively support the adoption of Open RAN principles and standards.”
Nokia performed the first RIC trials in commercial networks and is engaging with CSP and research groups globally with proof of concepts, trials and development for O-RAN and RIC, including public trials with AT&T and China Mobile.
The Nokia SEP is available for CSPs starting in the first quarter of 2021. Nokia is already working closely with CSPs to commercialize use cases (xApps) during 2021.
Under 5-year deal that represents a continuation of a longstanding partnership with T-Mobile, Nokia will provide its Airscale radio platform to the wireless carrier to deploy an ultra-capacity 5G wireless communications layer with 2.5-GHz massive multiple-input multiple output (MIMO) technology. Meanwhile, Nokia will continue to expand T-Mobile’s extended-range (low-band) 5G coverage. Both the extended range and ultra-capacity enhancements will augment user experience and network capacity by making use of T-Mobile’s multilayer spectrum strategy.
“From the moment Sprint became part of T-Mobile, we’ve been rapidly combining networks for a supercharged Un-carrier experience while continuing to aggressively expand our nationwide 5G footprint,” Neville Ray, president of technology at T-Mobile, said. “We have already taken a massive step forward with nationwide standalone 5G earlier this year, and this agreement with Nokia will help us to deliver incredible innovation and opportunity in this country.”
To support the T-Mobile’s 5G network, Nokia will supply AirScale radio access products and systems, including macro and small cells across low, mid-band and millimeter-wave radio-frequency spectrum. Massive MIMO, a key 5G technology, will allow T-Mobile’s 2.5GHz mid-band spectrum to be used to its full potential. Massive MIMO will boost network performance to its customers in the form of higher speeds and lower latency, further assisting T-Mobile’s home internet strategy. All of these enhanced user experiences are built upon T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G standalone network. As part of the deal, Nokia will also enable T-Mobile to upgrade its mid-band LTE network to 5G and continue to expand its extended range (low-band) 5G network.
Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of Nokia, said that Nokia’s 5G radio access network solutions will underpin the new T-Mobile network. “The expanded and upgraded 5G network that makes use of all spectrum bands will deliver exciting new solutions to even more people and businesses, and our technology will play a fundamental role in delivering these compelling connectivity experiences for work and play.”