NOKIA: WE’RE THE ONE STOP SHOP FOR 5G – AND WE’VE GOT IT RIGHT

Nokia has fronted up to MWC 2019 saying its got ‘the right strategy at the right time’ to win at 5G, and heralding a number of ‘world firsts’ in its Australian 5G rollout.

“Nokia arrives at Mobile World Congress as a world leader in 5G, with the industry’s only end-to-end portfolio that is available in all markets around the world,” says Rajeev Suri, Nokia president and chief executive officer.

“We are remarkably well-positioned with more than 20 5G contracts, and almost 100 5G engagements with customers in every region of the world,” Suri says.

“We also believe that there will be a virtuous circle of investment as networks are upgraded to meet the demands of 5G and Nokia has the right portfolio at the right time to meet that need.

The company made a slew of 5G announcements in the lead up to MWC and continued those announcements at the event.

The announcements include the launch of a fixed wireless access FastMile 5G Gateway, delivering 10 to 25-times the speeds of LTE to residential and business subscribers.

Optus is the first operator globally to deploy the indoor gateway in a live network and successfully launch a 5G fixed wireless access service using the 5G New Radio standard.

The plug and play gateway, which Nokia says can achieve twice the indoor coverage, three times the downlink capacity and five time the uplink capacity compared to traditional designs, was recently used to stream 4K video services to some residential customers in Australia in a trial.

Allen Lew, Optus CEO, says the gateway will play an important role in the telco’s commercial 5G fixed-wireless access service.

“With Nokia’s solution, we are able to effectively leverage our existing mobile footprint to quickly provide new ultra-broadband services to customers using 5G FWA.”

Meanwhile a partnership with Vodafone sees the two companies demonstrating two new massive Multiple Input Multiple Output options at MWC: A RFIC based mMIMO antenna and a machine learning powered scheduler for 5G massive MIMO.

The announcements also included the launch of new additions to its AirScale small cells portfolio to extend the performance of 5G indoors and outdoors and enhancements to its Anyhaul transport portfolio to deliver throughput speeds of up to 25Gbps to base stations.

Nokia logged net sales of EUR22.6 billion last finical year, down three percent on the previous year, with operating loss at EUR59 million, up 16 percent year on year.

Nokia is counting on 5G – and that much touted end to end portfolio – to further boost its sales over the coming year, though the company acknowledges that it expects the first half of the year to be ‘soft’ with 5G rollouts staggered over the course of the year.

In announcing the financials earlier this year, Suri said Nokia’s view of a ‘fast and meaningful shift to 5G’ remained unchanged.

While Nokia is banking on 5G, so to are telco operators according to the Nokia 5G Maturity Index, released this week.

The index shows two-thirds of operators expect 5G to create new revenue streams, while more than 70 percent of operators are focused on 5G to help improve existing consumer services.

The most popular 5G use cases identified by operators included multi-gigabit mobile connectivity, connected cars and autonomous vehicles, tactile internet experiences such as augmented and virtual reality, critical healthcare monitoring, smart city apps and smart home services.

MWC 2019: TELSTRA GOES ALL OUT WITH 5G BANKING TRIAL, EXCLUSIVE HANDSETS AND IOT RANGE EXTENDER

Telstra has unveiled plans for a 5G banking trial with CBA, along with a slew of new offerings – including exclusive 5G devices and an IoT extender – at MWC

In what the telco is heralding as an ‘industry first’, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Ericsson will trial 5G edge computing technologies for the financial services sector, testing end-to-end banking solutions over 5G over the coming months.

The trials are expected to showcase what the ‘bank branch of the future’ might look like and how 5G edge compute can help reduce network infrastructure currently required at individual branches.

Nikos Katinakis, Telstra group executive networks and IT, says 5G edge computing is all about bringing the network closer to the user or application.

“For financial institutions like Commonwealth Bank, it will help to enhance existing banking applications as well as deliver new use cases such as artificial intelligence, all supported by a range of software defined networking solutions.”

Pete Steel, Commonwealth Bank executive general manager of digital and retail operations and technology, says 5G and edge computing have significant potential to enhance the availability, stability and performance of CBA’s network infrastructure.

“We hope they can help us provide quicker and better digital experiences for our customers,” Steel says.

Katinakis says learnings from the trials will be applied across other industries.

Samsung, Oppo and LG 5G exclusives for Telstra

Meanwhile, as the 5G race heats up, Telstra also revealed that it will be providing 5G smartphones from Oppo, Samsung and LG first, or exclusively, in Australia.

First tipped at CES earlier this year, the telco this week confirmed that its 5G lineup will include the LG V50 ThinQ – exclusive to Telstra – Oppo’s first 5G offering and Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G, which will be available on Telstra first.

“There are two key components to bringing 5G to life – you need the network technology and you need compatible devices,” says Telstra CEO Andrew Penn. “Our network has been ready for some time, and we’re now even closer to having 5G-compatible devices available for our customers.
The phones are all due for release in the first half of 2019.

“Telstra is 5G-ready now,” Penn says. “When we began rolling out 5G technology across Australia back in August, we also started working closely with the major mobile brands and leading manufacturers of 5G handsets. This was so Telstra customers would not only be the first to access to 5G smartphones but also have a variety of products to choose from”.

And a 100km IoT range extender…

Also announced at MWC was a partnership between Telstra and Ericsson to integrate Ericsson’s IoT Accelerator connectivity management services into Telstra’s IoT offering.

The deal means from March 30, Telstra’s enterprise customers will be able to manage, access and track IoT devices and networked assets at a local, national or global level via access to Telstra’s cellular network, including the telco’s Narrowband-IoT and CAT-M1 technology.

This builds on Ericsson and Telstra’s successful deployment in September 2018 of NB-IoT Extended Range, that increased Telstra’s NB-IoT coverage to over 3.5 million square kilometres and which allows data connections up to 100km – 60kms more than 3GPP standards-based limits.

Emilio Romeo, Ericsson Australia and New Zealand head says the partnership means enterprises can integrate their business processes with the managed connectivity services offered by the two companies to create ‘highly reliable IoT solutions which will help to drive digital transformation of industries in Australia and internationally.

“We are enabling enterprises to launch IoT services on a global scale and helping the industry to capitalise on the tremendous potential that IoT brings,” Romeo says.