Etisalat goes big on OpenRAN with Parallel Wireless

Operator group Etisalat is trialing OpenRAN tech across its markets in Middle East, Asia and Africa in partnership with ORAN specialist Parallel Wireless.

One of the reasons for this sudden keenness on ORAN, which seeks to unbundle the components and software inside the radio access network with a view to making it cheaper and more flexible, is apparently the concept of ‘All G’. That refers the convergence of all generations of cellular technology onto a single software platform, which would both save cash and simplify network management.

“Today’s announcement is a global achievement setting a technological benchmark across our markets,” said Hatem Bamatraf, CTO of Etisalat International. “This is in line with our long-term strategy and vision of ‘Driving the Digital Future to empower societies’ that has translated to provide the best-in-class customer experience and deliver best value to our shareholders.

The global trials of OpenRAN with Parallel Wireless reiterate Etisalat’s commitment to our vision encouraging us to take the lead in OpenRAN by conducting field trials with various leading technology partners to create an innovative ecosystem in all of our markets. This is also the world’s first ‘All G’ OpenRAN set to provide efficiency and cost benefits for 4G and 5G in addition to setting a roadmap for the next generation of telecom networks.”

This looks like a significant win for Parallel, which is all-in on ORAN. Most of the telecoms industry (bar, maybe, the big RAN vendors) is keen on the concept of commoditising the RAN such that you can pick and choose your components and software. But we still seem to be some way from ORAN being able to support commercial mobile networks, so the key for companies like Parallel is to maintain momentum and interest while the technology evolves.

“As one of the leading communication providers in the emerging markets, Etisalat understands the true potential of greater leverage to their business, in both high end and low-end markets with a greater buying power by shaping the telecom ecosystem and embracing new network architectures, such as OpenRAN,” said Amrit Heer, Sales Director, MENA at Parallel Wireless.

“We are proud to have partnered with Etisalat for these engagements to deliver coverage and capacity without making extensive capital investments associated with legacy network deployments. We are proud to have been selected to support Etisalat in reimagining wireless infrastructure to be much lower cost ensuring access to innovative digital services in the region.”

ORAN is one to keep an eye on in the coming months and years. It represents a significant threat to the business models of the big RAN vendors, who sell ‘closed’ RAN solutions that require you to go all-in with them. At the very least the prospect of ORAN is a useful stick for operators to beat their vendor partners down on price with and we had expected it to be a major talking point at MWC 2020.

What will define the future of 5G in MENA? periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Francesca Greane, Marketing, Content and Community Lead for 5G MENA 2020, discusses the evolving 5G ecosystem in the MENA region.

According to a recent report by Ovum, some of the key trends that can be expected in the MENA region in 2020 and beyond are largely driven by the diversity in the region. Indeed, whilst several Gulf states are among the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services, elsewhere in the region there are still a significant number of people with little or even no access to basic communications services.

In a region with such disparity, the question around the future of 5G in MENA is one that doesn’t have a simple answer. Indeed, whilst increased investment in 5G wireless network will be a “priority” for global telecoms operators in 2020, the true direction of the region remains, as of yet, undefined.

We’ve already seen Etisalat, the UAE’s biggest telecoms operator, become the first service provider in the region to offer a 5G network, supporting smartphones for commercial use, in May. This move was soon followed by the country’s second telecoms operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, or du as it is commonly known, and Bahrain’s Batelco.

Commenting on progress in the region Chafic Traboulsi, Head of Networks for Middle East and Africa at Ericsson noted that “In the Middle East and North Africa (Mena), commercial 5G deployments with leading service providers have taken place in 2019… and more deployments are expected in 2020 and beyond. As a result, by the end of 2025, we expect 90 million 5G subscriptions in Mena, representing around 10 per cent of total mobile subscriptions.”

However, according to Matthew Kendall, Chief Telecoms analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, “5G roll-out is dependent on the timely release of spectrum and no small amount of hard cash”. Given the existing “low margins and cost pressures” experienced by many operators – some of whom continue to focus on boosting 4G speeds, availability and geographic coverage – take-up of 5G is likely to be slow next year, Mr Kendall explained.

So, what is the future of 5G in MENA?

In collaboration with 5G MENA 2020, Ovum are looking to help service providers answer their business-defining questions by conducting their annual 5G MENA Market 2020 Survey, which delves into critical topics including:

  • The Reality of 5G Deployment
  • The Business Case for 5G Deployment in MENA
  • The Commercial Opportunities for 5G in MENA
  • The Regional and Global Opportunities for 5G
  • The Revenue Opportunities for 5G in MENA

You can have your say on the key trends, opportunities and challenges for 5G in MENA by taking ten minutes to answer the survey now. To say thank you, all respondents will receive a free copy of Ovum’s 5G MENA Markers Report, which will provide insight into the emerging 5G ecosystem in MENA that operators and solution providers need to stay ahead of the curve. You can complete the survey by clicking HERE.


Join the destination for 5G game-changers by claiming your FREE pass to 5G MENA 2020 (29-31 March, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai) now.

Orange opens new Africa and Middle-East HQ in Casablanca

Orange has announced it has opened its new headquarters for the Africa and Middle-East region in Casablanca Finance City Tower in Morocco.

The Africa and Middle has been gradually offered more autonomy as a unit since 2015 and opening a headquarters on the continent is as much a symbolic gesture of this trend continuing. With 125 million customers across the region already, Orange is certainly making progress in an often challenging market.

“Orange is one of the rare international groups to have made the strategic choice, 20 years ago, to seek to develop in Africa and the Middle East,” said Group CEO Stephane Richard.

“We have always been convinced of the immense potential of this continent. In many ways, it can be seen as a model for digital transformation; mobile money is a great example of this.

“One of the key success factors behind new services is to develop them in Africa so that they are adapted to specific local requirements and so meet the needs of our customers. That is why we have decided to organise the management of our business in Africa and the Middle East from within the region directly from the African continent.”

While many telcos have desires to cash-in on the under-developed markets around the world, few have made as obvious a success of the ambition as Orange in Africa.

Looking at the most recent financial figures, revenues for the Africa and Middle-East business rose 7.6% for the third quarter of 2019, bringing in €1.447 billion. For the first nine months of 2019, revenues across the unit accounted for €4.185 billion. Orange now has 22.5 million 4G customers across the region, up 49% year-on-year, while a third of 44m Orange Money customers are active.

Looking forward, the prospects are looking very favourable for Orange. The team has launched 4G in 17 markets, while investing €1 billion in the networks across the year will certainly see some new developments. The team is also heavily targeting the agricultural industry with IOT services, hoping to increase revenues between 10-30% on average.

Looking at the Engage 2025 strategy, Africa and the Middle-East has been highlighted as the most significant growth engine for the business. This is potentially a very lucrative region for the telco which has laid the groundwork in recent years to realise its ambition of being the ‘reference digital operator’ in the region.

Etisalat launches Open vRAN network and promises more

Etisalat has said it has successfully launched what it describes as the first Open Virtual Radio Access Network (Open vRAN) in the Middle-East and Africa.

In collaboration with Altiostar, NEC and Cisco, amongst others, Etisalat has launched the network allowing it to incorporate commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware from third parties, in an attempt to reduce time to market and cost for its network deployment.

“Keeping in line with Etisalat’s strategy of ‘Driving the digital future to empower societies’, deploying the Open vRAN is vital in enabling digital transformation aimed at increasing efficiencies and the utilisation of AI,” said Saeed Al Zarouni, SVP, Mobile Network at Etisalat.

“Today’s announcement is aligned with UAE’s objectives of achieving digital transformation with the deployment of best-in-class technologies. Etisalat now plans to roll out Open vRAN across the UAE to take full advantage of all the benefits that this new technology offers.”

Etisalat currently uses Ericsson and Huawei as traditional suppliers, though these contracts could be diluted if the telco makes good on its promise to push Open vRAN throughout its network.

The purpose of Open vRAN is relatively straight forward. The initiative, first launched by Cisco at Mobile World Congress 2018, aims to build an open and modular architecture, General Purpose Processing Platforms (GPPP) and disaggregated software. It is a challenge to the network infrastructure status quo, with Open vRAN being billed as cheaper and more time-efficient thanks to the freedom to purchase equipment from wherever and whoever.

Although there are several high-profile initiatives currently gathering steam, Vodafone, MTN and Sprint are three examples, perhaps the most interesting is in Japan.

Over the course of the summer, Rakuten and NEC announced a partnership to deploy what was described as the world’s first 5G open vRAN architecture. Rakuten is in a very interesting position, as thanks to it being an entirely new MNO in the Japanese market, network deployment plans are not burdened by the heavy weight of legacy.

While few telcos have the same opportunity to develop a greenfield network in the same way as Rakuten, the Open vRAN ripples do appear to be gathering momentum.

US Government says UAE is spying now as well – report

The US Government is now allegedly suggesting the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is using a popular messaging app to spy on individuals around the world.

According to the New York Times, Government officials have suggested the UAE Government is using a new messaging app known as ToTok to snoop on individuals. Citing classified briefings from current and former intelligence employees, as well as its own analysis, the NYT is suggesting the app can be linked to DarkMatter, a cybersecurity company some has said is a front for UAE intelligence activities.

Although the app is only a couple of months old, it has proven to be very popular around the world partly thanks to it not being subject to the same geographical restrictions as WhatsApp and Skype. It has risen through the ranks and has a huge number of positive reviews, fuelling the increasing popularity of the app.

The app itself is interested in quite a broad range of information, most notably the devices address book, location of the user and content of conversations including images and videos which have been shared. It doesn’t seem to dig deeper into other features of the devices, but this is more than enough information to keep intelligence agencies happy for the moment.

And while it is not uncommon for the US Government to shout and scream about foreign Governments spying on its citizens without proof, this seems to be a slightly different case. Both Google and Apple have now removed the app from their own app stores. There will of course be ways and means to download the app, though these are the simplest routes.

This is an important aspect of the story. Google and Apple are both money-making machines. These are companies which are not drawn into the isolationist and ‘patriotic’ cries of the US Government. The propaganda is usually ignored if there is an opportunity to create profit, though the fact the duo have dropped the app suggests there is some credibility to the claims.

Bahrain surges forward with 5G innovation hub ambitions

The Kingdom of Bahrain has announced itself onto the global 5G stage, claiming to be one of the first countries globally to provide commercial 5G services by June 2019.

Bahrain has not exactly been thumping its chest with rhetoric and bold statements to date, but Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed now claims preparations for the rollout of 5G networks are finished, with the only missing piece of the puzzle being the availability of consumer handsets and equipment.

“Bahrain’s state of readiness is a testament to the leadership of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain in enabling the implementation of cutting-edge technology and promoting innovation, and the continuous support of all stakeholders including the TRA and the national Spectrum Strategy & Coordination Committee (SSCC), all of which serves to highlight the Kingdom’s continued role as a regional leader in telecommunications and ICT,” the Minister stated.

The regulatory hurdles have been cleared, while licensing and spectrum allocation set to be finalised by mid-April, operators are already well on the way to rolling out the relevant infrastructure. Whether this actually means nationwide geographical coverage remains to be seen, but the country is gearing itself up to claim the title of one of the 5G leaders.

There might be a few who would scoff at the idea of Bahrain taking the lead in the 5G race, but it should come as little surprise. Bahrain has ranked first in the Arab region in the ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) for the last five years, and 4th globally in the UN’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Index (TII). The Bahrain Government might not have been making too much noise over the last couple of years, but it is in a strong position.

In June last year, successful commercial trials for 5G were completed, while the National Broadband Network (NBN) has ensured fibre connectivity is spread throughout the nation. By the end of 2019, the Government plans to reach 95% of households and 100% of businesses. While this does support the development of other usecases, the side benefit of having suitable backhaul infrastructure supports the 5G ambitions also.

Although it is relatively unfeasible Bahrain will be able to use these foundations to dominate the global technology economy, it could prove to be an incredibly useful resource in attracting new businesses. Like San Marino, another nation state which will experience 5G before the vast-majority, Bahrain could position itself as a test bed for numerous different segments, from autonomous vehicles to virtual reality. The right foundations are certainly in place.

As it stands, Bahrain is in an enviable position. The red-tape has been suitably ordered, the networks are almost ready, it just needs the launch of more consumer devices. How many countries can say that?

Ericsson loses another senior exec

Ericsson lifer Rafiah Ibrahim, currently its Head of Market Area Middle East & Africa, is calling it a day after 23 years at the company.

To be precise Ibrahim is going to step down from her current position, which she has held for a couple of years, at the end of August and assume the new role of ‘Advisor to the CEO’. But since all precedent under the current CEO Börje Ekholm is that ‘Advisor’ is just a euphemism for ‘gardening leave’, we’d be surprised if Ibrahim was still with the company in 2020.

“Rafiah has been a very important leader in our sales and delivery organization,” said Ekholm. “In her latest assignment she successfully led the merger of two important markets, Middle East & Africa, increasing customer value and securing scale and efficiency as well as implementing a robust operational structure. In addition, Rafiah has built strong customer relationships across the region not least visible in the recently announced 5G contracts. Rafiah has been a valued member of the Executive Team and I look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role.”

The workload of Ericsson’s executive recruitment team is starting to mount up. We still don’t know who is going to replace Helena Norrman to head up the marketing and there seems to have been a steady trickle of senior departures since Ekholm took over. No doubt this is all part of the grand plan, which seems to be going OK, but it does make you wonder about morale at the top table and we must assume Ibrahim was still happy with everything when this corporate vid was published towards the end of last year.


BICS and Fastweb combine to link Europe and MEA

Connectivity vendor BICS has joined forces with Italian operator Fastweb to augment communications links between Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The strategic partnership aims to combine BICS’ pan-European network with Fastweb’s fibre backbone in Italy and its access to submarine cable systems originating in Sicily. The point of this joint effort is to offer intercontinental connectivity services wholesale to other operators.

“We are highly satisfied with this partnership agreement with such a major international player as BICS, which highlights the strength of our network and the solid nature of our strategy,” said Fabrizio Casati, Chief Wholesale Officer at Fastweb. “The partnership with BICS adds further value to our investments, following on from our participation in the Open Hub Med consortium in Sicily and the development of an innovative and future-proof Flexible Optical Network all along Italy.”

“BICS has always been committed to providing its customers with first-class connectivity, and this partnership confirms our position as a bridging partner for operators expanding their capacity provision throughout Europe,” said Daniel Kurgan, CEO at BICS.

In case you’re wondering where else BICS connects here are a couple of maps for you. We couldn’t find any for Fastweb, sorry.

BICS Europe

BICS global

The Middle East gears up for 5G periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Zane Small of Telecom Review summarises where we are now on the road to 5G and focuses specifically on how things are going in the Middle East and Africa.

Fifth-generation (5G) networks will soon be a reality in the Middle East following the successful completion of the first implementable Release 15 5G New Radio (NR) specifications published in December 2017 at the 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. The announcement set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR for large-scale trials and commercial deployments as early as in 2019.

Some of the world’s most influential telecommunications companies jointly issued a statement about the completion of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) initiative’s 5G NR standards, including global vendors such as Huawei, Qualcomm, Ericsson, ZTE, LG, Samsung, and Intel; as well as some of the largest mobile operators including AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, SK Telecom, Verizon, Vodafone, Orange, and NTT DOMOCO.

“We are excited to be part of this significant milestone, and to once again be at the forefront making the 5G vision a reality in 2019,” said Qualcomm President Christiano Amon. “We look forward to continue working with our mobile industry peers to bring 5G NR commercial networks and devices in 2019 in smartphone and other form factors, for both sub-6Ghz and mmWave frequency bands, and to continue developing 5G technologies to connect new industries and enable new services and user experiences in the years to come.”

In 2017, the industry agreed to accelerate the 5G standardization schedule and it was agreed to split up the specification of the 3GPP initiative’s Release 15 into two phases: Release 15 NSA (non-standalone) as a priority and Release 15 Full (with standalone) to be completed at a later date in 2018. The announcement made in December 2017 completes the first phase and arguably the most important phase for equipment manufacturers and designers.

The non-standalone specification revolves around enabling the enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use case and anchors the connection in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to increase data rates and reap the benefits of reduced latency. This mode will be the foundation of 5G in the early years of adoption as mobile carriers introduce network compatibility. With the completion of 5G NR standardization, equipment vendors can move ahead with designing devices that adhere to the specifications of 5G NR.

The next stage in 5G standardization will be the full Release 15 specifications that are expected to be completed in June 2018. These standards will enable standalone 5G NR with user and control plane using the 5G next-generation core network (5G NGC). The NSA and SA releases share the same physical layer specifications, and analysts expect NSA hardware equipment to be forward compatible with the SA standard once it has been finalized.

“The completion of NSA standard is an essential milestone to enhance the capabilities of mobile networks,” Lan Yun, president, Carrier Network Business Group, Huawei Middle East told Telecom Review. Yun said that with NSA, 5G is going to come to commercialization very soon and influence the Middle East region “deeply”.

5G in the Middle East

In the Middle East, telecom operators have been facing challenges on revenue increase pressure and digital O&M transformation, and the arrival of 5G will no doubt be a new opportunity for comprehensive strategy deployment, Yan said. With NSA standard completion, he said Huawei will continue to cooperate with and assist operators in the Middle East for 5G exploration and commercial deployment and help operators seize new opportunities.

Huawei signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi telecom provider STC during Mobile World Congress this year to collaborate on 5G innovation. The two companies are committed to launching a 5G network in Saudi Arabia in 2018, thereby maintaining STC’s pioneering position in the telecommunications industry. The MoU also prepares the ground for advanced joint innovations, leveraging 5G technologies and cultivating 5G services to fulfill ever-growing market expectations.

“We are confident that we collectively have the knowledge and innovation power that will enable us to move fast towards the 5G Era,” said STC Acting CEO Nasser Al-Nasser. “While we celebrate this collaboration on shaping the future of 5G, we are very excited about the prospects and the promise that comes with the new 5G network.”

STC also announced collaboration with Nokia to realize its 5G network aspirations. The companies have agreed to collectively work towards finding the most optimal network strategy and relevant use cases for 5G deployments in the Saudi market. As a first step, hundreds of 5G base stations are planned to be deployed in the western region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Makkah, Madinah and Yanbu).

Amr K. El Leithy, Head of Middle East and Africa Market at Nokia, said the company will leverage its technology expertise to define the strategies and services that will help STC achieve Saudi Vision 2030. He said Nokia’s products and solutions will allow STC to evolve its network, “managing 4G demands today and the 5G demands of the future.”

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is also surging ahead with 5G plans. The country’s largest telecom provider Etisalat announced in December 2017 the pre-commercial launch of 5G ultra mobile broadband in certain locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

In a statement, the operator revealed that 5G was tested using an advanced 5G-based drone that was equipped with a 360 degree virtual reality camera with 4K streaming capabilities in a live environment achieving up to 5Gbps in downlink and 2Gbps in uplink, with low latency and strong IoT connections.

The announcement came a day after the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) allowed the local mobile operators to start deploying 5G networks in phases from 2018. TRA Director General H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori said the TRA is “proud to be among the first countries that apply the 5G technology of telecommunications, which is in line with our leadership directives and the UAE vision 2021, which places our country in its deserved position among the top countries of the world.”

In June 2017, UAE telecom operator du, part of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), successfully conducted a trial in preparation for 5G using its commercial mobile network of the new Massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) solution. MIMO is an antenna technology in which multiple antennas are used at both the source (transmitter) and the destination (receiver). The antennas at each end of the communications circuit are combined to minimize errors and optimize data speed.

During the field trials, du achieved record-breaking cell capacity that exceeded 700Mbps using a single carrier of 20MHz. du is also the first in the region to utilize three simultaneous carriers totaling 60MHz which brings the cell capacity to more than 2.1Gbps. The tests were conducted on a live commercial du site using real commercial handsets and terminals.

5G is a “phased approach”, said du in a statement, confirming it will continue with trials until its official 5G launch in 2019. The company’s chief infrastructure officer, Saleem Al Blooshi, said consumers’ expectations “will only increase, as the amount of information exchanged proliferates – and 5G will offer the instant data transfer.”

In Kuwait, mobile operator VIVA, a subsidiary of STC, successfully tested 5G in its lab in April 2017 and was able to achieve almost 35Gbps. More recently, Kuwaiti telecom company Zain Group successfully tested 5G achieving speeds of over 70Gbps over 2GHz spectrum. Ericsson signed a MoU at Mobile World Congress this year with Zain to jointly develop and test selected 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) use cases.

In Qatar, the island nation’s largest telecom provider Ooredoo announced at Mobile World Congress 2018 that it has strengthened its framework agreement with Nokia to pave the way for 5G adoption across the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia (areas where the company operates subsidiaries). The companies will collaborate on 5G deployments starting in 2018, Ooredoo said in a statement.

5G in Africa

The Middle East and Africa, a region encompassing more than 70 countries, faces extreme market variations in terms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) maturity. As developed nations in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and the UAE move ahead with 5G implementation plans, countries in Africa are still only catching up to 3G and 4G.

Nevertheless, Ericsson predicts around 17 million 5G subscriptions in Africa and the Middle East by 2023. 5G will be an important technology in growing industrial digitalization, and despite IoT being in its infancy in much of the region, there are examples of how it has already helped improve the livelihood of MEA communities and industries. These include smart agriculture initiatives in Turkey and Africa, and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) being used to address utilities and smart meters in South Africa.

With a young population, the Middle East and Africa is poised to see growth in telecom and ICT services, Ericsson predicts. Particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which has higher penetration rates of smartphones, mobile traffic, and mobile data traffic compared to Sub-Saharan Africa, operators will be faced with an increasing demand for faster network capability (lower latency and higher data throughput speeds) to deliver better application coverage for more consumers in the coming years.

During a press conference at Mobile World Congress 2018, Rafiah Ibrahim, President of Ericsson region Middle East and Africa, explained how the market area she covers is extremely diverse, with some operators in the Middle East moving ahead with 5G plans this year, whereas operators in Africa are facing unique technology challenges, where some areas aren’t connected to a power grid, and many people don’t even have a bank account.

The mobile subscription rate in Africa was 700 million by the end of 2017 and it’s growing at about 6 percent, Rafiah said. Growth in the region will come in stages, she predicts, and by 2023, there is likely to be around 1 billion mobile users in the region. Ericsson’s strategy is to maintain and improve operators’ 3G and 4G networks in Africa so that they can prepare for 5G in the future, she said.

Learn more about progress towards 5G in the Middle East and North Africa next month at 5G MENA 2018, the largest event in the region to focus on advancing and commercialising 4G and 5G networks.


Ericsson and the Middle East are leading the 5G race

Network testing and measurement vendor Viavi has published a report on the state of global 5G trials to paint a picture of who and where is leading the charge.

72 operators are currently having a look at 5G, which is three times more than a year ago, and 28 of those have got as far as field trials. Of those only two have launched pre-commercial 5G services and they’re both from the Middle East: Etisalat and Ooredoo. Among the vendors Ericsson has a clear lead in terms of the proportion of those 5G trials it is involved in.

“Network service providers have been grappling with the evolution to 5G for some time, including how to address technology challenges such as fixed mobile convergence, hybrid cloud, network slicing and increasing virtualization,” said Sameh Yamany, Viavi CTO. “Virtual test, automation, self-optimization and analytics will be essential to dealing with the growing complexity and scale of 5G networks, while managing demand for high data rates, very low latency applications and large-scale IoT services.”

“Expectations for 5G are sky-high, offering mobile operators new opportunities for revenue,” said Stéphane Téral of IHS Markit, in the press release announcing the report. “Yet the path to full 5G adoption is complicated and still evolving. Operators and infrastructure vendors across the globe are moving at varying speeds when it comes to testing and deployment – they need to act now to address technology challenges.”

Of course some allowance has to be made for the vested interest companies like Viavi have in as many companies as possible testing 5G, as soon as possible. For all the talk of ‘sky-high expectations’, many operators are likely to take a cautious approach to 5G and are likely to hold off on significant capex until a pretty compelling business case is shown. Here are some charts illustrating the key datapoints from the report.

Viavi 5G data speeds

Viavi 5G spectrum

Viavi 5G vendors