Edge takes centre stage at MWC 2019

For all the hype and buzz which was generated ahead of Mobile World Congress 2019, the edge stole some of the attention away from 5G.

Perhaps this is more of a realisation that 5G is not all its cracked up to, at least for the moment anyway. After handing out the accolades for ‘5G first’, this now seems to be the time to settle down and take a mature look at what we have in front of us.

Numerous telcos have not crossed the finish line to offer 5G to those who feel they need it, but with the incredibly limited nature of the coverage and a lack of devices to make use of the bonanza, you have to ask what is the point? For all the promise of greatness, this year’s gathering had a much more pragmatic feel.

Yes, 5G is exciting, but its only the beginning. Yes, there is a chance to make more money, but the usecases have to be figured out. Yes, there are some interesting ideas out there, but Release 16 is where the magic will happen. And yes, today’s 5G will bring certain benefits, but there is of course a lot of work to be done.

It might seem like a bit of a negative thing to say but keep the champagne on ice because nothing has been achieved yet. And this seemed to be the mood throughout the halls of the Fira. The industry has been building up this promise of a connected society, built on superfast 5G networks, for years, but the hype seems to have been dissipated by reality.

There was of course a lot of talk around 5G, perhaps most notably because of the devices the manufacturers were showing off, but it would certainly be fair to say the edge stole at least a bit of the limelight.

Although there are some telcos out there who believe they can build a 5G business on the concept of speed, many are building towards the latency angle. This is where the edge will play a critical role, and the rational businesses throughout the world are building partnerships and investing in technology to make these services a reality.

Telefonica is an excellent example, as while it announced a partnership with Microsoft to smarten up its Aura product ahead of taking on the likes of Amazon and Google in the personal assistant space, this tie up will help it drive towards the edge, creating a wealth of new services for a variety of customers. During the press conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pointed towards the edge as one of the most powerful developments over the next couple of years, and he certainly wasn’t the only one.

On the final day of MWC, Ian Fogg of OpenSignal spoke of how importance low latency will be to enhance the gaming experience for users around, while two halves of the same bad played a set in opposite ends of the hall, one in Vodafone’s stand and the other in Ericsson. While we’re not convinced this is a block-buster usecase, it does demonstrate what can be done.

While the edge plays an important role in content caching and distribution, a more intelligent can help change the industry in numerous other ways due to the idea of ‘dumb devices’. The more processing power, intelligence and storage components which can be moved off these devices, the cheaper they become to manufacture. This could potentially have a scaling effect on certain aspects of the already blossoming IOT segment.

Of course, what is worth taking into account is that there are numerous devices and services which are becoming increasingly complex. Only a segment of the IOT world will become ‘dumb’, and irrelevant of how small it is, it will open the door, encourage growth and adoption, as well as broadening the number of usecases which might be considered commercially unviable currently.

The same argument could be said for smartphones. With more ‘intelligence’, storage and processing power moving off devices, there could be more freedom to evolve the smartphone. Power demands and the necessity of having some components on the devices could be removed. There could be a lot more opportunity to create new concepts.

An interesting counterpoint to this latency usecase for 5G was raised by Bengt Nordstrom, CEO at Northstream, during our MWC podcast. Nordstrom points to the reduction in latency over the last few years, and whether this has encouraged any new (or growth) revenues in the industry. If it is simply improving experience as opposed to adding to the bottom line, is there any reason to believe this wouldn’t be the case moving forward, and does it build a business case for 5G investments?

Looking at the usecases for low latency, there are many, some of which are arguably more important than others. Video chat is one which is mentioned often, especially when one of the parties in a remote location, such as international reporters. Esports is a significant one, and this is a growing industry. Betting and bidding could be another, and while many will think of sports betting first and foremost, the financial sector would certainly benefit as fractions of a seconds could means thousands in trading, especially with automation playing a role. Smart factories, transport systems, air-traffic control, security threat detection, network automation are more. There are numerous examples.

For us, the emphasis on edge computing represents a shift in mentality from the industry. 5G discussions are all about laying the groundwork for the future digital community, but in giving more airtime to topics like the edge, the industry is seemingly more focused on the commercial realities of futuristic connectivity. 5G won’t make the future, it will just enable it.

5G was supposed to steal the show in Barcelona this year, and it certainly was the protagonist, but the edge certainly commanded more than its 15 minutes.

We’re cashing the IoT cheques now – AT&T

Some telcos are readying themselves for the IoT bonanza, but AT&T is cashing in on the connected dream today.

With 51 million ‘things’ connected to the network today, three million were added during the last period, AT&T’s Executive Director for Mobility Marketing Mobeen Khan boasts IoT is more than a commercial win for the telco, it is driving diversification.

“We have a deliberate strategy to go up the stack,” Khan stated at Mobile World Congress.

While traditionally telcos fortunes have been delivered through the network, Khan pointed to IoT as a means to diversify revenues, a long-sought desire from the industry. At the base level, AT&T can sell customers the hardware, moving up one level it can provide the connectivity, thirdly there are platform offerings, and finally, there are enterprise applications available to manage the business of IoT. AT&T is fulfilling the ambition of being more than a dumb pipe.

This is where it becomes more interesting to be involved in the IoT world. AT&T of course makes money off everything ‘thing’ which is connected to the network, but the massive potential is providing the platforms on the third layer. This is where Khan sees the IoT fortunes being delivered.

“Most companies already have the applications and software to make IoT work at a business level,” said Khan. “We don’t need to sell them these products, but we need to create the platforms which allow the data to be integrated into these applications.”

Take Salesforce as an example. Numerous companies around the world have already purchased licenses for this product, so there is little value in attempting to compete with a market leader which is a perfect foil for the business side of IoT. However, these applications are not designed to handles the vast swell of information generated through IoT. The pain point for many is filtering and actioning the useful information.

If a fridge is designed to work at 34 degrees, no-one needs to know if there are minor fluctuations each minute. If it rises to 34.2 or drops to 33.7 degrees, this is not insight. However, if the temperature spikes to 42 degrees, then you know there is a problem, this is data which can be actioned. This filtering process is the aspect of IoT which is complicated and time-consuming, not of interest to the application developers in the business, allowing AT&T to slide into the stack and provide value to the ecosystem.

Perhaps more importantly is the compounding effect. The simpler AT&T makes it for insight to be derived from data, the lower the barrier for entry for customers. Not only does this improve the potential for platform sales, but it also accelerates the number of ‘things’ connected to the network. There’s cash everywhere.

Some might be billing IoT as a justification for future 5G investments, but AT&T is getting a jump start on the market.

Innovations from the left field of Mobile World Congress 2019

Innovations demonstrated at a fringe event outside of the sound and fury of MWC showed promise to solve some real-life problems.

MobileFocus, a long-running fringe event during the MWC week in Barcelona, brought about two dozen companies to showcase their innovations that may not hit the frontpage but are illuminating nonetheless. There were big companies, like Lenovo, which displayed a slew of its new PCs, but most exhibitors are single product small companies. Some of them promoted ideas as straightforward as Bluetooth speakers focused on design, or water-proof cases to take smartphones into the pool. Others are trying to address more sophisticated issues. At least three of them impressed.

MobileFocus Amber

Amber is an elegant looking private cloud datacentre. It is also a high-speed Wi-Fi router and in-home media casting centre (with DLNA), and other functions. This product would appeal to the users that are interested in saving their files in the cloud but are concerned with the security of public clouds (e.g. iCloud, which has been compromised in some high-profile cases). With this device physically located in the user’s own premise, hacking would become more difficult. It also has strong enough processing power (an Intel Dual-Core CPU) and embedded AI engine, so it can also do facial indexing and searching as the Google Photos offers. Trusted parties can also remotely (i.e. outside of the home environment) access files on the datacentre. Coming up next, the company will offer passive back-up on the company’s cloud, as a double security. By passive back-up, the company explained, it meant the files cannot be shared from the cloud. The California-based start-up expects the products to hit the market in the next month.

MobileFocus e-checkup

e-Checkup is designed to measure a user’s blood pressure with a set of sensors added on the back of a smartphone and the application to go with it. Although the wellness functions on smartphones and smartwatches will measure pulses, very few have offered blood pressure measuring, presumably because it is harder to get right. The company claimed that this is the world’s first accurate cuff-less and calibration-free blood pressure measurement system. The application gamifies the measuring processes by asking the user to keep pressing against the sensors to keep an on-screen water stream steadily pouring into a lake. Readings will be made when the water level rises to a defined bar. The Lausanne-based Leman Micro Devices expected that this technology could be cleared by the FDA for a Class II risk device category soon. That would be the same class as the latest Apple Watch. It is also in advanced discussions with unnamed smartphone OEMs to integrate the sensors in their upcoming phone models to make the testing experience more ergonomically pleasant (the mock-up on the top of the picture).

MobileFocus DeviceAssure fake Galaxy 9

DeviceAssure is a B2B security tool to detect counterfeit mobile devices. The service offered by the Dublin-based company can run both on-device and cloud-based test of the product down to chipset level to decide whether it is genuine. Three new “developments” in the counterfeit trade have made the detection job both more challenging and more pertinent. Counterfeiting techniques are much more advanced. This “Galaxy 9” looks very bit the part except that it is a $80 fake, and an ordinary user would find it hard to tell with his naked eyes.

Distribution is more efficient, helped by the online shopping channels. Last but not the least, the bloatware or even malware preinstalled on these phones are more sophisticated. The last of the three new trends makes it particularly desirable for the company’s corporate customers to be more vigilant against counterfeit end user devices. For example, corporate IT teams need to be able to block counterfeit devices from connecting to the corporate networks to defend against malware being distributed; or banks should be able to stop counterfeit handsets installing online banking applications as their customers’ security could be more easily compromised. The company representatives did admit, however, that it took them a while to understand why, out of all kinds of enterprise customers, telecom operators were the least concerned with counterfeit phones, so long as the users pay the phone bills.

Some of the companies also have a booth inside MWC, but most of them only attend fringe events like this. A few companies at MobileFocus also ride on the big themes like IoT security, but most of them start with solving a more concrete problem, which makes the fringe events more refreshing. Edinburgh Fringe has given us Stephen Fry, might MWC fringe give us tomorrow’s Steve Jobs?

Telcos don’t understand the hacking community – Oracle

Security is a challenge for the industry, we all know that, but the speed in which security threats are evolving is creating new headaches every single day for the telcos.

Speaking to Travis Russell, Oracle’s Director for Cybersecurity, at Mobile World Congress, the issue for the telcos is a relatively simple one to identify, but heartachingly difficult to address.

“Risk management and tolerance is the Achilles Heel for telcos,” said Russell. “The telcos are always looking for a smoking gun before changing risk tolerance.”

This has been the issue in recent years, though it is only today the real damage is being dealt. In by-gone years, telcos have been unwilling to address the problem of security until it has become a direct threat to the business. Due to finite resources and increasing pressure on the spreadsheets, telco have had to focus on immediate problems instead of getting ahead of greater threats.

“IP was an enabler to vulnerabilities,” said Russell. “It took a while for the hackers to catch-up, but now they have.”

As Russell points out, prior to IP being introduced to the world of telcos, risks were much smaller. TDM technologies were incredibly secure, but as networks evolved, new problems emerged. These challenges are persistent today, but the main issue is few people understand the community which is the most dangerous threat.

A lazy stereotype of a hacker would be a 17-year computer whizz, sitting in his pants at his laptop with red bull scattered throughout the room, causing chaos on the digital highways in search of kudos on the dark web. This might have been true one-upon-a-time, but the threat has evolved.

Hackers nowadays can herald from the worlds of organized crime. These are not thugs who extort the local corner shop anymore, but nefarious organizations which use the virtual world as a means to make money illegally. Few people think of organized crime mobs or terrorists groups as containing PHD computer genius’, but this is increasingly becoming the new norm as undesirables poke and prod networks for illicit gains.

However, as Russell mentioned before, the challenge has not been adequately addressed because the smoking gun has not been found. Few people consider a data breach as major news anymore, but that is because there have not been enough reported instances of identity fraud as a result of personal information hitting the dark corners of the web. Another example of a new threat is Metro Bank’s recent incident in the UK.

Here, Metro Bank was the victim of SS7 attacks, which allowed anyone with access to reroute text messages and calls. Considering banks use SMS during the two-stage authentication process, this presents a massive risk for many companies in the future. They are becoming much more common.

Elsewhere, the risks are becoming much more sophisticated as well, with open source communities coming under threat. Russell notes that while ecosystems like Linux might be safe, there are plenty of eye balls on code to ensure its legitimacy, lesser known or more niche ecosystems could be at risk. In these cases, vulnerabilities could be placed into the source code before being used elsewhere. It is a risk few consider and demonstrates the sophistication and intelligence of those who are aiming to do harm.

While this might sound like scaremongering, it is a perfectly legitimate point to make. Due to the fact companies have been brushing aside security concerns for years, there is a lot of catching up to do. Governments need to force security ownership on all segments of the community, as well as do more do educate the consumer on the risk of digital society.

The fact of the matter is, each element of the supply chain has to take ownership for security, even if there are elements which are slightly outside of their control. As it stands, each layer, whether they be connectivity providers, operating systems, hardware manufacturers, software providers or the consumer, has to take a more pragmatic approach to security. The security conundrum can only be solved if each element takes a more serious approach, to create an end-to-end landscape of protection. Gone are the days responsibilities can be passed elsewhere.

The hackers have got a head-start, but with new fines enforceable on incidents and substandard security protocols, security might be taken seriously before too long.

Competition is a problem, removing Huawei could be disastrous – Vodafone CEO

With all eyes in directed towards Mobile World Congress this week, Vodafone CEO Nick Read took the opportunity to vent his frustrations.

Competition is unhealthy, accusations are factually suspect, protectionism is too aggressive, the trust with customers has been broken, collaboration is almost non-existent. From Read’s perspective, there are plenty of reasons the 5G era will be just of much of a struggle for the telcos as the 4G one.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a telco press conference if there wasn’t a reference to Huawei.

“I would like a new contract for the industry, I want to go out and build trust with consumers and businesses,” said Read. “This will require us to engage government and build the vision of a digital society together.”

Read has reiterated his point from the last quarterly earnings call, there needs to be more of a fact-based conversation around the Huawei saga. There is too much rhetoric, too much emotion, and perhaps, too much political influence.

Huawei is the punching bag right now, but any ban or heavy-handed response to US calls for aggressive action would be a consequence for everyone.

As Read points out, Huawei is a significant player in almost everyone’s supply chain, controlling roughly 28% of mobile infrastructure, while Nokia and Ericsson also have market share in the 20s. Removing one of these players from the market will further compound a problem which plagues the industry today; the supply chain is too concentrated around a small number of vendors.

There simply isn’t enough diversity to consider removing a key cog to European operations.

Of course, you have to consider the status quo. The US is happy to ban Huawei as it has never been a significant contributor to its infrastructure. Should the same ban be enforced in Europe, negotiations would be de-railed, and operations disrupted. Read suggests this would set 5G plans back by two years across the bloc.

The issue here is of confidence to invest. Why would telcos enter into deep negotiations when future conditions have not been set in stone. This is already evident in Vodafone’s decision to pause work on the core with Huawei; delaying these important initiatives could push Europe further behind global 5G leaders. Telcos need confidence, certainty and answers. The longer reviews go on, the more precarious the situation becomes.

This is one of the many challenges the industry is facing. There is an ‘us versus them’ mentality when it comes to telcos. Read is referencing the relationship with regulators and government, suggesting a lack of collaboration which is negatively impacting the ability to operate, but it is also evident in the relationship with the consumer and competitors. Collaboration is a key word here.

One example of collaboration is in the UK where the National Cybersecurity Centre effectively monitors Huawei equipment. This model could be rolled out across Europe, though Read’s stressed the point that there would have to be a harmonised approach. Fragmentation is the enemy here, and it would stifle progress. If there is a European level of monitoring, or even if it is taken down to nation states, it doesn’t actually matter as long as it is consistent.

The Huawei ban is set to become one of the talking points of this years’ MWC, that is not necessarily an idea anyone will be surprised about, but what we are not sure about is the disruption. Will it slow 5G development? Has the uncertainty already slowed 5G development? Will the anti-China rhetoric, dilly-dallying and confusion kill Europe’s ambitions in the global digital economy?

Telefonica and Seat get the MWC wheels turning

Telefonica is fuelling the hype as we motor towards MWC with connected car announcements alongside Spanish automotive giant Seat.

In an early effort to drive traffic towards its stand, Telefonica has carpooled with Seat to give the green light to three new innovations in the connected vehicles race. While there are sceptics who would want to curb autonomous vehicles enthusiasm, the duo is racing towards a happy middle-ground with three assisted driving use cases.

Firstly, the team will introduce pedestrian detection capabilities, which will allow traffic lights to sense the presence of pedestrians with thermal cameras, before relaying this information onto cars in the nearby area. Display panels will be able to inform the driver of potential risks on the road.

Secondly, connected bicycles equipped with a precise geolocation will notify vehicles in the area when the rider decides to turn right. The bikes will be detected by ultra-wideband beacons placed along the road, and should there be a risk of collision, the driver in the car will once again be notified.

While both these ideas will be powered by edge-computing, the final usecase will rely on direct communication interface. Should visibility be particularly low, stationary vehicles would detect moving vehicles, emergency lights would be turned on while the driver would, again, be notified on the display board.

These usecases might not be on the same level as the glories of autonomous vehicles, but there is a satisfactory amount of realism on display. Autonomous vehicles are not going to be on our roads for a long-time, and while that does not mean we should not continue to fine tune the technology, there has to be a focus on improving road safety today. This is exactly what is being done here.

Another similar concept is being developed in MIT. Here, an AI application analyses the way pedestrians are walking to understand whether there might be any risks. This sort of analysis is something we all do subconsciously, but a very useful and important addition to the connected car mix.

Using lidar and stereo camera systems, the AI estimates direction and pace, but also takes pose and gait into consideration. Pose and gait not only inform the pace and direction, but also give clues to future intentions. For instance, if someone is glancing over their shoulder, it could be an indication they are about to step into the road.

Looking further into the future, when autonomous taxis might be a real thing, this could also be incredibly useful. Of course, the simplest way to hail a taxi in this futuristic age will be through an app, but if the vehicle can see and understand an outstretched arm is a signal for a taxi, it would be a useful skill to incorporate into the AI.

All of these ideas are not only relevant for the long-term ambitions of the automotive industry but also very applicable today. Connectivity and AI can be incredibly beneficial for human-operated vehicles, especially with the advancements of edge-computing and leaning on the high bandwidth provided by 5G. Not everything has to be super-futuristic, and it’s nice to see a bit of realism.

Nokia plugs AI to get MWC ball rolling

Nokia has announced the launch of its network of Cognitive Collaboration Hubs which will aim to bring telcos and enterprise into its realm to work on a series of AI usecases.

Fitting very well into Mobile World Congress’ ‘Intelligent Connectivity’ theme, the network based on a similar Cloud Collaboration Hubs, focusing on developing cloud-based capabilities. While artificial intelligence has been praised as one of the saviours of connectivity and a justification for 5G, the usecases are relatively simplistic, this initiative will aim to correct this.

“Network operators are eager to deploy AI to improve network operations and strengthen customer relationships,” said John Byrne, Nokia’s Service Director for Telecom Technology & Software, Global Data. “Nokia’s Cognitive Collaboration Hubs can help accelerate those plans by providing a space for operators, partners and enterprises to co-create new AI solutions utilizing a mix of data science and telco domain expertise.”

One example of these usecases is Driver Behaviour Analytics, a service which aims to analyse driver performance and road conditions. The data and insight can be offered to governments to help improve driving conditions, delivery companies to aide with logistics or insurance companies to more accurately price premiums. Such a system has already been trialled by the Dubai Police.

“Nokia Cognitive Collaboration Hubs are yet another step in the expansion of our data analytics and AI services capabilities, which are widely recognized as industry-leading,” said Dennis Lorenzin, Head of the Network Cognitive Service Unit at Nokia. “Building on our data science and telco expertise, we are helping our customers apply AI technologies to improve their operational efficiency, prepare their networks for 5G, and generate new revenues.”

This is perhaps the area where many are struggling right now; generating new revenues and creating new services for the data-driven era. The most simplistic was to implement AI is relatively obvious, buy an automated bit of software and sack the employees were roles have been made redundant, but the search for value creation is much more difficult than operational efficiency.

The usecases which are being discussed today are of course of value. Self-correcting networks which can identify difficulties will improve customer experience, as will building a profile of users to improve experience, but these are examples of improving what you already have. The reason internet companies secured the lion’s share of profits in the 4G era is because they sought to create new value and revenues which didn’t exist before. The telcos need to start doing this.

It will certainly be interesting to see the usecases which emerge from the Cognitive Collaboration Hub, but for now it serves as an excellent way for Nokia to plug itself under the increasingly popular AI buzz.

Gimmick or genuine progress? Foldable phones are coming to MWC

Pretty much all the major phone manufacturers have been teasing the world with foldable smartphone launches, and now its Huawei’s turn to tickle the fancy.

The Chinese brand has not gone as far as promising a foldable phone, but in a tweet (which you can see below) the imagery suggests this might be the next step in the evolution of Huawei devices. Considering Samsung, Xiaomi, LG and others have all dropped their own hints, it should hardly come as a surprise Huawei is joining the party.

“It is certain that foldable devices using flexible display technology are going to be hot topic at MWC,” said Ben Wood, Chief of Research at CCS Insight. “Samsung’s intentions to deliver flexible displays are clearly building on its Infinity Flex Display showcased in October. Xiaomi has teased an interesting prototype and upstart Royole has managed to steal the limelight with its FlexPai foldable tablet/smartphone albeit little more than a clunky prototype still a long way from being a mass-market consumer device.”

But here is the big question; is this a gimmick to catch the attention of bored consumers, or could foldable devices be the next big thing in the smartphone world?

Starting with the gimmick accusation. The last genuine disruption to form factor for smartphones arguably came a decade ago. Apple released its smartphone which decided to ditch the keyboard, a move which was initially dismissed by some in the industry. Nowadays anything but a massive screen looks positively odd.

With global smartphone shipments flat-lining, manufacturers need to search for a means to re-capture the attention of the consumers, convincing them the increasingly extortionate prices are justified. The devices segment needs to be reinvigorated, but foldable devices need to be more than a gimmick.

“It feels like we’re currently in the Stone Age when it comes to products with flexible screens,” Wood said. “But this isn’t a criticism, merely an observation that we have seen the first very tentative steps toward implementation of a technology that may seem to be a solution looking for a problem now but is likely to become a pillar of designs of consumer electronic devices in the future.”

That said, the sceptics need to bear one thing in mind; smartphones are so much more than communications devices nowadays. These are devices which people work on, play games, watch content and increasingly access services such as online banking. Perhaps the foldable devices can help with increased interface.

A foldable smartphone could soon become a hybrid communications/entertainment device, folded for normal phone functionality, but then opened up to allow for a bigger screen to improve the gaming and content experience. More people are catching the gaming bug while video has been massive on smartphones for some time now. It can potentially address a pain-point for consumers.

Improving the experience is difficult as people don’t want to carry massive devices around with them. The convenience of a smartphone is its size, this is the reason its rare to see people carrying around a tablet. A foldable phone could bridge the chasm. That said, there could be some issues in the pipeline…

“The big worry I have with the sudden rush in foldable phones coming out now from several manufacturers is that the technology could be coming to market before the software is properly optimized to work with foldable designs,” said Ovum senior analyst Daniel Gleeson. “Turning technology advances into satisfying and impactful user experience changes has not be the strong suit of Android manufacturers.

“This is partially due to their lack of control over Android, but also the intense competition between various Android brands means that short term thinking tends to win out when it comes to deciding when a technology will be introduced. Apple on the other hand has traditionally been much more controlled with how and when it introduces new technologies, ensuring there is a good user experience and clear use cases associated with each innovation.”

As Gleeson points out, the devices need to pass the ‘so what’ test. As long as the device manufacturers prove there is a use-case and genuine applications for the advancement in form factor, this idea could be a keeper.

We are going to reserve judgement on the devices until we get to see, and play around with, them at Mobile World Congress later this month. If the experience is positive, it could certainly provide some impetus in the sluggish smartphone segment.

Samsung and LG set to launch 5G smartphones in February

The Korean media has reported that the world smartphone leader Samsung and its struggling compatriot are going to launch the first 5G smartphones at MWC and ship in March.

According to a report by the Korean media outlet Pulse, citing its industry source, that both Samsung and LG will debut their 5G smartphones in February next year. Volume shipment is expected to start in March, which will synchronise with the start of 5G service for consumers by the three operators. All three of them launched limited 5G services for business simultaneously at the beginning of December.

Mobile World Congress has long been the venue for Samsung to showcase its latest Galaxy flagship product. It will be the series’ 10th iteration next year, so we can expect quite a bit of fanfare to go with the occasion. Whether the Galaxy 10 will be built on 5G, or there will be a 5G variant of the product, is up to speculation.

LG has seen its smartphone market share shrinking in recent years and already posted over $400 million loss in the first three quarters of the year. As a result, the head of its Mobile Communications business was replaced one year into the job. LG would desperately need something to excite the market if the company still decides to stay in the handset market. The expected 5G product could be a new model of its flagship G series, or the new head of its mobile business could decide to rewrite its product portfolio.

Both companies are expected to build their first 5G smartphones on the newly launched Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, which we have reported in detail. Samsung was one of the illustrious partners to adorn the launch event, but LG was absent. With a long line of OEMs, especially the Chinese smartphone makers showing strong interest in the new Snapdragon, we can expect more 5G handsets to be launched in Barcelona come February than those from the Korean stalwarts.

Huawei 5G Transport Helps Telefonica Demonstrate the Industry’s First 5G Slicing-based Interactive VR Service

[Barcelona, Spain, February 27, 2018] During the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Telefonica and Huawei jointly demonstrated the industry’s first VR service using 5G end-to-end (E2E) network slicing technology underpinned by Telefonica’s UNICA program. This demonstration involved the wireless access network, core network, transport network, and terminals, with the transport network being formed by one of the industry’s first network slicing routers for 5G transport from Huawei.

Network slicing enables operators to divide a set of hardware infrastructure into multiple virtual E2E networks to adapt to various types of services with different characteristics. This demonstration provided evidence of how 5G network slicing can enable on-demand diversified services and ensure high bandwidth and low latency, helping operators to achieve business success with 5G. It also represented the latest achievements in 5G key technology verification and use case research, marking another significant milestone of the continued joint innovation and strategic cooperation between Huawei and Telefonica.

Huawei’s 5G E2E network slicing technology utilizes service-oriented network architecture, network function modularization, and CU separation. On the mobile bearer network, Huawei’s network slicing routers can generate network slices based on the SLA requirements of 5G services. Network slices are isolated using FlexE technology to ensure that services on different slices do not interfere with each other, meeting the diversified transport requirements of 5G services. The network resources within each network slice can be fully utilized through statistical multiplexing to maximize the network value.

Huawei has also launched its 5G-oriented X-Haul mobile bearer network solution. Before this demonstration, Huawei and Telefonica verified multiple key X-Haul technologies in a lab environment. These technologies include PAM4-based 50 Gbit/s ports used to effectively reduce 5G network construction costs, FlexE bundling used to smoothly evolve bandwidth, and SR+EVPN used to simplify network protocols, unify service bearing, and make network connections simpler, more flexible, and more efficient.

Javier Gavilan, Planning and Technology Director Core Network, Platforms and Transport, Telefonica Global CTIO Unit, said: “We are very happy to demonstrate this VR service with Huawei in the MWC. Telefonica is committed to becoming a pioneer in the 5G era and will work with Huawei through joint innovation to promote 5G commercial use.”

Gao Ji, President of Huawei Router & Carrier Ethernet Product Line, said: “5G brings many challenges to the transport network in terms of bandwidth, latency, slicing, and architecture. The tests of key 5G transport technologies and this demonstration conducted by Telefonica and Huawei show that the transport network can overcome the challenges facing it and lead the future development of 5G. Huawei is excited to work with Telefonica and embrace the 5G era together.”

MWC 2018 runs from February 26 to March 1 in Barcelona, Spain. Huawei is showcasing its products and solutions at booth 1J50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1, booth 3130 in Hall 3, and the Innovation City zone in Hall 4. For more information, please visit: http://carrier.huawei.com/en/events/mwc2018.

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Our aim is to enrich life and improve efficiency through a better connected world, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, innovative enabler for the information society, and collaborative contributor to the industry. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 180,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees. For more information on Huawei please visit www.huawei.com or follow us on:

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