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Turning an ‘Evolutionary’ 5G Wireless Technology Into an International Race is Purely Political, Says Tom Wheeler

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WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 – Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler doused cold water on the increasingly growing hype surrounding the 5G wireless standard at a Brookings Institution event on Wednesday.

Instead, he said, 5G deployment will be an evolutionary process. And the notion that we are on a “race to 5G” is really a purely political tool, he said.

As tensions unfolds with U.S. trade issues and firms competing to be 5G frontrunners, Wheeler said that the goal to successful deployment is to “rationally facilitate rollout in a way that doesn’t stifle competition.”

5G’s impact on connectivity cannot be underestimated, he said. It is the first all-software network and will be the last major overhaul of a wireless network for decades to come. But developers and policy experts need to look at 5G’s secondary impacts on society.

An estimated 11 percent of Americans don’t have access to high-speed broadband, said Wheeler. 5G requires a new level of wired connectivity in order to transmit data from small-cell sites. The government needs to enact policies that extends the reach of fiber to rural areas and other underserved communities.

Connecting rural communities requires an ecosystem built around human capital, said Karim Foda, economist at the International Monetary Fund. A connected workforce is important for people to adapt their skillsets to evolving technology.

At the macro level, Foda said, a vibrant general-purpose information technology environment can help foster a dynamic and inclusive economy. However, tech can be stymied by three factors: A declining level of competition among firms, increasing importance of “intangible capital” and declining public investment in basic tech research.

Rollout delays also stem from gaps of productivity in the economy. The firms at the top of the supply chain produce quickly and efficiently, while the smaller firms are left behind in the innovation process. As the dominant firms pursue rent-seeking behavior and consolidate intellectual property, he said, the market entry barrier becomes higher.

What’s key, said Wheeler, is that policymakers need to start thinking of long-term policies that would better facilitate technology competition.

(Photo of Tom Wheeler from November 2015 by Eric Bridiers used with permission.)

 

5G

Broadband Breakfast Interview About the Future of 5G with John Godfrey of Samsung

Greater availability of mid-band spectrum has kick-started 5G through better signal propagation, penetration and carrying capacity.

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July 11, 2021—As one of the world’s most prolific technology companies, Samsung is instantly associated with many information and communications technologies, including smartphones and semiconductors. Through both of these, and through other partnerships, Samsung is also driving the pace of change in 5G network equipment and in policy deployment.

In this interview with Samsung Electronic America’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs John Godfrey, he and Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark discussed both the past and the future of 5G.

Godfrey explained that Samsung’s work on 5G goes back a decade. Indeed, now the world is on the precipice of a 5G-connected society through a combination of technological advances and policy choices.

Broadband Breakfast Live Online hosted a six-part series, “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G” in sponsorship with Samsung Electronics America. Links to each episode in the series are posted are at the bottom of this Sponsored Video.

In particular, in the United States, the greater availability of mid-band radio frequency auctions in this spectrum has provided a “sweet spot” of good signal propagation, penetration, carrying capacity, and transmission speeds.

The hope, Godfrey says, is that 5G will subsume all cellphones, globally as well as in the U.S. More than 60 countries have deployed 5G networks today.

“By this time next year, you will not even need to think about whether your carrier has a 5G network or your phone supports 5G,” he said. “It will be so mainstream, thanks to this mid-band spectrum deployment.”

Godfrey described how the existing telecom landscape has changed over the years—and even over the past several months—with more 5G capable devices available than ever.

Samsung has been a part and parcel in this trend, designing affordable 5G phones such as the Galaxy A32 5G, with a price point as low as $200. Though the flagship models are more expensive, as 5G continues to become more common place, the financial barriers to entry to a 5G network will also continue to fall, he said.

While the world is only at the beginning of the 5G era, he said, as the technology becomes ubiquitous, new apps and services will become available. These will be the true test of the 5G era, he said.

As more carriers shift from low-band to mid-band spectrum, then bandwidth throughput will jump significantly.

Further, continuing to open up millimeter wave spectrum for deployment in the U.S. will also facilitate greater capacity for these new innovative services and apps. For example, he said, Samsung now supports 5G in 11 distinct bands ranging from 600 MegaHertz (MHz) all the way to 40 GigaHertz (GHz).

But millimeter wave bands are not a silver bullet either. But it will be extremely valuable in specific areas in the U.S. that have cleared mid-band spectrum for 5G use. That said, the U.S. is unlikely to have millimeter wave networks deployed coast-to-coast.

See “Robert Kubik, John Godfrey and Derek Johnston: After a Decade of Progress, What’s Next for 5G?,” Broadband Breakfast, June 8, 2021

This Broadband Breakfast interview is sponsored by:

Events in A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G” include:

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: The Hype and the Reality of 5G
    • This opening panel will set the stage for Broadband Breakfast Live Online’s consideration of the policy, technology and practical questions around the 5G wireless standard. What is 5G, and why is there so much buzz about it? How much of an improvement is it over prior generations of wireless? In other words: What is real, and what is hype? How the issues of trusted partners, rights-of-way deployment, and spectrum policy interact? Where is 5G seeing early successes, and what are the stumbling blocks?”
  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: National Security and Trusted Partners
    • This panel will consider the global landscape for the 5G equipment ecosystem. It will consider issues in core networks, radio access networks and in handset equipment. How has the global landscape changed? Will 5G benefit from – or suffer because of – a new Cold War with China? How are American companies reacting to federal government initiatives for trusted partners? Where can the U.S. turn for solutions and alternatives to Chinese manufacturers?
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: A Case Study of Transformative Apps in the Enterprise
    • 5G is seeing its first real successes in the enterprise marketplace. To glimpse the future more accurately, Broadband Breakfast Live Online will consider case studies of applications in enterprise environments. What technologies and processes bring 5G success to the business marketplace? What needs to happen to bring 5G successes to the consumer marketplace?
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Wireless Infrastructure, Municipal Rights-of-Way and the 5G Rural Fund
    • To realize the promise of 5G, far more base stations — wireless infrastructure facilities — will be necessary. 5G facilities and towers may not be as big as in previous generations of wireless technology. Still, the need for far more facilities has already created tensions with municipalities over rights-of-way. How can these conflicts be minimized? What are smart cities already doing to expedite wireless infrastructure deployment? Can the process be improved?
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: The Adoption and Use of 5G Broadband
    • What are some of the likely drivers of 5G equipment and services? How have existing consumer use cases been received? Are there 5G use cases that could help close the digital divide by elevating broadband utilization among communities of color and low-income populations? What can we expect from 5G technology in 2021?
  • Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Spectrum Policies to Advance Better Broadband
    • More than simply the next generation of wireless technology, 5G deployments make use of radio frequencies from an extremely wide range. For example, some 5G deployment are using mid-band spectrum between 3.4 GigaHertz (GHz) and 6 GHz. But 5G networks also promise tap into spectrum between 24 GHz and 100 GHz. It deploys these millimeter bands using network slicing and other advanced wireless tools. What new spectrum policies are necessary for 5G to flourish?
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Network Automation is Key to 5G’s Future, Experts Say

Artificial intelligence can help manage an increasingly growing network with the advent of new devices on 5G networks.

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Screenshot of Amdoc's Ofer Farkash at the 5G symposium in early June

June 28, 2021—The automation of 5G networks, including the use of artificial intelligence to keep up with updates, will be an essential component to the next-generation mobile wireless networks, according to experts.

Representatives from Verizon, Cisco Systems, and other telecom companies discussed the importance of automating 5G networks, and the role AI could play in the process, at a virtual 5G symposium held earlier this month.

The automation process involves creating equipment standards in the components that link devices to the network, the experts said. It would also standardize the way in which devices would link up, making the process of connecting new technologies to the network significantly faster, easier, and more streamlined. It would also eliminate much of the complexity currently inhibiting the networks, they added.

The implementation of 5G brings with it the promise of connecting more devices than ever before, including personal devices like laptops and tablets, autonomous vehicles, machinery, medical equipment, and homes and city buildings. Connecting these devices will allow them to collect and deliver data that will assist in research and innovation that some say will be revolutionary.

Complexities and solutions in 5G network management

The vast number of connections in 5G networks creates complexities in the network configuration that poses a challenge for engineers and experts to overcome.

The primary challenge, the experts said, lies in managing the large number of devices – including internet of things – that are supposed to connect to the network. They argued that automation, through the use of artificial intelligence, can be the solution to many of the current problems facing network operators.

Automating this process is essential, said Ofer Farkash, products and solution marketing director at Amdocs, who added that automation is a “key aspect of the 5G networks and is absolutely essential in order for service providers to manage, deploy, and operate the highly complex 5G networks.”

The Role of Artificial Intelligence

Rick Fulwiler, the chief solution architect at Netscout, said AI and machine learning could be a crucial component in synchronizing the 5G network. He said he believes technology progresses too fast for humans to keep up with, and the AI could be the component that helps us keep up.

Fulwiler says that it’s really hard for people “to understand this technology because it’s changing so quickly. And along with that, we’re seeing a kind of demise of domain knowledge.”

Technicians have to be able to maintain 4G and LTE services, while also understand the developments taking place in the 5G sphere. According to Fulwiler, it’s too much.

“It’s almost as if we’re driving a car down the road and we’re trying to change all the wheels at once,” he said.

Because it’s so difficult to streamline the vast number of differing connected devices, there exists a seemingly endless array in which errors can accrue and mishaps to the network take place, the conference heard. It would be difficult for humans alone to identify and fix every single one.

Meanwhile, AI can monitor the network, identify errors, and possibly even offer a solution long before a human ever could, the experts said.

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Robert Kubik, John Godfrey and Derek Johnston: After a Decade of Progress, What’s Next for 5G?

A decade after the advent of LTE, the next-generation 5G will be, and already is, a critical resource for Americans.

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The authors of this Expert Opinion are Samsung Electronics America officials Robert Kubik, John Godfrey and Derek Johnston

Now, a year after the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold in the U.S., it remains abundantly clear that access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury, but a necessity across all aspects of our lives. For the majority of Americans with access to either fixed or mobile broadband, technology has been a lifeline — enabling them to work remotely, attend school virtually, video call loved ones across the globe and share crucial data needed by healthcare workers fighting the virus and to scientists finding the cure.

Tragically, for those without high-speed internet, the digital divide has never felt more acute. A decade after the advent of LTE, the next generation of wireless technology, 5G will, and already is, a critical resource when it comes to ensuring that more Americans have access to the information and services they need to survive in today’s ultra-connected society. With the ability to serve a larger, less densely populated area without the expense of laying cables and fibers, wireless infrastructure can be faster and cheaper to deploy than wireline in areas that have been chronically underserved — especially rural communities.

Broadband Breakfast Live Online hosted a six-part series, “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G” in sponsorship with Samsung Electronics America. Links to each episode in the series are posted are at the bottom of this Expert Opinion.

Moreover, 5G brings the capabilities of fiber to wireless. 5G is like having fiber in your pocket, on the go. With its promise of ultra-low latency experiences for wireless applications, extremely fast mobile broadband connectivity, and reliable connectivity for IoT devices, 5G will spur a new era of digital innovation, revolutionizing life as we know it.

Thankfully, both imperatives — closing the digital divide and spurring innovation — can be advanced by supercharging the deployment of 5G which, while off to a strong start, still requires additional investment in, and creative thinking around, the use of new wireless spectrum bands.

5G is gaining momentum on all fronts. According to S&P Global, the pace of 5G deployments accelerated in 2021 despite the disruptions due to the pandemic: as of May 11, there are now 158 local operators with active 5G networks in 67 markets worldwide.

Over the past decade, improvements in antenna, transport, and use of multiple radio access technologies to provide higher bandwidth have each moved 5G further ahead. Per the latest statistics from the Global Suppliers Association (GSA), there are at least 468 devices commercially available worldwide, (an increase of over 30 percent since January) available in the market across multiple bands with a focus on mid-band development. This has all been made possible through a process of public-private collaboration and innovation.

A crucial component of this is spectrum. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), recognizing promise of 5G kick started the movement towards 5G when it enabled the use of higher bands for mobile services. Most recently, the FCC made significant progress opening mid-band spectrum when it auctioned C-band, which resulted in record setting financial commitments from wireless carriers with them committing over $81 billion to acquire the spectrum. This is good progress.

Samsung has long championed, and spearheaded, the path forward for 5G innovation. As early as 2012, we demonstrated possibilities with millimeter wave 5G by achieving 1 Gbps speed in a fixed wireless environment. In 2018, Samsung’s 5G portfolio became the first end–to-end solution to receive regulatory approval from the FCC. Shortly thereafter we brought to market the very first end-to-end 5G fixed wireless access solution operating in 28 GHz. And by May 2019, we had one of the first 5G phone (Galaxy S10 5G) approved by FCC. Since then, we have continued to demonstrate very high speeds in highly mobile environments, to recent achievements of 5.23 Gbps.

Moreover, to address the digital divide, Samsung with network operators and other industry partners have started to deploy 5G networks for fixed wireless broadband delivery in under-served communities in rural and urban areas. Samsung collaborations have leveraged their 5G mmWave network solutions in underserved communities in Houston, TX as well as 5G-ready CBRS networks in rural areas like Tennessee and Ohio, to deliver broadband to households.

Today, we’re proud to have 5G available in all with our Galaxy A-series 5G devices, many of which are under $500. This includes the Galaxy A52 5G, which supports eight 5G bands, including C-band, and will soon become operational in carrier networks, as well as the Galaxy A32 5G, which is available for under $300.

We are now closer than ever to making widespread 5G deployment a reality. The question now is: what else needs to happen to usher in 5G’s widespread deployment across the United States? Henceforth, more effective spectrum and government policies will be required to drive 5G growth.

Expanding Access to More High, Mid and Low-Band Wireless Spectrum

For 5G adoption to accelerate early on, it needed new spectrum bands, which lead Samsung to develop the millimeter wave spectrum. At the time, the FCC was offering 28 GHz spectrum that was used for fixed wireless access. It had two great advantages – a lot of bandwidth available (it offered 825 MHz license compared to the standard 5 MHz channels per license that the industry was using) and leverage better antenna technologies.

Then, between 2014 and 2018, the FCC and a lot of carriers got very active and excited about the possibilities of 5G and the FCC opened mmWave bands for mobile and fixed service. To fully realize a ubiquitous 5G vision, we had to lean on other bands. Today our latest mobile devices support 5G in up to 11 different bands from 600 MHz to 40 GHz.

The effective implementation of 5G and the services it will support still requires access to more spectrum of all types, but especially mid-band frequencies.

We are calling on the FCC and other government leaders to focus on delivering on the many ongoing spectrum work items they have already started. First is finishing C-band clearing and ensuring the market deployment is not delayed. Next is enabling a smooth auction in October this year of 3.45-3.55 GHz and implementing spectrum access methods with DoD shared users in the band. In the longer term, focus should be on bringing 3.1-3.45 GHz into the marketplace. We applaud the FCC’s recent actions on these bands, and we stand in full support of these developments and urge government leaders to do likewise.

Government Policy in Reducing Barriers to Deployment

At the same time as meeting the insatiable need for spectrum, we must reduce barriers to deployment. Many of these barriers can be reduced by government policy addressing infrastructure siting barriers, reducing costs of broadband deployment through programs like the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and 5G Rural Fund as well as meeting a growing demand for educational gaps in our society. The FCC has already this year taken great steps in reducing the costs of acquiring services and devices to close the homework gap by acting quickly on deploying the emergency connectivity fund. Industry is doing its part by and quickly and effectively building out networks using low, mid and high spectrum bands. As more spectrum becomes available, the need for a variety of base stations of different sizes and specifications becomes necessary, further pressing the need for reform on the deployment front which can best be addressed by government policy.

What’s Next

We are proud of our work in developing forward looking innovations in both devices and network solutions, but industry can’t do it alone – we also need effective spectrum and government policies to drive 5G growth.

Policymakers can chart the course forward on these policies and in doing so, ensure the U.S. sits at the forefront of 5G adoption, connecting more Americans to high-speed internet and laying the groundwork for future innovations that will enable better experiences for all. If government and industry continue to collaborate effectively, we can bring the full power of 5G to bear sooner than we think.

The authors of this Expert Opinion are Samsung Electronics America Senior Policy Director Robert Kubik, Senior Vice President of Public Policy John Godfrey and Head of Marketing 7 5G Business Development Derek Johnston. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

‘A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G’ sponsored by:

Events in A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G” include:

  • Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: The Hype and the Reality of 5G
    • This opening panel will set the stage for Broadband Breakfast Live Online’s consideration of the policy, technology and practical questions around the 5G wireless standard. What is 5G, and why is there so much buzz about it? How much of an improvement is it over prior generations of wireless? In other words: What is real, and what is hype? How the issues of trusted partners, rights-of-way deployment, and spectrum policy interact? Where is 5G seeing early successes, and what are the stumbling blocks?”
  • Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: National Security and Trusted Partners
    • This panel will consider the global landscape for the 5G equipment ecosystem. It will consider issues in core networks, radio access networks and in handset equipment. How has the global landscape changed? Will 5G benefit from – or suffer because of – a new Cold War with China? How are American companies reacting to federal government initiatives for trusted partners? Where can the U.S. turn for solutions and alternatives to Chinese manufacturers?
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: A Case Study of Transformative Apps in the Enterprise
    • 5G is seeing its first real successes in the enterprise marketplace. To glimpse the future more accurately, Broadband Breakfast Live Online will consider case studies of applications in enterprise environments. What technologies and processes bring 5G success to the business marketplace? What needs to happen to bring 5G successes to the consumer marketplace?
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Wireless Infrastructure, Municipal Rights-of-Way and the 5G Rural Fund
    • To realize the promise of 5G, far more base stations — wireless infrastructure facilities — will be necessary. 5G facilities and towers may not be as big as in previous generations of wireless technology. Still, the need for far more facilities has already created tensions with municipalities over rights-of-way. How can these conflicts be minimized? What are smart cities already doing to expedite wireless infrastructure deployment? Can the process be improved?
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: The Adoption and Use of 5G Broadband
    • What are some of the likely drivers of 5G equipment and services? How have existing consumer use cases been received? Are there 5G use cases that could help close the digital divide by elevating broadband utilization among communities of color and low-income populations? What can we expect from 5G technology in 2021?
  • Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “A No-Nonsense Guide to 5G: Spectrum Policies to Advance Better Broadband
    • More than simply the next generation of wireless technology, 5G deployments make use of radio frequencies from an extremely wide range. For example, some 5G deployment are using mid-band spectrum between 3.4 GigaHertz (GHz) and 6 GHz. But 5G networks also promise tap into spectrum between 24 GHz and 100 GHz. It deploys these millimeter bands using network slicing and other advanced wireless tools. What new spectrum policies are necessary for 5G to flourish?

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