Friday News Round-up: 26/09/2014

26 September 2014 | Kavit Majithia


A summary of the week’s biggest telecoms news stories.

Time for 5

5G came to life as the Wireless World Research Forum and Tech UK held a 5G Huddle conference in London this week.

The event brought together a range of researchers and developers, engineers, vendors and carriers to discuss the inevitable evolution of the latest next-generation mobile technology.

A common theme within the discussions centred on the industry’s efforts to ensure that standardisation of the new technology was commonplace across the globe, as the market looks to avoid the problems a number of developed countries faced with the slow introduction of 4G.

South Korea continues to lead the way in terms of investment, research and enthusiasm around the concept of 5G, while the European Union has already pledged an early alliance with the Asian country.

The US, surprisingly, appears way off the pace in terms of 5G, and this was duly noted by speakers on numerous panels.

The conference ended with a presentation entitled; ‘What is 5G’, and was designed to allow speakers to portray their perceptions of the technology at this early stage.

While the question remained largely unanswered, many of the experts in the room remain convinced that 5G will be adopted by 2020.

A future for fixed

While the momentum around 5G is already starting to build, Huawei made a surprise announcement this week by pledging to spend approximately $4 billion in R&D for fixed broadband services.

The company has largely veered away from fixed infrastructure in recent years, instead focussing on the mobile sector, and its announcement this week has renewed hopes for the future of fixed-broadband.

It will invest the sum over the next three years, and grow a range of basic technologies, including the development of fibre optic and SDN.

The company completed the first tests of a 400G transport network in its domestic market China, and will partner with China Mobile, in both companies latest bid to commercialise the service.

Huawei has been a pioneer in Europe to trial 400G, and partnered with Telefónica and KPN in the continent in recent years.

SEA-ME-WE-5 on track for 2016

Alcatel-Lucent was declared as one of the first vendors deployed in the construction of the mammoth SEA-ME-WE-5 cable, which got underway this week.

The French company will construct the route from Sri Lanka to France, while co-contractor NEC will deploy the route from Singapore to Sri Lanka.

Timelines for the project appear to be on track, and the consortium of 14 operators charged with the build-out anticipate that the cable will become fully operational by the second half of 2016, connecting 17 countries. And by connecting presently underserved countries, including Myanmar, Yemen and Indonesia, the Sea-Me-We-5 system is expected to have a big impact across Asian and European markets.

Staying with Asia, and Bharti Airtel’s attempts to acquire Loop Mobile has been blocked by the country’s regulator, given a perceived loss in revenue for the government if the merger went through.

The deal, first announced in February, was designed to create India’s largest mobile network, and the Department of Telecommunication’s (DoT) decision leaves Loop in a perilous position.

The company’s mobile licence is to expire in two months, and if the regulator does not revise its position, Airtel will also have to look elsewhere to expand its mobile reach domestically.

Kavit Majithia

News Editor


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