When we sum up 2019, we can see that it has been a very important year for the new and disruptive unlicensed 5G technology in Europe.
In July 2019 a very important decision was made at the Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), a conference driven by the member states in the European communication committee. The groundbreaking decision was to allow for the use of the 57-71 GHz band for unlicensed 5G services, which paves the way for our mm-wave technology to be rolled out in Europe. By 1st of January 2020 all 48 member countries shall follow the recommendation by CEPT and allow 57-71 GHz to be used for unlicensed 5G. To put this in perspective, in 2008 the Swedish Post- och telestyrelsen (PTS) held an auction for LTE (4G) spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band and a total of 2×70 MHz for FDD and 50 MHz for TDD was allocated, i.e. 190 MHz (equal to 0.19 GHz) or ~70 times less than what has now be allocated for free in 57-71 GHz. In 2008 the Swedish operators paid 226 million Euro for 70x less bandwidth than what is now available for free!!! Disruptive? Yes, that is the least you can say.
This decision has led to that the rollout of unlicensed 5G has started in EU, e.g. with the award winning MetNet Self organizing (SON) technology from CCS (Cambridge Communication Systems) getting to the market with full certification in both US and Europe. Their technology is based on the award-winning technology from both Sivers IMA (IEEE award) and Blu Wireless (awards) and the results from the deep partnership that Sivers IMA and Blu Wireless has with IDT (a Renesas company) and its market leading RapidWave modems 6050 and 6051. CCS with its leading unlicensed 5G MetNet technology has now been launched in several new places in Europe like in London by Ontix, around Trafalgar Square (see picture below).
Picture 1: CCS MetNode at Trafalgar Square and CPEs in SoHo London
Ontix is a service provider and offers a neutral host solution in London with a gigabit 5G mesh-network for 4G backhaul and WiFi access as well as Fixed Wireless access (using CPEs also from CCS). The CEO of Ontix Tomlinson, says: “We need tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of new small cells in London alone“. We have also in November seen the first launch in Sweden by the Wireless broadband supplier, Micronät. The Micronät CEO Jonas Hellström stated at the launch to a telecom newspaper that he sees ”Ten times higher speed – at half the price” compared to fiber.
This new era of unlicensed 5G mmWave is of course not only happening in EU, there are very large efforts ongoing within the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), which is one of the main efforts focused on 60 GHz millimeter Wave (mmWave) Networks trying to create low-cost hardware and software. This group is chaired by Facebook and Deutsche Telekom which are great endorsers of the 60 GHz efforts. Facebook Connectivity is also driving the Terragraph project in this area with the slogan “Solving the Urban Bandwidth Challenge”. In US, FCC already has the same regulation as EU now have adapted for 57-71 GHz band for unlicensed 5G. 2020 will be the year that this technology starts hitting the market in its true force. Not only for FWA or Mesh-network, but also in Track to Train applications, smart cities, Industry 4.0 and more.
This is just the beginning…..
Group CEO Sivers IMA Holding