Cellular networks, and the transition from the old to the new, were center stage this week in Next Generation Communications news.
Out With the Old
As I noted in NGC coverage earlier this week, AT&T has decommissioned its 2G network.
That is after building 3G and 4G networks, and starting work around 5G. And it’s after AT&T (News - Alert) announced plans for the 2G shutdown about four years ago.
Nonetheless, some organizations have not updated their devices that have relied on the 2G AT&T network to allow them to transition to the carrier’s newer networks. So there was a bit of a hiccup on some fronts. But AT&T, in announcing the 2G network shutdown, reiterated that it gave customers ample time to prepare for the move.
In With the New
While 3G and various iterations of 4G networks are still alive and kicking, there’s a lot of talk about 5G these days. Part of that discussion lately has involved how 5G builds could contribute to the U.S. gross domestic product and jobs picture.
This discussion is being fueled in part by the fact that we have a new president, who was in fact inaugurated yesterday.
As I reported earlier this week, a new CTIA-commissioned Accenture (News - Alert) story indicates that 5G could contribute about $500 billion to the GDP and create up to 3 million jobs.
However, considering 5G is still being defined, it will be a few years before 5G has any significant impact on either front. That’s because 5G networks aren’t expected to be deployed commercially until 2017 and 2018. And even when they are installed, it will at least initially be as a complement to – rather than a replacement of – 4G networks.
New President, Updated Network
Speaking of the inauguration, T-Mobile used the event as an opportunity to promote its recent network upgrades in the nation’s capital. T-Mobile (News - Alert) has added to its LTE network with 256 QAM, 4x4 MIMO, and carrier aggregation technologies.
Operating in Harsh Environments
Also this week, NGC reported on the new embedded Extrovert modem from Logic Supply. It works in harsh environments, making it ideal for Internet of Things deployments.
Expanding on LTE
As I’ve already repeated a few times in my recent cellular coverage, Mike Murphy, CTO for North America at Nokia (News - Alert), recently told me that “LTE still has quite a bit of gas left in the tank….” The two NGC articles immediately below, and the T-Mobile one above, all illustrate that point.
Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. is upgrading its network to LTE Advanced, which enables it to deliver 450Mbps data speeds. That allows for 50 percent faster download speeds than its LTE (News - Alert) network previously supported.
Meanwhile, the MulteFire Alliance has issued Release 1.0 of its specification. This group is interested in LTE-based small cells operating in unlicensed spectrum.
“By eliminating the requirement for licensed spectrum, MulteFire will enable innovation around the world with a number of exciting new use cases – from deploying a standalone network in an underground mine for industrial IoT applications to ensuring robust connectivity for mobile broadband. With Release 1.0, the Alliance is delivering on its promise of a new way to wireless,” said Stephan Litjens, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and vice president of innovation steering at Nokia.
Hitting the Big Time
Speaking of Nokia, it looks like the company’s Nokia 6 Android phone is a hit in China. There were more than 1 million registrations for the device on China’s JD.com site. And an even more powerful device, called the Nokia 8, is rumored to be on its way.