600 MHz Spectrum Auction Results Announced

April 10, 2019 – Canada's auction for low-band 600 MHz spectrum took place between March 12-April 4. Participants bid for 54 rounds and spent a total of $3.47B. Rogers acquired the most licenses, 52, while Bell opted to acquire none. Xplornet purchased several East Coast licenses, while Iristel bought spectrum that would extend its services to Newfoundland. Although 43% of spectrum was set-aside for new and regional players, Cogeco said the areas up for bid were "too large" for it to participate. Cogeco has not announced its wireless service plans, despite the government's evolving position on MVNO access.

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Apple Unlikely to Release 5G iPhone Until 2021

April 3, 2019 – Agreeing with previous industry reports, UBS analyst Timothy Arcuri says that Apple will be unlikely to release a 5G iPhone in 2020. This would result from Apple’s failure to choose a modem supplier and its legal dispute with equipment manufacturer Qualcomm. The lack of a 5G-ready iPhone this year would be less of an issue in Canada, where 5G networks cannot be fully deployed until 2020 and 2021, due to Canada's schedule for allocating spectrum. Apple’s delayed decision to proceed with Qualcomm, Intel or self-manufactured modems could prevent it from introducing a 5G device until 2021.

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Global 5G

Advanced Skills Gap for 5G Deployment

April 4, 2019 – Operators deploying 5G need employees who can understand the complex underlying networks. Wireless Infrastructure Association President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein recently said that small cell-focused legislation will only have value if there are enough skilled workers to deploy the equipment. Adelstein pointed to a 2017 CTIA report that identified a major skills gap for such knowledgeable employees. NB+C President Tom Kane further observed that “5G is the hardest G” due to the expectations that Millennial workers building the networks may have for on-the-job education.

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Few 5G Industrial Assets Will Be "Fixed"

April 4, 2019 – Speaking at a trade show in Hanover, Germany this month, Bosch’s head of technology and innovation, Gunther May, summarized the company’s vision of 5G-enabled factories using the term 'Industry 4.0'. He said that all aspects of industrial production should become fluid except the “walls, ceilings and floors.” May expects that 5G analytics will enable factories to customize their production lines according to real-time demand. “We don’t want to mess with cables,” he said, referring to the need to maintain productivity while frequently updating a factory's manufacturing processes.

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European Commission to Address 5G Security

March 27, 2019 – Following a March 22 European Council meeting, the European Commission has produced a series of recommendations for taking a "concerted approach" to 5G cybersecurity. The recommendations call on member states to:
  • Complete a risk assessment of each country’s 5G networks by June 2019.
  • Update national security requirements for the provision of "public 5G networks".
  • Coordinate an assessment through the European Agency for Cybersecurity by Oct. 2019.
Each country is asked to then implement relevant safety measures – such as procedures for identifying nonsecure products – as well as collaborate with industry stakeholders on an EU certification that would be mandatory for 5G suppliers.

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Global Database for Commercial 5G Devices

March 26, 2019 – A new analytics tool from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) will track ongoing releases of 5G devices. The GAMBoD database has so far logged 23 vendors and 33 5G devices that include smartphones, hotspots and USB terminals. It has also tracked chipset announcements from five international vendors.

The data is summarized in GSA's March 2019 5G Ecosystem Report. GSA president Joe Barrett observes that – while early 4G devices primarily included modems and dongles – 5G launches are “seeing smartphones lead the way with early commercial availability.”

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