Skip to main content

Posts

Lynk Sends Message From Space using LEO Satellite

We have seen on this blog many different companies working to beam ordinary 4G/5G from satellites to space. One new company that came to my attention is Lynk Global (Lynk) that plans to do something similar using nano satellites from the space. To their credit, they have just transmitted an SMS from a LEO satellite to a normal, unmodified mobile phone.


Their website says:

Lynk’s business is to provide everywhere connectivity directly to the existing 5.2 billion mobile phone users on the planet, and to billions more who will now have a compelling reason to buy a mobile phone.

Today’s mobile phone users pay more than $1 trillion a year in total for service. Yet on average, at any given moment, about 750 million phone owners have no connectivity because they live, work or travel outside the range of a ground-based cell tower. Another 2.5 billion people don’t have phones, many because they lack affordable connectivity. The economics of ground-based cell towers make it cost prohibitive to e…
Recent posts

R&S Technical Explainer on 3GPP 5G Non Terrestrial Networks (NTN)

I have explained Non Terrestrial Networks (NTN) earlier here and have written a detailed article here. The initial 3GPP Release-15 version of 3GPP TS 22.261 added the initial requirement that the 5G system will be able to provide services using satellite access. A study was carried out by 3GPP as a part of 3GPP Release-16 and the results of the study on using satellite access in 5G networks have been documented in 3GPP TR 22.822. The document details the use cases, pre and post conditions, service flows, potential impacts / interactions with existing services / features and potential requirements based on the use case. The results from this technical report (TR) were then reflected in 3GPP Release-16 version of 3GPP TS 22.261. The document details the need for the 5G system to support service continuity between terrestrial 5G access and satellite based 5G access networks, owned by either the same operator or by an agreement between operators.

3GPP Release 17 will bring some interesti…

Different Types Of Service Providers

The discussion about different types of connectivity providers keeps cropping up from time to time. A regular question is, what is the difference between Mobile Network Operator (MNO) and Service Provider (SP).

To answer these questions, we made a short video / presentation looking at the differences. They are embedded below.




Beginners: Different Types of Service Providers (SPs) from 3G4G
A lot of these terms are becoming a bit fuzzy as everyone is trying to do everything else but broadly these do represent the different types of service providers and mobile network operators.

Related Posts:
3G4G: MNO, MVNO, MVNA, MVNE: Different types of mobile operatorsOperator Watch Blog: World's largest mobile networks by subscriber numbers

The Potential of Connectivity Technologies Already Available Today

McKinsey Global Institute released a discussion paper titled, "Connected world: An evolution in connectivity beyond the 5G revolution". The report looks at  how connectivity could be deployed in mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. The use cases identified in these four commercial domains alone could boost global GDP by $1.2 trillion to $2 trillion by 2030. In fact, most of this value can be captured with advanced connectivity, using technologies that is already available today.

The executive summary states:

This raises a puzzling question: Why is so much potential still sitting on the table, and will new technologies alone be enough to realize it? This research looks at the issues holding back the market, with the aim of starting a broader conversation about what it will take to create momentum. It is part of an ongoing body of work that will continue exploring connectivity, including its possibilities in other sectors and its impact across broader economies.

Bey…

"5G Pilot in Galicia" project (#Pilotos5G)

Back in September 2019, the “5G Pilot in Galicia” project, promoted by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Business through Red.es, was presented in Vigo. This is one of the two pilots, which the Government has promoted for the development of 5G technology through a public call for aid, with an aggregate budget of more than € 36 million, of which more than €10 million will be financed by Red.es through the FEDER.

The project to be developed in Galicia will last 24 months, a budget of more than € 11 million, of which more than € 4 million will be financed from the ERDF, and will have eight use cases in areas such as connected cars, industry 4.0 or healthcare.

This pilot, which is already in the first phase of development, includes eight use cases:
Assistance to driving in the O Cereixal tunnel (Lugo) to test new services that will improve the safety of vehicles through the tunnel (warning of weather conditions at the exit, anomalies inside, among others.)Movistar Fusion service on fixed…

AST & Science's SpaceMobile to Beam 4G / 5G Directly to Devices

Rakuten and Vodafone have become the lead investors in a venture to extend mobile coverage to more people and devices across the planet, using the first mobile broadband network that will be broadcast from space. The venture also has other investors includeing American Tower; Cisneros; Samsung NEXT; and founder Abel Avellan. A Japanese news site reported that Rakuten will be the biggest investor.


Rakuten has already said that they want to provide 100% geographic (not population based, which is easier) coverage in Japan. This point was emphasized by Rakuten Mobile's CTO Tareq Amin in a recently released video.



Vodafone's press release also mentioned some of the reasons they have invested in AST:

Branded SpaceMobile, the low-Earth-orbit (LEO), low-latency satellite network from AST & Science will be the first in the world to connect directly to standard smartphones. The company holds an extensive patent and IP portfolio for its ground and space technologies.

AST & Science…

5G Indoor Precise Positioning

3GPP Release-16 contains enhancements for indoor and outdoor positioning techniques. One such enhancement combines multiple roundtrip time (multi-RTT) and angle of arrival (AoA) for more accurate wide-area outdoor positioning use cases.

Another important new capability that is coming with 3GPP Rel-16 is enhanced 5G positioning to benefit a wide range of new vertical use cases. Staying with the theme of industrial IoT in an indoor environment, this live over-the-air demonstration showcases how 5G can provide sub-meter 3D positioning for various applications, such as asset tracking and AGV control, utilizing multiple transmission points to measure time difference of arrival. The followinglive over-the-air video demonstrates multiple indoor small cells providing sub-meter 3D positioning for 5G industrial IoT applications such as asset tracking and AGV control:



5G positioning opens doors to many new use cases including industrial IoT and private networks. The following picture from Qualco…

Basic and Differentiated 5G Connectivity for Enterprises

One of the 5G differentiators that has been touted for a long time is its ability to offer different QoS to each user and each slice. In practice we have yet to see this granularity in the commercial networks as this requires Standalone 5G networks that are yet to roll out. This has not discouraged any operator or vendor in producing any concept videos to prepare the end users that change is coming.
I have talked about 5G consumer uses cases here, 5G enterprise use cases here and looked at real life enterprise 5G use cases in China here. The 5G Guide produced by GSMA talks about how operators will be able start offering differentiated 5G Connectivity for enterprises as opposed to basic connectivity. There is also the option to offer 'Beyond Connectivity' and 'Managed Solutions'. While in this post, I want to really only look at Basic vs Differentiated connectivity, I will look at the other two as well for completion.

The following is from 'The 5G Guide':

While …

Integrated Access and Backhauling (IAB) - Today and Tomorrow

I wrote a detailed blog on The 3G4G Blog late last year about what IAB is and what will be available this year as part of Release-16 and what enhancements are planned as part of Release-17. It's available here.

In the Ericsson Technology Review last month, there is a short section on IAB which is reproduced below for anyone wishing to dig deep into this topic:
IAB provides an alternative to fiber backhaul by extending NR to support wireless backhaul. As a result, it is possible to use NR for a wireless link from central locations to distributed cell sites and between cell sites. This can simplify the deployment of small cells, for example, and be useful for temporary deployments for special events or emergency situations. IAB can be used in any frequency band in which NR can operate. However, it is anticipated that mm-wave spectrum will be the most relevant spectrum for the backhaul link. Furthermore, the access link may either operate in the same frequency band as the backhaul li…

State of Global Cellular Connectivity in 2019 and 2025

GSMA published their global Mobile Economy report recently. While there were not many surprises for me as I have used it over the years for various presentations and reports, others may be a bit surprised, especially with all the hype around 5G. Before we jump into the numbers, the chart that caught my eye is as shown above.

Coverage gap is easy to understand because these are the people / areas that have no coverage. The usage gap defines people who are in a region covered by some or the other technology but are not connected. There could be various factors in play because of affordability or no need, etc.

The report states that there were 8.0 billion cellular connections (excluding IoT) in 2019 and this will increase to 8.8 billion by 2025. Looking at the mobile connections worldwide, we see that in 2025, there will still be around 5% of the users using 2G (mainly GSM) technology. While this may sound like a small number, this is still roughly 440 millions users worldwide. 18% of t…