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  1. China to lead APAC tech spend, 5G race ahead of global markets China will remain Asia's largest in terms of tech spending, growing 4 percent this year and 6 percent in 2020, and lead global markets in the 5G race where its investments in telecommunications account for 57 percent of the country's overall spend. China is expected to remain Asia's largest spender in technology, forking out US$256 billion this year and US$273 billion in 2020, as well as lead global markets in 5G where the country's investments in telecommunications account for 57 percent of its overall tech expenditure. In fact, it has outspent the US by US$24 billion in 5G since 2015, with its three major telcos unveiling plans to launch commercial 5G networks by next year, according to Forrester. The research firm projected that tech spending in the Chinese market would climb 4 percent this year and 6 percent in 2020, despite ongoing trade tensions with the US that had slowed China's economic growth. Japan, at US$198 billion, would be the region's second-largest tech spender this year and, together with China, would contribute 60 percent of the total Asia-Pacific tech budget. Country's government has introduced initiatives to train 12,000 people in artificial intelligence skillsets, including industry professionals and secondary school students. India would place third at US$70 billion, Forrester predicted, while South Korea and Australia would each spend US$50 billion. Countries such as Taiwan, Indonesia, and Hong Kong would each spend between US$10 billion and US$30 billion, with Singapore as pack leader. "In addition to its slowly progressing smart nation vision, Singapore is doubling down on digital to boost the competitiveness of enterprises at home and in the rest of Asean," Forrester said. "Singapore also sees artificial intelligence (AI) as an important enabler of long-term sustainability. The entry of digital-native firms like Amazon and Alibaba into Southeast Asia should create the necessary urgency for sectors like retail and logistics in other Asean markets to begin a long-overdue digital transformation." However, growth in the Asia-Pacific region's technology spending would slow to 4 percent next year amidst bleaker market conditions and waning tailwinds, the research firm said. It noted that digital transformation initiatives in 2019 would be more pragmatic and focused on improving operational efficiencies and agility. China also adopt a similar outlook in its digital transformation efforts as businesses looked to navigate effects of the ongoing trade conflict and a slowing local economy. Its investment in telecommunications, though, would remain robust and China this year was "best positioned" to win the global race in 5G implementations, Forrester said. It added that South Korea also was gunning to be a key player in 5G and AI, and would continue to aggressively invest in 5G technology development this year. Local telco KT had set aside US$20.5 billion for its 5G Open Lab through to 2023 and was expected to roll out one of the first global commercial 5G networks this year. The research firm further noted that public cloud adoption was growing in Asia-Pacific, particularly China, Australia, and New Zealand. Spending in this market, comprising public cloud platform services, middleware, and applications would climb to US$24 billion in 2020, up from US$18 billion in 2018. Chinese businesses are projected to spend US$256.61 billion on tech this year and another US$272.84 billion in 2020, focusing their investments on transforming operations and improving efficiencies as they brace themselves for an uncertain geopolitical climate, says Forrester. SEA internet economy to hit 'inflection' value of $72B in 2018 Southeast Asian internet economy will be worth US$72 billion by year-end, fuelled by increasing number of mobile users and high-growth markets such as e-commerce and ride-hailing, reveals annual Google-Temasek study. https://www.zdnet.com/article/digital-economy-can-push-asean-gdp-up-1t-if-markets-operate-as-one/ Currently representing just 7 percent of GDP, Asean's digital economy can drive an uplift of US$1 trillion by 2025 across the region, but digital trade barriers and lack of seamless cross-border payments are key barriers. Huawei warns bans will increase prices and put US behind in 5G race Huawei's Eric Xu told CNBC that blocking the company's 5G networking products will increase prices and make it harder for the US to become No. 1 in 5G. However, it has been a huge benefit to the two Scandinavian suppliers: Ericsson and Nokia. APAC firms recognise AI as competitive advantage, but see corporate culture as key challenge Majority of Asia-Pacific business leaders see artificial intelligence as a key enabler in ensuring a competitive edge, but just 41 percent have actually adopted such tools, reveals a new study, which points to culture and skills as main challenges. Source
  2. Germany planning 'trustworthy' supplier requirement for all networks and 5G A draft of updated security requirements is set to appear in Northern Hemisphere's spring. Germany's Federal Network Agency, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), published on Thursday a set of planned additional security requirements for telco networks within the country, which are due to appear in draft form during the Northern Hemisphere's spring. The BNetzA pointed out that the requirements will apply to all networks, not just 5G. "Systems may only be sourced from trustworthy suppliers whose compliance with national security regulations and provisions for the secrecy of telecommunications and for data protection is assured," the first requirement BNetzA states. "Network traffic must be regularly and constantly monitored for any abnormality and, if there is any cause for concern, appropriate protection measures must be taken." Further, components may only be used if they are certified by the Federal Office for Information Security and have undergone approved, regular testing. "Proof must be provided that the hardware tested for the selected, security-related components and the source code at the end of the supply chain are actually deployed in the products used," BNetzA said. The planned requirements will force German telcos to avoid using a single vendor, and only "trained professionals" will be allowed to work in security-related areas. In situations where telcos outsource this type of work, "professionally competent, reliable, and trustworthy contractors" must be used. "We revise the security requirements on a regular basis in light of the current security situation and technological developments," Bundesnetzagentur president Jochen Homann said. "Security requirements apply to all network operators and service providers, irrespective of the technology they deploy. All networks, not just individual standards like 5G, are included." The German publication comes as Huawei announced yesterday it had filed to sue the US government. Huawei rotating chair Guo Ping said in Shenzhen on Thursday that the company was seeking a declaratory judgement that the National Defense Authorization Act, which forbids US government entities from using Huawei or ZTE equipment, as unconstitutional, as well as seeking a permanent injunction against the restrictions. "The US government has long branded Huawei a threat. It has hacked our servers and stolen our emails and source code," Guo Ping said. "Despite this, the US government has never provided any evidence supporting their accusations that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat. "Still, the US government is sparing no effort to smear the company and mislead the public about Huawei. Even worse, the US government is trying to block us from the 5G markets in other countries." At the end of last year, reports said the Five Eyes alliance containing the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, was passing classified information on Chinese foreign interference to countries such as Germany and Japan. In December, the Czech Republic's National Cyber and Information Security Agency issued a warning against equipment Huawei and ZTE. "China's laws, among other things, require private companies residing in China to cooperate with intelligence services, therefore introducing them into the key state systems might present a threat," says the director of NCISA Dusan Navrátil. Navrátil also warned that China "actively pursues its interests in the territory of the Czech Republic, including influence and espionage intelligence activities". Earlier this week, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the ban Australia placed on Huawei was not done at the behest of another nation or for protectionist reasons, but because it defended Australia's sovereigntyand as a "hedge against changing times". "It is important to remember that a threat is the combination of capability and intent," he said. "Capability can take years, decades to develop. And in many cases won't be attainable at all. But intent can change in a heartbeat." Turnbull bemoaned that the Five Eyes members did not have a company capable of competing in 5G. "In many discussions with my western counterparts, I raised the concern that we, and in particular the Five Eyes, had got to the point where there were now essentially four leading vendors of 5G systems -- two Chinese, Huawei and ZTE, and two European, Ericsson and Nokia," Turnbull said. "With the benefit of hindsight it beggars belief that the countries which pioneered wireless technology -- the United States, the UK, Germany, Japan and with WiFi, Australia -- have got to the point where none of them are able to present one of their own telcos [as] a national, or a Five Eyes, champion in 5G." Source
  3. The AchieVer

    5G: A transformation in progress

    5G: A transformation in progress Early 5G deployments are now under way, and general awareness of 5G is increasing. However, fully operational 5G networks that can support advanced business-transforming use cases are still under development. Analogue mobile phones first appeared in the early 1980s, and were used for voice calls only (imagine that!). Second-generation (2G) digital mobiles made their debut a decade later with GSM, offering text messaging (SMS) as the 'killer application' on top of voice services, becoming the dominant technology worldwide. A roughly 10-year cycle has continued ever since, with each generation adding more data bandwidth and therefore enabling a richer set of services: around the turn of the millennium, 3G (UMTS or CDMA 2000) offered data rates of around 1Mbps and could be described as 'mobile broadband', while 2010 saw 4G (LTE) reaching 100Mbps. Of course, as in any evolutionary process, there have been intermediate stages: GPRS and EDGE were '2.5G' packet-switching technologies that made internet connections possible, for example, while HSPA and HSPA+brought '3.5G' data rates up to 2Mbps. More recently, '4.5G' LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro have paved the way from 4G to 5G, taking data rates up to 1Gbps. We are now on the cusp of the 5G era, with standards, spectrum allocation, network infrastructure, chipsets and devices all moving into place around the world. Fast 5G networks with low latencies and high connection densities will improve existing mobile experiences and, in due course, enable new use cases. In the meantime, as the 5G ecosystem develops, we will inevitably see a lot of marketing activity -- some of it distinctly questionable. This article sets the post-CES 2019 5G scene: for more detail, see the remaining content in this ZDNet special feature. 5G specs and use cases The road to 5G began back in 2015, with the ITU's IMT-2020 framework, which set out the general requirements and future development of the next-generation mobile technology (IMT stands for International Mobile Telecommunications). Here's how the performance requirements (which were approved in November 2017) compare to the previous-generation IMT-Advanced (a.k.a. 4G): 4G (IMT-Advanced) 5G (IMT-2020) Peak data rate (downlink) 1Gbps 20Gbps User-experienced data rate 10Mbps 100Mbps Latency 10ms 1ms Mobility 350km/h 500km/h Connection density 100,000 devices/sq km 1,000,000 devices/sq km Energy efficiency 1x 100x Spectrum efficiency 1x 3x Area traffic capacity 0.1Mbps/sq m 10Mbps/sq m The ITU's broad goal for IMT-2020/5G was to accommodate "new demands, such as more traffic volume, many more devices with diverse service requirements, better quality of user experience (QoE) and better affordability by further reducing costs". The key driver for this effort was the need to "support emerging new use cases, including applications requiring very high data rate communications, a large number of connected devices, and ultra-low latency and high reliability applications". Here's the IMT-2020 vision for broad classes of 5G use cases: Image: ITU IMT-2020 It's clear from these scenarios that 5G will be as much about businesses as it is about consumers. Yes, there's Ultra-HD and 3D video, augmented reality, smart homes, self-driving cars and more. But there's also a multitude of business opportunities to be exploited in 5G-enabled smart offices, cities, factories and farms. These mobile use cases are enabled by three classes of service: eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband); URLLC (Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications); and mMTC (massive Machine Type Communications). eMBB essentially delivers faster and better mobile connectivity -- not only for consumer smartphone users, but also for mobile professionals with 5G-enabled tablets or laptops, or field workers using AR apps and smart glasses, for example. Now enshrined in the June 2018 3GPP Rel 15 standard, which includes NSA (non-standalone, built on LTE-A/Pro) and SA (standalone) elements, eMBB is the first phase of 5G. The second phase will address the kinds of connections required by self-driving vehicles (reliable, low-latency -- URLLC) and IoT device-heavy environments like smart cities (moderate bandwidth, high density -- mMTC), and will be covered by the developing 3GPP Rel 16 standard, which was originally due for completion in December 2019 (see below) but has now been put back by three months. Image: 3GPP Another 5G use case is FWA (Fixed Wireless Access), which enters the picture because data rates will be sufficient to compete with wired broadband (over copper or optical fibre -- even fibre-to-the-premises). According to recent research from Ovum (sponsored by UK mobile operator Three), 5G is expected to deliver data rates of 80-100Mbps in the UK and could replace traditional wired broadband connections for 85 percent of the country's 26 million fixed-line customers: Chart: Ovum / Data: Ofcom Other advantages of FWA, says Ovum, include plug-and-play setup, flexible contracts and portability — customers simply take the wireless home broadband box with them when they move. (Note: Three has a stake in this market via its UK Broadband-operated subsidiary Relish, which currently offers FWA on its 4G LTE network). The state of play: early 2019 Next-generation 5G networks will operate on three broad radio frequency bands, each of which have different characteristics and address different use cases. Low frequency (sub-1GHz) spectrum is well suited to wide-area and indoor coverage, and will be important for improving mobile coverage in underserved rural areas as well as mMTC and URLLC applications. Mid-frequency (1-6GHz) spectrum supports a good combination of capacity and coverage, and is the initial focus for eMBB and FWA, with mMTC to and URLLC to follow. High-frequency spectrum -- a.k.a. millimetre wave, or mmWave(>24GHz)-- supports very high speeds and low latency within local 'hot-spot' areas and can deliver 'full' eMBB and high-speed FWA, although indoor coverage is poor. The precise bands used will vary around the world, but here's the picture in the UK (as of March 2018 -- the 2.3GHz and 3.4-3.6GHz auctions referenced below are now complete): Image: Ofcom (Enabling 5G in the UK, March 2018) Following its May 2017 acquisition of UK Broadband (UKB), Three currently holds the most 5G spectrum among the UK's four mobile network operators, although there are upcoming 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz auctions in 2019 (which Ofcom aims to conclude by spring 2020): 5G spectrum holdings among UK mobile network operators (H3G = Three, Telefonica = O2) Image: Ofcom In its March 2018 Enabling 5G in the UK report, Ofcom noted that high-frequency mmWave spectrum has not been used to deliver mobile services to date, but is likely to support new high-capacity, low-latency 5G applications. The UK regulator has called for input from MNOs and other players on the 26GHz (24.25-27.5 GHz) band, and has also prioritised 66-71GHz as a second stage high-frequency band, with 40.5-43.5GHz targeted as a priority band for study. All four UK network operators are now trialling 5G services: EE in London; O2 at London's O2 Arena; Vodafone in Salford, Greater Manchester (with six more cities to follow); and Three in London. Areas of high demand -- i.e. big cities -- may get limited 5G services (FWA and eMBB) in 2019, but it will take years before 5G coverage is widespread and new (URLLC and mMTC) use cases are fully supported. Looking further afield, in November 2018 the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association) estimated that 192 operators in 81 countries were actively investing in 5G -- that is, "have demonstrated, are testing or trialling, or have been licensed to conduct field trials of 5G technologies, are deploying 5G networks or have announced service launches". By mid-January 2019, the number had risen to 201 operators in 83 countries. The GSA identified over 524 demonstrations or tests in its November 2018 report, noting that: Key 5G technologies being explored include new radio (NR) interfaces operating in spectrum bands not previously used for mobile telecoms services and network slicing to support delivery of services tailored to specific types of customer or service; combinations of technologies such as massive MIMO, or complex beam-forming that are needed to achieve very high speeds; and backhaul, cloud- and edge-computing arrangements to support very low latencies. At least 87 of the 524 projects tested massive MIMO involving 64 or more transmitters or some other 5G-specific technology, while 26 explicitly featured network slicing, the GSA reported. The most common frequency band in the tests was 3.3-3.8GHz (107 trials), followed by 26.5-29.5GHz (87 trials). Many of the trials reported peak downlink speeds of well over 1Gbps, although the GSA noted that the very highest speeds will not be deliverable by commercial networks for some time: Image: Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) As far as latencies are concerned, most of the 68 trials examined by the GSA achieved 1-1.99ms, although again these test results may not be representative of production networks: Image: Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) According to the GSA's latest (January 2019) figures, eleven operators claim to have launched 5G services (either mobile or FWA): AT&T (USA), Elisa (Finland and Estonia), Etisalat (UAE), Fastweb (Italy), LG Uplus (South Korea), KT (South Korea), Ooredoo (Qatar), SK Telecom (South Korea), TIM (Italy), Verizon (USA), and Vodacom (Lesotho). All of these services are limited in terms of geography, device availability and customer coverage, according to the GSA. Seven other operators have turned on 5G base stations but not yet launched commercial services. Samsung's protoype 5G handset at CES 2019. Image: ZDNet Samsung's prototype 5G phone received a lot of attention, even though it simply sat in a perspex box on the booth wall, running a video (from internal memory) about the company's 5G goals. It has a conventional form factor, but no technical details were revealed about its internals. However, the US network Sprintrevealed at CES that it will be carrying Samsung's 5G smartphone later this year on its LTE and 5G networks using the 2.5GHz, 1.9GHz, and 800MHz spectrum bands. Coming soon: Mobile World Congress Naturally, 5G is a major theme at the other big tech show at the start of the year -- Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona (25-28 February). Among the unveilings expected is a 5G phone from OnePlus using Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 855 chipset and X50 5G modem. This is expected to launch in the spring on the UK EE network (using sub-6GHz spectrum), before becoming available from other carriers worldwide. LG has also flagged up an MWC 5G handset announcement based on the Snapdragon 855 chipset. What the surveys say There have been plenty of surveys of different parts of the 5G ecosystem, by various interested parties. Here's a selection from the past six months or so. IHS Markit Business information provider IHS Markit polled 17 mobile operators for its August 2018 Evolution from 4G to 5G: Service Provider Survey. The headline finding was that 14 (82%) were trialling and testing 5G technology, while two (12%) -- both from North America -- were planning commercial rollouts by the end of 2018. South Korea is expected go live with 5G in 2019, said IHS Markit executive research director Stéphane Téral in a statement, while most European networks were not planning to deploy 5G until 2021 or later. Image: IHS Markit Ultra-low latency was the main 5G technical driver for 82 percent of the mobile operators, followed by decreased cost per bit (76%) and increased network capacity (71%). When it came to challenges, 53 percent cited radio as requiring the biggest development effort to make 5G happen, followed by transport (24%) and management (14%). The highest-rated 5G use case was eMBB, although FWA was expected to be ready for commercial development first. "The bottom line is early 5G will be an extension of what we know best: broadband, whether in FWA or eMBB form," Téral said. "Don't expect factory automation, tactile low-latency touch and steer, or autonomous driving to be ready on 5G anytime soon despite being touted as the chief 5G use cases," he added. Gartner In May-June 2018, Gartner investigated the demand and adoption plans for 5G among 185 survey respondents (85 Research Circle members and 100 others). IoT communications was the most popular 5G use case (59% of respondents), followed by video (53%). However, echoing IHS Markit's findings, Gartner senior research director Sylvain Fabre warned in a statement that 5G networks were far from ready for all use cases: "In the short to medium term, organizations wanting to leverage 5G for use cases such as IoT communications, video, control and automation, fixed wireless access and high-performance edge analytics cannot fully rely on 5G public infrastructure for delivery." Gartner noted that a new network topology is required to fully exploit 5G, including new network elements such as edge computing, core network slicing and radio network densification. This will take time: "Most CSPs [Communications Service Providers] will only achieve a complete end-to-end 5G infrastructure on their public networks during the 2025-to-2030 time frame -- as they focus on 5G radio first, then core slicing and edge computing," Fabre said. As a result, organizations keen to deploy 5G quickly may need to look beyond CSPs. "Private networks for enterprises will be the most direct option for businesses that want to benefit from 5G capabilities early on," said Fabre. "These networks may be offered not only by CSPs but also directly by infrastructure vendors -- and not just by the traditional large vendors of infrastructure, but also by suppliers with cloud and software backgrounds." Deloitte In a June 2018 survey of nearly 4,000 UK smartphone users (The Race to 5G), Deloitte found that just 12 percent of respondents would switch to a 5G network as soon as it became available. A further 19 percent would switch on hearing positive reports, while 32 percent would 'probably switch to a 5G network eventually'. Hardly evidence of pent-up demand, although the release of the first 5G handsets during 2019 is likely to change this picture fairly quickly. Image: The Race to 5G (Deloitte, 2018) PwC In September 2018, PwC surveyed a sample of 1,000 Americans aged 18-64 to investigate several things: their satisfaction with current home and mobile internet services; how they feel about 5G's potential; what they expect from 5G (in the home and on mobile devices); and their willingness to pay for 5G. Only 46 percent of respondents were familiar with the term '5G' without prompting (57% male, 37% female), although 62 percent found it 'very appealing' once defined. The main 'must-have' across both home and mobile internet was reliability (33% home, 32% mobile), with portability (66%), DIY installation (57%) and wireless (39%) adding to the appeal of 5G FWA in the home. On average, consumers would be willing to pay $5.06 extra/month for 5G home internet and another $4.40/month for 5G mobile internet. The main driver for this willingness to pay more was faster data speeds, both for home (49%) and mobile (63%) internet. Given that 5G handsets are not yet available, it's perhaps no surprise that PwC's respondents weren't exactly clamouring for the new technology: 74 percent would wait until they were eligible for an upgrade, while only 26 percent were prepared to buy a new device regardless. Having said that, there was some willingness to change mobile habits for 5G: 32 percent would switch providers; 21 percent would switch mobile device brands; and 19 percent would switch platform or OS. An 'end-to-end' approach to 5G You can't go far in 5G-land without encountering the term 'end to end' (or E2E) with reference to network architecture. That's because there's a lot more involved in being a network operator than winning RF spectrum and building a radio-access network (RAN): other key components are backhaul (or transport) from the base stations to the core network, plus supporting IT operations. A full 5G deployment requires architecture changes at every stage: Image: Three UK For example, as well as acquiring a healthy 5G spectrum portfolio, UK mobile operator Threehas: * Signed an agreement for the rollout of new cell site technology to prepare major urban areas for the rollout of 5G devices, as well as enhance the 4G service * Built a super high-capacity dark fibre network, which connects 20 new, energy efficient and highly secure data centres * Deployed a world-first 5G-ready, fully integrated cloud-native core network in new data centres, which at launch will have an initial capacity of 1.2TB/s, a three-fold increase from today's capacity, and which can scale further, cost effectively and rapidly * Rolled out carrier-aggregation technology on 2,500 sites in the busiest areas, improving speeds for customers Investments of this order -- Three has committed to spend £2 billion -- underscore the fact that different 5G use cases (eMBB, URLLC, mMTC and FWA) have different requirements when it comes to bandwidth, latency, mobility, security, reliability and pricing. Early 5G deployments are concentrating on traditional more consumer-oriented areas such as eMBB and FWA, are based on the finalised 3GPP Rel-15 standard, and can utilise a lot of existing 4G LTE infrastructure. But phase 2 of 5G will be based on the still-developing Rel-16 standard, and will require new spectrum and infrastructure to support advanced business use cases like URLLC and mMTC. Enabling all this requires a cloud-native, service-oriented architecture that supports network slicing, where multiple virtual networks coexist on the same physical infrastructure, leveraging technologies like software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV). Image: ITUNews In a May 2018 white paper, Ericsson described a trial with Swisscom showing how network slicing supports critical railway communications on a public network carrying mobile broadband traffic. High-definition video -- from cameras on platforms and in the front of trains -- was isolated, with guaranteed performance levels. "Assurances are required when trains are in areas with only moderate radio signal coverage, or during periods of particularly high mobile broadband traffic loading," Ericsson said. "Although capacity demands from critical communications are low, RAN radio resource partitioning can be used to maximize available capacity for other lower-priority demands, without affecting performance guarantees." Although it's crucial to full 5G deployment, network slicing is still very much a work in progress: in the November 2018 GSA report described earlier, just 26 out of 524 5G demos or tests (5%) explicitly featured the technology. There's plenty at stake though: according to the GSMA, network slicing will permit operators to address revenue opportunities worth $300 billion by 2025. "To unlock this opportunity, Network Slicing will enable operators to create pre-defined, differing levels of services to different enterprise verticals, enabling them to customise their own operations," the GSMA said. "However, the opportunity could become even bigger. Automation and the ability to quickly create slices could pave the way for operators to dynamically package and repackage network capabilities for different customers. This is the end goal of Network Slicing." Outlook Network operators are implementing the first phase of 5G, and 5G smartphones are beginning to surface, all of which means that general awareness of 5G is increasing. However, there's still a lot of end-to-end work to be done before fully operational 5G networks can support the advanced use cases that could transform business. Source
  4. Researchers have reported their findings and fixes should be deployed by the end of 2019. A new vulnerability has been discovered in the upcoming 5G cellular mobile communications protocol. Researchers have described this new flaw as more severe than any of the previous vulnerabilities that affected the 3G and 4G standards. Further, besides 5G, this new vulnerability also impacts the older 3G and 4G protocols, providing surveillance tech vendors with a new flaw they can abuse to create next-gen IMSI-catchers that work across all modern telephony protocols. This new vulnerability has been detailed in a research paper named "New Privacy Threat on 3G, 4G, and Upcoming5G AKA Protocols," published last year. According to researchers, the vulnerability impacts AKA, which stands for Authentication and Key Agreement, a protocol that provides authentication between a user's phone and the cellular networks. The AKA protocol works by negotiating and establishing keys for encrypting the communications between a phone and the cellular network. Current IMSI-catcher devices target vulnerabilities in this protocol to downgrade AKA to a weaker state that allows the device to intercept mobile phone traffic metadata and track the location of mobile phones. The AKA version designed for the 5G protocol --also known as 5G-AKA-- was specifically designed to thwart IMSI-catchers, featuring a stronger authentication negotiation system. But the vulnerability discovered last year by academics from ETH Zurich and the Technical University in Berlin allows surveillance tech vendors to create a new class of IMSI-catchers. We say "a new class" because this vulnerability doesn't allow the same type of tracking as old IMSI-catchers. Instead of intercepting mobile traffic metadata, this new vulnerability reveals details about a user's mobile activity, such as the number of sent and received texts and calls, allowing IMSI-catcher operators to create profiles for each smartphone holder. Furthermore, attackers can keep track of users, even when they move away from the fake base station (IMSI-catcher device), and later briefly return in the station's coverage, with the AKA protocol leaking updated phone activity states. "We stress that those activity patterns can be monitored remotely for a long time even if, most of the time, subscribers move away from the attack areas," said the research team. Tracking mobile activity stats may not look dangerous, but in their paper, the researchers think otherwise, claiming the new attack can be used to spy on politicians or embassy officials: The technique can also be used for better ad targeting: Furthermore, with enough IMSI-catchers deployed in an area, this new vulnerability can be easily adapted into a location-tracking attack by observing when a phone profile associated with a known user enters and leaves the coverage of the fake mobile base stations deployed in an area. In addition, this new vulnerability can be exploited using off-the-shelve electronics equipment at smaller costs than before. For their paper, researchers tested the new attack against a 4G network, due to the lack of 5G equipment on the market, but the attack would definitely work on 5G systems when they're going to be deployed. "We followed the responsible disclosure procedure and reported our findings to the 3GPP [the standards body behind 5G], GSM Association (GSMA), several manufacturers (Ericsson, Nokia, and Huawei), and carriers (Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone UK)," the research team said. "Our findings were acknowledged by the 3GPP and GSMA, and remedial actions are underway to improve the protocol for next generation," they added. "While 5G AKA will suffer from our attack in the first deployment of 5G (Release 15, phase 1), we are still hopeful that 5G AKA could be fixed before the deployment of the second phase (Release 16, to be completed by the end of 2019)." This research, while describing the most severe vulnerability impacting the upcoming 5G protocol, isn't the only one touching on 5G's problematic security issues. For example, two other academic studies from French and Finnish researchers also found that IMSI-catcher attacks are still possible against the upgraded 5G-AKA protocol, despite 3GPP's claims. Three other research papers [1, 2, 3] also looked at the 5G-AKA protocol and found numerous other security issues, despite 3GPP and mobile telecommunications providers claiming that security would be at the top of their mind when designing 5G. Source
  5. (Reuters) - Apple Inc held talks with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and MediaTek Inc along with existing vendor Intel Corp to supply 5G modem chips for 2019 iPhones, according to an Apple executive’s testimony at a trial between Qualcomm Inc and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Friday. Between 2011 and 2016, Apple relied on San Diego-based Qualcomm as the sole supplier of such chips, which help iPhones connect to wireless networks. Starting in 2016, Apple split the business between Intel and Qualcomm, but in 2018, Apple moved solely to Intel for its newest phones. But Apple supply chain executive Tony Blevins testified on Friday that Apple has also considered MediaTek and Samsung, one of its largest rivals in the smart phone market, to supply the chips for the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G. Those networks are expected to start rolling out this year and provide faster data speeds than current 4G networks. The FTC is suing Qualcomm alleging the chip supplier engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices to preserve a dominant position in the premium modem chip market. On the stand at a federal courthouse in San Jose, California, Blevins testified that Apple has long sought multiple suppliers for modem chips but signed an agreement with Qualcomm to exclusively supply the chips because the chip supplier offered deep rebates on patent license costs in exchange for exclusivity. In 2013, Apple broke off work with Intel to start supplying modems for the iPad Mini 2 because Apple would lose its rebates by using Intel’s chips, rendering Intel’s products “economically unattractive” overall. Later that year after cost negotiations with Qualcomm did not go as Apple hoped, Apple kicked off “Project Antique” to secure a second modem supplier, Blevins testified. By 2016 and 2017, Apple introduced Intel’s modems in some of its iPhones but also still used Qualcomm chips. But Apple’s lawsuit against Qualcomm filed in early 2017 caused their business relationship to change “in a very profound and negative manner,” leading to using only Intel’s modems for the phones released last year. “The entire concept of Project Antique was to find a second supplier. No offense to (Intel) but we don’t want to be single supplier with them. We wanted both Qualcomm and (Intel) in the mix,” Blevins said. Blevins also testified Apple considered making Intel the sole supplier of modems for the Apple Watch, which added 4G connectivity in 2017 using Qualcomm chips. Blevins said that talking with Samsung, whose Galaxy and Note devices compete against the iPhone, is “not an ideal environment” for Apple, but that Samsung is currently the largest component supplier to Apple. Blevins did not say whether Apple had reached a decision on a 5G modem supplier or whether it would release a 5G iPhone in 2019. Citing sources, Bloomberg previously reported that Apple would not release such a phone until 2020. Source
  6. AT&T already launched its initial mobile 5G network in parts of 12 U.S. cities last December, but it’s now preparing for full nationwide coverage — a dauntingly large task that its millimeter wave small cells won’t be able to handle alone. This morning, the carrier revealed that it will “offer nationwide 5G coverage with our lower band spectrum,” specifically the sub-6GHz frequencies discussed in our interview with AT&T VP Gordon Mansfield yesterday. Above: Netgear's Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot is the first AT&T mobile 5G device, and already available for purchase. While the announcement isn’t entirely surprising given that AT&T began to distinguish between “5G” and “5G+” in December, noting that it planned to call high-speed millimeter wave service “5G+” and offer it only in select high-traffic areas, this is the first official confirmation that AT&T’s nationwide 5G network will rely upon aggregating lower-bandwidth radio signals, which spread more widely from larger towers. Rival T-Mobile has similarly said that it will use low-bandwidth towers for its nationwide 5G network, while Verizon has focused largely on “true 5G” using high-capacity millimeter wave spectrum. Even so, all of the carriers will eventually rely upon more than one radio band to provide 5G service. Each carrier is expected to convert some of its existing LTE spectrum into 5G spectrum, though there’s a substantial likelihood of a speed penalty for doing so — enough that there could be a noticeable performance gap between millimeter wave and sub-6GHz 5G networks. AT&T specifically says that it plans to “begin deploying that lower band spectrum in the second half of this year,” suggesting that the allocation of some existing LTE spectrum for 5G will happen sooner rather than later, supporting an already announced Samsung sub-6GHz smartphone. In the transition from 4G to 5G, AT&T says that it has brought two interim technologies into more markets than expected: 1Gbps LTE-LAA is now in parts of 55 cities, with its controversially named “5G Evolution” or “5G E” — actually just 4G LTE-Advanced — in over 400 markets, offering roughly 400Mbps speeds on select 4G devices. Towers with the 5G E hardware will be capable of flipping to actual 5G service in the near future, but until then will confuse 4G users into believing that they’re using 5G technologies. AT&T also said that it is expanding its agreement with AR purveyor Magic Leap to include business solutions, including manufacturing, retail, and health care applications. Magic Leap’s current-generation hardware has no cellular hardware, but the company is expected to offer a 5G version in the future, in partnership with AT&T. Source
  7. Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T. DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES In January, AT&T said it would launch a 5G wireless network in 2018. On Tuesday, the company said it would meet that target—barely—by launching a 5G service in parts of 12 cities starting Friday. Even in those cities, though, few people will be able to use the service anytime soon. Eventually, 5G is expected to deliver speeds around 200 times faster than today's 4G wireless networks. For now, though, AT&T's new network, dubbed 5G+, and a 5G home wireless network launched by Verizon in five cities in October, will be nowhere near that fast, and only be available in limited areas. AT&T says it will first offer its service in parts of Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Florida; Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans; Oklahoma City; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Antonio; and Waco, Texas. Verizon offers its 5G Home service, which only works in fixed locations, in parts of Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Sacramento, California. Neither company would offer details about service locations in these cities. Even if you’re within a coverage area for AT&T's 5G+, it could be a while before you're actually able to use it. No US smartphones can connect to 5G networks yet, so those hoping to use 5G+ will need a specific Wi-Fi hot spot, the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot. Like 3G and 4G hotspots, this gadget will act as a mobile Wi-Fi router that you could then connect to your smartphone or laptop. But AT&T says it only has a limited supply of those devices, which it will offer to a few eligible customers; everyone else will have to wait until spring. AT&T isn't saying how fast the 5G+ network will be, but says its theoretical maximum speed is just shy of 1 gigabit per second. Verizon's 5G Home network advertises a maximum speed of about the same. That would make the two services comparable to Google Fiber, if—and this is a big if—the networks could maintain the higher end of those speeds as more people use the services. But it's far short of the 10-gigabit connections 5G could one day provide. Today's 4G technology can, in theory, provide 1 gigabit speeds. But 5G networks will be more up to the task, in part because they will be able to use the "millimeter wave" range of the wireless spectrum, where far more bandwidth is available. AT&T and Verizon both claim to use the millimeter-wave spectrum for these new 5G networks. AT&T offers another service it calls 5G Evolution, which it says will be available in 400 markets by the end of the year. But the wireless technologies AT&T says it uses for this service are actually parts of a 4G standard called LTE Advanced that is already used by T-Mobile, leading some critics to call it a "fake" 5G network. The speeds AT&T advertisers for 5G Evolution are about half of what the company and Verizon both cite as the maximum speeds of the newer 5G services. SOURCE
  8. Chinese smartphone maker Huawei says the Australian government has banned it from providing 5G technology for the country's wireless networks. It said fellow communications firm ZTE had also been banned, both reportedly because of national security concerns. "This is a extremely disappointing result for consumers," the company said on Twitter. Faster data download and upload speeds are promised with 5G, which is the next stage of mobile internet connectivity. Wider coverage and more stable connections than current 4G technology are also highlighted as benefits. What is 5G? Superfast 5G mobiles move a step closer 5G auction bidding starts in UK What's the issue? Several countries are preparing for the roll-out of 5G mobile networks, although analysts say few will launch 5G services before 2020. Mark Newman, from the consultancy ConnectivityX, said: "5G is going to be the next significant wave of mobile infrastructure deployment. "If existing suppliers are banned, it will be quite a major blow for them." Huawei is the world's biggest producer of telecoms equipment. It also ranks second in global smartphone sales, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. In July, a UK security committee warned that it had "only limited assurance" that Huawei's telecoms kit posed no threat to national security. The UK's cyber-defence watchdog - the National Cyber Security Centre - has also warned that the use of ZTE's equipment and services could pose a national security risk. Huawei has a larger share of the phone market than Apple "As we move into 5G, a greater proportion of the network is controlled by software," said Mr Newman. "There is an argument that in this software realm, concerns about who is managing the network and where from are heightened." What has Australia said? On Thursday, the Australian government said national security regulations that were typically applied to telecoms firms would be extended to equipment suppliers. Companies that were "likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government" could present a security risk, it said. The United States has previously banned Huawei from bidding for government contracts because of fears over espionage. ZTE has also had its activity restricted in the US. Under Chinese law, companies must co-operate with the intelligence services. Analysts therefore warn that equipment produced by firms such as Huawei and ZTE could be compromised. How has China responded? China's foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Australia should not "use various excuses to artificially erect barriers". It called on Australia to "abandon ideological prejudices and provide a fair competitive environment for Chinese companies". Huawei has defended the security of its products. "Huawei is a world leader in 5G," the company said in a statement. It said it had "safely and securely" delivered wireless technology in Australia for close to 15 years. Source
  9. THE NEXT GENERATION OF WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY IS READY FOR TAKE-OFF Whizzy 5G tech has everything going for it barring a strong business case NORTH KOREAN athletes haven't been the only unusual participants at the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea. Anyone can take part, at least virtually. Many contestants will be watched by 360-degree video cameras, able to stream footage via a wireless network. At certain venues around the country sports fans will be able to don virtual-reality, head-mounted displays to get right into the action. Flying alongside a ski jumper, for instance, will offer an adrenalin rush without any risk of a hard landing. These virtual experiences will be offered by KT, South Korea’s largest telecoms firm. They are meant to showcase the latest generation of wireless technology, known as “5G”. But just as ski jumpers never know exactly how far they will leap after leaving the ramp, it is unclear where 5G will land. On paper, the new technology should go far. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN body which helps develop technical standards, has agreed on an ambitious set of requirements for the technology. It should offer download speeds of at least 20 gigabits per second, response times or “latency” of less than 1 millisecond and the ability to connect at least 1m devices in one square kilometre. So 5G networks are supposed to be able to transfer a full-length, high-resolution film in two seconds, respond to requests in less than a hundredth of the time it takes to blink an eye and effortlessly serve cities that are densely packed with connected humans and devices. When 5G is properly rolled out, wireless bandwidth may seem infinite, says Alex Choi, until recently the chief technology officer of SK Telecom, South Korea’s second biggest carrier, who is now at Deutsche Telekom, a German operator. That will enable all kinds of data-ravenous services, which SK is testing at its “5G Playground” near Seoul. One such is a virtual-reality offering that allows people to beam themselves into shared digital spaces such as a virtual sports stadium. Another piece of 5G ingenuity is on view at Ericsson, a maker of network equipment. In what was once a factory building next to its headquarters near Stockholm, it is demonstrating “network slicing”, a technique to create bespoke networks. The antennae on display are able to create separate wireless networks, to serve anything from smartphones and wireless sensors to industrial robots and self-driving cars. “Each set of devices will get exactly the connectivity they need,” says Nishant Batra, who runs wireless-network products at the Swedish firm. This versatility, along with the ITU requirements, could make 5G the connective tissue for the internet of things (IoT), as connected devices are collectively called, says Pierre Ferragu of Bernstein Research. Networks based on it could connect and control robots, medical devices, industrial equipment and agricultural machinery. They could also enable “edge computing”, the idea that more and more number-crunching will not happen in centralised data centres but at the fringe of networks. The telecoms industry has a lot riding on 5G. Mature network-equipment makers such as Ericsson and Nokia want it to revive demand for their wares, which has declined markedly since investment in 4G peaked a couple of years ago. Makers of radio chips, such as Qualcomm, are keen too. Countries are also boosters of 5G. Having lagged in the previous wireless generation, Asian countries want to lead the way on the next one. Using the Olympic Games to showcase and launch 5G is not unique to South Korea. Japan will do so in 2020, when Tokyo hosts the summer Olympics and NTT DoCoMo, the country’s largest operator, wants to start offering 5G services commercially. In China the government, operators and local equipment makers such as Huawei and ZTE are about to launch big 5G trials. In America, where competition between AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon has already speeded 5G development, industrial policy may further accelerate its roll-out: a leaked memo written for the White House by an official of the National Security Council went so far as to call for a nationalised 5G network. Such a project, it argued, would allow America “to leap ahead of global competitors and provide the American people with a secure and reliable infrastructure”. The memo was dismissed, but the idea could crop up again. In spite of all this backing for 5G, hurdles exist. One of these is radio spectrum, which is increasingly saturated in the lower frequency bands usually used by mobile networks. Free spectrum abounds in the higher bands—in particular where the length of radio waves is counted in millimetres. But the higher the frequency, the more difficult things get, explains Stéphane Téral of IHS Markit, a research firm. Millimetre waves provide a lot of bandwidth, but even foliage can block them. They either need direct line-of-sight to work or must be bounced around obstacles, which requires lots of computing power. Hardware is another headwind. Some equipment vendors have been touting their wares as “5G-ready”, needing only software upgrades to work with the new standards. In fact, even if equipment is easily upgradeable, most operators will have to rejig their networks. High-frequency radio waves do not travel far, so firms have to erect more base stations (computers that power a network’s antennae). As for mobile devices, big changes must be made for these to be able to use millimetre waves; with current technology, the computing power to process the signals would drain batteries in a twinkling. But the biggest brake on 5G will be economic. When the GSMA, an industry group, last year asked 750 telecoms bosses about the main risk to delivering 5G, over half cited the “lack of a clear business case”. Some of this pessimism is tactical: if operators were more enthusiastic, equipment vendors would raise their prices. But as things stand, 5G is unlikely to be a big moneymaker, says Chetan Sharma, a telecoms consultant. That is because, although people want more bandwidth, they are often not willing to pay for it—an attitude even the fanciest virtual-reality offerings may not shift. Revenue per gigabyte of data has already plunged by over 50% between 2012 and 2015, estimates Mr Sharma. Costs per gigabyte have not gone down nearly as much and building 5G will not be cheap. Because of the higher frequencies, 5G will require more antennae, base stations and fibre-optic cables to connect them. And before firms can take full advantage of “network slicing”, for instance, they have to upgrade the computers at the core of their networks. “We will have to work harder to give 5G a push,” admits Lauri Oksanen, who oversees network research at Nokia, a Finnish equipment maker. Operators are unlikely to ramp up their 5G investments quickly, predicts Bengt Nordstrom of Northstream, a telecoms consultancy. Instead, he says, they will roll it out gradually where the numbers add up. Some will first use the technology to provide superfast “fixed” wireless links (ie, between two stationary antennae), which is less tricky to do. Both AT&T and Verizon have said they will start offering such a service in America this year. Other carriers may use 5G to get more out of the spectrum they own. Others will weave 5G networks to serve densely populated cities, most probably in Asia. And some will launch private systems, for instance to provide connectivity in mines and ports. In other words, 5G’s trajectory is likely to differ from that of a ski jumper: it may fly low for years before it takes off. If this is the case, it would develop much like 3G, a mobile technology introduced in the early 2000s. It disappointed until it found a “killer application” with the smartphone late in the decade. And it was only with 4G that mobile networks lived up to the promises made of 3G, such as being able to watch video streams (see chart). “The odd-numbered generations do not seem to do too well,” quips Dean Bubley, a telecoms expert. “We may have to wait for 6G to get what 5G promises.” SOURCE
  10. straycat19

    Top 5 ways 5G will change things

    The first real world tests of 5G wireless service are happening. And in a few years we'll all be surfing on multi-gigabit wireless connections. So what will that mean—besides the end of Netflix buffering? Here are the top five ways 5G's gonna change things: 1. Mobile first will go from a new way of looking at usage to the dominant reality. We'll be mobile first all the time since high bandwidth can be available anywhere. 2. Virtual and augmented reality will become a reality. There will be enough bandwidth to accommodate high resolution useful experiences. Think things like medical imaging and expert systems, not just games. 3. No more wires! Your workforce can take fast bandwidth with them out in the field, and have it at home. That saves money on operational costs and gives you a lot more flexibility. 4. Real-time cloud processing. The distinction between what happens on your device and in the cloud will start to disappear. As long as you have connectivity you'll have almost unlimited storage and massive processing power. 5. Video will be easy for everyone. Real-time video interaction means easier remote troubleshooting and high quality video interaction for meetings, marketing, and customer support. It makes me salivate a little to think of all that bandwidth available over the air at the coffee shop at the park or even at work. Source
  11. By Chris Smith on Jan 24, 2014 at 3:10 PM South Korea plans to further upgrade its cellular data speeds in the coming years, and has announced that it will invest 1.6 trillion won (or $1.5 billion) in a 5G wireless network that will be 1,000 times faster than current 4G technology and will let users download full length movies in under a second, Agence France Presse reports. “We helped fuel national growth with 2G services in the 1990s, 3G in the 2000s and 4G around 2010. Now it is time to take preemptive action to develop 5G,” the science ministry said in a statement. “Countries in Europe, China and the US are making aggressive efforts to develop 5G technology… and we believe there will be fierce competition in this market in a few years.” The 5G service will start rolling out in 2017 and will be commercially available in December 2020 with local carriers including SK Telecom and Korea Telecom. Handset makers including LG and Samsung are expected to help out with 5G development plans and costs as well. The technology would further help the country get a larger share of the world’s telecom infrastructure business, as the government wants to have a 20% stake in the business by 2020, significantly higher than its current 4.4% market share. Interestingly, 5G speeds will also allow telecoms to offer Internet connectivity in bullet trains that travel with speeds topping 500km/h, an unnamed ministry official revealed. http://bgr.com/2014/01/24/south-korea-5g-wireless-network-launch
  12. The world may still be getting used to the idea of having high-speed 4G wireless data at its collective fingertips, and many are still stuck with good-ol’ 3G, but that doesn’t mean that companies and governments the world over aren’t clamoring to try and get ahead of the game. 5G is where it’s going to be at in the next five or so years, and South Korea hopes to lead the way. South Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) announced this past Wednesday that it was working on a 5G technology that would blow the current 4G spectrum out of the water. By investing 1.6 trillion won ($1.5 billion) in the initiative, MEST hopes to produce a 5G network that is capable of speeds that are 1000 times faster than 4G, allowing an 800MB movie file to be downloaded via the airwaves in just one second. The expected timescale for such a thing? In just six years – 2020.NEST may be hard at work on making the whole thing viable, but it says it is also looking into potential uses for the network, with Ultra-HD and holographic streaming high on the agenda. If you’ve ever tried to watch an HD YouTube video on a spotty 3G connection, then the idea of 4K video coming across that network will make your eyes water. Most home broadband connections won’t manage it either, but if South Korea’s MEST has its way, its people will be doing such things on smartphones and wireless dongles. Jealous much? Of course, MEST isn’t the only one working on 5G technology. Samsung has already demonstrated its own 1Gbps 5G connection, but that took some 64 antennas to make it work, and even then there has been doubt cast about the technology by publications such as Forbes, who says Samsung’s claims are nothing more than ‘hyperbole.’ That’s got to sting! At the moment we’re sure most of us would prefer to get reliable and affordable 4G services where we live, but the thought of 5G being actively worked on fills us with hope that, one day at least, we’ll all be downloading and streaming content through the magic of cellular networks. Just don’t expect it to be cheap.Source
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