5G update: Samsung, Telefónica to test FWA in Germany

5G update: Samsung, Telefónica to test FWA in Germany

Samsung and Telefónica Deutschland are to run 20 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) 5G trials in Germany before the end of the year.

Up to 20 households in Hamburg will test the technology from November over a period of three months, according to an announcement from Samsung.

With the trial, Telefónica and Samsung are aiming to demonstrate that both consumer and business customers can be supplied with Gigabit connections without the need to lay fibre-optic cable.

Samsung will support the set-up of the trial with what it describes as “a complete end-to-end millimetre wave (26 GHz) solution”. The combination of “newly developed hardware with special software” enables fast transfer rates of several Gigabits per second across the last mile, claimed the company.

The system consists of a virtual core and a 5G radio access unit supplied by Telefónica, and 5G outdoor and indoor routers for customers.

“For the first time, Telefónica Deutschland and Samsung are working hand in hand in Germany on the introduction of 5G in connection with FWA,” said Cayetano Carbajo Martín, CTO of Telefónica Deutschland.

“At Telefónica Deutschland, we are confident that this trial will not only demonstrate the technical feasibility of Fixed Wireless Access in Germany, but will also provide a better network experience with regard to future technologies.”

“5G FWA is a promising, fast-to-market, cost-effective way to bring Giga-speed broadband to people across the country, and a viable alternative where fibre deployment is not feasible,” added GY Seo, senior VP at Samsung Electronics.

“We are pleased to work with Telefónica in delivering its first 5G FWA trial. This partnership allows us to respond to user demands and explore compelling connected service opportunities in Germany.”

Internet of Business says

The 5G space is hotting up, and commercial rollouts will emerge over the next couple of years. Until then, marketers will be competing for customers’ attention.

Last week, US carrier T-Mobile and networking and telecoms provider Ericsson signed a multi-year 5G contract worth £3.5 billion.

That deal will see Ericsson support T-Mobile’s nationwide 5G rollout, supplying the latest 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software. It will also expand the carrier’s existing LTE capacity needs, while future-proofing the network.

Meanwhile, US communications giant Verizon is asking customers to sign up for what it claims is the world’s first commercial 5G service, in a sign of the provider marketing battles to come.

Verizon 5G Home is set to launch in the US on 1 October – using a proprietary approach built on the millimetre wave spectrum. Wireless customers can expect speeds of between 300Mbps and 1Gbps with no data cap, said the company.

And in further related news, Vodafone is to double the number of European cell sites in its 5G Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) network by the end of 2019.

The world’s biggest international NB-IoT network will be available in 10 European countries, including planned launches in the UK, Romania, and Hungary, said Vodafone.

NB-IoT is the low-power, wide-area technology that will provide connectivity for many smart city applications, along with connected technology deployments in other sectors, such as agriculture.

In the UK, things are also gearing up for commercial exploitation of the technology. In July, the government announced its 5G and full-fibre broadband strategy – while admitting that the UK has fallen behind much of Europe in full-fibre connectivity.

At best, the UK is 15 years away from anything approaching full-fibre coverage, even on the government’s accelerated programme, as Internet of Business reported recently. For our in-depth report on the UK’s broadband progress, click here.

As for 5G, in August the West Midlands was selected to become the home of the UK’s first multi-city 5G testbed.

The multimillion-pound programme will pave the way for the future rollout of 5G technologies across the UK, making the region the first in the country to be ready to trial new 5G applications and services at scale.

The Urban Connected Communities Project, the next step in the government’s 5G Testbed and Trials Programme, will develop a large-scale 5G pilot across the region, with hubs in Birmingham, Coventry, and Wolverhampton.

Bristol is among other cities with advanced 5G test programmes.