5G Market Research: What are the top companies upto?

5G – The most awaited technology for years altogether is finally here. A vast improvement over its predecessors – the technology has been in the headlines for quite a while. This is the second article in the 5G series. In the first article, we covered the features that set 5G apart from its predecessors and its application areas in various domains ranging from healthcare to automotive industry, and from retail to public safety and surveillance. Given its extensive application areas, it makes one wonder – Which companies are working on the 5G domain?

Well, we had the same question and the more we read, the more we got curious to discover the other agreements and partnerships signed in the 5G domain, the M&As and research partnerships with universities. It was a bountiful of data and given the understanding that you’d have the same questions – and in the meanwhile, to save you the hassle of spending days altogether reading about these partnerships – we summarized all the research activity,  partnerships, agreements, and M&As of these major players below.

This is the second part of our massive 10,000+ words research report on 5G technology. In case if you’re in a hurry, you can download the entire report as a PDF and save it for offline reading or sharing with your colleagues.

Who are the major players, you ask?

Well, the Table of contents below would answer the question. You could also click on a particular company to find a summary of their activity in the 5G technology domain.

Research Activity and M&A of Major Players Working on 5G technology

Samsung Electronics (South Korea)

Samsung started researching on 5G technology in 2011. Since then, the company has achieved a lot in the next generation of technology and can now be considered as one of the leaders in the 5G domain.

Here is the journey of Samsung’s achievements in 5G technology along with the collaborations it has made to be the top 5G player.

  • In May 2013, Samsung had successfully developed the world’s first adaptive array transceiver technology operating in the millimeter-wave Ka bands for cellular communications. The new technology sits at the core of 5G mobile communications system and provides data transmission several hundred times faster than current 4G networks.
  • In June 2015, Samsung announced a partnership with Korean telecommunications operator LG U+ to jointly develop 5G technology to strengthen both companies. The agreement also enhanced Korea’s global leadership in 5G research and helped drive the creation of standards for the next major phase of innovation in mobile telecommunications.
  • In Nov 2015, Samsung signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the joint development of common views on next-generation 5G technologies with Japanese telecommunications operator, KDDI.
  • In Feb 2016, Samsung Electronics and Deutsche Telekom showcased the world first end-to-end 5G demonstration at Mobile World Congress 2016. During the live demonstration, Samsung, one of Deutsche Telekom’s 5G  partners, introduced its 60GHz mmWave small cell solution and handheld smartphones. The 4K UHD video contents were transmitted over the air without any delay by the Ultra High Mobile broadband (U-MBB) service using Samsung’s 60 GHz radio access technology.
  • In March 2016, Samsung demonstrated the World first mmWave Multi-cell handover. A vehicle traveling at 25 kilometers per hour was able to move between three transmitters, maintaining a gigabit data transmission. Samsung’s approach to 5G uses adaptive beamforming technology to tightly focus the radio waves into a beam that’s targeted at each user’s device.
  • In June 2016, Samsung announced the development of breakthrough 5G-ready antenna and power amplifier technologies to enable smaller, more energy-efficient 5G equipment and devices. The new technologies were intended to be applied to both 5G base stations and end-user devices using 28 GHz mmWave spectrum.
  • In July 2016, Samsung Electronics America (SEA), Inc. announced its participation as a board member of the Advanced Wireless Research Initiative (AWRI), a public-private partnership spearheaded by the White House to accelerate the development of next-generation 5G wireless networks in the United States.
  • In September 2016, Samsung Electronics America announced its collaboration with T-Mobile US on new demonstrations and lab tests designed to bring the power of 5G mobile networks to the masses. Through this collaboration, the companies assess next-generation network development in real-world mobile use cases and applications and conduct lab and field trials that demonstrated a range of innovative 5G-driven capabilities.
  • In September 2016, Samsung Electronics successfully conducted a 5G trial in China and also received certification from the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) based on its successful completion of phase 1 of 5G Technology R&D Trial executed by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group at PT/EXPO CHINA 2016.
  • In November 2016, Samsung Electronics successfully conducted 5G prototype trial in conjunction with China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI), which was a cooperation milestone between the two companies since Samsung became a member of China Mobile 5G Innovation Center in June 2016.
  • Samsung announced the new RFIC at a 5G mobile technology workshop held at the Korean Institute of Communications and Information Sciences. The company presented details on the development and strengths of the chip and outlined its role in the roadmap to commercial 5G products. The RFIC itself is designed to greatly strengthen the overall performance of 5G access units (the 5G ‘base station’) and Samsung has placed a strong emphasis on designing for low cost, high efficiency, and compact form factors.
  • In February 2017, Samsung and Verizon completed the deployment of 5G systems in five U.S. cities in preparation for beginning customer trials of 5G technology.
  • In February 2017, KDDI, a Japanese telecommunications company, and Samsung Electronics successfully completed a 5G handover trial. It’s Japan’s first-ever 5G multi-cell handover test using the 28 GHz spectrum to be conducted in a real outdoor environment, on Tokyo’s metropolitan expressway amongst towering skyscrapers.
  • In February 2017, Samsung Electronics and Arqiva, a leading UK communications infrastructure, announced an agreement to conduct the United Kingdom’s first 5G trials with a focus on Fixed Wireless Access. The trial deployment was to demonstrate the potential for 5G to serve as a compelling alternative to fiber deployment for delivery of fast broadband services as a lead-in to future 5G enhanced mobile broadband services.
  • In February 2017, at a press conference held at the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, Samsung Electronics unveiled its end-to-end portfolio of 5G mobile network products and solutions for 2017. Showcased products included consumer devices for fixed wireless access connectivity, a 5G Radio Base Station (5G Access Unit), Next-Generation Core Network infrastructure and more.
  • In February 2017, Samsung and Keysight Technologies, Inc announced their technology partnership on 5G development and testing. Samsung and Keysight entered into a technology collaboration to enable the design and deployment of 5G devices to support early operator trials. The initial focus of the partnership is on 5GTF specifications (www.5gtf.org ).
  • On February 27, 2017, Samsung and Deutsche Telekom successfully showcased 5G Guaranteed Latency (GLA) as an end-to-end network slice at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017. GLA is one of the key differentiators that clearly distinguishes 5G technology from the previous 4G. It is viewed as highly critical for the 5G era, as it enables latency control, low and stable, according to the requirements of specific use cases.
  • On March 1, 2017, 5G Americas, a wireless industry trade association and the voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas, announced the election of Samsung Electronics America, Inc. to its Board of Governors.  
  • In May 2017, Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Cisco, and  Verizon successfully deployed the first multi-vendor end-to-end 5G trial network in the field, which took place in Ann Arbor, a suburb of metropolitan Detroit, Michigan.
  • In June 2017, SK Telecom and Samsung successfully completed a trial to deliver a 5G end-to-end connection based on 5G New Radio (NR) technology. The trial represented the successful case of a 5G end-to-end connection, using the 3.5GHz spectrum, through virtualized core, radio and device based on 5G NR technology and took place in Samsung’s R&D center in Suwon, was comprised of Samsung’s 5G virtualized core.
  • In September 2017, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. and Charter Communications, Inc. announced a collaboration on 5G and 4G LTE wireless networks lab and field trials at various locations in the U.S. The 5G trial evaluated fixed use cases using Samsung’s pre-commercial 28 GHz (mmWave) system and devices. The 4G trials were performed at 3.5 GHz (CBRS), utilizing Samsung’s combined 4G LTE small cell technology in an outdoor environment to evaluate mobile use cases.
  • In October 2017, Samsung hosted the Silicon Valley 5G Summit at the Samsung Electronics America Campus on October 19th. The summit brought together global telecommunications industry leaders from across the value chain to lay the foundation for an open end-to-end ecosystem for fifth-generation (5G) networks. More than 100 industry leaders gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges involved in the commercialization of 5G technologies.
  • In December 2017, KDDI and Samsung successfully completed the first 5G demonstration on a moving train traveling at over 100 km/hour (over 60 mph). This was achieved along a section of track where the distance between two stations was approximately 1.5km (nearly 1 mile). During the demonstration, the companies achieved a successful downlink and uplink handover as well as a peak speed of 1.7 Gbps.
  • On January 3, 2018, Verizon announced that they are selecting Samsung Electronics America to supply the telco with commercial 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network solutions. The two companies planned to launch commercial 5G services in Sacramento, California in the second half of 2018.
  • In February 2018, KT, Verizon, and Samsung joined to demonstrate Samsung 5G solutions and use cases, including a prototype 5G tablet device, and a successful live video call conducted over 5G between Minneapolis and Seoul during a sponsored sports event.
  • In February 2018, Orange, Samsung, and Cisco announced a collaboration on a 5G millimeter wave trial across multiple homes in Romania. The trial marked Orange as the first operator to conduct a multi-vendor 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) customer trial in Europe.
  • In February 2018, Samsung had developed the world’s first complete commercial 5G FWA solutions, which includes: commercial form-factor 5G home routers (CPEs) for both indoors and outdoors, 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) comprised of a radio access unit and virtualized RAN, a next-generation core, as well as AI-powered 3D radio frequency planning tools and services.
  • On February 26, 2018 – Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced at Mobile World Congress that Sprint has purchased 5G-ready massive MIMO solutions from them which includes the deployment of Samsung’s latest MIMO technology solutions on Sprint’s 2.5GHz TDD-LTE network.
  • On February 27, 2018, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. joined the xRAN Forum, a consortium formed to develop, standardize and promote an open alternative to the traditionally closed, hardware-based RAN architecture. As a member, Samsung helps to expand a robust end-to-end ecosystem for carriers, which allows the use of open standards to advance the adoption of next-generation technologies such as LTE-Advanced and 5G systems.
  • In March 2018, KDDI and Samsung announced the successful completion of a 5G field trial held in Okinawa Cellular Stadium, a 30,000-person capacity baseball stadium in Japan. Using Samsung’s 5G end-to-end solutions spanning virtualized core, virtualized RAN, one of the smallest 5G access units, and multiple prototype 5G tablet devices, the trial showcased a live feed of 4K video contents downloaded and streamed simultaneously on 5G tablets supporting the millimeter-wave spectrum. This was the first time 5G performance was tested using multiple 5G devices in Japan.
  • In June 2018, KDDI and Samsung announced that they successfully completed a real-time free-viewpoint video streaming test using 5G-supporting devices. The test was conducted during a professional baseball game held in Okinawa Cellular Stadium in Naha and used Samsung’s 5G end-to-end solution comprised of virtualized core, virtualized RAN, one of the smallest 5G access units and 10 sets of 5G tablet devices.
  • In July 2018, Samsung and Cisco successfully completed a friendly-user trial and series of 5G demonstrations with Orange in Floresti, Cluj, Romania. The trial made use of Samsung’s 5G solutions including the virtualized RAN, one of the smallest 5G access units and multiple indoor and outdoor 5G routers (CPE), as well as Cisco’s Meraki Z3 WiFi Router and Ultra Gateway Platform.
  • In July 2018, Samsung and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s largest telecommunications operator and digital services provider, used Samsung’s 5G network and devices to successfully demonstrate a series of 5G scenarios including HD video calls, ultra-low latency video games, and high-definition video streaming. The demonstration zone was set up in the exhibition hall of the Popov Central Museum of Radio Communications, one of the world’s oldest museums of science and technology, in St. Petersburg.
  • In July 2018, Samsung and SK Telecom successfully demonstrated their 5G Next-Generation Core (5G NC) based on 3GPP Release-15 standards, completed in June 2018. The 5G NC developed by the two companies operates independently of an LTE network, and it enables previously unavailable features.
  • In September 2018, AT&T announced that it had selected Samsung Electronics America and CommScope to supply the company with its first 5G-ready Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) network solution. Samsung would provide CBRS compliant radios and base station equipment, while CommScope was selected as the Spectrum Access System (SAS) provider.
  • In September 2018, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced that its 5G-ready massive MIMO solutions on Sprint’s 2.5 GHz TDD-LTE network are now in commercial service. As part of Sprint’s network, Samsung’s massive MIMO solutions deliver improved 4G LTE throughput and capacity to Sprint’s subscribers.
  • On Sept. 12, 2018, Verizon and Samsung announced the world’s first successful data transmission using 800 MHz bandwidth of 28 GHz frequency, resulting in a maximum throughput of close to 4Gbps. The test took place in Samsung’s Dallas, TX lab.
  • In September 2018, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced its support of Verizon’s 5G Home service, which will provide 5G broadband Internet service to consumers in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, and Indianapolis. Verizon’s 5G broadband Internet service is the world’s first 5G commercial network. The service was supported by Samsung’s FCC-certified 5G solutions.
  • On September 17, 2018, Samsung Electronics announced that it has been selected by SK Telecom to supply the company with 5G solutions, including core and RAN, compliant to 5G New Radio (NR) standard based on 3GPP Release 15.
  • In September 2018, Telefónica Deutschland and Samsung Electronics had agreed to run 20 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) trials in Germany. Samsung will support the set-up of the trial with a complete end-to-end millimeter wave (26 GHz) solution. The combination of newly developed hardware technology with special software enables fast transfer rates of several Gigabits per second across the so-called “last mile.”
  • AT&T is working with Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEA) and Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, (SAS) to create America’s first manufacturing-focused 5G “Innovation Zone” in Austin, Texas. The goal of the testbed will be to provide a real-world understanding of how 5G can impact manufacturing and provide insight into the future of a Smart Factory.
  • On October 17, 2018, Samsung Electronics announced its acquisition of Zhilabs, known for its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based network and service analytics, to further enhance its 5G capabilities. The acquisition lays the foundation for Samsung to foster its 5G offerings of automation and network analytics to finely tune the customer experiences in the 5G era.
  • On October 24, 2018, NEC Corporation and Samsung announced a partnership of joint effort to strengthen their next-generation business portfolio including 5G. The partnership brings together the best-in-class technology and expertise in 5G, merging NEC and Samsung’s leadership in 5G and IT solutions.
  • In December 2018, Samsung Electronics America, Inc., Qualcomm Technologies, and Verizon announced a successful 5G New Radio (NR) data connection using 400 MHz of bandwidth in the 28 GHz spectrum, resulting in maximum throughput of more than 1.7 Gbps. The data connection demonstrated the delivery of multi-gigabit 5G speeds to a smartphone form-factor mobile test device, with a focus on how users can experience a virtually seamless, uninterrupted data transmission using 3GPP 5G NR specification and dual connectivity (known as EN-DC).
  • On December 6, 2018, Samsung Electronics announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KOTSA) to collaborate on next-generation telecommunication technology which will enable autonomous driving innovation across the country. Through the partnership, both entities will build 4G LTE, 5G and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) telecommunication networks and related IT infrastructures at K-City, a testbed for autonomous driving technology in Korea.
  • In January 2019, Samsung and KDDI announced that they have successfully completed a 5G test with real-time transmission of 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) surveillance video on a train platform, the first in Japan.
  • On February 19, 2019, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Samsung Electronics announced a collaboration to jointly provide solutions that help communications service providers (CSPs) accelerate 5G deployment. With this collaboration, HPE and Samsung will combine their respective strengths in edge-to-core infrastructure, data management and radio networks to provide end-to-end solutions that enable a fast and smooth 5G transition.
  • On February 22, 2019, Samsung successfully completed the development of its cutting-edge mmWave Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFICs) and Digital/Analog Front End (DAFE) ASICs, supporting 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands. Using the new RF chipsets, Samsung is reducing the size, weight and power consumption of its 5G base station by approximately 25 percent while continuing its industry leadership. Samsung has shipped over 36,000 5G base stations as of February 2019.
  • On February 22, 2019, Samsung and Fastweb announced an agreement to conduct Italy’s first 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) trial on the commercial spectrum. Companies are trialing to demonstrate how 5G FWA networks could serve as a compelling alternative to FTTH (Fiber-to-the-Home) to deliver ultra-broadband connectivity and gigabit experience to end-users.
  • On February 24, 2019 – For the first time ever on display, Samsung showed its new Galaxy S10 5G mobile phone, designed with the best hardware and software to take advantage of the full 5G experience. Also on display is a full spectrum of equipment that helps make wide-scale 5G deployment possible.
  • On February 25, 2019, Samsung, Cisco, and Orange unveiled two promising industrial 5G applications – a drone and an industrial robot, at the MWC 19 in Barcelona. This was the first time the three companies have demonstrated the 5G-equipped devices at the exhibition. These companies have stepped up their 5G efforts with pilots of drone and industrial robots, leveraging the low latency and high speed that 5G offers.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (China)

Huawei has been pouring money into research on 5G wireless networks and patenting key technologies. The company has hired many experts from abroad as well to decide the technical standards for the next-generation wireless communication technology.

Below listed are some of the major activities of Huawei in the 5G domain.

  • As of early 2017, 10% of 1450 patents essential for 5G networks were in Chinese hands in which the majority belong to Huawei and ZTE.
  • Huawei spent around $12bn on R&D in 2017 which was threefold of Ericsson spending of $4.1 bn. In 2018, it planned to spend $800 million alone in 5G research and development.
  • The company wants to involve AI in 5G which according to them is a much more integral element of Huawei’s 5G strategy. The company also plans to launch a full range of Huawei commercial equipment including wireless access networks, core networks, and devices.
  • Huawei has also revealed its hopes to launch smartphones ready for supporting 5G networks by 2019 and starting selling in mid-2019. The company is also said to be working on developing a brand-new chipset for 5G services.
  • In February 2018, Huawei and Vodafone made the world’s first 5G call using non-standalone 3GPP 5G-NR standard and sub 6 GHz spectrum. The two companies built a 5G NR end-to-end test network for the trial and used a 3.7 GHz spectrum. They also used Huawei Radio Access Network and core network equipment to support the test with microservice-centric architecture, control plane/user plane separation, and unified access and network slicing technology.
  • Huawei also started manufacturing products that provide 5G services. In the 2018 Mobile World Congress, Huawei launched its 5G customer-premises equipment (CPE), the world’s first commercial terminal device supporting the 3GPP standard for 5G. Huawei used its self-developed chipset Balong 5G01 – world’s first commercial chipset supporting the 3GPP standard for 5G, with downlink speed up to 2.3 Gbps.
  • In Jan 2019, Huawei completed the 5G NR (New Radio) test at 2.6GHz spectrum in the 5G trial organized by the IMT-2020 (5G) Promotion Group. To date, Huawei officially completed the third phase of China 5G Technology R&D (Research and Development) Trial including laboratory and field testing in NSA (Non-Stand Alone) and SA (Stand Alone) scenarios.
  • Bell and Huawei have collaborated to provide fiber-like mobile home broadband service across Canada. They are trying to connect dozens of communities and polar tribes in the north with 1.9 million square kilometers through Wireless Fiber 5G technology.
  • In Jan 2019, Huawei launched its TianGang chip designed for 5G base stations. The TianGang chip supports all network standards and all 5G bands including 3.2 and 3.5GHz, as well as C-bands used by commercial satellites. This chip also supports the integration of active power amplifiers and passive antenna arrays into very small antennas, one of the key building blocks of 5G base stations.
  • In Feb 2019, Thailand joined hands with Huawei for 5G testbed. Despite sustained pressure from the US for not using the Huawei equipment, Thailand is doing the exact opposite. It will be the Chinese company’s first testing in Southeast Asia.
  • At Mobile World Congress 2019, Huawei introduced the company’s first 5G enabled foldable smartphone – Mate X and new Matebooks.
  • The company also showcased the HUAWEI 5G CPE Pro, the CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) that is said to provide ultra-high speed broadband and intelligent Dual-Link features. Huawei 5G CPE Pro supports HUAWEI HiLink protocol – a smart home interconnection platform that offers interconnection and interworking solutions between all types of smart devices.
  • Rain has previously teased its 5G ambitions in late 2018, but the company’s CEO William Roos officially announced its intentions at Huawei’s MWC 2019 booth on Tuesday. Initially, only those in select areas across Johannesburg will be able to benefit from the network. But Rain and Huawei promises that the network will be rolled out to more metro areas in South Africa as more base stations are built. It will utilize the 3.6GHz spectrum.
  • At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, Huawei has finally unveiled World’s first 5G foldable smartphone, the Huawei Mate X. The flexible display Android smartphone features the ‘Falcon Wing Mechanical Hinge’ and outward folding screen design which unfolds to make an 8-inch tablet.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. noted that Saudi Arabia will fully embrace its next-generation 5G infrastructure technology, giving it some rare good news after several months of defending itself against accusations that its gear poses national security risks.
  • Huawei has reportedly said that India can potentially become the second-largest 5G market in the next 10 years, as reported by ET Tech. Huawei and other partner telecom companies are awaiting the Indian government’s approval on spectrum allotment. This spectrum (3.5 GHz spectrum) band is expected to be the first band to be globally accepted for 5G deployment.
  • On March 3, 2019, battling a wave of opposition to its 5G trials from the US and other countries, China’s telecom technology giant, Huawei has installed three 5G stations in Tibet. The 5G stations are being installed in different parts of China as part of Huawei’s plans to lead the 5G trials despite the opposition.

In this journey of 5G, Huawei teamed up with many companies and universities to make 5G a reality. Below listed are a few of these collaborations:

  • Huawei collaborated with Carleton University in December 2017 for making plans for Huawei’s Canada Research Centre to extend a successful research partnership program for 5G advanced communication research.
  • Huawei also plans to research on 5G-Cloud Applications for Mobile Root Systems. To make it possible, the company joined hands with Festo Didactic Research to remove the challenges in the field of mobile robotics.
  • In February 2018, Huawei joined hands with Qualcomm and successfully completed 5G NR Interoperability and Development Testing (IODT) based on the 3GPP global standard.
  • Bouygues Telecom – a French telecom company – and Altice – a Netherlands-based telecom company –  signed up an agreement with Huawei in February 2018 for 5G trails.
  • In February 2018, Huawei also teamed up with Bell to test 5G in Ontario.
  • In April 2018, Huawei joined hands with China Unicom for the development of 5G network slicing technologies.
  • In May 2018, Huawei and MTN launched the first 5G trial in South Africa using Huawei’s commercial 5G terminal in conjunction with an existing tower.
  • VEON Ltd. formerly known as VimpelCom also agreed upon a partnership with Huawei for pilot testing and integration of 4.5G and 5G solutions along with IoT.
  • Huawei also signed up with an agreement with University Politecnica de Madrid (UPM) in May 2018 for the creation of HUAWEI-UPM5G Chair which aims to promote closer ties between the university and the Chinese telecommunications giant.
  • In Dec 2018, Migu joined hands with Shanghai Mobile and Huawei to Complete the World’s First Real 4K UHD Live Broadcasting Through 5G Network Slicing. Shanghai Mobile and Huawei set up 5G network infrastructure and provided slice services to build dedicated channels that feature ultra-high bandwidths and ultra-low latency: a guaranteed experience for 4K UHD video playback.
  • Huawei and China Unicom implemented the world’s first remote operation using 5G surgery in Fujian China Unicom Southeast Research Institute. The operation end of the operation was placed in the China Southeast Research Institute, and the operation signal was transmitted in real-time through 5G technology to perform remote hepatic lobectomy on the experimental animals 50 km away.
  • In February 2019, Huawei partnered with China Mobile’s Shanghai unit to launch the 5G Digital Indoor System in the city’s Hongqiao Railway Station. The digital indoor system, expected to be deployed by the end of the year, will offer fast 5G network services to all passengers.
  • Maxis and Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona to accelerate the deployment of 5G networks in Malaysia. The MoU establishes the beginnings of cooperation between Maxis and Huawei to start full-fledged 5G trials with end-to-end systems and services.
  • On Feb 28, 2019, Huawei announced two 5G agreements with VIVA Bahrain and Nova Iceland – at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2019) in Barcelona. The telecom network maker has revealed that VIVA Bahrain will be upgrading its existing infrastructure based on non-standalone 5G core and 4/5G dual-mode radio and backhauling technologies to offer 5G services across Bahrain by June 2019. Huawei signed an agreement with Nova to conduct 5G testing in Iceland.
  • At the eve of 2019 Mobile World Congress, South Korean carrier LG Uplus and Huawei jointly announced the establishment of the Gbps 5G commercial network. The two sides have completed the deployment of more than 10,000 sites. LG Uplus and Huawei also collaborated to demonstrate the ultra-HD video and VR services based on 5G networks and enable new 5G commercial applications.
  • Huawei and Vodafone carried out a connected vehicle demonstration during the 2019 Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain. German carmaker Audi provided support for the demonstration, which used cellular vehicle-to-x technology.
  • On March 4, 2019, Huawei and Deutsche Telekom announced that they were carrying out a demonstration of cloud-based “5G” end-to-end network slicing, which included radio access, transport and core network elements. The demo took place at DT’s 5G lab in Bonn, Germany.

All these collaborations and activities hint the eagerness of the company to bring 5G technology into the mainstream as soon as possible.

ZTE Corporation (China)

Regarded as one of the leaders in the 4G LTE, the Chinese telecom equipment company also maintains its position in 5G research and tests. 4G network was confronted by various bottlenecks in the Internet of things because of its performance and capabilities. At that time, ZTE was the first company to propose its Pre5G concept and series solution. 

After that ZTE opened many research centers in various countries and did many collaborations and investments in 5G technology which you can find below:

  • On March 25, 2015, in a conference carried by the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance in Frankfurt, ZTE announced that they will join Deutsche Telekom’s research in the innovation and key technology fields of 5G. As they are already involved with NGMN’s for 5G work and now they will cooperate with other operators to promote the standardization of 5G. 
  • On July 10, 2015, ZTE announced that they signed a memorandum of understanding with SoftBank Corp. Under this MOU, both companies will collaborate for research and development on Pre5G mobile communications networks technology. This agreement builds on the existing cooperation between SoftBank and ZTE on technologies including Massive MIMO, UDN (ultra-dense networks), and MUSA (multi-user shared access).
  • On July 17, 2015, ZTE signed a strategic partnership with KT Corporation on the research and commercialization of 5G technology. Under this agreement, ZTE will also launch 5G Test Bed construction in Seoul, and jointly develop, present, and design the future 5G network architecture based on the Test Bed.
  • On  August 4, 2015, ZTE and U Mobile announced a new partnership on 5G Mobile Network Research in Malaysia. Where they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with U Mobile on the development of pre5G mobile broadband technologies, deepening the two companies’ partnership on next-generation network innovation. This partnership also involves research and development of 5G technologies in addition to Pre5G.
  • On November 4, 2015, ZTE corporation opened a new Research and Development Center in Tokyo for focusing on the development of 5G and other next-generation network technologies. This new R&D center will support ZTE’s partnerships with operators and academic institutions in Japan on the deployment of ZTE’s proprietary Pre5G technology and ongoing research on 4G and 5G mobile communications.
  • On February 23, 2016, ZTE corporation announced that they have signed a Pre5G memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hutchison Drei Austria (hereinafter referred to as “Drei”) to build the first Pre5G trial site in Europe.
  • On June 23, 2016, ZTE Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of 5G technologies with Telefonica, one of the world’s largest operators. This partnership will strengthen ZTE’s position as a strategic technological partner for Telefonica.
  • On June 28, 2016, At Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, ZTE officially released the Pre5G: Building the Bridge to 5G whitepaper. As the first vendor to propose Pre5G technology concepts and series solutions, they have exponentially enhanced the performance and capabilities of 4G networks through providing 5G-like performance and service experience on existing 4G networks, thus implementing a comprehensive evolution to 5G. 
  • On February 28, 2017, ZTE announced that the company’s 5G solutions are scheduled for commercial pre-deployment starting from the third quarter of 2018, as ZTE enables operators to minimize the time to build 5G-ready networks.
  • On April 19, 2017, ZTE Corporation announced that Mr. Sergio Parolari and Mr. Yang Li from ZTE have become editors for 5G new radio (5G NR) air interface protocols at the 3GPP radio access network (RAN) WGs in Spokane which demonstrated the strength and contribution of ZTE in 5G standards.
  • On May 16, 2017, ZTE corporation announced its participation in the second phase of China’s 5G test as well as breakthroughs in a number of technical solution verifications. China’s 5G testing is the world’s first 5G test that is guided and planned by the government. It is led by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and implemented by China’s IMT-2020 (5G) promotion group. The project’s research and development (R&D) can be divided into three phases: key technology verification, technical solution verification, and system verification.
  • On  May 25, 2017, Director of Wireless Standardization and Industrial Relationships at ZTE Corporation said that telecommunications operators should work towards to incubate globally harmonized ecosystem for 5G mobile communication in the interests of the healthy development of the telecommunications industry.
  • On May 25, 2017, ZTE shared next-generation 5G IMS core network architecture at IMS World Forum. They presented on the subject of DevOps-based Cloud-Native IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) at the 2017 IMS World Forum, which took place 23-24 May, in Madrid, Spain.
  • On June 2, 2017, ZTE signed a strategic partnership agreement on 5G and IoT with Telenet, deepening the two companies’ collaboration on next-generation technologies.
  • On June 5, 2017, ZTE Corporation announced that they will showcase their remote control service for 5G VR underwater vehicles at the 5G World Summit 2017, London. With the help of real-time VR video transmission, the demonstration will simulate underwater scenarios such as offshore submarine scientific expeditions and maintenance.
  • On June 8, 2017, ZTE corporation became the first vendor who completed the mMTC field test in the second phase of China’s 5G test. The test result showed that the number of connected terminals was increased by nearly 600 percent reaching an equivalent density of 10 million connections. This indicates a major step forward towards the future Internet of Everything (IoE).
  • On June 13, 2017, ZTE corporation took a lead in completing the 26 GHz high-frequency field test of its 5G new radio (NR) pre-commercial base station, which delivered an excellent performance in interconnecting with the instruments and chips from a number of manufacturers in the industry. In addition, ZTE also applied to do official tests for the frequency bands greater than 40 GHz in its Shanghai R&D center, indicating a rapid increase in China’s key technological capabilities for high-frequency bands.
  • On June 16, 2017, ZTE corporation and Softbank corporation announced that they have signed an agreement for a 5G trial over sub6GHz spectrum at 4.5GHz across metropolitan areas in Tokyo. For this trial, ZTE will provide state-of-the-art 5G end-to-end network solutions and will work together with SoftBank to verify the performance of 5G technologies under real-world conditions.
  • On June 30, 2017, ZTE corporation doubles its investment in the research of a fifth-generation mobile network (5G). ZTE invested 1 billion yuan( $148 million) in the previous year and now they are all set to invest 2 billion yuan ( $295 million ). As China steps up the push to build the world’s largest 5G network.
  • On November 16, 2017, ZTE corporation, Qualcomm and China Mobile announced that they have successfully achieved the world’s first end-to-end 5G NR Interoperability Data Testing (IoDT) system demonstrating a data connection based on 3GPP R15 standard. Following the guidelines of China Mobile, the IoDT connection demonstration took place at China Mobile’s 5G Joint Innovation Center and utilized ZTE’s 5G NR pre-commercial base station and Qualcomm Technologies’ 5G NR sub-6 GHz UE prototype.
  • On October 16, 2018, ZTE corporation has developed its 5G core system chips of 7nm and 10nm with independent intellectual property rights. In the first half of 2018 ZTE corporation was sanctioned by the US Department of Commerce. Because its core technology was enslaved to US companies, and it was banned from using US companies’ chips and operating systems. Then ZTE increased the investment in chip RR&D and later on developed 5G core system chips with 7nm and 10nm processes for 5G terminals.
  • On  December 9, 2018, ZTE opened a new research center in Colombia. This launch was made in partnership with Javeriana University. The company expects to implement these technologies in the next three to five years. ZTE also announced the launch of a 5G Innovation Research Center in Bogota, in partnership with the Javeriana University.
  • On March 21, 2019, ZTE Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with U Mobile Sdn Bhd (“U Mobile”), the data-centric and multiple awards winning telco, to accelerate 5G in Malaysia. In this partnership, both companies will collaborate on various 5G related developments including ‘Live testing’.
  • On April 24, 2019, ZTE Corporation did a partnership on 5G for Smart Manufacturing. This partnership is being done for the promotion of 5G integration and industry and accelerating the digital transformation of intelligent manufacturing.
  • On May 15, 2019, ZTE Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ooredoo Myanmar to collaborate on 5G network development. The collaboration is one of many components of Ooredoo Group’s network modernization program and will ensure that Myanmar is ready for the “Evolution to 5G”.
  • On May 30, 2019, ZTE Corporation has announced the launch of ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G in Finland in cooperation with Elisa, the leading Finnish communications service company in Northern Europe. Where ZTE Axon 10 pro 5G has been available from 28 May 2019  in Northern Europe and will be on sale via Elisa online and offline stores.
  • On June 21, 2019, ZTE Corporation partnered with the operator Hutchison Drei Austria to develop and deploy Austria’s first operational 5G network, available to selected business clients in Linz. In this partnership, Hutchison Drei Austria has received state-of-the-art ZTE E2E 5G solutions, in order to exclusively test-drive the ultra-fast internet of the future. For the showcase in Linz, ZTE and Hutchison Drei Austria have activated a total of 20 5G sites, creating the first-ever continuous 5G coverage throughout an Austrian city.
  • On June 24, 2019, ZTE Corporation has declared 1,424 families of 5G Standard-Essential Patents(SEP) and patent applications to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), by June 15, 2019, thereby being included global top 3.
  • On June 24, 2019, ZTE Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding in 5G cooperation with PT Telkom Indonesia, the largest digital telecommunication operator in Indonesia. This memorandum of understanding showcases ZTE and Telkom Indonesia’s commitment to building the 5G network and exploring new 5G fields in Indonesia.
  • On June 27, 2019, ZTE Corporation announced an inked partnership with leading network operator China Unicom to promote the application of 5G in terminal devices. This partnership came just three weeks after China’s Ministry issued official 5G licenses for commercial use to the country’s three network operating heavyweights: Under their agreement, ZTE and China Unicom will set up a joint operation team for the development and application of 5G Live TV innovations and 5G network technologies.
  • On June 28, 2019,  ZTE Corporation has announced that ZTE and China Telecom demonstrate 5G 8K+VR ultra-wide bandwidth experience at a 5G experience zone jointly built by China Telecom and ZTE at MWC Shanghai 2019. In which they will showcase the excellent performance and business-enabled capabilities of China Telecom’s commercial network, but also reflected their excellent 5G end-to-end commercial capabilities, providing a good model for 5G business cases.
  • On July 5, 2019, ZTE Corporation officially sold the first 5G smartphone ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G in Finland. The phone was handed over to the consumer by Veli-Matti Mattila, CEO of Elisa Corporation, on July 3, 2019 in the Elisa Kulma flagship store in Helsinki, which verifies Finland has officially entered the era of 5G and ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G as the first commercial 5G smartphone in Nordic countries, enabling consumers to gain the ultimate and ultra-fast 5G experiences and services.
  • On July 12, 2019, ZTE Corporation and Slovakian Mobile Operator SWAN Mobile have jointly conducted the country’s first 5G video call in a major breakthrough for 5G commercialization where they showcased a variety of industrial applications based on 5G in front of reporters and invited guests. The demos were run on a 5G network based on 3GPP R15, using ZTE’s 5G end-to-end solution which consists of wireless access and core network technologies, as well as 5G mobile phones.
  • On July 16, 2019, ZTE corporation has won Best 5G Solution Award at Selular Awards 2019, held in Jakarta, Indonesia. This award recognizes ZTE’s efforts to introduce 5G in the early stages and commitment to establishing cooperation in developing 5G technologies with leading operators in Indonesia. 
  • On August 1, 2019, ZTE Corporation has signed a five-year 5G cooperation agreement with Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas of Colombia (UDFJC University) to establish a 5G Joint Innovation Research Center in Colombia. Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas is a public, coeducational, research university based in Bogotá, Colombia, and is also the first university in Colombia setting up the electronic engineering career, which lays a profound foundation for Colombia’s 5G exploration.
  • On August 5, 2019, ZTE Corporation announced that its H shares have been included among the FTSE4Good Index Series for the second consecutive year since 2018. That well recognizes ZTE’s commitment to environmental, social and corporate governance practices.
  • On August 9, 2019, ZTE Corporation has announced that it will broadcast the 2nd National Youth Games of China with integrated 5G Live TV solutions in collaboration with Shanxi Branch of China Mobile. With ZTE’s 5G technologies widely adopted in video collection, editing, broadcasting, and transmission for the live streaming of the 2nd National Youth Games, it is China’s first 5G sporting event.
  • On August 14, 2019, ZTE corporation, announced that they have launched 5G applications in Carinthia, Austria, bringing 5G technology to life in collaboration with Drei and the Federal State of Carinthia. Showcasing the new opportunities for digitalization, tourism and the environment, real 5G applications in the 5G network and 5G smartphones will provide transfer speeds of up to one Gigabit per second.

Nokia Networks (Finland)

Nokia has also joined the race of 5G as the company is developing, researching, and partnering with other entities to render 5G communication as fast as possible.

The company uses an 8000-hectare site to carry out key 5G tests collaborating with Deutsche Telekom and Hamburg Port Authority for their project 5G MoNArch. The project’s main goal is to gain knowledge and experience from 5G networks in the real-world environment. Its industrial uses could be traffic light management, data processing from mobile sensors, and VR applications. 

Nokia, on the other hand, also implemented Future X network architecture for 5G to deliver robust network coverage and reduce costs.

  • Future X includes high-capacity 5G New Radio, core, and SDN controlled ‘Anyhaul’ transport to provide a complete set of network capabilities for commercial 5G networks.
  • Nokia unveiled its ReefShark chipsets for outlining the scope of its Future X architecture for 5G, the basis for its new reference silicon design, the foundation of its 5G technology, and services portfolio.
  • Their portfolio comprises a full, end-to-end network that delivers up to three times more data capacity per cell site and 30% lower total cost of operation through artificial intelligence-based automation.
  • Nokia also unveiled a bunch of services designed to help operators with the major undertaking of moving to 5G at 5G World 2018. The main offering was Nokia 5G Digital Design, which uses AI to simulate 5G use cases to help with real-world design and stress test the business cases for them.
  • Nokia also completed the 5G New Radio data call based on 4G/5G connectivity during a demonstration in China.
  • In August 2018, Nokia outlined its licensing rate expectations for 5G mobile phones. Nokia is a long-term innovator in the development of fundamental technologies for wireless communications and has made significant contributions to the development of related standards for more than two decades. This research and development investment has resulted in a significant portfolio of standard-essential patents (SEPs), which Nokia has committed to license on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms, in line with the applicable intellectual property rights policies of relevant standard-setting organizations (SSOs).
  • On October 25, 2018, Nokia’s state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in Chennai in South India has started manufacturing 5G New Radio equipment based on the 3GPP 5G New Radio Release 15 standard. The Chennai plant is one of the largest telecom equipment manufacturing plant in the country, having crossed the 4 million units annual production milestone of 2G, 3G, and 4G units. It serves both domestic as well as global customers, shipping to over 100 countries.
  • At Mobile World Congress 2019, Nokia introduced a new FastMile 5G Gateway that allows operators upgrading their LTE network to capture new Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) revenue and accelerate 5G rollouts.  Nokia’s FastMile 5G Gateway uses the same sub-6GHz 5G that operators will use to upgrade their LTE grid, providing broader coverage of FWA and enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services.

Below we have listed some collaborations and research activities of Nokia across the globe. 

  • Nokia is supplying the technology to enable China Unicom to improve the quality of its voice services and prepare its network for evolution to 5G technology.
  • Nokia also seems to have strengthened its position in Saudi Arabia as the nation’s telecom providers requested Nokia to help them upgrade their networks. As a result, Nokia has won several network improvement contracts with Saudi telecom companies in recent months.
  • The company also conducted joint research in November 2017 with the University of Bristol for 5G mobile networks in Bristol. The test network ran over Bristol City Council’s dedicated fiber infrastructure around Bristol Millennium square.
  • Nokia has also shown their interest in India to expand 5G mobile networks as the company inaugurated a new R&D facility in Bangalore on December 2017 and announced that by end of 2018 they will be adding manpower into the facility. For the record, the R & D laboratory in India is Nokia’s fourth, with the other three in Europe (2) and China (1).
  • Nokia also partnered with Telia in November 2017 to initiate a network called 5G Finland which is said to revolutionize 5G in Finland. Telia has kept the 5G Finland open for all Finnish companies and organizations.
  • SK Telecom also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nokia to work together in developing 5G mobile network technology. Their joint goal was to demonstrate 5G in 2018 and to commercialize the service in 2020. A particular focus would be on developing cmWave/mmWave 5G technology which uses wideband spectrum resources from 6 GHz or higher.
  • Nokia has also collaborated with other telecom companies like T-Mobile & Intel on 5G network to introduce a 28 GHz outdoor 5G commercial radio system on air in Bellevue, WA.
  • In May 2018, Nokia and SFR successfully completed a 5G call using the 5G new radio system on 3.5 GHz frequency band.
  • Nokia completed the first technical trial in Calgary in May 2018 in collaboration with Canadian carrier Shaw Communications,  The 5G trial used 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum and 3.5 GHz spectrum.
  • In June 2018, Nokia and T-Mobile celebrated the successful completion of the USA’s first bi-directional 5G transmission based on a 3GPP-compliant 5G New Radio system.
  • On July 6, 2018, Nokia and China Mobile signed an MoU to investigate the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimize future networks and enable the delivery of new Edge Cloud and 5G services. The companies planned to establish a laboratory in Hangzhou, China to develop the demo system to verify technology use cases using Nokia 5G Future X architecture, while China Mobile leads the research in terms of scenario selection, requirements confirmation, open API standardization, and solution definition.
  • On July 30, 2018, T-Mobile and Nokia announced a landmark $3.5 billion agreement to accelerate the deployment of a nationwide 5G network. According to the deal, Nokia would provide T-Mobile with complete end-to-end 5G technology, software, and services portfolio, assisting the Un-carrier in its efforts to bring its 5G network to market for customers in the critical first years of the 5G cycle.
  • On Aug 17, 2018, Verizon and Nokia continued to advance the development and deployment of 5G technology by achieving another major 5G milestone: the first successful transmission of a 3GPP New Radio (NR) 5G signal to a receiver situated in a moving vehicle, seamlessly handing off the signal from one radio sector to another. The test took place at Nokia’s campus in Murray Hill, NJ. It follows the companies successful completion of a series of outdoor data sessions over the 5G NR standard, and the successful multi-carrier aggregation to boost those signals into Gbps range, that took place in June – also both industry firsts.
  • In Sep 2018, Nokia and France Télévisions – the French National Public TV broadcaster – planned to showcase the results of a proof-of-concept demonstration of the world’s first 8K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV streaming in real conditions over 5G at IBC 2018. Nokia and France Télévisions’ ‘Innovation and Prospective department’ conducted the tests by transmitting a program recorded in 8K over a 5G wireless network at the Nokia Paris-Saclay Campus in France in July.
  • In Oct 2018, Nokia partnered with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to launch a new training facility – the Nokia 5G Skills Accelerator – in hopes to increase Australian industry knowledge and skills in next-generation telecommunications technologies such as 5G and foster their integration into Australian academic programs.
  • On Nov 27, 2018, Nokia and StarHub completed the first outdoor pilot of 5G New Radio on 3.5 GHz frequency band in Singapore. The companies demonstrated industrial and consumer applications to staff, industry partners and enterprise customers over ‘live’ Nokia 5G cells and core network technology at StarHub’s headquarters in Singapore.
  • In Dec 2018, Sandvik and Nokia collaborated to deliver Industrial IoT to mining industry over LTE and 5G Networks.
  • On Dec 7, 2018, Nokia and China Mobile Research Institute signed an agreement under which the companies would jointly optimize 5G networks using a more open architecture. Nokia will work closely with China Mobile Research Institute to simplify interoperability between multi-vendor radio access network (RAN) technologies and enable new levels of service performance for customers.
  • Sprint announced it has reached a significant milestone on its path towards launching mobile 5G service beginning in the first half of this year. Together with Nokia and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. the companies in Jan 2019 completed the world’s first over-the-air 5G data transmission using 2.5 GHz and Massive MIMO on Sprint’s live commercial network.
  • On Dec 19, 2018, Nokia and Telefónica Deutschland completed building their joint “Early 5G Innovation Cluster” in Berlin. The “Early 5G Innovation Cluster” incorporates five sites in Telefónica’s cellular network in Berlin-Friedrichshain. These sites, equipped with Nokia 5G Airscale radio and Wavence Microwave technology, will be used in the next months primarily to test and measure the performance and coverage of first 5G services in a dense urban area.
  • AT MWC 19, Nokia announced the results of the Nokia 5G Maturity Index, produced in partnership with Analysys Mason, which provides operators with best practices for planning and deploying 5G services. The industry’s first benchmark of 5G operator maturity revealed that two-thirds of operators expect 5G to create new revenue streams, while more than 70% of operators are focused on 5G to help improve existing consumer services.
  • At the same event, Nokia announced that Bharti Airtel will trial its homogenous fronthaul solution which can support 4G, 5G and enterprise services through a common platform. This trial is part of Bharti Airtel’s strategy to make its network future-ready to meet the growing demand for high-speed data-driven by the digital revolution in India.
  • Nokia and leading Australian network operator, Optus announced several breakthroughs to establish the first 5G commercial services in Australia. Optus becomes the first operator globally to deploy Nokia’s FastMile 5G indoor gateway in a live network and successfully launch a 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) service using the 5G New Radio standard. Highlighting a clear path to commercial 5G, the successful deployment enables Optus to use the 3.5 GHz 60 MHz band to deliver the greater capacity needed to support multiple devices and ultra-high-definition video streaming services in the home.
  • At Mobile World Congress 2019, Nokia and Vodafone demonstrated two massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (mMIMO) innovations to improve 5G capacity and performance. The companies will jointly showcase how 5G services can be delivered using low power, compact form factor and more easily deployed RFIC based mMIMO antennas, which reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) compared to conventional mMIMO antennas.
  • AT MWC 19, Nokia and Korea Telecom (KT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and trial various 5G technologies, including NFV and network slicing, in order to develop new applications and business models for the operator’s enterprise customers.

Nokia seems to be advanced in 5G research both internally and externally as the company is only depending on 5G for their future growth.

NEC Corporation (Japan)

Japan’s NEC also rolled its sleeves for 5G and introduced a new business concept, “5G. A Future Beyond Imagination” to make drastic changes in the industry. According to SVP Toshimitsu Shimuzu, NEC plans to “collaboratively create new business models and services that connect information from different industries and companies by utilizing advanced information and communications technologies (ICT) that combine 5G with NEC’s proprietary AI, IoT, and other digital technologies”

In 2017, along with other telecom companies, NEC Corporation made a statement that the completion of the first 5G NR standard has set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR, and announced its commitment towards driving the progress of standardization for a global mobile system and creating secure and intelligent technologies to realize 5G services.

From then on, the organization has made many developments in 5G, which are listed below:

  • In Mobile World Congress 2018, NEC announced the collaboration with NTT DOCOMO to promote 5G by testing coordination technology between cells. In these experiments, coordinated control between Distribution Units (DUs) was achieved by using a massive-element Active Antenna System (AAS) base station system belonging to a Centralized-Radio Access Network (C-RAN) configuration, enabling a Central Unit (CU) to control multiple DUs.
  • In Feb 2018, the company also announced the successful remote control of construction machinery for the first time in Japan using a 5G next-generation communications system and 4K 3D monitoring in collaboration with KDDI Corporation and Obayashi Corporation. 
  • In the same month, NEC also released a white paper titled “Making 5G a Reality”.
  • The company also claimed a successful transmission of digital beamforming with a massive-element active antenna base station system that supports a 28 GHz band for 5G communications in 2018. This is the first time simultaneous beamforming transmission (four multi-user MIMO) from a single massive-element active antenna system (AAS) to four terminals has succeeded (1). In this test, NEC achieved a 3.1 Gbps cell throughput by applying a frequency bandwidth of 300 MHz.
  • In June 2018, NEC announced that they have achieved with NTT DoCoMo the world’s first 5G transmission of a 4.5GHz signal using beamforming and inter-base station.
  • In Aug 2018, NEC Corporation announced the launch of an enhanced Traffic Management Solution (TMS) for 5G that improves the throughput of high-speed networks that support data transfer rates of more than 5Gbps. TMS increases the quality of experience for end-users and enables Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to efficiently operate networks by providing them with sophisticated control over communications traffic.
  • In Oct 2018, NEC Corporation and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., announced a partnership of joint effort to strengthen their next-generation business portfolio including 5G. The partnership brings together the best-in-class technology and expertise in 5G, merging NEC and Samsung’s leadership in 5G and IT solutions.
  • On Jan 11, 2019, NEC Corporation announced that it contributed to a video transmission test utilizing 5G conducted on November 2018 by NTT DOCOMO, INC. and TOBU RAILWAY CO., LTD. through the provision of 5G base stations that support 4.5GHz and 28 GHz bands.
  • NEC Corporation announced the provision of a facial recognition demo system utilizing Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC), a network architecture concept for next-generation communications, to DOCOMO 5G Open Lab™ OKINAWA, a 5G technology verification center established in Okinawa prefecture on January 9 and run by NTT DOCOMO, INC.
  • On Jan 28, 2019, NEC Corporation, KDDI Corporation, and Obayashi Corporation announced that they had successfully carried out an operation in which the next-generation mobile communication system 5G was used to remotely control two construction machines in a cooperative manner. This field experiment was conducted in a part of the construction area of Aigawa Dam, which is under construction, in Ibaraki, Osaka from December 3 to 14, 2018.
  • On Feb 20, 2019, NEC Corporation announced the global provision of the “NEC 5G Vertical Business Platform” for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to provide networks, clouds, and applications for the arrival of the 5G era. The “NEC 5G Vertical Business Platform” has been designed to provide full-stack capabilities and deliver innovative vertical business services.
  • On Feb 22, 2019, NEC Corporation announced the development of Radio Units (RU) for 5G base stations that comply with O-RAN fronthaul specifications established by the O-RAN Alliance. In the future, 5G is expected to require a large number of small-coverage base station devices. NEC’s RU is ideal for 5G conditions as they are compact, lightweight and consume a low level of power, which reduces installation and operation costs.

Ericsson (Sweden)

Ericsson claims to be the only vendor that is currently working on all continents to make 5G a global standard for the next generation of wireless technology.

Their 5G radio prototypes are the first products designed to enable operators to conduct live field trials in their own networks which helps operators to get a greater understanding for the potential of 5G in their own networks and environments.

Given their expertise in the 5G domain, many companies across the globe have collaborated with Ericsson.

The company has already performed several trials by collaborating with the domestic vendors. Below listed are few of them along with other research activities. 

  • In May 2017, the company joined with Celcom Axiata Berhad for first-ever 5G testing in Malaysia. It’s also the first 5G trial conducted on the 28 GHz band in South East Asia. The trial showcased Celcom’s commitment to providing the best service in Malaysia.
  • In the same month, Ericsson in collaboration with Batelco conducted Bahrain’s first 5G trial with the aim to drive innovation for IoT applications using next-generation mobile network technology. The trial was conducted at Batelco’s Headquarters during their 5G Forum event and demonstrated 5G capabilities in a real-world environment and over a live network, including tests on speed, latency, and beam steering, reaching a record speed of 25 Gbps.
  • In February 2018, Ericsson and Korea Telecom with Intel conducted a 5G trial connecting a car to a live 5G network right in the center of Seoul. In the dense urban environment, 4K video was streamed to and from the car, giving an idea of how 5G will change the experience for car passengers.
  • Multiple companies teamed up to make 5G available in some cities. Tallink, Telia, Ericsson, and Intel created a 5G test and exploration area at the Port of Tallinn. The trial network is delivering internet to the commercial, passenger cruise ships while in the port. With million passengers annually on its Baltic sea routes, Tallink is one of the largest ocean transport companies of Europe.
  • In India, Ericsson partnered with Indian telecom Bharti Airtel for 5G. 
  • Ericsson showcased the first-ever live 5G demonstration in India in November 2017. The demonstration using Ericsson’s 5G testbed and 5G New Radio (NR) delivered throughput of 5.7 Gbps and ultra-low latency of 3 milliseconds. According to an Ericsson study, 5G technology will enable a $27.3 billion revenue potential for the Indian telecom operators by 2026. 
  • Ericsson connection also reached Pacific region where they allianced with Australian telecom NBN for kicking off 5G trials in Melbourne. 
  • While Ericsson is making several alliances, it also working on making 5G’s speed better. In a partnership with SK Telecom and BMW Korea, Ericsson used advanced 5G technology to track a connected car traveling up to 170 km/hour to demonstrate data transmission speeds on a 5G network. Using advanced beamforming and beam tracking, the high-performance network connection supported point-to-point data transmission from a connected car traveling up to 170 kmph with downlink speeds of 3.6 Gbps.
  • Ericsson has partnered with the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology to develop so-called blade integrated disks, or blisks, for Germany-based jet engine manufacturer MTU Aero Engines.
  • Ericsson recently signed a 3-year deal with Movistar Argentina to transform its Radio Access Network to expand network coverage and improve the mobile broadband experience for its customers.
  • Ericsson also plans to invest in the Indian market as for them it is a crucial market for their business. The company plans to launch 5G networks in India in 2019 and begin major deployment in 2020.
  • In April 2018, Ericsson was selected by Italian operator Wind Tre to virtualize its core network as part of the evolution of its network to 5G Core. The transformation enables Wind Tre to work in a more agile way when providing services to customers using both fixed and mobile access and to improve operations.
  • In June 2018, Telia, Ericsson and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology announced their partnership to boost the development of 5G in Sweden. The expansion of 5G will drive the entire digitalization of society through IoT and applications such as smart manufacturing and connected vehicles.
  • In June 2018, Ericsson partnered with AT&T, Fox Sports, Fox Innovation Lab, and Intel to enable FOX Sports to broadcast 4K video wirelessly over 5G at the 2018 U.S. Open.
  • In Aug 2018, The company showcased the first live demonstration of 5G technology in the Philippines and announced a Memorandum of Understanding with PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications to start deploying a 5G pilot network in 2019.
  • On Sep 17, 2018, PJSC VimpelCom (marketed under the Beeline brand) and Ericsson signed a two-year strategic partnership agreement to develop 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
  • On Oct 25, 2018, Ericsson announced that it signed an MoU with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), one of the leading telecom operators in India to work together on developing new 5G use cases, knowledge sharing on 5G technology concepts, industry and innovation trends including 3GPP standardization progress.
  • In Oct 2018, Telstra announced Ericsson as its key 5G partner under an agreement that will see the two companies partner to deliver the next generation of mobile technology for Australia. The agreement, signed by Telstra and Ericsson marks another important milestone in the nation’s 5G technology development and rollout.
  • In October 2018, Ericsson and Telia in partnership with Einride showed how driverless truck transportation is possible through enhanced connectivity based on 5G at the DB Schenker facility in Jönköping, Sweden.
  • In Nov 2018, Ericsson inked a new deal with Telenor Group, the Norwegian multinational telecommunications company, to transform its core network in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway.
  • On Feb 28, 2019, Mobily Saudi Arabia deployed Ericsson’s full-stack telecom cloud solution, with the focus on transforming its wireless network and providing a 5G Cloud Core. Mobily will gain a flexible, agile, and programmable network to improve customer experience and support the development of new services.
  • On Feb 28, 2019, Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia agreed to initiate discussions to extend an OSSii (Operation Support System Interoperability Initiative) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cover 5G network technology.
  • Ericsson and STC Solutions, a subsidiary of Saudi Telecom Company, signed a sales channel partnership agreement to allow STCS to resell Ericsson hardware, software, post-warranty, and training across networks, digital services, managed services, emerging business & technology business units to end-users – including STC subsidiaries such as VIVA Kuwait and VIVA Bahrain. The announcement was made during the MWC 2019.
  • At Mobile World Congress 2019, Ericsson and Transdev announced their collaboration for the Rouen Normandy Autonomous Lab* (RNAL) project as the first on-demand shared and autonomous transport service on open roads in Europe. The RNAL project enables autonomous operation of four ZOEs Renault and, soon, an i-Cristal Transdev – Lohr shuttle.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, Ericsson was selected by Ooredoo Qatar to make its ‘Supernet’ fully 5G-enabled and enhance the digital lives of people, enterprises, and industries across Qatar. The 5G deal will see Ericsson Radio System, 5G New Radio solutions, and 10 Gbps microwave solutions digitally transform and modernize Ooredoo’s existing mobile networks and introduce the latest 5G technologies across the country.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Ericsson signed a deal to launch a mid-band 5G network in Saudi Arabia. The deal was announced at a signing ceremony at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona.
  • On Feb 26, 2019, Ericsson was selected by Etisalat to deploy a 5G radio network in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to help position the UAE at the forefront of 5G network deployment globally. The deal is part of a strategic partnership that will also see Ericsson and Etisalat working together to explore 5G opportunities.
  • On Feb 27, 2019, Ericsson and Telefónica connected 5G at famed Camp Nou stadium using massive MIMO active antennas in the 3.5GHz. Telefónica, Ericsson and FC Barcelona streamed live images from Camp Nou to MWC 19 Barcelona, as well as exclusive footage of the first team’s training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper stadium and a virtual tour of the stadium.  The project has been developed in collaboration with GSMA and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, within the framework of the 5G Barcelona initiative.
  • On Feb 28, 2019, U.S. Cellular and Ericsson announced a multi-year contract for Ericsson to support U.S. Cellular’s 5G network deployment. Under the contract, Ericsson will provide U.S. Cellular with 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software.

Moreover, the company has also secured most of its research and inventions through IP. For example, to secure the R&D done on 5G,  Ericsson filed a landmark patent application for 5G with WIPO and USPTO.

The patent application, which combines the work of 130 Ericsson inventors, is the largest in cellular communications in terms of the number of inventors, anywhere in the world. It shows the industry how Ericsson has approached 5G standardization with a comprehensive view that connects individual inventions in a complete 5G telecommunications network, rather than focusing on smaller individual inventions.

Qualcomm (US)

While other companies are talking about 5G, Qualcomm is actually building the technologies. Unlike telecom companies, Qualcomm focuses more on building products.

  • Qualcomm Technologies and a group of the world’s leading mobile network operators including AT&T, Verizon, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom made a declaration in February 2019 of how far along they are in realizing the vision for 5G. As the companies planned to begin the first trials of standards-compliant mobile 5G NR networks, at the heart of the mobile test devices, they will use the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem to ascertain the performance of these emerging networks.
  • After 3GPP set 5G standards in 2016, Qualcomm started working on the next wave of 5G NR technologies that would pave the way to the subsequent 5G NR standard releases. At MWC 2018, Qualcomm demonstrated three of these 5G NR expansion areas.
  • Qualcomm Research started design work on the new 5G wireless air interface well before 3GPP standard efforts kicked off. In a live demonstration to Industry Analysts, Qualcomm Research demonstrated a key 5G technology enabler to these extreme mobile broadband experiences— millimeter wave (mmWave).
  • Qualcomm is also working to design and standardize the new 5G NR unified air interface.
  • In February 2018, Samsung and Qualcomm announced their intention to expand their decade-long foundry relationship into EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography process technology, including the manufacture of future Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 5G mobile chipsets using Samsung’s 7-nanometer (nm) LPP (Low Power Plus) EUV process technology.

Using 7 LPP EUV process technology, Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets will offer a smaller chip footprint, giving OEMs more usable space inside upcoming products to support larger batteries or slimmer designs. Process improvements combined with more advanced chip design, are expected to bring significant improvements in battery life.

  • In the same month, Qualcomm and Microsoft announced that leading retailers from across the world will offer a range of new Microsoft Always Connected Windows 10 PCs powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Mobile PC Platform.
  • Besides, last year, Qualcomm revealed a 5G handset at Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong which said to be miles ahead of its competitors.
  • Qualcomm, along with Verizon and Nokia, completed a series of data sessions over the 3GPP New Radio 5G standards outdoor and a successful multi-carrier aggregation to boost those signals into Gbps range.
  • Qualcomm also got permission by FCC to conduct R&D tests in New Jersey and California.
  • Qualcomm also claims to offer the 5G NR platform for a small cell which also been used by 3G and 4G networks in urban areas. Qualcomm’s ‘FSM100xx’ platform works with both sub-6 GHz frequencies and a higher millimeter Wave (mmWave) spectrum.
  • Qualcomm is collaborating with 18 telecoms and 20 manufacturers, including Taiwan’s Asustek Computer Inc. (華碩), to launch 5G-enabled products beyond mobile devices next year.
  • On Feb 19, 2019, Qualcomm announced an expansion of its 5G test networks to include new end-to-end over-the-air (OTA) configurations for both millimeter-wave (mmWave) and sub-6 GHz bands.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, to facilitate next-generation connected vehicles can perform as envisioned, Qualcomm announced 2nd generation Qualcomm Connected Car Reference Design, which features a highly advanced suite of connectivity technologies, precise positioning technology, and integrated processing.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, Qualcomm announced at MWC 19 Barcelona its first 5G customer premise equipment (CPE) reference design for sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G fixed wireless broadband (FWB) products. The reference design features the newly announced second-generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 5G modem and next-generation Qualcomm® RF front-end (RFFE) components and modules for sub-6 GHz and mmWave deployments.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, Qualcomm announced the PC industry’s first commercial 5G PC Platform, the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 8cx 5G compute platform. Featuring the groundbreaking second-generation Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X55 5G modem, the Snapdragon 8cx 5G platform will help PC manufacturers take advantage of the global rollout of 5G networks.
  • At Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm announced the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Mobile Platform with 5G integrated into a System-on-Chip (SoC). The Company builds on its 5G leadership with the Snapdragon X50 and X55 5G modems and RF front-end (RFFE) solutions by offering a newly integrated Snapdragon 5G mobile platform, which reinforces the Company’s role in providing the global mobile ecosystem with the flexibility and scalability needed for broad and fast 5G adoption.
  • At MWC 19 Barcelona, Qualcomm delivered Wi-Fi 6 to the world in two groundbreaking ways: First, it announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform-based devices with our WCN3998 chipset integrated to support key Wi-Fi 6 features, and second, it provided a distinctive view of what a full-featured Wi-Fi 6 mobile SoC looks like, ready for standard certification later this year.
  • Nreal light, the mixed reality (MR) headset that looks like a pair of sunglasses announced partnerships with Qualcomm and LG Uplus pointing to likely compatibility with the wave of 5G phones poised to hit the market. With today’s newfound ability to connect to smartphones running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, Nreal light is hoping to drive into the mainstream by 2020.
  • On Mar 3, 2019, France Brevets, IMT and EURECOM announced a joint agreement with Qualcomm Incorporated to foster research into new technologies for future 5G standards. Under the terms of the agreement, Qualcomm will contribute funding and standards expertise to support wireless communications research by EURECOM and its partner organization Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT), while France Brevets will provide support in the area of intellectual property strategy.
  • On March 5, 2019, as per an announcement, a Qualcomm subsidiary and Robert Bosch will research collaboratively with a focus on 5G New Radio (NR) technology applications for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Qualcomm also disclosed their royalties price for every 5G phones which could be up to $16.25,  threefold than Ericsson’s price. This is not the final price as the licensing agreement often include cross-licensing deals which could affect the price drastically.

Verizon (US)

The US telecom company deployed smart policies to render 5G for US consumers. Verizon positioned themselves at the forefront of 5G technology as they are building modern infrastructure all over the country. According to them, the world needs smart policies for 5G deployment which they are ready to provide.

Here are some of the developments made by Verizon to play its part in the 5G race.

  • Verizon was also successfully able to complete a call on 5G NR networks in February 2018 in collaboration with Nokia and Qualcomm. The trio used Verizon’s wave spectrum – using Nokia 5G network on a 5G NR prototype device by Qualcomm. The test was conducted at Nokia’s facility in Murray Hill, NJ.
  • On April 2018, Verizon was able to complete its first-ever pre-commercial video call using Samsung 5G tablets. It was an international call from Minneapolis to Seoul, Korea. The companies also decided to work together in the future for further developments.
  • Verizon also achieved another industry first with the completion of a successful field trial delivering live 400 Gbps Ethernet traffic on a single wavelength between MPLS Core routers over its Packet-Optical network. This trial proved the interoperability of equipment from two different suppliers and the capability to quadruple the typical capacity carried on a wavelength. This trial, held in December 2017 using the Verizon network in the Dallas area, validates the viability of carrying 400 Gbps traffic. 
  • Verizon has many plans for 5G technology. Most importantly, they claim to be the first-ever company to provide 5G service in the US. Further, AT&T has also shown a desire to be the first in the race.
  • Verizon selected Sacramento, CA, as the first city that would receive their 5G fixed wireless broadband service as the company gears up to challenge cable broadband providers.
  • Verizon announced that they would partner with Samsung to use their custom fixed 5G home routers and 5G Radio Access Units (RAN) for the carrier’s initial 5G commercial rollout that was scheduled for the second half of 2018.
  • Verizon also holds a 31 GHz license in the BTA from its acquisition of LMDS licenses from Nextlink Wireless.
  • In May 2018, Verizon announced the deployment of 5G networks in Los Angeles using Ericsson equipment.
  • In June 2018, it was announced that Columbia University was experimenting with VR (Virtual Reality) using pre-commercial 5G technology from Verizon to develop telemedicine solutions.
  • In Aug 2018, Verizon and Motorola unveiled the world’s first 5G-upgradable smartphone. The new moto z3 is the first 5G-upgradeable smartphone which tapped into Verizon’s 5G network by simply snapping on the 5G moto mod.
  • Verizon will be the first U.S. wireless provider to offer Samsung’s new 5G smartphone – the Galaxy S10 5G – in the first half of 2019 as its 5G Ultra Wideband NR network goes live.
  • Verizon highlighted several use cases for XR using its 5G network at Mobile World Congress Americas in September. One demonstration, by Envrmnt by Verizon, showed how users wearing a VR headset could be immersed in the 360-degree spatial audio experience. The user was able to attend a concert involving an orchestra of about 100 instruments. As he moved around the concert hall, the instruments grew either louder or quieter as he got closer or farther from each section.
  • At Mobile World Congress Americas in September 2018, Voxon Photonics showed off the world’s first 3D holographic call made possible by Verizon 5G. Using Verizon’s 5G network on the Los Angeles Convention Center show floor, Voxon Photonics sent medical data from the Verizon booth to the Ericsson booth –  a distance of about 200 feet – and conducted the first-ever real-time video conference where the caller’s holographic face appeared using an Intel RealSense depth camera.
  • On Oct 1, 2018, the first commercial 5G network in the world went live in portions of Sacramento, as well as Houston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles. Installations of Verizon 5G Home started on the same day for “First on 5G” members in Sacramento. Built on the Verizon-led open 5G TF network standard, Verizon 5G Home is the next generation of home broadband internet service that provides super-fast Wi-Fi.
  • On Oct 4, 2018, The Independent Filmmaker Project (“IFP”), US’s premier member organization of independent filmmakers and storytellers, and Verizon’s RYOT, a premium entertainment studio, (“RYOT”) announced the launch of a new initiative focused on new storytelling forms developed exclusively for the 5G mobile network.
  • On Nov 9, 2018, Verizon and the Mass Tech Leadership Council (MassTLC), in collaboration with Ericsson, announced the launch of the Verizon 5G Robotics Challenge, a first-of-its-kind opportunity for universities, startups, and other developers in the greater Boston area to create 5G-powered robotics technologies that has the potential to transform, modern industry.
  • On Nov 13, 2018, Verizon – in partnership with Motorola, Samsung Electronics America, and Qualcomm Technologies completed the world’s first 5G data transmission on a smartphone on a commercial 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) network. This successful test was completed with a moto z3 paired with a 5G moto mod, the world’s first 5G-upgradeable smartphone, in Providence, RI.

Orange (France)

The French mobile network operator is also participating in the build-out of a more connected planet as the company is exploring three complementary areas:

  • Improved mobile broadband up to 10 times faster than 4G.
  • High-performance fixed Internet access to complete the fiber network where it’s not available.
  • New applications to support digital transformation across business sectors.

Orange also claims that it will be a genuine multi-service network designed to adapt to a whole host of devices: smartphone mainly, but also enhanced 360° content, augmented reality, connected objects, refrigerators, and driverless cars.

The company is engaged in a 5G co-construction process across the whole ecosystem of researchers, universities, tech partners, and different business sectors: from transportation to manufacturing, and health to entertainment. This open collaboration allows Orange to better understand the issues, new business models and needs, and to test use cases. Below listed are some of the developments in its pursuit of meeting its 5G goals. 

  • Orange has been chosen by UTAC CERAM, a world leader in testing and certifying vehicles, including autonomous cars, as its 4G/5G connectivity partner.
  • It also collaborated with Ericsson to deploy an experimental mobile infrastructure to test the necessary 5G functionalities for autonomous vehicles.
  • Orange also announced that they would use Ericsson 5G equipment to launch France’s first-ever 5G test in Lille and Douai between late 2018 or early 2019.
  • In Romania, Orange partnered with Samsung and Cisco to conduct tests in real conditions during the second half of 2018. The company also partnered with Nokia and Kathrein for designing an antenna for managing 4G/5G connectivity.
  • Orange and Huawei finalized the construction of a national network in Spain, a long-distance transmission with the largest capacity in the world. The new Orange Spain network will reach a total capacity of 19.2 Tbps in a single pair of fibers.
  • Orange Poland launched a commercial pilot of LTE-M technology in Warsaw, Gliwice, Mysłowice, and Tarnow. The pilot allows interested companies, including start-ups, to develop their services and devices based on IoT which also meets all requirements for the 5G network.
  • On Sep 10, 2018, Orange Belgium was the first to present a set of real use cases that rely on the much anticipated 5G technology. In the presence of CEO of the Orange Group, Stéphane Richard, Orange Belgium teamed up with Nokia to demonstrate the potential and future applications of  5G. Orange Belgium also confirmed its ambition to deploy 5G technology as soon as possible for its residential and business customers.
  • On Dec 14, 2018, Orange announced it aims to launch 5G technology in 17 major European cities across Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and Spain during 2019. The telco said that these initial launches will pave the way for the company’s full-scale commercial launch of this technology, which is scheduled to take place during 2020.
  • On Feb 21, 2019, Orange and Japanese company NTT signed a strategic research and development framework agreement which will last until 2022. The main goal of the agreement is to share research findings in several key areas including 5G, network transformation, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, cybersecurity, cloud services, smart cities, sports, tourism, and culture.
  • At MWC 2019, Orange’s booth was totally devoted to 5G devices. In particular, it presented its first smartphone which is 5G ready. The phone serves as a test machine for the operator’s infrastructures and could be commercialized later when Orange’s 5G networks will be activated by 2020.
  • In Feb 2019, Orange showed how the 5G behaves in a real situation by showcasing the first 5G video transmission in a commercial network in Spain. For this, Orange España had teamed up with Ericsson to implement what it described as the first real-time 5G transmission over a commercial network in Spain.
  • On 28 February 2019, Orange Poland said it conducted more 5G tests this month, using one of the first standards-compliant devices and spectrum in the 26-28 GHz range. The UKE regulator made the frequencies available for testing by the operator, and equipment from Ericsson was used.
  • On Mar 1, 2019, Huawei and Orange signed an agreement to form the Orange-Huawei IT Joint Innovation Center

Mobile TeleSystems (Russia)

With other top companies of telecom industries, Mobile TeleSystems is also making progress in the path of providing 5G communication to their millions of subscribers. Listed are some of the developments along the way. 

  • In Feb 2017, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and its Moscow fixed network division MGTS (‘Moscow City Telephone Network’)  outlined their joint strategy of fixed/mobile technological development for 2017-2020 in the Moscow region.
  • They started with launching XG-GPON/5G fixed/mobile strategy for Moscow joined with Moscow fixed network division MGTS (‘Moscow City Telephone Network’) for technological development in the country’s capital.
  • For the 2018 FIFA world cup, MTS joined hands with Nokia to launch a live 5G network trial and signed a collaborative strategic alliance. The alliance focused on delivering a path for 5G technology, expanding on a variety of LTE technologies. The other goal was to deploy a 5G network at a Russian football stadium during the world cup event.
  • MTS also allianced with Ericsson for 5G and IoT upgrades. The deal includes hardware, software, and equipment for 5G NR, Ericsson’s Radio system, core network, and User Data Consolidation. The total value of this deal is expected to surpass €400M.
  • MTS also teamed up with Samsung and signed an MoU to explore and improve 5G networks including Carrier Aggregation, MIMO, LTE Broadcast (eMBMS), and Multi-path TCP (MPTCP) technologies.
  • Ericsson and Mobile TeleSystems teamed up for what they claimed was Europe’s largest deployment of Massive MIMO, with Ericsson installing its 5G New Radio (NR)-capable AIR 6468 radio at more than 40 sites in seven of the 11 cities hosting the month-long football tournament.
  • In July 2018, Samsung Electronics and MTS Russia demonstrated a series of 5G scenarios including HD video calls, ultra-low latency video games and high-definition video streaming using Samsung’s 5G network.
  • On Feb 27, 2019, Mobile TeleSystems and Sweden’s Ericsson announced an agreement to launch the first 5G network segments in Russia, the Russian company said in a press release on February 26. At the Mobile World Congress 2019, the two companies signed the agreement on the 5G Russia roadmap for 2019-2022.

The collaboration would also help MST get better at NB-IoT and LTE-Machine technologies as Samsung is an advanced developer of IoT. As a part of this newly signed MoU, these companies will conduct multiple tests on these technologies to improve the speed of data communication.


AT&T claimed that it will be the first company to provide 5G services in the US. For achieving this feat, they deployed gigabit 5G connection in three cities: Waco, TX, Kalamazoo, MI, and South Bend, IN.

They did not just conduct a test but also showed the world how fast 5G could be.

  • In Waco, 5G speeds were 1.2Gbps at a height of 500 feet (150 meters) over a 400 MHz channel with 9-12 millisecond latency. That was with “hundreds of simultaneously connected users,” according to AT&T.
  • Kalamazoo had 1Gbps speeds at 900 feet (275 meters) in “line of sight” conditions, and no negative impact from rain or snow. AT&T notes that the signals can penetrate” significant foliage, glass, and even walls” better than expected, but it’s unclear what that specifically means.
  • South Bend didn’t report specific speeds but claimed “gigabit wireless speeds” in the line of sight and “some non-line of sight” conditions.
  • The company also said the speed has little to no impact from weather, thus has very low latency.
  • They also announced to render 5G in the other nine cities. AT&T is on the most aggressive network virtualization path in their industry. They plan to virtualize 75% of the network by 2020 as they completed 55% in 2017.
  • One of AT&T’s in-house projects built at the lab is the Advanced 5G NR Testbed System (ANTS). ANTS is a first-of-its-kind 5G testbed system and is proprietary to AT&T.
  • The company also wants to demonstrate 5G entertainment experiences. They had asked FCC to demonstrate 5G in the 28 GHz mmWave band at the SHAPE event, set for June 2 and 3 at Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, CA.
  • AT&T also announced that it will deploy 60,000 white box routers to virtualize its 5G network across the US over the next several years.
  • AT&T had received the FCC’s permission to conduct a 28 GHz demo that gave gamers at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) an up-close look at how a 5G connection can give them a live gaming experience virtually anywhere where there’s network coverage.
  • AT&T announced an agreement with Nokia to give its business customers around the world access to develop next-generation IoT services and pave the way to global 5G networks.
  • In Dec 2019, AT&T said its 5G network went live in parts of 12 cities, making it the first wireless carrier to launch a mobile network based on the 5G standard. 
  • On Jan 21, 2019, AT&T announced three pillars of 5G i.e. Mobile, 5G Fixed, and Wireless Edge Computing, that will bring the business experience into the future. The company is building the networks to allow fiber-based connectivity and LTE to work efficiently in parallel with 5G solutions, maximizing the impact of a business’s transformation.
  • On Feb 8, 2019, AT&T successfully tested a new software update on a live commercial 5G+ network which resulted in speeds over 1.5 Gbps. This test was conducted in the field using a mobile form factor test device.
  • On Feb 8, 2019, AT&T made its Stadium America’s first stadium with 5G. The company expects 5G will eventually help deliver the next generation of connected entertainment at the stadium.
  • On Feb 12, 2019, the carrier announced the next two cities: Chicago and Minneapolis which would get AT&T’s real 5G network sometime later in 2019.
  • On Feb 20, 2019, AT&T said that the customers who purchase one of the Galaxy S10s from AT&T will be able to experience 5G Evolution network technologies, which is the first step on AT&T’s path to 5G. For a limited time, AT&T customers who buy a Galaxy S10 128GB, S10+ 128GB or S10e can get one FREE.
  • On Feb 22, 2019, AT&T launched the AT&T 5G Innovation Program to continue to create and develop new customer experiences with the power of 5G. The program seeks to jumpstart work with app developers, content creators, device makers, and network vendors to bring 5G ideas and experiences to life.
  • On March 4, 2019, AT&T said that it wants to test 24GHz millimeter wave equipment as well as further “sub6” equipment testing in Texas. AT&T applied for a two-year “5G” experimental license to cover testing in the 5GHz and 24 GHz bands in Austin, Texas, on February 20. The application is still listed as “pending” at the FCC.

In this journey of 5G, AT&T made many collaboration and acquisitions, which are listed below. 

  • In February, AT&T completed its acquisition of FiberTower, which netted the operator an average of 375 MHz of 39 GHz spectrum in the top 100 US markets. The company said it plans to put the mmWave spectrum to work later this year as part of its mobile 5G rollout.
  • AT&T and Crown Castle signed a new agreement simplifying and expanding their long-term leasing deal for wireless network infrastructure. Under the new agreement, leasing management and operations are streamlined to improve the efficiency and flexibility under which AT&T can deploy new technologies and increase network capacity.
  • Tech Mahindra intends to combine AT&T FlexWare with its System Integration and Services Portfolio and offer the solutions to its global clientele who are undergoing a digital transformation.
  • In Jan 2019, AT&T helped telemedicine take a step forward by partnering with Rush University Medical Center to create the first 5G-enabled hospital in the US. The technology is expected to speed up network communications and reduce latency to help improve care at the Chicago hospital, AT&T said Tuesday.
  • On Feb 12, 2019, AT&T and VITAS® Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, have launched a study that intends to combine 5G with virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) to test if it can help reduce chronic pain and anxiety for certain hospice patients.
  • On Feb. 20, 2019, AT&T, Ericsson, and Intel announced that through 5G-powered location-based, mixed-reality, fans will have a chance to be virtually immersed in an experience featuring DC’s most tech-savvy Super Hero Batman and Super-Villain The Scarecrow at MWC 19 Barcelona.
  • On Feb 22, 2019, AT&T announced that it is working with VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud to implement 5G capabilities into their SD-WAN to give businesses new levels of network control. This transformative combination could be an ideal solution for businesses looking to use SD-WAN with a high-speed, low-latency 5G network as their primary or secondary WAN connection type in combination with other transport connections.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, AT&T and Vodafone Business announced at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019 in Barcelona that they will be cooperating on the Internet of Things (IoT) applications across the automotive space, including safety, security, and entertainment.
  • On Feb 26, 2019, AT&T and Microsoft collaborated to test an edge deployment model that splits the difference between network compute elements deployed in a central core and those deployed at the far network edge. The model uses what the companies term “network edge compute (NEC) capabilities” that run network traffic from an edge deployment through Microsoft’s Azure public cloud platform.

Cisco Systems (US)

The US networking hardware company launched 5G now portfolio in MWC 2018 to support 5G automation and infrastructure which the company will support in three primary ways:

  1. Services – enable 5G services so service providers (SPs) can make more money;
  2. Infrastructure – help build the 5G infrastructure;
  3. Automation – Make mass scale simpler to operate.

The company knows the potential of 5G and plans to connect more than 30 billion devices in the next three years.  Network hardening is a key part of 5G and Cisco can’t afford to miss any chance.

To join the 5G wagon, Cisco also took steps by joining a network of partners to provide 5G for rural communities in the UK.  Here are some of the developments made by the company on its 5G journey. 

  • Cisco introduced a 5G Security Architecture to Enable Secure Network Transformation to combine AI with deep learning to create a network that will orchestrate both physical and virtual resources with equal proficiency resulting in optimal network efficiencies. With this unique approach, Cisco has successfully lowered the time to detection from the industry average of 100 to 200 days to as low as four hours.

Cisco also made several alliances to provide enhanced 5G capabilities.

  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Cisco signed a Strategic MoU to bring the benefits of 5G to Saudi Arabia and collaborate on the development of 5G communication systems and networks.
  • Cisco also teamed up with Airtel to improve mobile user experience by taking their SON collaboration to the next level in India.
  • The company continued its long-standing collaboration with Rackspace to deliver advanced security for a multi-cloud environment. Multiclouds are being leveraged by many organizations because of its operational efficiencies, flexibility, scalability and growth expansion. More than 50 percent of security professionals said they host networks in the cloud because of better data security.
  • Cisco, Vodafone, Ericsson, and a number of auto technology partners, successfully drove a BMW car around a test track in Düsseldorf by remote control, connecting the operations of a remote driver to the car over a cellular network.
  • Cisco Systems also introduced the Cloud-Native Broadband Router, billing it as a “containerized, full software rewrite” of Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) services.
  • Further, Cisco is reportedly working to build an “innovative” new 5G networking infrastructure solution for launch at some point in 2018.
  • 5G RuralFirst, a consortium led by Cisco, released Me+Moo, a smartphone app that lets you choose your own “connected” cow (replete with a sensor-laden collar) and receive daily updates about your bovine friend of choice.
  • On Feb 8, 2019, Cisco launched an ambitious rural 5G trial in the British Isles that includes 29 wireless industry partners to test enhanced mobile broadband, optical wireless (LiFi), radio broadcast over 5G, and agri-tech. The trial is part of Cisco’s 5G RuralFirst initiative to contribute to the business case for improving connectivity beyond cities.
  • On Feb 24, 2019, Cisco announced that it is planning to commit $5 billion in 5G funding via Cisco financing over the next three years to help its customers for network transitions to 5G.
  • On Feb 24, 2019, Cisco announced its collaboration with Sprint to deploy new routing technology to support Sprint’s growing backhaul network traffic as it prepares to launch mobile 5G service in nine cities in the first half of 2019.
  • On Feb 25, 2019, Verizon and Cisco announced a partnership to build a mobile SD-WAN offering, which leverages Verizon’s future 5G network. This is the first time Cisco has brought a mobile component, on the cellular side, to SD-WAN.
  • On Feb 26, 2019, the Japanese online marketplace Rakuten made the surprise announcement that it will be launching its own mobile network in just eight months, thanks to hardware and software from tech giants Cisco and Nokia.
  • On Feb 28, 2019, Cisco announced a partnership with Fastweb on a network modernization project that will enhance the capabilities and performances of Fastweb fiber-based network. This project will put the Italy-based operator in the right position to meet the growing demands of video over broadband, enterprise VPN, and future 5G traffic.
  • On Mar 4, 2019, Cisco collaborated with SoftBank on the world’s first Segment Routing IPv6 (SRv6) deployment. With the anticipation of the coming 5G era, Cisco has been assisting SoftBank to deploy an SRv6 network nationwide to build a future network architecture that is extremely scalable, with improved reliability, flexibility, and agility, all while helping to reduce capex and opex.
  • On Mar 6, 2019, Cisco and Telenor Group announced that they will expand their joint innovation across cybersecurity, cloud and the digital workplace, and will explore Open Virtualized RAN (vRAN) solutions for 5G.


The World Economic Forum describes 5G as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Qualcomm claims that 5G will be bigger than electricity and their prediction says by 2035, it will be a worth $13 trillion of goods and services industry.

5G is going to generate billions of dollars through unrealized revenue streams. All the telecom giants are motivated to get a hold on the upcoming wave. A lot of public/private partnerships of which we covered the major ones have already been witnessed and a lot more are yet to come.

Since a lot of research is yet to be done in almost all of the areas, numerous whitespaces can be discovered. Therefore, it would be difficult, at this stage, to predict who the industry leader is going to be. However, the one with a highly aligned business approach, research, and patent strategy, certainly, will win the race.

Next Article of the 5G Series:5G Patents – Initiatives, Enabling Technologies, And SEPs Comparison

Authored By: Vipin Singh, Research Analyst, Market Research, and Neha Tanwer, Research Analyst, Market Research.

Showing 5 comments
  • Billy Shuffield

    I want to know more about the 5G industry like who will be the major chip maker for the 5G companies,etc,etc.

    • Viri VR

      Hello Billy. The main producers of 5G will be all those involved in the production of mobile phones: 5G infrastructure providers, 5G chip manufacturers, wireless network providers, application manufacturers, content providers. You should expect a very large increase in the amount of data transmitted over wireless systems. There will be a great need for storing information data. The global 5G deployment has already begun and is rapidly spreading around the world. The newest trend in 5G mobile networks will be perhaps the biggest technological breakthrough in 2019.

  • Vova

    Hi! Does ZTE did something for 5G?

    • Vipin Singh

      Hi Vova, we have updated the market report and also included ZTE’s 5G intitative.

  • Nathan John

    Charter communications which are known as Spectrum communication now has much better speed and reliability in service. If they launch 5G services it will definitely attract people to choose their services.

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