Recap of key 5G news June 2021

By Tanya Solomon 7 min read

We want to keep you up to date with the latest, most relevant industry news. Here is a recap from this past month. 


UK continues open RAN backing with £1M facility

UK authorities are displaying their aim to accelerate the adoption of open RAN in operator 5G networks. They announced plans to open The SmartRAN Open Network Interoperability Centre (SONIC Labs) test sites in London and Brighton. The £1 million facilities, funded by the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), will mimic real-world environments and enable testing of RAN systems using equipment from several providers. 

Verizon in a millimeter wave groove, CTO Malady says

As C-band deployments enjoy the spotlight, Verizon doubled down on building millimeter wave 5G sites, continuing to build millimeter wave 5G sites during the global pandemic.   

The carrier expects to build 14,000 additional mmWave sites by the end of 2021, looking to scale in urban areas and in locations where large groups of people gather like stadiums and event venues. The company will also allocate an additional $10 billion toward C-band deployment over the next three years. 

FCC schedules next 5G spectrum sale

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) scheduled its next auction of 5G-suitable mid-band spectrum to begin 5 October. This “Auction 110” will offer up to 4,060 licences covering the 3.45GHz to 3.55GHz band with plans to auction ten licences of 10MHz in each of the nation’s 416 Partial Economic Areas. In the sale that closed in February, the FCC raised a record-breaking $81.2 billion auction of C-Band spectrum in the 3.7GHz to 4.2 GHz bands.

T-Mobile has 'too many' small cells, Ray says

As T-Mobile and Sprint combine, T-Mobile reiterated the synergies it stands to gain from the merger, including the area of small cells both companies were building out. T-Mobile may whittle the number down from the 70,000-plus range to 50,000 — T-Mobile’s target number, but first they want to assess use-cases and 5G traffic on these networks. 

Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s President of Technology said, “We’re not changing that number [70,000+] at all at this point in time. I think as we see use cases and 5G traffic on these networks really start to grow and move and we fully understand the mobility patterns in many of these use cases that we can, if we’re honest with ourselves, define today, that obviously we’ll continue to review that math and those numbers. But right now, our plan is to again deliver synergies. This is a synergy-funded network upgrade program to deliver some synergies, small [as] they may be, in that small cell arena.”

New TIP deployment LAB in LATAM: Partnership with Inatel

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and Instituto Nacional de Telecomunicações - Inatel - partnered to create a new TIP Community Lab in Brazil. This lab joins two others that TIP has established in the region. All of TIP Community Labs are designed to support TIP’s mission to develop, test, and deploy open, disaggregated, standards-based solutions that deliver the high-quality connectivity the world needs. 

Survey: Nearly 60% of global consumers plan 5G device upgrade within two years

Both Gartner and more recently, Strategy Analytics, predicted double-digit growth for smartphones this year, and according to a recent Blancco report, 57% of mobile users around the world have plans to upgrade to a 5G device within 24 months. Other consumers indicated they plan to upgrade once more 5G devices and networks are available.  

T-Mobile swinging for the fences, winning the battle of 5G superlatives

T-Mobile’s claim to have the most reliable 5G network in the US was confirmed after the company achieved the highest umlaut 5G Score, 710 points out of a maximum of 1000. This led T-Mobile’s CEO, Mike Sievert, to say, “Umlaut recognized T-Mobile's 5G as the most reliable and the most available.”  

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