5G helps fight against Covid-19
|5G confirms its promise in the health sector.
With the Covid-19 outbreak in China since the 2020 Chinese New Year and spreading everywhere, epidemic prevention and control rank among the top priority objectives of every country in the world. Beyond the dramatic sanitary impact of this unprecedented crisis that affects all of us, there are many impacts on the 5G ecosystem today. The virus highlights the urgent need to switch scale in 5G.
Ten years ago, the sovereign debt crisis showed that the telecom sector was no more immune to crisis. This time, as the global economy and especially Europe is expected to slip into recession in 2020, the telecom sector holds a trump card: 5G.
Significant mobile traffic increase in sub-urban areas, delayed CAPEX, postponed spectrum auctions and standardisation meetings are among the main impacts. However, the coronavirus gives 5G a unique opportunity to demonstrate its ability and validate the relevancy of studies and tests performed in some sectors among them the health sector.
The coronavirus led to the MWC cancellation earlier in February, a first in its history and the first of major industry events. CES Asia was also cancelled. The Euro2020 and the 2020 Olympic games in Japan where 5G should be widely demonstrated and promoted, have also been put off.
Mobile networks are holding tight
As many countries have adopted outright quarantines or stay-at-home policies, it looks like that at the beginning of April 2020, cellular networks are “holding”. 4G networks faced a significant increase of traffic in March. Indeed, the traffic growth was significantly stronger in fixed networks. First 5G networks have only registered a limited number of users and are far from congested.
The coronavirus affects 5G standardisation and 5G research…
The coronavirus has cut in 5G standardisation work as the 3GPP decided to cancel its face-to-face meetings. Even though the meetings in the first quarter of 2020 are being replaced with electronic meetings, Release 16 and Release 17 of the 5G standard have been delayed by three months. Stage 3 Release 16 specifications should now be finalised in June 2020 and Release 17 has been shifted to December 2021. This delay should affect 5G deployment in verticals as Release 16 specifically deals with enhancements to protocols for Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) and industrial IoT applications among other key topics (enhanced MIMO, mitigation of interferences, self-organising networks, enhanced dual connectivity…).
At ITU level, the Telecommunications Development Advisory Group (DTAG) has put back its TDAG-20 meeting, initially scheduled for end-March, until June and the WSIS Forum 2020 event has also been postponed until the end of August 2020.
At EU level, deadlines for R&D proposals submission have been extended: “acknowledging that the recent escalation of restrictions related to the Covid-19 outbreak may hamper applicants’ ability to prepare and finalise high-quality proposals, extensions will apply for Horizon 2020 calls with original deadlines between now and 15 April. The precise new deadlines for each call and topic will be published on the call and topic pages on the Funding and Tenders Portal.” The European Commission has also called on the responsibility of streaming services, operators and users so as to provide smooth internet service to all users at a time when demand for e-learning, teleworking and steaming will certainly increase. Streaming platforms such as Netflix or YouTube will reduce the quality in Europe for at least one month since 20 March 2020. The European Commission reminded services providers they still have to comply with open access internet rules and to only use exceptional traffic management measures to mitigate impending network congestion.
…and delays 5G spectrum auctions
Exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 epidemic have also forced some countries in Europe to postpone 5G auctions scheduled in the first months 2020. Four EU countries, Austria, France, Spain and Portugal have postponed spectrum auctions for 5G due to the Covid-19 epidemic so far. In Austria, the regulator also decided to postpone the auction for 700MHz, 2100MHz and 1500MHz frequencies to a later date, still in 2020. In France, Arcep revealed that the current mobile network providers – Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR – have all qualified to take part in the 3.5 GHz spectrum auction and postponed the auction’s second phase. In Portugal, the three operators requested a suspension of the multi-band (700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and 3.6 GHz) spectrum auction which was accepted by Anacom. The Spanish government also postponed the planned auction for 5G-suitable 700MHz spectrum until further notice, blaming the spread of the virus. Poland also announced it will postpone the 5G spectrum auctions.
However, in Hungary, the 5G spectrum auction was upheld due to heavy market interests. The auction took place one day before the tight restrictions on movements and activities due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Additional postponements could be announced in the coming weeks, although countries with auction plans beyond April 2020 are likely waiting to know how the pandemic evolves.
It also impacts 5G deployments and 5G phone shipments
Where 5G spectrum auctions have been delayed, commercial launches and investments in mobile European 5G networks are likely to be put off. If the MNOs Capex will “benefit” from delays in spectrum auction (spectrum fees which were forecasted will be paid later), deployments and launches will also suffer. Early April 2020, delays were already confirmed in many countries. Moreover, current shutdown of municipal offices are slowing down permits granting t mobile operators wanting to build new cell sites. China Mobile announced that 5G rollout was being slowed by the coronavirus because site owners were reluctant to allow engineers to install base stations. Nevertheless, Chinese players are pushing ahead with the domestic 5G roll-out and affirm deployments will not be delayed as 5G deployments are considered as a “political task”.
The coronavirus also endangers global electronics supply chains. Production shutdowns in China is worrisome given the fact 5G is highly dependent on components, chips and equipment coming from this country. The planned 5G wireless deployments could be at risk everywhere. The current decline in display manufacturing raises major questions. The crisis is expected to lead to a sharp decrease in the production of key smartphone components, including displays and semiconductors. This move will cause a slowdown in new product rollouts, especially in the handset area. In China, over the past three months domestic mobile phone shipments decreased by 44% compared to the first two months 2019 and the number of new models release fell by 35% to 47.7 million units according to the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology. Government figures for March 2020 were again lower than March 2019 but the rate of decline was lower than in February, marking the success of efforts to control impacts of covid-19. In South Korea, sales of Samsung’s 5G Galaxy S20 smartphones fell by 30% compared to early sales of the previous model S10. The South Korean 5G base totals 5.4 million subscribers as at end February 2020 compared to 4.7 million at year-end 2019. 5G subscriber numbers started to slow in November 2019, before the covid-19 crisis, with the end of huge handset subsidies. Net adds registered 410,000 new 5G subscribers in February according to official figures, an increase from 290,000 in January 2020 showing signs of recovery.
The current uncertainty requires to remain very cautious when predicting the future 5G subscriber numbers. The coronavirus is likely to affect the 5G start in Europe on the short term. But impacts on subscriber numbers should not be so huge: they remain very low in Europe and 5G commercialization in China made a promising start despite the epidemic. The Chinese 5G base is estimated to have been 30 million subscribers as at end February 2020. China Mobile doubled its 5G eMBB subscriber base each month in 2020 and reached 31.7 million 5G subscribers as at end March 2020 from 2.55 million at year-end 2019. China Telecom ended February 2020 with 10.73 million 5G subscribers and a 10% ARPU upgrade compared to 4G. On a longer term, the future still looks bright.
5G and digital applications have much to offer in these coronavirus times, from healthcare to remote education and media.
In fact, on a mid- to long-term, it is likely that this crisis will give a boost to many sectors. Since 2015, the coronavirus is seen as a potential use case for the 5G technology. Indeed, 5G can play a key role in health care, education, media among other fields with larger bandwidth, higher data rate, low latency and millions of connected objects.
Remote healthcare is one of the major use cases for 5G and this is confirmed by the coronavirus crisis. It requires real-time high quality video enabled by 5G through low latency, very high speeds and high capacity. Governmental and public acceptance of digital technologies could increase, even if it interfers with privacy.
With the Covid-19 epidemic, doctors and patients can connect remotely. Monitoring, surveillance, detection and prevention of Covid-19 can be successful using cellular networks and IoT. According to Mr. Zhang Chunming and Mr. Guan He from the Research Center for Radio Management of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a dozen 5G applications covering telemedicine, media, and remote education have been carried out to help fight against Covid-19 in China. In telemedicine, the West China Hospital, the Sichuan University and China Telecom completed a teleconsultation system enabling teleconsultation services to critical Covid-19 cases using ZTE CPE and base stations. The conference room for remote diagnosis and treatment was first connected to the remote diagnosis and treatment system. The system is available in the Sichuan province, city and county. The First Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University, teamed with China Mobile to launch the 5G-based “Online Platform for Free Covid-19 Diagnosis and Treatment”. It provides diagnosis and treatment services to critical cases of Covid-19 from Wuhan, Hubei.
Beijing Jincheng Medical Technology Co., Ltd. provided Wuhan with a CT and X-ray coordination solution based on 5G cloud collaboration to help remote diagnoses and address shortage of radiologists. With this solution, experts can also conduct telemedicine based on monitoring and ultrasonic images sent via 5G. The Wuhan Union Hospital and the Tianyou Hospital Affiliated to Wuhan University of Science & Technology are using 5G cloud-based intelligent robots donated by China Mobile and CloudMinds. Six robots are taking care of coronavirus patients: they can take body temperature, disinfect places, delivery drugs or meals, and are able to auto-disinfect themselves, thus reducing the risk of cross-infection and improving isolation conditions. The 5G network also allows the doctors to analyse data collected by the robots and receive live updates of their patients without taking the risks to be infected.
5G infrared thermal imaging temperature measurement can also be used to scan more than one person at a time in dense areas such as restaurants, airports, etc…
In the USA, patients with coronavirus symptoms are asked to use virtual clinic services. In Thailand, AIS the largest MNO has sped up 5G deployments to support public health services during the pandemic. 5G equipment has been installed in 20 hospitals treating coronavirus patients and is expected to expand to 130 hospitals by May 2020. Robots able to perform physical examinations and treatment will be given to hospitals.
In the media field, 5G can support 4K or 8K HD live streaming 24/7 in key affected areas. 5G can also transmit videos produced by many devices and cameras. 5G was also very useful to provide cloud-live streaming of the buildings of the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals. The Hubei Radio and Television Station used China Broadcasting Network Corporation’s 5G network to give live broadcasted press conferences on epidemic control in the Hubei Province. China Unicom provided 5G+4K live streaming of the “Xiaotangshan Hospital” construction in Zhengzhou. China Mobile disseminates on prevention and control of Covid-19 through its 5G video ringback tone services.
Many other countries are using telemedicine to tackle the pandemic. Australia, Belgium, Israel, Italy, France, Thailand, the USA, allowed teleconsultations since the beginning of the epidemic.
In the education field, with many pupils left at home, 5G can enable UHD videos and VR/AR immersive class experience. In China, based on information provided by Mr. Zhang Chunming and Mr. Guan He, China Mobile provides “Cloud Video Distance Education”, “Live Distance Education” and “Synchronous Classroom” services for free.
In the transportation and logistics fields, 5G can help collect real-time information on vehicles, monitor autonomous connected vehicles to transport dangerous goods or patients. They can be equipped with thermal imaging systems to conduct real-time monitoring of the environment, warn people…
Globally, 4G/5G telecom players also help reduce spread of Covid-19: in Austria, Germany, Italy and in the UK, they help by providing anonymous data to authorities to check compliance with confinement measures. In the USA, the FCC awarded spectrum on a temporary basis. Verizon Wireless was allowed by the FCC to use additional spectrum to prepare coping with a potential mobile broadband data surge during the pandemic. The FCC also extended the deadline for certain licensees in the 3650-3700 MHz band to transition their existing Part 90 operations to the CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service). In the same vein, AT&T was allowed to use spectrum from Dish Networks.
Please cross check the dates of the various events on events’ websites. At this time, schedules can rapidly change.
Webinar “3GPP Progress so far – Industry Verticals and Releases 16 and 17”
|Webinar -May 5, 2020 – 11:00-12:00 CEST
Webinar – May 5, 11:00-12:00 CEST
In this webinar, 3GPP TSG (Technical Specification Group) chairs will guide participants through the status of Releases 16, 17 and 18, highlighting Rel-17 work related to verticals. They will offer a practical guide on how to join 3GPP and best impact on-going work.
In the Q&A with the TSG Chairs, webinar participants will get the chance to ask their own questions about 3GPP processes, timelines and services supporting industry verticals, as well as how they can leverage the long-standing expertise of traditional 3GPP specialists from the telecom industry.
In the second part, participants will get first-hand experiences from industry verticals representatives that have already contributed to 5G standardisation. These champions will be bouncing questions to the TSG chairs, such as removing barriers to entry, easing the tacking of technical and common requirements, performing gap analysis and forming interest groups to speed up the time to consensus.
Register with this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2cLXVVR5SzSeMdEFrgAMNQ
Save the date for the 2nd webinar, co-hosted with the EU 5G Observatory, “Industry Vertical 5G Rollouts: Legal and Regulatory Aspects” on 26 May 2020 at 11: 00 am CEST
|ebinar series -May 5, May 19, 2020 – 11:00-12:00 CET
SliceNet are providing an interesting and stimulating series of webinars based around the work carried out in the project over the past few years in 5G network slicing, innovations, industry applications and project achievements and outcomes.
The second seminar is scheduled on 17 March. It discusses Cognitive and Service-Level QoE Management. The 5 and 19 May webinars will discuss respectively System Integration and Demonstration and 5G Integrated Multi Domain Slicing Friendly Infrastructure.
Check here to register and get additional information. Details will be made available nearer the date of the webinar.
Training webinars for testing and experimentation in 5G-VINNI
Webinar series – May 19
5G-VINNI announces a series of training webinars for testing and experimentation in the 5G-VINNI infrastructure. In total five webinars will be held between 3. March and 19. May. The webinars will cover aspects ranging from how to design tests and experiments, to the set of testing and automation tools available in the 5G-VINNI “Test as a Service” infrastructure. More information on the content of the webinars and how to register is available on https://www.5g-vinni.eu/2020/02/04/training-session-webinars/
Webinar 4 – TaaS tools and onboarding in 5G-VINNI – April 2nd, 14:00-15:00 CET
-Onboarding process and support tools
-Test Case Composer UI
-Test Campaign Composer UI
-Data management UIs (Dashboard, Grafana)
Webinar 5 – Effective design methodologies for Test Cases and Experiment definition and design – May 19th, 14:00-15:00 CET
-How to design Experiments and Test Cases
-How to execute integrated Experiments (phases)
-Where to get the data (TaaS System architecture)
Malaga, Spain- May 6-7, 2020
The 5G Forum is one of the main Spanish event on 5G, where leaders meet. It is a “boutique” event, combining keynotes and demos with important networking, where BDMs and top managers of the main companies in the industry meet around 5G.
The 5GFORUM will once again bring together experts on the 6th and 7th of May 2020 at the National Digital Content Hub in Malaga, to put on stage the advances in this technology, providing an opportunity to exchange knowledge of its practical applications.
The event has the collaboration of large national and multinational companies such as Samsung, Nokia, Cisco, Huawei, Cellnex, Hispasat, Rohde&Schwarz, Axión, RTVE, Reintel, Lyntia, Keysight, Intracom Telecom,… the main operators in Spain: Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, Más Móvil and important European projects as well as institutions such as the European Commission, the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Enterprise.
IEEE ICC 5G LTE-IC 2020 CfP
|Dublin, June 7-11, 2020
ICC WS-04: 5G LTE-IC 2020
5G-DRIVE is organising a workshop on 5G Long Term Evolution and Intelligent Communication in conjunction with IEEE ICC 2020 and has published a CfP.
The next generation wireless networks, i.e., 5G and beyond, autonomous vehicle networks, will be extremely dynamic and complex due to the ultra-densely deployed wireless networks. These introduce many critical challenges for signal processing, network planning and operation, network management etc. Meanwhile, generation and consumption of wireless data are becoming increasingly distributed with ongoing paradigm shift from people-centric to machine-oriented communications, making the operation of future wireless networks even more complex. To mitigate the complexity of future wireless network operation, new approaches of intelligently utilizing distributed computational resources with improved context-awareness becomes extremely important. In this regard, the edge computing architecture aiming to distribute computing, storage, control, communication, and networking functions closer to end uses, have a great potential for enabling efficient operation of future wireless networks. Such promising architectures make the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) principles, which incorporate learning, reasoning and decision-making mechanism, as natural choices for designing a tightly integrated network.
Dublin, Ireland – June 11, 2020
CLEEN 2020 calls for papers!
This new edition CLEEN2020 workshop will be organized with a more creative format, conceived with the particular aim to generate lively interactions and foster new ideas. In particular, current shape of the programme agenda is including the Open Forum “Distributed Computing beyond 5G”, that will provide an interactive discussion platform for all stakeholders (from practitioners to experienced researchers and industry leaders), with the aim to encourage collaboration and stimulate a lively interaction, to identify open challenges and research gaps toward new systems (even beyond 5G).
The workshop is planned to be a full-day event and has the following programme agenda:
5G PPP @ Virtual EuCNC 2020
|Virtual – June 15-18, 2020
The EuCNC 2020, supported by the European Commission, should initially take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia from June 15 to 18, 2020. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Steering Committee of EuCNC 2020 has decided to change the format of the conference to an on-line virtual one, instead of the usual face-to-face physical one. In this format, there will be no Workshops, Tutorials and Special Sessions. On the other hand, papers submitted to Regular Sessions that are accepted (the review process is being finalised) will be invited to be presented in an on-line mode. They will be submitted to IEEE Xplore as usual; accepted posters will also be presented on-line. The format of Keynotes and Panels is being finalised with the speakers. Further details will be provided as soon as possible.
This edition is the 29th edition of a successful series of a conference in the field of telecommunications, sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society and the European Association for Signal Processing, and supported by the European Commission. The conference focuses on various aspects of 5G communications systems and networks, including cloud and virtualisation solutions, management technologies, and vertical application areas. It targets to bring together researchers from all over the world to present the latest research results, and it is one of the main venues for demonstrating the results of research projects, especially from successive European R&D programmes co-financed by the European Commission.
NGMN Conference 2020
|Paris, France – September 8-10, 2020
The 8th NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibition was reschedueld From September 8 to 10, 2020 in Paris, Pavillon d’Armenonville / France, kindly supported by Orange. Mari-Noëlle Jego-Laveissière, Deputy CEO Technology and Global Innovation, Orange will contribute as a keynote speaker.
As with the previous NGMN Industry Conference & Exhibitions you can expect to:
The event will begin at 6pm on 8 September with the Grand Opening and close at 4pm on 10 September.
Workshop on “5G Validation Trials Across Multiple Vertical Industries” @IEEE 5G World Forum 2020
|Bangalore, India – September 10-12, 2020
The 5G-DRIVE workshop proposal “5G Validation Trials Across Multiple Vertical Industries” for IEEE 5G World Forum 2020 to be held in Bangalore, India from 10 to 12 September 2020, has been approved and the CfP is now open.
The 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF’20) aims to bring experts from industry, academia and research to exchange their vision as well as their achieved advances towards 5G and encourage innovative cross-domain studies, research, early deployment and large-scale pilot showcases that address the challenges of 5G.
The workshop aims at providing a forum for industry and academics to disseminate new findings on 5G trials in vertical industries, and new business development. The workshop will call for papers presenting test results from trials as well as theoretical results based on realistic deployment schemes and new 5G business models.
Click here for additional details.
Important dates for paper submissions
Submission via EDAS: https://edas.info/newPaper.php?c=26958&track=101407
|London, UK- September 23-24, 2020
It’s clear – 5G will be the cornerstone of Industry 4.0. The technology is set to revolutionise the global economy across verticals including transport, manufacturing, finance, healthcare, energy and banking. 5GLIVE brings together this booming ecosystem to understand how 5G will enable new, agile business models; explore 5G-enabled products and services; and realise the innovation potential of 5G across the global economy. 5GLIVE explores key use cases for next generation mobile across the verticals where it will have the biggest impact. Explore the latest thinking on technology, business models and partnerships to truly understand 5G’s potential for your industry. Join us in London as we make #5GLIVE.
The editor of the 5G PPP newsletter on behalf of the Full5G Project is: Carole Manero, IDATE DigiWorld, CS94167 – 34092 Montpellier cedex 5, France. This document reflects only the views of its authors.