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In unusual telecom news this week, T-Mobile filed suit against Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for allegations of robot theft. The German mobile provider claims Huawei stole parts, software and designs of a smartphone-testing robot.
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Meanwhile, 5G wireless gets less abstract as Nokia prepares to launch 5G wireless trials in 2015 that will eventually bring users much faster data speeds and increased capacity. While most operators are still working on 4G wireless rollouts, global efforts are moving ahead to have 5G ready to deploy by 2020.
Then, in an effort to make voice over Wi-Fi a go-to option for users whose in-home cell service is below par, Taqua LLC snapped up Kineto Wireless last week so the two companies can use their cellular and smartphone software to persuade more operators to launch voice over Wi-Fi services. Finally, while we're often used to "the sky is falling" projections when it comes to wireline telecom growth, this time the noises are positive, as increased consumer broadband is expected, but the global oil and gas industry needs wireline for almost all of its operations.
T-Mobile lawsuit accuses Huawei of industrial espionage
In a lawsuit filed last week, T-Mobile said Chinese networking equipment vendor Huawei stole parts of a smartphone-testing robot and copied its operating software and design details. T-Mobile alleges that Huawei used this technology stolen from the provider's Bellevue, Wash., headquarters to build its own smartphone-testing robot.
T-Mobile alleges that Huawei, which is no longer one of its suppliers, committed the acts of theft in 2012 and 2013, and violated a confidentiality agreement.
Huawei Spokesman William Plummer said two Huawei employees had acted inappropriately and were fired. "There is some truth to the complaint," Plummer said in a statement. " … Huawei respects T-Mobile's right to file suit and we will cooperate fully with any investigation or court proceeding to protect our rights and interests."
T-Mobile did not specify what damages it is seeking, but said in the suit that the cost of switching away from Huawei's handsets would reach "at least tens of millions of dollars."
This is not the first time Huawei has landed in legal hot water. In 2012, a U.S. congressional panel recommended that mobile and telecom providers avoid doing business with Huawei due to security concerns with its link to the Chinese government. -- Katherine Finnell
Nokia 5G wireless trials to include open network APIs
Nokia plans to start trialing its 5G network in early 2015 in Finland, although formal approval on how to build the network is still being reviewed. Nokia will partner with the University of Oulu, the City of Oulu and the Finnish Technical Research Centre for the trials, according to IT PRO. Nokia said it plans to share its network-based APIs with partners and competitors for the 5G trial, as well as any discovery that makes the technology work.
5G proponents expect that the developing standards will be more efficient than 4G, saving up to 90% more energy. Nokia expects to see large increases in speed and capacity when 5G is rolled out commercially, by which it means data transfer speeds 10 to 100 times faster than current wireless speeds, with capacity of up to 1,000 times what users are used to today.
Other vendors and operators experimenting with 5G technologies include Huawei and Samsung. Huawei expects 5G mobile networks to offer peak data rates of more than 10 Gbps and expects it to be ready to deploy commercially by 2020. Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. is also preparing for 5G trials.
Problems that need to be resolved to make 5G a reality: the availability of the spectrum and the challenges of how to engineer network architectures to handle higher data volumes and transmission speeds, capable of accommodating an estimated 6.5 billion users worldwide and an estimated 100 billion "things" (as in Internet of Things), including meters, medical devices, home appliance and vehicles.
Taqua grabs Kineto Wireless for Voice over Wi-Fi effort
Not even close to classifying voice services as old-school, telecom vendor Taqua is embracing the idea of network operators offering voice over Wi-Fi (also known as Voice over WLAN or VoWi-Fi) to customers, and last week acquired Kineto Wireless to underscore the point and move into position. Taqua provides software that supports cellular networks, and Kineto provides software for smartphones that enable VoWi-Fi support.
Taqua Chief Marketing Officer Ken Kolderup told Telecompetitor that pieces are now in place for the VoWi-Fi market to take off, especially now that the latest version of iOS now includes VoWiFi support, as Android smartphones did previously. Sprint and T-Mobile have started supporting VoWi-Fi, and he expects other operators to follow.
Taqua provides virtual mobile-core software that takes the place of an IP Multimedia Subsystem core and makes it possible for operators to delay the expenses of deploying an IMS core without delaying VoWi-Fi.
For carriers, the point of offering VoWi-Fi is to provide service for 20-30% who can't use their phones for voice calls in their homes due to cellular network coverage issues. Taqua believes VoWi-Fi is also a service opportunity for Tier 2 and Tier 3 landline network operators who don't have their own wireless operations.
Wireline growth drivers reflect oil and gas industry needs
Good times are ahead for wireline services, according to US Telecom, the trade association that represents telecom operators and suppliers. The optimism comes in part from a new report from Transparency Market Research. Data-enabled devices and broadband use by consumers accounts for part of the rosy view, but a wide array of applications and increasing network utilization by other industries is a major driver. Wireline services and applications are used to run oil and gas equipment at all stages of the operations. As a result, global pressure to discover new oil and gas fields is increasing, which in turn fuels the need for global broadband services.
The report projects that the global wireline services market will grow from $19 billion this year to almost $35 billion in 2020. Oil and natural gas company exploration and production will be largely responsible for the growth, because wireline services are needed throughout the lifecycle of their activities.
Market research from the Dell'Oro Group projects that telecom equipment sales will grow to $30 billion by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate of 2% per year. An estimated 70% of growth will come from wireline infrastructure spending.