FCC authorises nearly $800M from RDOF to Nextlink, Starry and others

The FCC has announced the approval of nearly $800 million from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) that will go to providers including Nextlink and Starry.

Fixed wireless access (FWA) providers are the main beneficiaries of the RDOF fund as the FCC bets on their ability to achieve rural broadband availability targets.

"We are excited to partner with the FCC to deploy gigabit connectivity to households across rural America," said Nextlink CEO Bill Baker in a...

Virgin Media O2, NEC and Rakuten activate Open RAN sites

Virgin Media O2, NEC, and Rakuten have activated their first commercial sites as part of an Open RAN partnership.

Open RAN helps to break up the relative monopoly held by a handful of telecom equipment vendors and provides greater diversity in national infrastructure.

“The successful activation of Virgin Media O2’s first UK macro-sites demonstrates the potential of the multi-vendor Open RAN model,” said Jeanie York, CTO at Virgin Media O2.

“We are...

SpaceX and T-Mobile partner on “satellite-to-cellular” service

SpaceX is partnering with T-Mobile on an ambitious plan to offer “satellite-to-cellular” service.

Connectivity will be provided by SpaceX’s second-generation Starlink satellites in combination with T-Mobile’s mid-band 5G spectrum.

T-Mobile says the “vast majority” of existing smartphones will be compatible with the new service. If all goes to plan, customers should expect “near complete coverage” across the US, including territorial waters.

"Our...

Nokia and Safaricom trial Africa’s first 5G FWA network slicing

Nokia and Safaricom have trialled Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) network slicing on a live 4G and 5G network in Africa.

Network slicing enables operators to divide their networks into multiple virtual slices that can be optimised for a specific application or service. Each slice can be given its own priority in addition to different levels of security.

The pioneering trial utilised a multi-vendor network environment and included RAN, transport, and core as well as software...

Solomon Islands secures $66M from China for Huawei towers

The Solomon Islands has secured a $66 million loan from China to build 161 mobile towers built and supplied by Huawei.

Under the terms of the deal, the island nation will receive a 20-year concessional loan from the state-linked Exim Bank of China. The government of the Solomon Islands called it “a historical financial partnership” between the two countries.

Western officials believe Beijing could use the security pact to build a military base in the Solomon Islands....

RootMetrics names EE the best UK network for ninth year

Mobile network performance measurement firm RootMetrics has named EE the UK’s leader for the ninth year running.

Overall, EE came out on top for all UK-wide RootScore categories ('Reliability', 'Accessibility', 'Speed', 'Data', 'Call', and 'Text').

Marc Allera, CEO of the consumer division at EE-owner BT, said:

“We are proud to be named the UK's best network for the ninth year running. Reliability is of huge importance to our customers, and we pride...

UK announces plans to ‘unleash’ 5G and 6G innovation

The UK Government has announced plans to “unleash” 5G and 6G innovation, including through a partnership with South Korea.

Up to £25 million has been set aside for the ‘Future Open Networks Research Challenge’. Academics and industry players can apply for funding to support their early-stage research into open and interoperable telecom solutions, such as Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN).

The Future Open Networks Research Challenge is part of the UK...

Ericsson completes $6.2B acquisition of Vonage after clearing hurdles

Ericsson has finally completed its $6.2 billion acquisition of cloud communications provider Vonage after clearing some major hurdles.

The Swedish vendor first announced its biggest-ever acquisition in November last year.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, said: “The core of our strategy is to build leading mobile networks through technology leadership. This provides the foundation to build an enterprise business. The acquisition of Vonage is the next step...

Ericsson, Qualcomm and Thales to take 5G into space

The Andromeda Galaxy.

Ericsson, Thales and Qualcomm Technologies plan to take 5G out of this world and across a network of Earth-orbiting satellites.

After having each conducted detailed research which included multiple studies and simulations, the parties plan to enter smartphone-use-case-focused testing and validation of 5G non-terrestrial networks (5G NTN).

The result could effectively mean that a future 5G smartphone could use 5G connectivity anywhere on Earth and provide complete global...

UK MNO customers will enjoy 4G/5G across the London Tube

Customers of all four UK mobile network operators (MNOs) will enjoy 4G/5G connectivity across the London Tube.

Shashi Verma, CTO at Transport for London (TfL), said:

“Mobile connectivity across the stations and tunnels across the Tube network will help our customers stay connected more easily as well as work, shop and stay in touch on the move. 

I’m delighted that all four major mobile operators are set to provide high-speed, uninterrupted 4G coverage on the...