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July 18, 2016

Last week the FCC voted unanimously to open up nearly 11 GHz of high-frequency spectrum – 3.85 GHz of licensed spectrum and 7 GHz of unlicensed spectrum – for “flexible, mobile, and fixed use wireless broadband”, which basically means 5G.

That’s potentially good news for US operators planning to leverage millimeter-wave bands for 5G applications – but not-so-good news for satellite operators, although most satellite players outside the US probably won’t have to worry about it for a long time yet.

The bands in the FCC plan include 28 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and the 64-71GHz... MORE

July 17, 2016

ITEM: A researcher at Telenor Group Research says he has developed a machine learning algorithm that uses mobile phone call records to determine literacy rates in developing markets by location. 

According to MIT Technology Review, researcher Pål Sundsøy says he started with a regular survey – conducted by a professional agency for a mobile operator – covering 76,000 mobile users in Asia that collected the user’s mobile number and asked them if they could read.

Sundsøy matched that data against the mobile operator’s call data records, which enabled him to work out where... MORE

July 14, 2016

As you may have gathered, the Pokemon Go augmented-reality (AR) app has been a major success. It’s also caused a bit of a stir in terms of the amount of data it allegedly gathers on users – but honestly, the real mystery is why anyone is surprised.

It’s worth noting at the outset that the data privacy issue was a bit overblown. Initial reports suggested that users who downloaded the app from Niantic to an iPhone and signed in via their Google account granted the app permission to access their full Google account – which meant Niantic could theoretically use the app to read your... MORE

July 08, 2016

ITEM: Facebook has launched an open-source wireless access platform designed to let operators – or anyone else, really – deploy wireless coverage in remote areas.

The OpenCellular platform – which was designed as part of Facebook’s Telecom Infra Project (TIP) – can support everything from 2G to LTE connectivity, as well as Wi-Fi.

It looks like this.

The hardware includes a general-baseband computing (GBC) subsystem, which consists of power, housekeeping microcontroller, microprocessor, timing/sync module, sensors, and control mechanism, and a radio... MORE

July 07, 2016

ITEM: Alipay now has an option for paying off speeding tickets instantly.

According to TechInAsia (citing this report from, Alibaba’s Alipay payment app has partnered with 163 cities in China to provide various services for vehicle drivers – and in almost half of those cities, one such service is instant payments for speeding tickets and other fines.

In the city of Ningbo alone, the app is reportedly raking in 3,000 traffic fines a day and – thanks to Alipay enabling fine payments within ten seconds – it's supposedly saving drivers (and government workers)... MORE

July 05, 2016

Between Mobile World Congress Shanghai and 5G World in London, last week saw a slew of 5G announcements, demos and keynotes. But for once, it was more about pragmatism than hype, and we may have actually witnessed the point where the 5G hype cycle gave way to the practical realities of deployments.

Last week’s major 5G highlights were an interesting and perhaps unprecedented balance of sexy apps and pragmatic network upgrade strategies.

KT said at MWC Shanghai that it will have 5G up and running in time for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, with apps including 5G video... MORE

June 27, 2016

ITEM: Qualcomm will be showing off a brand new 5G prototype system and trial platform – or at least a video of it – at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai this week

The “5G New Radio (NR)” system includes a base station and user equipment, and serves as a testbed for verifying 5G NR capabilities. According to Qualcomm, the prototype supports RF bandwidths over 100 MHz wide, capable of delivering “multi-gigabit per second data rates”, as well as a new integrated subframe design for “significantly lower over-the-air latency” compared to LTE today.

Qualcomm says the new... MORE

June 22, 2016

We hear a lot these days about artificial intelligence (AI) these days, but in the telecoms world, the term is thrown about rather casually, as though it’s simply a really advanced algorithm tool to make Siri more useful.

AI is typically discussed in the context of big data, the IoT and augmented/virtual reality apps. At the upcoming ITU Telecom World in Bangkok, the Leadership Summit and Forum – which features a digital economy theme – lumps AI in with other topics such as smart sustainable cities, the role of taxation in driving connectivity, fostering SMEs and digital financial... MORE