Telecom Market Update: First Responder Network, Drones, Mobile Wi-Fi

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Saturday, April 08, 2017 with No comments

Early steps toward a national U.S. first responders telecom network. Drones as 4G LTE cell sites. A Wi-Fi mobile service that's not totally wi-fi based. This telecom market includes all of these, and more. 

AT&T has formally been awarded the contract (valued at $46.5 billion over 25 years) to build and manage FirstNet, a national U.S. broadband network for use by first responders, Telecom Ramblings reported. Backed by a team that includes General Dynamics, Inmarsat, Motorola, and Sapient Consulting, the network's access backbone will use 20MHz of spectrum. 

Verizon has activated its Category M1 LTE network, and in doing so becomes the first U.S. carrier to launch a nationwide Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated LTE network, RCR Wireless News reported. The operator plans to offer IoT data plans starting at $2/month per device, with a variety of customized options for bulk and volume purchases. 

In another area of continued dedication to LTE (even as it pushes ahead to be the first to deploy commercial 5G), Verizon is also testing the use of drones carrying LTE network equipment, noted AndroidHeadlines. Shaped like small airplanes and piloted by American Aerospace Technologies, the drones carry small cell sites on them and are intended for use in areas without power, such as during a disaster.

Cable MSO Comcast launched into the mobile market with introduction of its Xfinity Mobile service, which provides internet access using the operator's Wi-Fi hotspots, and call coverage using Verizon's network. Light Reading senior editor Mari Silbey noted that, while Wi-Fi calling and seamless handoffs between the two networks are not available at launch, Comcast plans to add those in later. Xfinity Mobile is currently available as part of a bundle with other Xfinity services. 

Indian mobile operator Bharti Airtel is finding success with mobile video, through a variety of efforts designed to give the end user the best possible experience, Light Reading noted in a video interview with the operator’s CTO, Shyam Mardikar. That includes addressing service delivery from both a per-application perspective and a unified approach. This is now one of the most consumed mobile data services on its network, Mardikar said in the video.

Five years ago, Telefonica was just starting to develop its NFV strategy—how to implement the technology and its capabilities for cloud services in a single infrastructure model, said the operator’s CTO, Enrique Blanco, in a Light Reading video. Today, it is in the midst of actually implementing that strategy, using all capabilities possible with available technology.

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