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South Korean Operators Eye mmWave 5G

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Operators in South Korea targeted launch of 5G over mmWave frequencies to industry by the end of this year, The Korea Herald reported, though cost of delivery remains a stumbling block for the consumer sector.

The newspaper’s sources noted early use cases for the country’s second wave of 5G was likely to be in smart factories, with consumer services unlikely to hit the market until 2021 or even 2022 due to the cost of installing the required number of additional base stations.

Current commercial 5G services in the country use mid-band (3.5GHz) spectrum, providing lower peak speeds but wider propagation than mmWave frequencies.

The comments come less than a week after the country’s network vendor Samsung talked-up the prospects for 5G over mmWave following a number of trials at its facility.

Authorities and operators in South Korea have been among the most vocal supporters of 5G, having provided early demonstrations of applications of the technology at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018 and been one of the first countries to commercially launch the technology last year.

At the country’s spectrum auction in 2018 its three operators were also awarded assets in the 28GHz band, which will support mmWave 5G, though as of yet none have formally launched services using this spectrum.

As in Korea, the majority of 5G launches across the world use mid-band frequency, providing what the GSMA defines as a good mixture of coverage and capacity. However, while mmWave frequencies provide higher peak speeds, they suffer from greater coverage limitations.

The GSMA and other industry bodies promote the deployment of 5G using a combination of compatible frequencies in both ranges.

Orange maintains 2020 outlook despite dividend cut

French operator Orange reassured investors it still expects to meet its 2020 guidance despite the ongoing Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, even as it moved to cut its dividend payout.

The operator lowered its dividend for calendar 2019 from €0.70 (US$0.76) per share to €0.50, adding it would review rates for 2020 at a later date. Payment for the balance due from 2019 will be made 4 June.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard told Financial Times it made the decision with a “heavy heart”, but positioned the cut as the better alternative to outright cancellation.

In a statement, Richard maintained the operator remains on track to meet its 2020 guidance despite the move and economic turmoil caused by Covid-19.

He stated the operator “does not expect a significant deviation from its 2020 objectives” based on currently available information, but added “we are closely monitoring the situation and its developments”.

The executive said Orange’s prospects were bolstered by “the important role played by the telecoms sector during this crisis” as well as “the solidity of our financial situation and the relevance of our strategic action plans”.

In March, Swedish operator Telia cut its 2019 dividend from SEK2.45 (US$0.24) per share to SEK1.80 per share due to a drop in advertising revenue associated with Covid-19. Mobile World Live

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