Welcome to Faulkner's Telecom Daily. We publish Monday through Friday, updating top stories as events warrant.
Friday, January 15...
Samsung Debuts Galaxy S21 Line
Samsung debuted its oft-leaked Galaxy S21 smartphone line at this year's Unpacked event. As expected, the new device comes in three variants, the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra. While all three handsets skew towards the iterative side of annual updates. Both the S21 and S21+ both also show a shift in focus toward more affordable models, even if that comes at the cost of some high-end specs. In the case of the S21, this trade-off brings a resolution of just 2,400x1080 for its 6.2-inch display. This is compared to the older Galaxy S20's 3,200x1,440 display at the same size. Thankfully, this is the only major downgrade, with the S21 advancing upon its predecessor by including the new Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 CPU alongside 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of onboard storage. Unfortunately for those wishing to up their storage after purchase, Samsung has chosen to leave out an SD card slot this time around. On the photographic front, the S21 sports a triple-lens rear camera system packing a 64MP telephoto shooter, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 12MP wide-angle lens. The selfie camera is a standard 10MP shooter. The specs of the S21+ are essentially identical to the S21, including the aforementioned resolution, which is further stretched across a larger 6.7-inch display. The S21 Ultra, meanwhile, upgrades the resolution to a more modern 3,200x1,440 for its 6.8-inch screen, while also bumping the RAM up to either 12GB or 16GB, and adding a 512GB internal storage option. Its camera array also adds a second telephoto lens for additional photo options. As leaks suggested, all three devices do now support Samsung's S-Pen stylus. Pricing for the line begins at $800/$850 for the S21 storage options, rises to $1,000/$1050 for the S21+'s, and tops out at $1,200/$1,250/$1,380 for the S21 Ultra's trio of sizes. All three devices are available for pre-order now, with an expected ship date of January 29.
T-Mobile Taps Nokia and Ericsson to Help 5G Proliferation
T-Mobile revealed a pair of major 5-year agreements with Nokia and Ericsson that will see the duo playing a major role in the carrier's ongoing expansion of its 5G network in the US. Under the terms of the deals, Nokia will supply its AirScale radio access solutions, including its macro and small cells across low, mid-band and mmWave spectrum, while Ericsson will supply its Ericsson Radio System portfolio, including active and passive antennae and other networking hardware. Both companies claim their hardware will enable faster download speeds and broader network capacity while improving performance in the 2.5GHz mid-band. No financial terms for either agreement were disclosed.
FCC Seeks Comment on Upcoming 5G Mid-Band Auction
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Request for Public Comment for its upcoming, third 5G mid-band spectrum auction. The sale, dubbed Auction 108, will offer "flexible-use, geographic overlay licenses for counties with unassigned spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band." This third sale will continue the agency's mission to proliferate 5G in the US by exploiting the largely under-utilized sub-3GHz frequency range. The regulator is seeking public input on how precisely to dispose of the 8,300 licenses that will be up for sale, including factors such as whether to use a "single-round pay-as-bid auction design or a simultaneous multiple-round auction design" and other competitive bidding procedure and payment parameters.
...Michael Gariffo, Faulkner Information Services
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