5G and the immerging mobile market

The mobile market has always evolved to meet increasing customer demands and with 5G the building blocks are already coming into place to support the increase in traffic, demand on higher data rates and low latency.

In 2018 the number of mobile subscriptions exceeded people on planet Earth by 103%. In the next 5 years traffic growth of 8 times is expected. By 2023 5G is expected to carry one and a half times todays traffic.

In the UK and around the world mobile operators have been preparing for 5G for many years by using carrier aggregation techniques to reduce costs and re-farming existing UMTS frequencies for LTE in preparation for the increase in traffic and high demand on data usage. Furthermore, they have been increasing the site density and introducing MIMO to uplift capacity.

Key 5G market observations;
• Collaboration is key to being successful, you must build a great platform with the right eco system; vendors, municipalities, open source systems
• Automating the network is key to customer experience and lineal OPEX and CAPEX • 5G will co-exist with LTE and utilize it as it’s a symbiosis
• To address new markets, the mobile industry needs to shift the core closer to the edge and Non-Humans need better latency
• Companies need to develop solutions that provides cloud economics to the RAN
• True network slicing requires next generation core network
• LTE to 5G new radio interplay is critical to 5G success

2019 is a key year for 5G services as mobile operators launch commercial networks, mobile manufacturers launch new 5G handsets and the whole eco system introduces new services to market. Full benefits of 5G realisation would require;
• Wide bandwidth spectrum up to 800Mhz to achieve anticipated 750 Gbps peak data rates and offer extreme capacity
• 26GHz mmWave deployment in Europe for high capacity coverage layer • Massive MIMO beam forming and LTE-NR Dual connectivity to boost coverage
• Implementation of critical IoT or very low latency services
• High data rates backhaul at 99.99% availability to achieve ultra-reliability

High data rate, low latency, ultra-reliability all at the same time across a wide geographical area may be one of the most over hyped elements of 5G. It would be interesting to see how the network operators and 5G eco system delivers on these expectations.

You cannot treat 5G as if it is just another technology evolution step. It is much more than that and policy makers need to understand the implications on social, economic and environment. The whole eco system of network operators, policy makers, vendors, suppliers and municipalities need to work together and collaborate to deliver true 5G services.