Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Technology Push vs Market Pull for 5G?

Despite being one of the hot-topics at Mobile World Congress, 5G is “still a technology push story, not a market pull one”, Michael Peeters, Wireless CTO for Alcatel-Lucent, told Mobile World Live. 

“Operators have two primary approaches to 5G: one which is driven by their research organisations which need to understand whatever 5G may be in order to be ready and to drive the direction of research and standards; and another which is driven by commercial and operational needs which are trying to understand how 5G fits into future operations and revenue streams. It is clear that today the first one is the more important one,” he said. There are two “likely, or rather, visible” paths for operators looking to make the most of 5G, Peeters continued. The first will be through the continued support of “ultra broadband applications”, solving capacity issues where heavy users are connected to networks. And the second is “enabling the world of ubiquitous IoT” – “where an infinity of devices (real, or virtual i.e. applications) each use almost zero bandwidth, but nonetheless eat up all of the control plane of the network”. 

“IoT today is a catch-all which contains wearables, objects about the house, whitegoods that are powered, cars, camera networks and whatnot – indeed a huge spectrum of bandwidth and connectivity requirements. 5G can become the network that unites technologies in a way that creates a better end-user experience – if the industry ecosystem can see the value in “one network to rule them all” – 5G can be the overseer of the synergies between many different technologies that each add their own unique value,” the executive said. 

Peeters also took a light-hearted view of the term “4.5G”, which many in the industry – including Alcatel-Lucent – have used to describe technology beyond LTE-Advanced. “We’re already sorry we ever used the term. We’d said in some talks that we’d call the set of foundational technologies ‘4.5G’ as an easy shorthand. Immediately, the industry jumped on this and everything LTE-A, beyond release 12, was suddenly 4.5G,” he said.

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