A round up of the latest news in 5G development, from 5G trials in China to new research on network slicing.
5G Asia 2017
5G Asia 2017 took place this week, discussing the various challenges and developments in deploying 5G across the continent. Keynote speakers from Korea Telecom, Telstra, Nokia, ZTE and more discussed plans for rolling out the next-generation mobile network in developed markets and presented case studies and trials. There was also much discussion of connecting users in developing markets, for example a keynote from Google India’s Gulzar Azad on “Connecting the Next Billion Users”.
For the first time this year 5G Asia formed part of the TechXLR8 Asia expo, giving our delegates the chance to also experience cutting edge developments in AI, IoT, NFV and SDN and to meet with a range of tech startups. The event also featured the TechXLR8 Awards, with winners in the 5G space including KT, SK Telecom, Ericsson, Netrounds and Mavenir.
5G Smartphones by 2019
Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf said he believes we’ll see the first commercially available 5G smartphones by 2019. Speaking during the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany, he said that due to consumer demand the industry, particularly in the US and some Asian markets, was accelerating beyond its previous timeline to launch in 2020.
"I think you will see the typical first movers -- Korea, Japan, and the United States -- you will see robust demand in all of those locations, meaning that there are multiple operators wanting to be first and not be left behind," Mollenkopf said. He also added that, "What we are seeing in China is a real desire not to be a follower and to launch with everyone else. That’s new this time."
Beijing 5G Trial
Ericsson have partnered with Intel in a trial which they claim is the first 5G 3.5GHz multivendor end-to-end Interoperability Developmental Test. The field test took place in Beijing and involved testing Ericsson's 5G 3.5GHz radio prototype which uses a range of technologies, including Massive MIMO, multi-user MIMO and beamforming.
Chris Houghton, Head of Market Area North East Asia, Ericsson, says: “We recognize the importance and innovation of the Chinese market and by working closely with ecosystem partners such as Intel, we are helping to pave the way for a successful rollout of 5G in the future. This accomplishment is the first of many that will enable our customers to benefit from better, smarter networks.”
Ericsson Promises Benefits from Network Slicing
In a new study, Ericsson and BT quantified the benefits of network slicing for operators. They concluded that network slicing has the potential to offer economic benefits in terms of higher revenues and lower operating expenditures, and that it is the fastest, most cost-effective way to achieve service scalability.
Marielle Lindgren, Head of Ericsson United Kingdom, says: “We found that over a five-year period, introducing new services by using network slicing and operational automation generated 35 percent more revenue than by using one multi-service network. The revenue increased 15 percent when compared to several networks with dedicated resources, demonstrating how the technology enables market stimulation, faster time to market, and opportunities from smaller niche services.”
Learn more about Ericsson’s research into the business potential for 5G in this report.
Ofcom’s Comments on the UK’s Spectrum Row
UK regulator Ofcom’s CEO has warned that the legal challenges from BT and Three over the proposed spectrum cap in upcoming auctions could delay 5G deployment in the UK. In an open letter, Sharon White said their legal bids threatened the “golden opportunity for the UK to achieve leadership in 5G”. BT has claimed that setting a 37% cap on the amount of spectrum a single operator can buy is unfair whereas Three believes it could stifle competition and the cap should be lower. Court proceedings are scheduled for December and it’s therefore unlikely that Ofcom will be able to complete the first round of auctions this year as originally planned.