Prior to 5G Asia at TechXLR8 2017, we asked Mei Lee Quah, Industry Principal in Telecoms Strategy, Digital Transformation Practice (APAC) at Frost & Sullivan about the opportunities and challenges in the Asia market and what the future will hold.
What do you see as the key challenges for the global telecoms industry in developing 5G networks?
Current low levels of 4G adoption i.e. at 25% penetration globally, limit opportunities for MNOs to capitalise on data growth. This slow transition to 4G will affect the necessary spectrum re-farming effort as the shutdown of 2G and/or 3G networks to free up the required spectrum for 5G will require migration of users to 4G networks. The extent of this challenge varies greatly from country to country.
Also, justification of the cost to implement a 5G network alongside a growing 4G network, especially in the developing world where the demand for 5G services is finite or limited and 4G adoption is still less than 10%. Complicating matters further is the fact that the true extent of investment required for 5G and business models for monetization is not yet clear.
Monetization of 5G will require compelling business models in areas that 4G cannot address and it does not help that more and more use cases are being addressed on 4.5G networks e.g. 4x4 MIMO, particularly in developing countries While 5G like use cases will be available to users earlier albeit at lower specifications, this will have the effect of delaying the roll-out of 5G in their markets.
Read more insights from Mei Lee Quah on particular challenges and opportunities in the Asia market, 5G investment and business cases by downloading the full interview.