Complexity made simple – Mark Keenan, CEO, Real Wireless
Real Wireless is ten years old. For ten years we have been at the leading edge of our industry, growing our business and establishing ourselves as the world's leading wireless experts. And in that decade, wireless technology, services and demand have undergone a transformation few predicted. Indeed, even the language has moved on. Virtualization, mobile edge computing and the Cloud, for example, were hardly common currency in 2006. Similarly, network densification, IoT and even 5G were viewed as longer-term concerns.
Virtual infrastructure, real value – Simon Fletcher, CTO, Real Wireless
'Cloudification' brings new business models into the conceptual domain – but not just through new services. Cloud-RAN is a platform for creation of value within the pipe. With Cloud in play in the network and at the edge, new business innovations become obtainable. Such as mobile network multi-tenancy to support on-demand allocation of networking, storage and compute resources in a fully multi-tenant environment. Or multi-service- and context-aware adaptation of network functions to support a variety of services and corresponding QoE/QoS requirements.
SON, your time has come – Julie Bradford, Managing Consultant
It's not just the growing diversity of access mechanisms driving demand for sophisticated automation. The variety and complexity of services that are delivered by both network operators and over-the-top providers imply a huge range of customer experience expectations and network performance. Clearly, voice services over LTE are sensitive to packet loss, gamers struggle with latency, movies-on-the-go demand reliable buffering and so on; this is before the tsunami of 5G offerings ranging from augmented reality and the tactile internet, to sensor monitoring and first responder connectivity.
Capitalizing on the indoor coverage opportunity – Oliver Bosshard, Managing Consultant
In the vast majority of commercial buildings, mobile coverage remains weak or non-existent. This is clearly a challenge for both enterprises and operators, as many of the latter feel the business case for DAS or small cell deployment fails to stack up. Why should they invest more for diminishing returns? At the same time, most enterprises will argue it's up to the carrier to provide reliable coverage and capacity inside and out. From a carrier perspective, the problem is that, while mobile data usage continues to rise, ARPU growth rates have stalled and, in some markets, started to fall in absolute terms.
The conditions for 5G success are years behind the new radio – Caroline Gabriel, Market Research and Telecoms Industry Analyst
The majority of operators will wait until after 2022 to deploy 5G at scale, and will focus in the meantime on squeezing as much life as they can out of LTE. For companies which will remain focused on mobile broadband as their primary business model for the foreseeable future – and despite all the hype about the Internet of Things, those are the overwhelming bulk of mobile carriers – there is a great deal of life left in 4G. Arguably, if there is no urgent requirement to move towards new use cases like fixed broadband or massive machine-to-machine connectivity, LTE-Advanced should suffice for many years.
Living in harmony with 5G – Mike Goddard, International Spectrum Policy Advisor
Widely harmonized spectrum, freedom to repurpose existing spectrum and affordable access to the necessary amount of spectrum, are all ideals that the operator community (and many other interested parties) will be encouraging governments and regulatory authorities to offer. After all, even compared to 3G and 4G, the investment in 5G infrastructure is going to be staggering — and then services have to be rolled out and the whole thing monetised. Put bluntly, without a coherent, and relatively benevolent spectrum policy across as many regions as possible why should anyone invest?
Remote coverage: all for one and one for all?... John Okas, Strategic Wireless Business Consultancy
While the 5G vision may be compelling for many, maybe we should take a step back at this point, and consider the reality for a number of people — a reality that is far removed from watching a Harry Potter box set on your mobile. It's a chastening thought, at a time when governments all over the world are setting aside or seeking out vast quantities of spectrum to deliver a high speed, high throughput 5G mobile future, that there are more than a few areas of the British Isles that would settle for good old 2G, if they could only get a signal.
Back to backhaul – Julius Robson, Wireless Technology Consultant
The principle market for small cell backhaul is urban densification. Initially we saw relatively small deployments as operators used them tactically as a precision tool to fix isolated problem areas in their network. Operators are now urgently scaling up deployments to become part of their densification strategy. And this is where backhaul is needed. According to consultants IHS Technology, backhaul connections for urban small cells are set to multiply by 20 times between 2016 and 2020, driving cumulative spending of $6.4bn in the same period.
Wi-Fi first? – William Webb, Regulatory and Spectrum Expert, Real Wireless
In developing wireless communications over the past three decades we have been chasing ever-faster speeds and ever higher capacity. But the speed of data connection is now becoming less important than consistency. However, rather than aiming for ever-faster connections, I suggest that delivering enhanced coverage in a number of known problematic locations such as trains and rural areas would generate greater value for the economy and be preferred by most consumers. These problems have persisted throughout the broadband era but the technology and inclination to tackle them is now emerging.