Europe finally gets the 5G memo

The European Commission has supported a survey which has concluded 5G is going to have a bunch of socio-economic benefits - no sh*t Sherlock!

Jamie Davies

October 4, 2016

3 Min Read
Europe finally gets the 5G memo

The European Commission has supported a survey which has concluded 5G is going to have a bunch of socio-economic benefits – no sh*t Sherlock!

It would appear whenever there is a major advancement in the telecommunications industry that requires support and regulation from official bodies, there is also a requirement to commission a cosmetic survey to justify it, and tell the industry what it already knows. As with any public body the fear of failure and consequent waste of its citizens’ hard-earned cash is a major concern, so the EC decided to blow some more cash just to make sure.

The report comes to several conclusions about 5G, of which the vast majority were already known:

  • 50Mbps everywhere – 5G will offer ubiquitous and faster internet speeds, though most would hope 50Mbps is a minimum.

  • Scalable solutions for sensor networks – The report concluded, after consulting with dozens of international experts’ none-the-less, 5G will improve the environment for M2M and IoT deployment.

  • Ultra-tactile Internet – 5G will offer a new internet which is more agile and a better platform to launch new services and product based on future tech such as VR and AI.

  • There will be more data available for businesses to evolve business models and create new product offers which are more personalized to customers.

  • More traditional businesses may be challenged by disruptor brands and business models who are capitalizing on the power of 5G.

  • 5G technologies and data sharing concepts are more likely to be accepted by influencers and decision makers who can see the benefits available to them

One area where credit has to be given focuses on the questions which need to be asked surrounding the spectrum. Analysis showed there is a requirement to share spectrum in all the spectrum ranges, particularly in bands below 6 GHz. Certain scenarios may occur where there is not enough spectrum available for service providers to hold dedicated spectrum to meet the needs of users.

A congested motorway was the best example available from the report, though it is easy enough to imagine challenges in the healthcare industry where robotic surgery is currently a heavily promoted use-case. Prior to the advanced use-cases of 5G, or those considered safety-critical, these challenges will need to be addressed and solutions nailed down.

“The socioeconomic value of 5G will be found in its applications for vertical industries to an extent that no wireless technology has before,” said Mark Keenan, CEO at Real Wireless. “However many of those applications identified under the 5G vision is highly demanding, with significant spectrum requirements.

“The success of 5G therefore requires legislators and regulators to begin investigating spectrum allocation and sharing principles as soon as possible to help overcome any challenges well in advance of the technology being deployed. Only then will the wireless industry be able to develop policy, tools and strategies that can drive market confidence in the essential spectrum-sharing methods we have outlined in our study.”

While solutions to the challenge will continue to be investigated, the Real Wireless team has suggested three; dynamic adjustment of media resolution, reducing levels of spectrum over-allocation to a limited number of parties, and the rollout of smaller-sized cells. There may well be a huge number of political and economic challenges associated with the ideas, though the team claim the latter two could contribute to an additional 86.7% reduction in the amount of spectrum required by 5G.

Nothing will hold back the rush towards 5G, as consumer demands and behaviour have forced the hands of operators around the worldwide to strain networks to meet expectations. While there are many operators who believe soon will never be soon enough for the delivery of 5G, some will have to take a chill-pill for the moment as until the issue of spectrum allocation and data congestion is solved the delivery of the promised 5G benefits is not realistic.

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