5G deployment

5G deployment: State of play and early lessons

In the session titled 5G deployment: State of play and early lessons, Bharat Bhatia, President ITU-APT Foundation of India, noted that the ITU has set goals for IMT-2020, such as 100 times higher system capacity, etc. We are nearly at the final stage to define 5G. So far, 34 countries have already launched 5G. It will also support a large number of use cases.

5G deployment in EC
Tonnie de Koster, Adviser for Digital Single Market International Outreach EC, DG CNECT, spoke about the deployment in the EU digital single market. He said: “We need to take a holistic view of 5G. It is global, and means that everybody is confronted by policy challenges. We are at the start of all this. 5G can be a game changer. It will take care of the factories of the future, lead media and entertainment, automotive, energy, etc. EU’s 5G strategy is at the heart of its digital single market strategy. Europe is well prepared for 5G rollout. Having a comprehensive approach is very important.”

5G will be present in all urban areas and along the main transport paths by 2025. There will be commercial launch of 5G services in at least one major city in each country within the EU. There is a connected and automated mobility to work in the cross-border concept. We need a global, interoperable standard to succeed in the global market. There is also a major overhaul of EU’s telecom legislation, merged into a single code. It is updated notably to foster 5G roll-out.

There are a series of key measures: firm common deadlines in the EU for licensing, commitments for 5G pioneer bands, certainty of long-duration licenses, lightweight regime for small cells, etc. 5G cybersecurity is changing the nature of networks towards critical infrastructure.

The 5GObservatory.eu has indicated the main 5G market developments in the EU and internationally. It looks at 5G precommercial and commercial launches.

As 5G is gearing up for market deployment, the European 5G Observatory provides updates on all of the latest market developments, including, actions being undertaken by the private and public sectors, in the field of 5G. The 5G Observatory also delivers an analysis of the strategic implications of the 5G Action Plan and other public policy objectives.

The Observatory focuses on 5G developments in Europe, along with major international developments (USA, Japan, China, South Korea) that could impact the European market.

5G deployments in USA
Sudhir Dixit, Vice Chair for Americas, WWRF added that there are 5G deployments in the USA. The key to 5G is to have a compact antenna. The mm wave signals are best for high bandwidth, short-range apps. Qualcomm has chipsets such as 855 for LTE and 5G, and 865 and 765. Apple plans to announce a 5G device this year.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile US, Sprint and US Cellular are the 5G operators in the USA. They plan to evolve the CDMA networks to GSM. Verizon plans to use 28GHz 5G NR, while AT&T plans to use 39GHz 5G NR. T-Mobile will use 600MHz and 28GHz for more capacity. It has announced 99% coverage of the country. Sprint has gone with 2500MHz 5G NR. That is the preferred range for most mobile operators in the world.

Verizon has also rolled out 5G. Now, it is present in 21 cities. AT&T Mobility launched 5G mobile hotspot in 2018. It has launched 5G in 20 more cities in 2019. It also opened a new 5G Lab. T-Mobile has launched 5G in 5,000 cities in sub-600GHz network in parts of 7 cities, mm wave in 6 cities, and 600MHz for nationwide network.

In mm wave, the cell deployments have to be dense. The real impact of 5G will be felt by 2025. The operators have a dilemma of capacity/coverage/cost, especially, to make 5G commercially viable. There are challenges for ultra-dense networks (UDNs) mm wave and macro cellular, and how to build, focus on performance, develop 5G capable handsets, radiation and espionage fears, and cost of service and business cases.

Andreas Sommer, Team Leader and Senior Technical Adviser, Project, India-EU Co-operation on ICT-related Standardization, Policy and Legislation, added that spectrum is very rare in South Africa. Spectrum may not be allocated within this year. There is a high demand for spectrum from the industries. Bosch received two spectrum licenses from regulator in Germany, for industrial use.

In South Africa, the infrastructure costs are a problem. There are not many policies in place. There are also issues regarding laying out fiber-optic cables. There are also areas such as deserts and mountains in South Africa. We are in discussions with the government. India has similar challenges, especially, with the rural areas. In North Macedonia, there is a broadband plan for the next decade. We are discussing how this rollout problem can be sorted out and infrastructure costs can be brought down.

In Pacific Islands, there are projects to connect the islands using fiber-optic cable. They have huge expectations from 5G. India may have similar connectivity problems with its own islands.

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