While the technological jump from 4G to 5G may be less of a seismic shift than for previous generations, serious commercial challenges await operators as they look to rollout 5G
Operators who fail to invest sufficient capex in their 5G networks risk being left with egg on their face, according to industry experts.
In an exclusive interview with Total Telecom, Dan Warren, head of 5G Research at the Samsung Electronics Research and Development Institute, said that the UK’s network operators must be prepared to dig deep if they are to realise the full potential of 5G.
"There are fundamental things that need to be put in place to ensure that 5G is absolutely everything that it can be – and those are not just technical things. In fact, more than any other previous generation of technology, the technology for 5G is actually relatively simple," he said.
Warren argued that the jump from 4G to 5G is less of a technological leap than between previous generation and that the challenges facing operators were of a more commercial nature.
"It’s not a question of a big step change. The step from 3G to 4G, for instance, had fundamental changes in terms of moving out of a CDMA based technology to something that was based on FDMA. That was quite a radical step.
"What we have with 5G is essentially 4G radio with a couple of nuts and bolts sorted out within it, but everything else is about fundamental changes in business cases [for the operators]. Deploying 100 per cent coverage is not a question of technological capability – it’s a commercial decision for an operator. These types of things require significant capex investment. That’s good from the perspective of us as a vendor, because there is clearly money that needs to be spent. The risk is that operators who continue to talk about 5G and then don’t actually put the money behind it, run the risk of being left looking a bit stupid," he concluded.
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