Most network operators say they’re ready for “5G” even if they don’t know what it will actually deliver (the RAN and other key functions haven’t even been discussed by ITU-R WP5D for IMT 2020, let alone agreed upon), Ericsson found in a survey of wireless network operators around the world (see References and hyper-links below). Many expect the enterprise market and Internet of Things (IoT) applications to drive revenue growth from 5G technology.
More than three-quarters of the respondents said they were in the midst of 5G trials. That corresponds with research from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association research which found 81 5G trials underway in 42 countries.
23% of survey respondents plan to migrate 4G subscribers to 5G with enhanced services and revenues (but when?). Yet nearly two thirds (64%) of operators said they can’t pay for 5G by simply raising rates on consumers, because consumers are “tapped out.” Eighteen percent of respondents said they expect to monetize 5G by “expanding to new markets—enterprise/ industry segments.”
“In 2016, 90% pointed to consumers as the central segment in their planning and only 34% focused on specialized industries,” the Ericsson researchers wrote in this year’s report. An increased emphasis on the enterprise market is a key shift since a previous Ericsson 5G operator survey was conducted in 2016.
“This year, operators are seeing that the consumer market is saturated, so planning for 5G is more evenly split across specialized industry segments (58%), business users (56%) and consumers (52%),” the Ericsson researchers added.
Specific industry segments on which operators expect to focus 5G monetization efforts include media/entertainment (cited by 69% of respondents), automotive (59%), public transport (31%), healthcare (29%) and energy/ utilities (29%).
Providing industry-specific services to these industry segments will be important in 5G monetization, according to 68% of respondents. The single most important use case in the media/entertainment segment is high-quality streaming, respondents said. Other top use cases by segment included:
- Automotive: autonomous vehicle control
- Public transport: Smart GPS
- Healthcare: Remote robotic surgery
- Energy & utilities: Control of edge-of-grid generation
More than three quarters (77%) of respondents said third-party collaboration is an essential element in 5G monetization and 68% said they need to find new revenue-sharing models.
Chart courtesy of Ericsson’s 5G Readiness Survey
Survey Questions and Methodology:
Some of the questions asked in the survey:
-Exactly how have preparations for 5G evolved over the past year?
-Where do telcos stand now in their 5G activities and developments?
-What actions are service providers taking now in anticipation of 5G?
-What priorities drive their initiative?
-How ready are they to take leadership positions in the 5G future?
The survey’s objective was to obtain a snapshot of the state of the industry in relation to next-generation mobile technology. Last year, we struggled to find 50 executives globally who were far enough along in 5G to answer the survey questions.
This year, Ericsson says they “easily identified 50 executives, both business and technical leaders, from 37 operators around the world. As leaders of their organizations’ 5G efforts, they are at the center of the 5G evolution. That increase clearly signifies the growing recognition among industry leaders of 5G’s importance.”s
Two years ago, we reported that “Verizon has completed a field trial of NG-PON2 fiber-to-the-premises technology that could provide the infrastructure for download speeds up to 10 Gbps for residential and business customers.”
This past January, Verizon completed its first interoperability trial of NG-PON2 technology at its Verizon Labs location in Waltham, MA. During the trial, Verizon demonstrated that equipment from different vendors on each end of a single fiber—one on the service provider’s endpoint and that the customer premises—can deliver service without any end-user impact.
In an October 16th press release in advance of the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, Verizon said NG-PON2 represent a paradigm shift in the access space and a more certain path towards long-term success.
“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said Vincent O’Byrne, Director of Technology at Verizon.
“Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above,” O’Byrne added.
“Technologies such as NG-PON2 present exciting new opportunities for vendors, such as delivering residential and business services on multiple wavelengths over the same fiber,” said O’Byrne. “Not only does NG-PON2 parse business and residential customer traffic to isolate and resolve potential problems in the network, it can also scale to achieve speeds of 40 Gbps and above.”
At the Broadband Forum’s Access Summit, The Verizon executive will address how the fiber access space is constantly evolving, with emerging PON technology providing solutions to some of the issues around cost and reliability during the Broadband World Forum, at the Messe Berlin on Tuesday, Oct. 24th.
Verizon has been an active participant in driving awareness about how NG-PON2 can work in a real-world carrier environment. The company completed NG-PON2 interoperability with five vendors for its OpenOMCI (ONT Management and Control Interface) spec, bringing it one step closer toward achieving interoperable NG PON systems.
The mega telco plans to offer it’s own OpenOMCI specification , which define the optical line terminal (OLT)-to-optical network terminal (ONT) interface, to the larger telecom industry.
Note 1. OpenOMCI specification was developed and is owned by Verizon, rathr than a formal standards/spec writing body like the ITU-T or Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). Is this the new way of producing specs (like “5G” used in trials)?
Bernd Hesse, Chair of the Broadband Access Summit and Senior Director Technology Development at Calix, said:
“We will be exploring NG-PON2 in depth and the use cases that underpin the decisions to deploy them. I look forward to the debate, hearing from the experts in the industry and welcoming the community to these new Forum events.”
There’s certainly no shortage of 5G reports predicting some combination of utopia and nirvana. The Frost & Sullivan report described here is one of them.
Perhaps the reader should reflect on all the pie in the sky predictions for all optical networks in the 1998-2001 time frame which to this day have not been even remotely realized. With that caveat in mind, enjoy this Frost & Sullivan press release for their new 5G report!
5G: The Foundation for a Hyper-Connected World
by Frost & Sullivan and and Principal Financial Group
The expected transition to 5G, the next generation in mobile communications, will bring new startups, new competitive intensity, and the development of new platforms and business models, according to a report released today by Frost & Sullivan and Principal Financial Group.
The collaborative whitepaper titled, 5G: The Foundation for a Hyper-Connected World, predicts that 5G will result in a period of industry disruption and vertical realignment in a massive portion of the global economy, which is likely to impact investors’ portfolios. The paper is the first in a series on 5G, which takes a multifaceted look at how this technology will prompt the next wave of technological innovation and shape investment opportunities in the coming years.
To download the full whitepaper, please visit: http://frost.ly/1vs
Here’s an excerpt:
5G will be a world in which more and more objects are connected online, making our homes, cities, farms, and factories more efficient. Where adopted, 5G will be a critical enabler of innovation, bringing new products and services to market that will help people live better while also increasing productivity in sectors such as manufacturing and healthcare. Within this world, investment opportunities and threats will inevitably emerge, prompting critical questions around timing, location, and which industries stand to benefit the most.
“Disruption brings with it the potential to find strong growth prospects. However, with 5G, as with any new technology, investors must remain realistic. Although 5G will improve people’s lives and strengthen productivity, rollout will take time,” said Richard Sear, partner and senior vice president of Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Innovation Group. “It will likely be a decade or more until the widespread economic impact of 5G can be fully measured. Finding opportunities will rely on ongoing, active monitoring of regional, government, and industry landscapes.”
It is expected that 5G connectivity will affect every industry as more data will be transmitted at faster rates. This will allow for innovative and advanced applications—many of which have yet to be conceived. Successful long-term investment strategies will place a premium on those industries, companies, and countries that establish clear use cases for 5G early on and that position this technology as a strategic complement to additional pursuits such as artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning.
“The effect that 5G will have on the speed of technological implementation is hard to quantify today. What we do know is that this technology will further enable developing economies to close the gap with developed markets,” said Jim McCaughan, chief executive officer for Principal Global Investors, the asset management arm of Principal. “5G, coupled with strong middle class expansion in these emerging markets, will create interesting opportunities for investors, while also leading to the development of new, tailored financial solutions.”
A related Frost & Sullivan report on 5G network testing can be read here.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies? Contact us: Start the discussion
As LTE progresses to more advanced versions such as 3GPP standard LTE-Advanced, LTE-Advanced Pro and the recently marketed Gigabit LTE, ABI Research expects that MIMO  will become an increasingly important part of mobile network operators’ options in their evolution to 5G (officially known as IMT 2020).
While MIMO has not delivered on its promises so far, no doubt exists that the technology will become a foundational building block for mobile networks in the evolution to 4G/5G, and advanced antenna systems will receive increasing attention and research and development (R&D) by both vendors and MNOs.
Advanced antenna systems, including complex passive antennas and large-scale active antennas, will become part of the roadmap to advanced LTE and 5G, according to ABI Research.
Note 1. Long term evolution (LTE) is based on Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO)-Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) and continues to be developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
OFDM is a frequency-division multiplexing (FDM) scheme used as a digital multi-carrier modulation method. A large number of closely spaced orthogonal sub-carrier signals are used to carry data on several parallel data streams or channels.
LTE Advanced (true 4G before the term was hijacked by marketing heads) adds support for picocells, femtocells, and multi-carrier channels up to 100 MHz wide. LTE has been embraced by both GSM/UMTS and CDMA operators.
ABI Research thinks that Massive MIMO will be a key feature of 5G and deploying advanced MIMO for 4G-LTE is a long-term investment which will prepare the ground for the deployment of the next generation of networks.
“While MIMO has not delivered on its promises so far, we are left with no doubt that the technology will become a foundational building block for mobile networks in the evolution of 4G and 5G and advanced antenna systems will receive increasing attention and R&D by both vendors and MNOs,” says Nick Marshall, Research Director at ABI Research. “We expect increasing acquisition activities in the antenna market, particularly involving MIMO technology.”
Overall the installed base of MIMO-enabled LTE antennas will grow by more than double worldwide from 2017 to 2021 to reach almost 9 million, with the Asia Pacific region outpacing this with a growth rate of three times. The Asia Pacific region will grow to represent most of the market by 2021. Although the MIMO-enabled LTE platform retains the largest installed base through 2021, growing by a factor of almost two times, it is the MIMO-Enabled LTE-Advanced platform growing at a faster rate and MIMO-enabled LTE-Advanced Pro at almost six times which rise rapidly to match the scale of the earlier MIMO-enabled LTE platform. The cellular antenna market forms a very dynamic and innovative ecosystem with many vendors including Amphenol, Comba, CommScope, Huawei, Kathrein and RFS all competing to include these advanced multi-antenna features,
“Advanced antenna systems including complex passive antennas and large scale massive MIMO active antennas will become part of the roadmap to advanced LTE and 5G,” concludes Marshall. “The need for active antennas when MIMO becomes more advanced will also change the market map, which has largely depended on passive antennas for previous generations.”
These findings are from ABI Research’s “Evolution of MIMO in LTE Networks“ report. This report is part of the company’s Mobile Networks Service research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights.
For more info,including an Executive Summary:
About ABI Research:
ABI Research stands at the forefront of technology market intelligence, providing business leaders with comprehensive research and consulting services to help them implement informed, transformative technology decisions. Founded more than 25 years ago, the company’s global team of senior and long-tenured analysts delivers deep market data forecasts, analyses, and teardown services. ABI Research is an industry pioneer, proactively uncovering ground-breaking business cycles and publishing research 18 to 36 months in advance of other organizations. For more information, visit www.abiresearch.com.
COMPLIMENTARY TUTORIAL ON MMWAVE AND MASSIVE MIMO
Telit, an Israeli based semiconductor company specializing in Internet of Things (IoT) silicon, today announced that its LE910B1-NA, LE910B1-SA, LTE Category 1 (Cat 1) and LE910B4-NA, LTE Category 4 (Cat 4) received certification for operation on AT&T’s LTE nationwide network. The aforementioned modules also support Voice over LTE (VoLTE).
Telit also received certification for its 600 Mbps, LTE Category 11 (Cat 11) LM940 global (single SKU) PCI Express Mini (mPCIe) data card targeted at segments including network routers and gateways, and the mobile computing industry.
Certification enables IoT integrators and providers to immediately integrate and test their devices with the certified modules and data card and start leveraging the reliability and coverage of AT&T’s LTE Cat 1, Cat 4-VoLTE and Cat 11 services for the IoT.
For more information on the LE910B1/4-xA:
For more information on the LM940 Cat 11 data card:
“Voice over LTE is an absolute necessity for the IoT particularly for the American market where operators need to turn off spectrum-inefficient circuit switch voice technology. Our existing customers using 2G, 3G, and non-VoLTE LTE modules from the xE910 family can now simply drop in the VoLTE variants, go through required testing with our help and start deploying voice capable products endowed with a very long life,” said Yosi Fait, Interim CEO, Telit.
“The LM940, now certified for immediate activation, remains the only global product for the router and gateway segment to allow OEMs to leverage 3x carrier aggregation capabilities currently available from AT&T,” he added.
The LE910B1/4-xA module is a member of Telit’s best-selling xE910 family and can easily be applied as a pin-to-pin replacement for existing devices based on the family’s modules for 2G, 3G, LTE Categories 1, 3 and 4. With the company’s design-once-use-anywhere philosophy, developers can cut costs and development time by simply designing to the xE910 LGA common form factor, giving them the freedom to deploy technologies best suited for the application’s environment.
The LM940 boasts an exceptionally power efficient platform and is the ideal solution for commercial and enterprise applications in the network appliance and router industry, such as branch office connectivity, LTE failover, digital signage, kiosks, pop-up stores, vehicle routers, construction sites and more. The data card includes Linux and Windows driver support.
Telit also features the broadest portfolio of certified LTE IoT Category modules in the industry.
For more information about the Telit portfolio of LTE modules: https://www.telit.com/products/cellular-modules/
Last week, GCT Semiconductor  announced an LTE device which will also support the (proprietary) Sigfox wireless IoT interface. The GDM7243I chip features low power consumption, which will allow it to be used for tracking devices to connect using the Sigfox wireless IoT network for several years without the need for frequent battery re-charging.
Note 1. GCT Semiconductor’s engineering development team is in South Korea. Marketing and sales are in San Jose, CA.
“We’re pleased to be working closely with Sigfox to bring this capability to market and support ultra-long battery life and global coverage for our IoT customers,” said John Schlaefer, CEO of GCT Semiconductor, speaking at Sigfox World IoT Expo 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic.
GDM7243I based tracking devices operate on the Sigfox network for location tracking but will switch to the cellular network as required.
Hybrid IoT devices can connect to the Sigfox wireless IoT network and operate in low-power mode to send and receive notifications only. The Sigfox network can also provide backup connectivity to IoT hybrid devices in case of cellular network coverage limitations, congestion, breakdown, or jamming of security/alarm systems.
The Calliope LTE Platform for IoT is a member of Sequans’ StreamliteLTE™family of LTE chipset products. Calliope is designed specifically for wearables and other Category 1 M2M and IoT devices. Calliope comprises baseband and RF chips, an integrated IoT applications processor running Sequans’ carrier-proven LTE protocol stack, an IMS client, and a comprehensive software package for over-the-air device management and packet routing. It includes Sequans’ powerful interference rejection technology, Sequans AIR™.
Calliope can add Cat 1 LTE connectivity to M2M and IoT modules and is also suitable for wearables and M2M devices for metering, home automation, and automotive applications.
- Certified by Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless, NTT Docomo and T-Mobile
- Throughput: up to Category 1 – 10 Mbps DL/ 5 Mbps UL
- Ultra low power consumption
- 3GPP Release 10; software-upgradable to Release 11
- FDD and TDD, up to 20 MHz LTE channels
- Embedded application CPU
- Wafer-level packaging
- Supports VoLTE and location based services
- Host environments: Android, Android Wear, Linux, Windows, Real Time OS
- Versatile interfaces to host system: UART, USB, HSIC
- Includes Sequans AIR™ interference cancelation technology
- Certified for VoLTE by Verizon Wireless
For more info:
by Andrew Schmitt, CignalAI
Many operators have accelerated preparations for the arrival of 5G, and are increasingly looking to the enterprise as well as the consumer market as potential customers, according to a survey conducted by Ericsson.
A survey of operators that have publicly announced intentions to deploy 5G shows that 78% are conducting 5G trials, up from just 32% during a similar survey last year. In addition, 28% of the respondents plan to deploy 5G next year (even though IMT 2020 standards won’t be finished till late 2020 and there has been no discussion of the 5G RAN). Operators have further evolved their business strategies for 5G services to extend beyond the consumer market.
“In the 2016 survey, 90% of the respondents pointed to consumers as the main segment in their 5G business planning,” Ericsson head of 5G commercialization Thomas Noren explained.
“This year, it is an even split between three segments and operators have identified business opportunities not only in the consumer segment but also with enterprise users and specialized industries.”
With operators considering the consumer market to be becoming saturated, 5G planning has been more evenly distributed across specialized industry segments (58%), business users (56%), and consumers (52%).
The industry segments considered to have the most potential include media and entertainment, automotive and public transport, with energy and utilities as well as healthcare being considered other attractive potential markets.
The survey also found that a clear majority of operators believe that the IoT will play an important role in the 5G ecosystem.
82% of technical respondents believe multiuser Massive MIMO is an essential feature for 5G. Multiuser Massive MIMO dynamically transmits data as highly focused beams to simultaneously send and receive multiple data signals over the same radio channel, enabling multiple users to use the same time and frequency resources, which, Ericsson points out, is key to many of the performance gains expected in 5G because it increases spectral efficiency for higher capacity and throughput from the same amount of spectrum.
Other features identified as essential to 5G are device-to-device connection (71%), network security (68%), virtualized network functions (68%) and network slicing (68%).
The Ericsson report found that in saturated markets, such as North America, operators envision monetizing 5G connectivity by taking market share from competitors with new features and performance (23%) or better pricing (18%); by migrating current 4G subscribers to 5G and charging more for 5G features (23%); and by expanding to new enterprise/industry markets (18%).
NOTE: This article complements others we’ve recently posted on U.S. carriers move to broadband fixed wireless access for rural and under-served geographical areas.
In many rural communities, where available broadband speed and capacity barely surpass old-fashioned dial-up connections, residents sacrifice not only their online pastimes but also chances at a better living. Counties without modern internet connections can’t attract new firms, and their isolation discourages the enterprises they have: ranchers who want to buy and sell cattle in online auctions or farmers who could use the internet to monitor crops. Reliance on broadband includes any business that uses high-speed data transmission, spanning banks to insurance firms to factories.
Rural counties with more households connected to broadband had higher incomes and lower unemployment than those with fewer, according to a 2015 study by university researchers in Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas who compared rural counties before and after getting high-speed internet service.
“Having access to broadband is simply keeping up,” said Sharon Strover, a University of Texas professor who studies rural communication. “Not having it means sinking.”
Ensuring access to an open, thriving online ecosystem through modern and even-handed internet rules is critical for every American, but much more so for the 60 million rural Americans who rely on the internet to connect them to a rapidly evolving global economy. Studies show that as rural communities adopt and use broadband services, incomes go up and unemployment falls. Broadband providers support protections that ensure consumers and innovators alike don’t have to worry about blocked websites or throttled service. Rural areas need more investment, not less. And modern Open Internet rules will encourage this needed progress.
Full Story: ustelecom.org
Sidebar – Fast Internet Service:
About 39% of the U.S. rural population, or 23 million people, lack access to broadband internet service—defined as “fast” by the Federal Communications Commission—compared with 4% of the urban residents.
Fast Internet service, according to the FCC, means a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second, a measure of bandwidth known as Mbps. That speed can support email, web surfing, video streaming and graphics for more than one device at once. It is faster than old dial-up connections—typically, less than 1 Mbps—but slower than the 100 Mbps service common in cities.
A recent Forbes article titled “Don’t Forget Rural America…..” by Richard Boucher stated:
In announcing the “Restoring Internet Freedom” rulemaking, the FCC stated that “[o]ur actions today continue our critical work to promote broadband deployment to rural consumers and infrastructure investment throughout our nation, to brighten the future of innovation both within networks and at their edge, and to close the digital divide.” This past July, the Commission declared August to be “Rural Broadband Month” at the FCC.
Two years following the 2015 reclassification of broadband as a common carrier telecommunications service, it’s clear that broadband investment has declined in rural America. Representatives of internet service providers (ISPs) from states like Arkansas, Washington, Kentucky, and Nebraska have all offered evidence detailing how regulatory uncertainty arising from the “Title II” decision has retarded and, in many situations, stopped investment in their regions.
The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), which has a large rural membership, said that the switch to Title II has led to “vast uncertainty and significant negative economic impacts for WISPA members who have built their networks from scratch using their own at-risk capital without federal subsidies[.]”
The formula for bringing high-speed internet connectivity to everyone in rural America is multi-faceted. It requires a combination of wired and wireless deployments, and government – through the FCC’s Universal Service programs and loans and grants from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture – all have a role to play. But indispensable to success is the creation of a regulatory framework that incentivizes private capital to deploy broadband everywhere, including rural America. As long as the regulatory uncertainty of Title II remains, rural America to a large extent will be cut off from essential private broadband deployment funding and, as a result, fall even further behind.
The discussion, as well as a fair amount of heated rhetoric, are sure to continue over the next few weeks regarding the proper classification for broadband. Meanwhile, don’t forget rural America. The best way to ensure that all corners of the country get the connectivity they need is for the FCC to restore the classification of broadband as an information service. Thereafter, Congress should enact legislation that codifies open internet rules and at long last puts to rest a debate that has raged for more than a decade.
Another approach to delivering rural broadband are co-ops like this one:
The Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN), an industry association of mobile carriers, has defined requirements for 5G including data rates, transmission speeds, spectral efficiency and latency.
So has ITU-R WP 5D- the only real standards body for 5G (AKA IMT 2020). However, the wireless networking industry has yet to agree on the Radio Access Network (RAN) and related 5G standards, despite 3GPP release 15 on “New Radio.” 5G standards won’t be completed until very late in 2020.
As we’ve reported in several IEEE techblog posts, AT&T and Verizon are conducting 5G trials in the US while other trials are proceeding in Europe and Asia.
Bullish Opinions on 5G:
Broad deployment of 5G networks is not expected until the 2020 timeframe, according to Sam Lucero, a senior principal analyst for M2M at IoT at IHS Markit. Yet despite the lack of standards, a number of speakers at last month’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) Americas in San Francisco were more bullish on 5G and expectations for its rollout.
“We expect 5G to come faster and be broader than originally thought,” said Rajeev Suri, president and CEO of Nokia. Suri said Nokia expects 5G networks to be deployed in 2019, with widespread trials next year.
“4G is like a really good rock band,” said Andre Feutsch, CTO at AT&T. “5G is like a finely tuned orchestra.” He added that he sees n 5G a tremendous opportunity for advancing and “frankly making the network more relevant.”
“From a network perspective, [5G] is an evolution,” said Gordon Mansfield, vice president of RAN and device design at AT&T. “However, from a capability perspective it will be a revolution as it unfolds.”
“The 4G network is foundational to 5G,” said Nicki Palmer, chief network officer at Verizon. She added, “It’s hard to really peel 4G and 5G apart in some ways. The good news is that the investments we make today [in 4G] lead us down the 5G path.”
“We’ve been trying to define what 5G is for the past five years,” said Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology at Sprint. “We are getting close to being able to define that. We need to educate industries on how 5G can and will disrupt them.”
Feutsch said 5G technology will enable carriers to provide solutions to a greater number of use cases. He said a lot of the work that has been done to date with pre-standards trials of 5G “were really to gain a lot of insights that helped us feed right back into the standards work.”
He added that standardization and openness would be critical to creating the healthy ecosystem that is required to enable 5G to flourish.
“We’ve got to standardize on this and avoid proprietariness as much as possible” to build a healthy 5G ecosystem Feutsch said. He said a lot of innovation for 5G would come from smaller companies — “disruptors” that need to rely on standards to make the technology they are developing fit into the 5G landscape.
Derek Peterson, chief technology officer at Boingo Wireless, a provider of mobile Internet access, also emphasized the importance of standards and urged audience members to participate in standards efforts. “Participating in standards is very important because it is going to take a collaborative effort to make all of these things work together,” he said.
The densification required for 5G transmission speeds will rely on a far greater number of smaller cell sites than previous generations of wireless technology. The process of getting the cell sites approved can vary widely from place to place, and often be one of the biggest roadblocks to 5G.
“It can take a year to get a permit for something that it takes an hour to hang on a pole,” Mansfield said.
“The biggest barrier is going to be the density that you need for 5G is something that we have never seen before,” said John Saw, Sprint’s CTO. “It’s going to be more than putting 5G on the towers that we know and love today. We need to change how we get permits for this.” Saw added.
With the wireless industry prepared to spend an estimated $275 billion to deploy 5G, governments need to streamline permitting processes.
“I think public policy makers get to have a say in how fast we spend it and where we spend it. They need to get used to the fact that there may be hundreds and perhaps thousands of permits being requested to get this density that is required,” Saw concluded.
Panelists in an IoT session said that the primary barriers to enterprise IoT adoption include limited battery capacities and insufficient interoperability between connected devices, including VPN support, cloud service compatibility and other technologies. No mention was made of 5G for low latency IoT applications.
AT&T is not the only U.S. carrier attempting to provide broadband fixed wireless access to rural areas. CenturyLink has requested an experimental license from the Federal Communications Commission for a test to reach isolated rural areas via a fixed wireless service over the 3.4 GHz to 3.7 GHz spectrum band.
The trial is aimed to evaluate the use of wireless spectrum to provide broadband services to those rural areas where it’s difficult to make wire-line infrastructure/facilities available.
“The testing seeks to understand the viability of new technologies in this band,” CenturyLink wrote in an FCC filing.
“CenturyLink seeks confidential treatment for the Exhibit on the basis that it contains confidential commercial information, technical data and trade secrets concerning CenturyLink services under development and related testing processes, all of which CenturyLink customarily guards from public disclosure,” CenturyLink said.
Besides the 3.4-3.7 GHz bands, CenturyLink is looking at how it might work with other network service providers rolling out future 5G wireless networks.
Glen Post, CEO of CenturyLink, told investors during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in September that it would be open to such partnerships to accelerate the speed at which it is rolling out service to rural areas under the CAF-II program.
“On the wireless side, we want to partner with 5G providers and other wireless providers where we can bring higher speeds to customers at less costs,” Post said. “If some of the proposed wireless build-outs occur in the CAF-II areas we cover, we think it will be a lower-cost opportunity to reach those customers and cover higher speeds for a lot more customers with that type of technology.”
CenturyLink joins several other rural-centric providers like Frontier, Consolidated and Windstream are seeing similar potential. As we’ve previously noted, AT&T’s rural wireless broadband recently added 9 more states.
Frontier confirmed it was conducting tests of how it can use fixed wireless to address the broadband availability problem in very rural areas via the FCC’s CAF-II funds.
Frontier joined Consolidated and Windstream in a joint FCC filing (PDF) related to a request to create flexible use of spectrum bands between 3.7 and 24 GHz.
Consolidated and Windstream also expressed interest in being able to use 3.7-4.2 GHz band spectrum for rural fixed point-to-multipoint deployments, such as through the rules proposed by the Broadband Access Coalition.
The service providers said that these spectrum bands would “provide another key tool in the toolbox to reach the hardest to serve rural Americans.”