T-Mobile and Google Cloud announced today they are working together to combine the power of 5G and edge compute, giving enterprises more ways to embrace digital transformation. T-Mobile will connect the 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS) [1.] suite of public, private and hybrid 5G networks with Google Distributed Cloud Edge (GDC Edge) to help customers embrace next-generation 5G applications and use cases — like AR/VR experiences.
Note 1. 5G ANS is an end-to-end portfolio of deployable 5G solutions, comprised of 5G Connectivity, Edge Computing, and Industry Solutions – along with a partnership that simplifies creating, deploying and managing unique solutions to unique problems.
More companies are turning to edge computing as they focus on digital transformation. In fact, the global edge compute market size is expected to grow by 37.9% to $155.9 billion in 2030. And the combination of edge computing with the low latency, high speeds, and reliability of 5G will be key to promising use cases in industries like retail, manufacturing, logistics, and smart cities. GDC Edge customers across industries will be able to leverage T-Mobile’s 5G ANS easily to get the low latency, high speeds, and reliability they will need for any use case that requires data-intensive computing processes such as AR or computer vision.
For example, manufacturing companies could use computer vision technology to improve safety by monitoring equipment and automatically notifying support personnel if there are issues. And municipalities could leverage augmented reality to keep workers at a safe distance from dangerous situations by using machines to remotely perform hazardous tasks.
To demonstrate the promise of 5G ANS and GDC Edge in a retail setting, T-Mobile created a proof of concept at T-Mobile’s Tech Experience 5G Hub called the “magic mirror” with the support of Google Cloud. This interactive display leverages cloud-based processing and image rendering at the edge to make retail products “magically” come to life. Users simply hold a product in front of the mirror to make interactive videos or product details — such as ingredients or instructions — appear onscreen in near real-time.
“We’ve built the largest and fastest 5G network in the country. This partnership brings together the powerful combination of 5G and edge computing to unlock the expansion of technologies such as AR and VR from limited applications to large-scale adoption,” said Mishka Dehghan, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Product, and Solutions Engineering, T-Mobile Business Group. “From providing a shopping experience in a virtual reality environment to improving safety through connected sensors or computer vision technologies, T-Mobile’s 5G ANS combined with Google Cloud’s innovative edge compute technology can bring the connected world to businesses across the country.”
“Google Cloud is committed to helping telecommunication companies accelerate their growth, competitiveness, and digital journeys,” said Amol Phadke, General Manager, Global Telecom Industry, Google Cloud. “Google Distributed Cloud Edge and T-Mobile’s 5G ANS will help businesses deliver more value to their customers by unlocking new capabilities through 5G and edge technologies.”
T-Mobile is also working with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Ericsson on advanced 5G solutions.
Backgrounder -5G SA Core Network:
5G SA core is the heart of a 5G network, controlling data and control plane operations. The 5G core aggregates data traffic, communicates with UE, delivers essential network services and provides extra layers of security, and all 3GPP defined 5G features and functions. There are no standards for implementation of 3GPP defined 5G SA core network architecture, which is said to be a service based architecture, recommended to be “cloud native.” Here are the key 3GPP 5G system specs:
- TS 22.261, “Service requirements for the 5G system”
- TS 23.501, “System architecture for the 5G System (5GS)”
- TS 23.502 “Procedures for the 5G System (5GS)”
- TS 32.240 “Charging management; Charging architecture and principles”
- TS 24.501 “Non-Access-Stratum (NAS) protocol for 5G System (5GS); Stage 3”
A 5G NSA network is a LTE network with a 5G NR, i.e. the 5G NR Access Network is connected to the 4G Core Network.
AT&T Yet to Deploy 5G SA Core Network but is “charging forward to advance 5G SA ecosystem readiness:
It’s been a long wait for AT&T’s 5G SA core network, which is required to realize ALL 5G functions defined by 3GPP, including network slicing, network virtualization, security, and edge computing (MEC).
- The U.S. mega network operator initially said they would launch 5G SA core network in 2020 but that never happened.
- On June 30, 2021, AT&T said their mobile network traffic will be managed using Microsoft Azure technologies. “The companies will start with AT&T’s 5G core, the software at the heart of the 5G network that connects mobile users and IoT devices with internet and other services.” Almost two years later, that hasn’t happened either!
- In an April 18, 2022 blog post on the company’s website, AT&T now says they are “Taking 5G to the Next Level with Standalone 5G.” AT&T has said that they “plan to deploy Standalone 5G when the ecosystem is ready, and AT&T is charging forward to advance 5G SA ecosystem readiness. Businesses and developers will be some of the first to take advantage of the new technologies standalone 5G enables as we continue to move from research & development to their deployment.”
However, AT&T did not provide a date or even a timeframe when its 5G SA core network would be deployed. Instead, the telco lauded several 5G advances they’ve recently made. Those include:
1. Completed the first 5G SA Uplink 2-carrier aggregation data call in the U.S.
Carrier aggregation (CA) means we are combining or “aggregating” different frequency bands to give you more bandwidth and capacity. For you, this means faster uplink transmission speeds. Think of this as adding more lanes in the network traffic highway.
The test was conducted in our labs with Nokia’s 5G AirScale portfolio and MediaTek’s 5G M80 mobile test platform. AT&T aggregated their low-band n5 and our mid-band n77 spectrum. Compared to the low-band n5 alone, AT&T realized a 100% increase in uplink throughput by aggregating the low-band n5 with 40MHz of AT&T’s mid-band n77. Taking it a step further, AT&T achieved a 250% increase aggregating 100MHz of n77. The bottom line: AT&T achieved incredible upload speeds of over 70 Mbps on n5 with 40MHz of n77 and over 120 Mbps on n5 with 100MHz of n77.
2. Using a two-layer uplink MIMO on time division duplex (TDD) in our mid-band n77. MIMO combines signals and data streams from multiple antennas (“vehicles”) to improve signal quality and data rates. This feature will not only improve uplink throughput but also enhance cell capacity and spectrum efficiency.
3. Last fall, AT&T completed a 5G SA four component carrier downlink call by combining two FDD carriers and two TDD carriers. These capabilities allow AT&T devices to aggregate our mid-band n77 in the C-Band and 3.45GHz spectrum ranges. Compared with low band and mmWave spectrum, mid-band n77 provides a good balance between coverage and speed. This follows the 5G SA three component carrier downlink feature that we introduced last year to 2022 AT&T Flagship devices which combines one frequency division duplex (FDD) carrier and two TDD carriers.
4. In the coming months, AT&T will enable 5G New Radio Dual Connectivity (NR-DC), aggregating our low and mid-band spectrum with our high-band mmWave spectrum on 5G SA. Our labs have achieved 5G NR-DC downlink throughput speeds of up to 5.3Gbps and uplink throughput speeds of up to 670Mbps. This technology will help provide high-speed mobile broadband for both downlink and uplink in stadiums, airports, and other high-density venues.
5. Here are some features that are on the horizon for 5G SA (how far away is the horizon?):
- Specialized Network Services – think network slicing, precision location, private routing, etc. – for tailored network solutions to meet specific user requirements;
- Non-terrestrial network solutions to supplement coverage in remote locations ; and
- Reduced capability 5G (RedCap) for a new generation of 5G capable wearables, industrial IoT or wireless sensors and other small form factor consumer devices.
In conclusion, AT&T’s Jason Sikes wrote, “The 5G SA ecosystem is rapidly evolving, with new technologies and capabilities being introduced to set the foundation for next generation applications and services.” Yet no information was provided on the status of AT&T’s 5G SA network running on Microsoft Azure cloud technology!
AT&T to run its mobility network on Microsoft’s Azure for Operators cloud, delivering cost-efficient 5G services at scale.
Image Credit: Microsoft
In the U.S., T-Mobile launched 5G SA core network nationwide last year, while Verizon began shifting its own traffic onto its 5G SA core in 2022. More recently, Verizon officials have begun hinting at interest in selling SA-powered network slices to public safety customers and others.
At the close of 2022, Dell’Oro identified 39 MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) that have commercially launched 5G SA eMMB networks. “Reliance Jio, China Telecom-Macau, and Globe Telecom were new MNOs added to the list of 39 MNOs launching 5G SA eMMB networks in the fourth quarter of 2022. Reliance Jio has announced a very aggressive deployment schedule to cover most of India by the end of 2023. In addition, AT&T and Verizon plan large expansions to their 5G SA coverage in 2023, raising the projected Y/Y growth rate for the total MCN and MEC market for 2023 higher than 2022,” said Dave Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group.
Huawei maintains that a new 5.5G core network is needed to address a plethora of new use cases and new opportunities. That despite of the very limited deployment of 3GPP’s 5G SA Core network architecture specs. The company is calling on partners to promote industry consensus and commercial deployments for the era of 5.5G, an evolution of 5G technology.
Yang Chaobin, senior vice-president of Huawei, said: “The rapid growth of 5G has led to new service requirements that are becoming more diverse and complex. Such changes demand stronger 5G capabilities.”
Yang said that as 6G is still in the early stages of research, 5.5G is a necessary and natural evolution of 5G, which has become an industry consensus.
According to GSA, 35 network operators in 20 countries have launched commercial public 5G SA networks. In addition to those, GSA identified 77 other operators that are currently investing in 5G SA for public networks (including those evaluating/testing, piloting, planning, or deploying).
In 2020, containers and micro-services were introduced as key components of cloud-native network design and migration path to 5G core networks with high degree of much needed automation. At this point, intent-driven algorithms are used to automate large-scale cloud-native 5G telecom networks.
Figure 1. Huawei at MWC 2023
Figure 2. below illustrates Huawei’s complete 5.5G cloud-native converged core strategy that is based on strengthening the current networking building blocks that paved the way to where we are today, and continuously adding new capabilities and enhancing them to enable all services needed to address the plethora of new 5G use cases.
Backgrounder on 5G Advanced:
3GPP initiated the 5G-Advanced project in early 2021 and started the formulation of Release 18 specs to enhance the existing mobile network capabilities. Case in point: UPF (User Plane Function) Mesh and MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) enhancements were introduced to enable 5G to cover more industry scenarios, which in the new 5.5G core platform, is addressed through the “MEC to X” concept to accelerate the digital transformation of industries.
In addition, the Rel. 18 NG-RTC (Next Generation Real-Time Communications) feature enhances the communication capability and enriches the communication services, including calling and video, or “New Calling” and “New Video” in 5.5G core (see Figure 2. above).
Huawei laid out five major characteristics of the 5.5G era – 10 Gbps experiences, full-scenario interconnection, integrated sensing and communication, autonomous networks and green information communications technology.
Yang called on the global telecom industry to jointly promote 5.5G development in four areas including setting clear roadmaps for industry standardization and a clear strategy for spectrum, which is fundamental to wireless networks.
Huawei and Saudi Arabian telecommunications operator Zain KSA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last month for the”5.5G City” joint innovation project.
Under the MoU, both parties will work together to promote technological innovation for 5.5G evolution and expand scalable offerings to individuals, enterprises and government customers. Additionally, they will strengthen the digital infrastructure and build a global 5.5G evolution pioneer network, providing a strong engine to achieve the national digitalization goals outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.
Abdulrahman Al-Mufadda, chief technology officer of Zain KSA, said, “Our commitment to driving digital transformation has been made possible by combining innovative technology investments with pioneering digital solutions across multiple fields, including cloud computing, fintech, business support and drone technologies.”
The cooperation came as 5G is now in the fast lane after three years of commercial use. By the end of 2022, global 5G users exceeded 1 billion, gigabit broadband users reached 100 million, and more than 20,000 industry applications were put into use, according to data compiled by Huawei.
Leading operators in China, South Korea, Switzerland, Finland and Kuwait have already achieved 5G user penetration rates of more than 30 percent with more than 30 percent of their traffic coming from 5G, Huawei said.
Network intelligence and connectivity insights provider Ookla’s latest 5G City Benchmark Report showed Huawei has played an important role in 5G network construction in all of the top 10 cities among the world’s 40 most 5G-enabled cities. Performance results in these 10 cities show 5G networks constructed by Huawei offer the best experience.
Last month, Huawei also revealed a collaboration with Botswana’s Debswana Diamond Co (Pty) Ltd on the world’s first 5G smart diamond mine project.
Debswana’s Head of Information Management Molemisi Nelson Sechaba said that the Huawei-enabled smart mine solution has been deployed at Debswana’s Jwaneng open-pit diamond mine. The project started operation in December 2021.
At present, Huawei’s 4G eLTE, an advanced version of 4G technology, provides stable connectivity for the Jwaneng mine, connecting more than 260 pieces of equipment, including drilling rigs, excavators, heavy trucks and pickup trucks. This enables interconnection between the mine’s production, safety and security systems, Sechaba said.
The Jwaneng mine is the world’s first 5G-oriented smart diamond mine, which means the hardware equipment such as base stations used in the mine’s digital transformation support network has upgraded to 5G, Huawei said.
Huawei claims they’ve seamlessly migrated their existing and dedicated core network platforms (e.g., SPC, SVC, EVS in Figure 2) as well as its telco converged cloud to a fully converged cloud-native 5.5G core that features full-service enablement. In other words, the company says the transition from virtual network functions (VNF) to cloud native network functions (CNF), from manual operation to automation and from connectivity provisioning and enhancement to full-service enablement has been completed.
–>That’s all in advance of 3GPP Release 18 specs on 5G Advanced (which won’t be frozen till March 2024)?
GSMA Intelligence forecasts 5G connections are expected to double over the next two years, expedited by technological innovations and new 5G network deployments in more than 30 countries in 2023. Of the new networks to be deployed in 2023, it is expected that 15 will be 5G Standalone (SA) networks. As of January 2023, there were 229 commercial 5G networks globally and over 700 5G smartphone models available to users.
GSMA Intelligence, announced its latest 5G forecast during MWC Barcelona 2023, point to a significant period of growth in terms of mobile subscribers and enterprise adoption. Consumer connections surpassed one billion at the end of 2022 and will increase to around 1.5 billion this year – before reaching two billion by the end 2025.
India will lead the 5G expansion globally in 2023, with the expansion of services from Airtel and Jio in 2023 expected to be pivotal to the region’s ongoing adoption. GSMA Intelligence predicts there will be four 5G networks in India by the end of 2025, accounting for 145 million additional users. With operators such as Jio announcing ambitions to connect as many as 100 million homes across India to its 5G FWA network, the number of FWA users looks likely to grow substantially over the next few years, the report added.
Growth will also come from key markets within APAC and LATAM, such as Brazil and India, which have recently launched 5G networks. India will be especially significant, with the expansion of services from Airtel and Jio in 2023 expected to be pivotal to the region’s ongoing adoption. GSMA Intelligence predicts there will be four 5G networks in India by the end of 2025, accounting for 145 million additional users.
Many of the new 5G markets scheduled to launch networks in 2023 are in developing regions across Africa – including Ethiopia and Ghana – and Asia. Today, 5G adoption in the sub-Saharan region sits below 1% but will reach over 4% by 2025 and 16% in 2030, largely thanks to a concerted effort from industry and government organizations to provide connectivity to citizens.
“Until now, 5G adoption has been driven by relatively mature markets and consumer use cases like enhanced mobile broadband, but that’s changing. We’re now entering a second wave for 5G that will see the technology engage a diverse set of new markets and audiences,” said Peter Jarich, Head of GSMA Intelligence. “The extension to new use cases and markets will challenge the mobile ecosystem to prove that 5G truly is flexible enough to meet these diverse demands in a way that’s both inclusive and innovative.”
The Rise of 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA):
As of January 2023, more than 90 FWA broadband service providers (the vast majority of which are mobile operators) had launched commercial 5G-based fixed wireless services across over 48 countries. This means around 40% of 5G commercial mobile launches worldwide currently include an FWA offering.
In the U.S., T-Mobile added over half a million 5G FWA customers in Q4 2021 and Q1 2022 combined. By 2025, it expects to have eight million FWA subscribers, while Verizon is targeting five million FWA subscribers for the same period. The conventional wisdom holds that FWA is primarily useful as a rural service, targeted mostly at the previously unserved or underserved. Verizon says their FWA service is primarily urban and suburban service with target customers that are dissatisfied with terrestrial broadband services. Verizon has increasingly come to view FWA as an integral part of their broadband access offering everywhere that FiOS isn’t available.
Reliance Jio (India) announced ambitions to connect as many as 100 million homes across India to its 5G FWA network, the number of FWA users looks likely to grow substantially over the next few years.
While the majority of current 5G FWA deployments focus on the 3.5–3.8 GHz bands, several operators around the world are already using 5G mmWave spectrum as a capacity and performance booster to complement coverage provided by lower bands.
Only 7% of 5G launches have been in 5G mmWave spectrum so far but this looks set to change given 27% of spectrum allocations and 35% of trials are already using 5G mmWave bands. Furthermore, in 2023 alone, the industry will see ten more countries assigned 5G mmWave spectrum for use – a significant increase from the 22 countries who have been assigned it to date. Spain received the first European 5G mmWave spectrum allocation this year, resulting in Telefónica, Ericsson and Qualcomm launching its first commercial 5G mmWave network at MWC Barcelona 2023.
Enterprise IoT Driving Growth:
The figures from GSMA Intelligence also suggest that, for operators, the enterprise market will be the main driver of 5G revenue growth over the next decade. Revenues from business customers already represent around 30% of total revenues on average for major operators, with further potential as enterprise digitization scales. Edge computing and IoT technology presents further opportunities for 5G, with 12% of operators having already launched private wireless solutions – a figure that will grow with a wider range of expected IoT deployments in 2023.
Another major development for the enterprise will be the commercial availability of 5G Advanced (3GPP Release 18) in 2025. Focusing on uplink technology, 5G Advanced will improve speed, coverage, mobility and power efficiency – and support a new wave of business opportunities. GSMA’s Network Transformation survey showed half of operators expect to support 5G Advanced commercial networks within two years of its launch. While this is likely optimistic, it presents the ecosystem with a clear opportunity to execute on.
GSMA’s 5G forecast is a direct contradiction to Omdia’s which expects weaker 5G growth in the near term. Which forecast do you believe?
According to Huawei, the intelligent world will be deeply integrated with the physical world. Everything, including personal entertainment, work, and industrial production, will be intelligently connected. This means that networks will have to evolve from ubiquitous Gbps to ubiquitous 10Gbps, connectivity and sensing will need to be integrated, and the ICT industry will have to shift its focus from energy consumption to energy efficiency. The evolution from 5G to 5.5G will be key to meeting these growing requirements.
At MWC 2023, Huawei unveiled its “GUIDE to the Intelligent World“ as a business blueprint to lay the foundation for 5.5G. Whatever happened to 5G Advanced and 3GPP Release 18? and ITU-R WP5D M.2150 recommendation?.
Following on from Huawei’s concept of “Striding Towards the 5.5G Era” that was proposed in July 2022, Huawei is highlighting the five major characteristics of the 5.5G era:
- 10 Gbps experiences
- Full-scenario interconnection
- Integrated sensing and communication
- L4 autonomous driving networks
- Green ICT
For Huawei, 5.5G represents a 10-fold improvement in performance over 5G in every metric. That means 10 Gbps headline connection speeds, 10 times the number of IoT connections – which translates to 100 billion in total – and reducing latency by a factor of 10. Networks also need to consume a tenth of the energy that they consume today on a per Terabyte basis, and they need to be 10x more intelligent, which means supporting level 4 autonomous driving, and making operations and maintenance (O&M) more efficient by a factor of 10.
With these capabilities in place, 5.5G networks will enable a boom in immersive interactive experiences, like VR gaming in 24K resolution, and glasses-free 3D video, predicts Huawei. It expects the installed user base of these services will grow 100-fold to 1 billion. On the enterprise side, the vendor expects the number of private cellular networks to increase from 10,000 today to 1 million by 2030.
Huawei says that leading global operators, standards organizations, and industry ecosystem partners are coming together to promote innovation and exploration for this 5.5G era, as it will create more new applications and business opportunities. This author disagrees- they are not coming together at all!
According to Ookla’s latest 5G City Benchmark Report, Huawei has played an important part in 5G network construction in all of the top 10 cities among the world’s 40 representative 5G-enabled cities. It’s important to note that 5G performance results in these 10 cities show that the 5G networks constructed by Huawei offer the best experience.
David Wang, Huawei’s Executive Director of the Board, Chairman of the ICT Infrastructure Managing Board, and President of the Enterprise BG, said, “Huawei will deepen our roots in the enterprise market and continue our pursuit of innovation. We are ready to use leading technologies and dive deep into scenarios. Together with our partners, we will enable industry digitalization, help SMEs access intelligence, and promote sustainable development, creating new value together.”
Bob Chen, Vice President of Huawei Enterprise BG, delivered a keynote speech entitled “Digital Technology Leads the Way to the Intelligent World,” which outlined how digital technologies have impacted the development of the world’s economy, cultures, societies, and environment. He stated, “Archimedes, a great Greek physicist, said, ‘Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.’ Digital technology is the right place for us to help industries go digital. Huawei will focus on connectivity, computing, cloud, and other digital technologies. We will continue inspiring innovation to drive industry digital transformation. Together, let’s build a fully connected, intelligent world!”
Huawei said they would continue to work with customers to build next-generation network infrastructure to better serve all industries. Here are a few of their focus areas:
- Smart campus: Huawei redefines campus networks and launches the Next-Generation enterprise flagship core switch CloudEngine S16700, first enterprise-level Wi-Fi 7 AP AirEngine 8771-X1T, along with first 50G PON OLT and optical terminal product.
- Easy branch: Huawei launches the industry’s first simplified hyper-converged branch solution.
- Single OptiX: Huawei launches the industry’s first end-to-end optical service unit (OSU) product portfolio.
- Cloud WAN: Huawei defines a brand-new cloud WAN and launches the NetEngine 8000 series routers oriented to the all-service intelligent router platform in the cloud era.
- Data Center solution: Four industry-first products and product portfolios, unleashing the power of digital innovation
Storage and computing power have become one of the core strategic resources of enterprises. Huawei focuses on data center infrastructure innovation, leads the development of new data centers, helps enterprises cope with uncertain threats, ensures ultimate service experience, processes massive and diversified computing power, and brings data centers more green, more reliability, and more efficiency.
For large enterprises,Huawei launches the industry’s first multi-layer DC ransomware protection solution powered by network-storage collaboration, the industry’s first unified DC DR product portfolio featuring storage and optical connection coordination (SOCC),and CloudEngine 16800-X, which is the industry’s first DC switch designed for diversified computing power.
For SMEs, Huawei also launches OceanStor Dorado 2000 and OceanProtect X3000, which are the industry’s first entry-level storage combination based on the active-active architecture.
Juan De Dios Navarro Caballero, councillor of Alicante province, Spain, stated, “Huawei’s SDN-based CloudFabric Solution and All-Wireless Campus Network Solution enable network automation, intelligent O&M, and ubiquitous connectivity. Through these solutions, the government offices of Alicante province are now more efficient, and offer a better user experience for public services. The province has seen faster digital transformation along with digital economy development.”
Faith Burn, CIO of Eskom, a South African electric power company, shared the company’s digital transformation methodology and practical experience. She stressed that Eskom seeks to work with partners that can help realize the company’s digital vision, saying that, “It is very important to find capable partners to realize our digital vision. Eskom would like to collaborate with OEMs like Huawei to build advanced electricity ICT infrastructure to achieve comprehensive digitalization.”
Steven Zhu, President of Partner Development and Management of Huawei Enterprise BG, mentioned that “Huawei is committed to working with partners to complement each other, motivate partners to support customers proactively, and serve customers well together.”
In the future, Huawei says they will continue to invest and innovate, working alongside global customers and partners to deeply integrate ICT, accelerate digital transformation, promote digital economy development and speed up the realization of the intelligent world within industries, in order to create new value.
Separately, ZTE says they’ve produced the industry’s smallest 5G Core network product, dubbed the Mini5GC. The new Mini5GC features miniaturization, light weight, simple networking and ultra-high integration. The company states that it can well facilitate safe production, flexible adjustment of work sites, and efficient and accurate emergency rescue in mining areas.
Despite no work even started by ITU-R WP 5D (responsible for all IMT xG’s), global technology intelligence firm ABI Research expects that 75% of 5G base stations will be upgraded to 5G-Advanced by 2030, five years after the estimated commercial launch in 2025.
3GPP approved their Release-18 package in December 2021, making the official start of 5G-Advanced with the planned freeze date in December 2023.
But that really doesn’t mean much since Release-16 was frozen in June 2020, yet 2+ years later the spec for URLLC in the RAN has not been completed. As a result, neither 3GPP or ITU-R recommendation M.2150 (formerly IMT 2020) meets the ITU-R M.2410 performance requirements for URLLC use case. Also, less than 5% of deployed 5G networks are 5G SA with a 5G Core network, which is required for implementation of ALL 5G features, e.g. network slicing, security, automation, as well as MEC.
Some network operators like Verizon have already admitted that it could take up to a decade before they profit from their 5G investments.
ABI Research claims that 5G-Advanced will bring continuous enhancements to mobile network capabilities and use case-based support to help mobile operators with 5G commercialization, long-term development of Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML), and network energy savings for a fully automated network and a sustainable future.
“In 5G-Advanced, Extended Reality (XR) applications will promise monetary opportunities to both the consumer markets with use cases like gaming, video streaming, as well as enterprise opportunities such as remote working and virtual training. Therefore, XR applications are a major focus of 3GPP working groups to significantly improve XR-specific traffic performance and power consumption for the mass market adoption,” explains Gu Zhang, 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure Principal Analyst at ABI Research. “Another noticeable feature is AI/ML which will become essential for future networks given the predictive rapid growth in 5G network usage and use case complexities which can’t be managed by legacy optimization approaches with presumed models. System-level network energy saving is also a critical aspect as operators need to reduce the deployment cost but assure network performance for various use cases.”
The upgrade of 5G network infrastructure is expected to be faster in the consumer market than in enterprises. ABI Research forecasts that 75% of 5G base stations will be upgraded to 5G-Advanced, while in the enterprise market the ratio is about half. 5G-Advanced devices per radio base station will quickly gain traction around 2024 to 2026 at the early stage of the commercial launch because devices will grow more aggressively than network deployments over the period.
“The commercial launch of 5G-Advanced will take two or three years, but the competition has already started, Zhang points out. “Taking AI/ML development as an example, industrial leaders such as Ericson, Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, and Qualcomm have trialed their solutions with mobile operators across the world. Ongoing development in this area will continue to bring improvements on traffic throughputs, network coverage, power saving, anomaly detection, etc.”
Different from previous generations, 5G creates an ecosystem for vertical markets such as automotive, energy, food and agriculture, city management, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and public transportation. “The influence on the domestic economy from the telco players will be more significant than before and that trend will continue for 5G-Advanced onward. Network operators and vendors should keep close to the regulators and make sure all parties involved grow together when the time-to-market arrives,” Zhang concludes.
These findings are from ABI Research’s 5G-Advanced and the Road to 6G application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s 5G & Mobile Network Infrastructure research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific technology.
About ABI Research:
ABI Research is a global technology intelligence firm delivering actionable research and strategic guidance to technology leaders, innovators, and decision makers around the world. Our research focuses on the transformative technologies that are dramatically reshaping industries, economies, and workforces today.