by Stephanie Baghdassarian with Comments by Alan J Weissberger
The advent of 5G will bring opportunities for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to renew their commercial approach to end users. Whether they propose new services or repackage existing ones, CSPs should focus on simplicity and flexibility to make the most of their offerings.
CSPs should differentiate their 5G services by selecting and combining pricing approaches that fit with their customer base but not limit themselves to pricing as a tool to promote 5G.
AJW Comment: This Gartner report is only available by subscription. However, we think it is very premature as “5G” networks continue to be deployed well before the IMT 2020 set of standards is completed ( IMT 2020.specs for RIT/SRIT won’t be completed till end of Nov 2020 at the earliest). Hence, CSPs really don’t have any foundation to charge for 5G services till at least 2021.
From the ITU 5G Backgrounder webpage:
IMT-2020, the name used in ITU for the standards of 5G, is expected to continue to be developed from 2020 onwards, with 5G trials and pre-commercial activities already underway to assist in evaluating the candidate technologies and frequency bands that may be used for this purpose. The first full-scale commercial deployments for 5G are expected sometime after IMT-2020 specifications are finalized.
Furthermore, spectrum is a scarce and very valuable resource, and there is intense – and intensifying – competition for spectrum at the national, regional and international levels. As the radio spectrum is divided into frequency bands allocated to different radiocommunication services, each band may be used only by services that can coexist with each other without creating harmful interference to adjacent services.
ITU-R studies examine the sharing and compatibility of mobile services with a number of other existing radiocommunication services, notably for satellite communications, weather forecasting, monitoring of Earth resources and climate change and radio astronomy.
National and international regulations need to be adopted and applied globally to avoid interference between 5G and these services and to create a viable mobile ecosystem for the future — while reducing prices through the global market’s economies of scale and enabling interoperability and roaming.
That’s why it was important for the additional spectrum to be used by 5G to be identified and harmonized at global and regional levels. For similar reasons, the radio technologies used in 5G devices need to be supported by globally harmonized standards.
Most mobile 5G deployments to date are based on 3GPP Release 15 “5G NR” or “NR”in the data plane and Non Stand Alone (NSA), with LTE for everything else (i.e. control plane/signalling, mobile packet core, network management, etc). 3GPP Release 16 will hopefully add ultra low latency, ultra high reliability to the 5G NR data plane. Equally important will be the 5G systems architecture-phase 2 that will be specified in Release 16. That spec includes a 5G mobile packet core (5GC) which is a forklift upgrade from the 4G-LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC). It remains to be seen which ITU study group will standardized 5GC when 3GPP Release 16 is completed in late June 2020.
From the paper titled Narrowband Internet of Things 5G Performance published in 2019 IEEE 90th Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC2019-Fall):
5G NR supports new frequency bands ranging all the way up to 52.6 GHz. These new frequency bands make large system bandwidths available that are needed to improve the mobile broadband data rates beyond what LTE can offer.
NR also supports a reduced latency by means of reduced transmission time intervals and shortened device processing times compared to LTE. To provide high reliability, NR supports low code rates and a high level of redundancy.
In the initial phase of the transition from 4G to 5G, NR is expected to be a complement to both LTE and NB-IoT, providing enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and critical IoT services. The past industrial practice suggests that the mobile network operators will stepwise re-farm parts of its LTE spectrum for enabling NR. Since NR supports a new range of frequency bands, an attractive alternative approach is to deploy NR in a set of new rather than existing bands. 3GPP Release 15 allows NR to connect to the EPC to support a seamless transition from LTE to NR.
The NR traffic volumes will eventually motivate a full refarming of the LTE MBB spectrum to NR. The longevity of NB-IoT devices is however expected to make NB-IoT a natural component within the 5G echo-system. For this reason, NR supports reservation of radio resources to enable LTE operation including NB-IoT, within an NR carrier. This allows NB-IoT to add NR in-band operation to its list of supported deployment options. Since both NR and NB-IoT employ an OFDM based modulation with support for 15-kHz subcarrier numerology, in the downlink (DL) true interference-free orthogonality can be achieved without configuration of guard-bands between the two systems.
From Gartner report published Dec 16, 2019:
As communications service providers move forward with 5G commercialization, New Radio infrastructure investment is prioritized and crucial for 5G rollout success. We analyze the market direction and the product strategies of equipment vendors to help guide product managers in CSPs.
By 2021, investments in 5G NR network infrastructure will account for 19% of the total wireless infrastructure revenue of communications service providers (CSPs), elevated from 6% in 2019.
Support for new subcarrier spacing
Massive multiple input/multiple output (MIMO)/beamforming
Enhanced scheduling by hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ)
Cyclic-prefix orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (CP-OFDM) and discrete fourier transform spread orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (DFTS-OFDM)
Bandwidth part (BWP) and carrier aggregation (CA)
New Radio spectrum
Optimized orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM)
Unified design across frequencies
The deployment of 5G New Radio (NR) products will accelerate in 2020, through high total cost of ownership (TCO), absence of “killer application,” unmatured millimeter wave ecosystem and inexpensive device availability that prevent rapid growth in capital investment.
Most of current commercial 5G sub-6 gigahertz (GHz) communications service providers (CSPs) also start building their multiband strategy which is in line with their business strategy; for example, sub-1GHz for coverage enhancement and millimeter wave for capacity.
Initial 5G deployment was based on non-stand-alone (NSA) architecture which couples the Long Term Evolution (LTE) with 5G NR radio layers to accelerate time to market and reduce cost. This coexistence will last for many years, though specific CSPs may move toward stand-alone (SA) deployment as early as 2020.
Open radio access network (RAN) and virtualized RAN (vRAN) have seen an increase in attention after Rakuten Mobile announced its commercial adoption in LTE. However, fragmented standards, incumbent vendor support, technology immaturity and poor fiber availability continue to hamper its success.
Baseband unit capacity
Recommendations for 5G Communications Service Providers (CSPs):
Build a step-wise 5G NR implementation strategy by initially focusing on best use of existing infrastructure investment, then simplifying the deployment in order to reduce the time to market and minimize risk.
Develop spectrum strategies based on business focus, frequencies available as well as ecosystem maturity. Choose the vendors that have preferred radio spectrum support with combinations of spectrum reframing and sharing.
Select the 5G NR solution by accessing a vendor’s capabilities of interworking with existing 4G/LTE networks and its ability to provide a high degree of continuity and seamless experience for users. In addition, explore a seamless software upgrade path to enable 5G SA evolution.
Build an end-to-end understanding of the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) impact on network, operations, performance and procurement by conducting a proof of concept (POC)/pilot.
Acronym Key and Glossary Terms
Third Generation Partnership Project
Active Antenna Unit
application-specific integrated circuit
cloud radio access network
Citizens Broadband Radio Service
cyclic-prefix orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing
customer premises equipment
communications service provider
Digital/Analog Front End
discrete fourier transform spread orthogonal frequency-division multiple access
digital indoor system
enhanced Common Public Radio Interface
enhanced mobile broadband
Evolved Packet Core
frequency division duplex
fixed wireless access
gigabits per second
Next Generation Node B
hybrid automatic repeat request
infrastructure and operations
instantaneous bandwidth (ZTE)
information and communication technology
International Mobile Telecommunications-2020
Internet of Things
International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Sector
Licensed Assisted Access
Long Term Evolution
Multiple Input/Multiple Output Adaptive Antenna
multiple input/multiple output
Massive Machine Type Communications
millimeter wave (frequencies above 24GHz)
multioperator core network
multicarrier radio access network
Multi-Operator Servers (Mavenir)
network function virtualization
Open Radio Access Network
original equipment manufacturer
orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing
proof of concept
physical resource blocks
quadrature amplitude modulation
research and development
radio access network
Radio Access Technology
RAN Intelligent Controller (Nokia)
Radio Frequency Integrated Circuit
remote radio unit
Low-band frequencies are those at 600MHz, 800MHz, and 900MHz.
Frequencies under 6GHz but above the low-band frequencies (2.5GHz, 3.5GHz, and 3.7GHz to 4.2GHz).
total cost of ownership
Time Division-Long Term Evolution
time division duplex
Ultra Broadband RRU (ZTE)
ultrareliable and low-latency communications
virtualized radio access network
Work Group 2
Work Group 3
CSP and vendor briefings, plus discussions
Associated Gartner research
Gartner market forecasts
Gartner client discussions
References- related Gartner posts:
Source: Gartner report on Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2020
Communicating to the Edge — The Role of 5G
Connecting edge devices with one another and with back-end services is a fundamental aspect of IoT and an enabler of smart spaces. 5G is the next-generation cellular standard after 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE; LTE Advanced [LTE-A] and LTE Advanced Pro [LTE-A Pro]).
Several global standards bodies have defined it — International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) [NOT A STANDARDS BODY] and ETSI [Has submitted their IMT 2020 RIT to ITU-R WP5D jointly with DECT Forum].
Successive iterations of the 5G standard also will incorporate support for NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) aimed at devices with low-power and low-throughput requirements. New system architectures include core network slicing as well as edge computing.
5G addresses three key technology communication aspects, each of which supports distinct new services, and possibly new business models (such as latency as a service):
■ Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), which most providers will probably implement first.
■ Ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC), which addresses many existing industrial, medical, drone and transportation requirements where reliability and latency requirements surpass bandwidth needs.
■ Massive machine-type communications (mMTC), which addresses the scale requirements of IoT edge computing.
Use of higher cellular frequencies and massive capacity will require very dense deployments with higher frequency reuse. As a result, we expect that most public 5G deployments will initially focus on islands of deployment, without continuous national coverage. We expect that, by 2020, 4% of network-based mobile communications service providers globally will launch the 5G network commercially. Many CSPs are uncertain about the nature of the use cases and business models that may drive 5G. We expect that, through 2022, organizations will use 5G mainly to support IoT communications, high-definition video and fixed wireless access. The release of unlicensed radio spectrum (Citizens Broadband Radio Service [CBRS] in the U.S., and similar initiatives in the U.K. and Germany) will facilitate the deployment of private 5G (and LTE) networks.
This will enable enterprises to exploit the advantages of 5G technology without waiting for public networks to build out coverage. Identify use cases that definitely require the high-end performance, low latency or higher densities of 5G for edge computing needs.
Map the organization’s planned exploitation of such use cases against the expected rollout by providers through 2023. Evaluate the available alternatives that may prove adequate and more cost-effective than 5G for particular IoT use cases. Examples include low-power wide-area (LPWA), such as 4G LTE-based NB-IoT or LTE Cat M1, LoRa, Sigfox and Wireless Smart Ubiquitous Networks (Wi-SUN).
Distributed Cloud examines a major evolution in cloud computing where the applications, platforms, tools, security, management and other services are physically shifting from a centralized data center model to one in which the services are distributed and delivered at the point of need. The point of need can extend into customer data centers or all the way to the edge devices.
A distributed cloud refers to the distribution of public cloud services to different locations outside the cloud providers’ data centers, while the originating public cloud provider assumes responsibility for the operation, governance, maintenance and updates. This represents a significant shift from the centralized model of most public cloud services and will lead to a new era in cloud computing.
Concept of Distributed Cloud:
Gartner expects distributed cloud computing will happen in three phases:
■ Phase 1: A like-for-like hybrid mode in which the cloud provider delivers services in a distributed fashion that mirror a subset of services in its centralized cloud for delivery in the enterprise.
■ Phase 2: An extension of the like-for-like model in which the cloud provider teams with third parties to deliver a subset of its centralized cloud services to target communities through the third-party provider. An example is the delivery of services through a telecommunications
provider to support data sovereignty requirements in smaller countries where the provider does not have data centers.
■ Phase 3: Communities of organizations share distributed cloud substations. We use the term“substations” to evoke the image of subsidiary stations (like branch post offices) where people gather to use services.
Cloud customers can gather at a given distributed cloud substation to
consume cloud services for common or varied reasons if it is open for community or public use. This improves the economics associated with paying for the installation and operation of a distributed cloud substation. As other companies use the substation, they can share the cost of
We expect that third parties such as telecommunications service providers will explore the creation of substations in locations where the public cloud provider does not have a presence. If the substation is not open for use by others outside the organization that paid for its installation, then the substation represents a private cloud instance in a hybrid relationship with the public cloud. The distributed cloud supports continuously connected and intermittently connected operation of like-for-like cloud services from the public cloud “distributed” to specific and varied locations. This enables low-latency service execution where the cloud services are closer to the point of need in remote data centers or all the way to the edge device itself.
This can deliver major improvements in performance and reduce the risk of global network-related outages, as well as support occasionally connected scenarios. By 2024, most cloud service platforms will provide at least some services that execute at the point of need.
This new Gartner Group report is on the key impacts of digital business, cloud and orchestration strategies. In particular, IT leaders must continue to focus on meeting enterprise needs for expanded WAN connectivity, application performance and improved network agility, without compromising performance.
- As enterprises increasingly rely on the internet for WAN connectivity, they are challenged by the unpredictable nature of internet services.
- Enterprises seeking more agile WAN services continue to be blocked by network service providers’ terms and conditions.
- Enterprises seeking more agile network solutions continue to be hampered by manual processes and cultural resistance.
- Enterprise’s moving applications to public cloud services frequently struggle with application performance issues.
IT leaders responsible for infrastructure agility should:
- Reduce the business impact of internet downtime by deploying redundant WAN connectivity such as hybrid WAN for business-critical activities.
- Improve WAN service agility by negotiating total contractual spend instead of monthly or annual spend.
- Improve agility of internal network solutions by introducing automation of all operations using a step-wise approach.
- Ensure the performance of cloud-based applications by using carriers’ cloud connect services instead of unpredictable internet services.
- Improve alignment between business objectives and network solutions by selectively deploying intent-based network solutions.
Strategic Planning Assumptions:
Within the next five years, there will be a major internet outage that impacts more than 100 million users for longer than 24 hours.
- By 2021, 25% of enterprise telecom contracts will evolve to allow for greater flexibility such as canceling services or introducing new services within the contract period, up from less than 5% today.
- By 2021, productized network automation (NA) tools will be utilized by 55% of organizations, up from less than 15% today.
- By YE20, more than 30% of organizations will connect to cloud providers using alternatives to the public internet, which is a major increase from 5% in 3Q17.
- By 2020, more than 1,000 large enterprises will use intent-based networking systems in production, up from less than 15 today.
Gartner Group has five predictions that represent fundamental changes that are emerging in key network domains, from internal networking to cloud services and WAN services.
two key aspects that the majority of Gartner clients struggle with:
- The increased interest in utilizing the internet for WAN connectivity continues to raise concerns about the performance of public internet services and performance of applications deployed in public cloud services. We discuss the risk that enterprises encounter due to the unpredictable nature of the internet, and we discuss how an enterprise can use MPLS to connect directly to public cloud services instead of using the internet.
- Enterprises continue to need new business solutions deployed faster, but remain hampered by the inability of network solutions and network services to respond fast enough and rectify performance issues fast enough. We discuss three options to improve network operations as well as network services.
Source: Gartner (December 2017)
Strategic Planning Assumption: Within the next five years, there will be a major internet outage that impacts more than 100 million users for longer than 24 hours.
Analysis by: Andrew Lerner, Greg Young
- We are increasingly seeing organizations use the internet as a WAN, and estimate that approximately 20% of Gartner clients in many geographic regions have at least some critical branch locations entirely connected via the internet.
- Most IT teams don’t have a detailed understanding of the multitude of applications and services that are being used on the public internet and/or their criticality. This is because of years of line of business (LOB)-centric buying and the proliferation of SaaS.
- While the internet is highly resilient, there are specific infrastructure and technology hot spots that, if compromised, could threaten the internet as a whole or large portions of it. This could be the result of natural disasters, man-made accidents or intentional acts.
- Natural disasters and man-made acts that could impact large portions of the internet include earthquakes, solar flares, electronic pulses, meteors, tsunamis, hurricanes, major cable cuts and network operator errors.
- Intentional acts include hacktivism, terrorism toward critical infrastructure, and/or coordinated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, attacks against carrier- and ISP-specific components, and protocols (e.g., SS7).
While the probability of each of these events individually is small, the likelihood that at least some of them will occur over an extended period of time is actually surprisingly high. For example, even if there is only a 1% chance that any of the 11 examples identified above results in an outage within a year, there is a statistical likelihood of over 45% that at least one of them will occur over a five-year period. Further, to date, there have been indications that the internet is vulnerable to sizable outages:
- In 2008, millions of users and large portions of the Middle East and India were impacted by a cable cut. 1
- In 2016, a large DDOS attack resulted in many large e-commerce sites going down, including Twitter, Netflix, Reddit and CNN. 2
- In 2015, Telekom Malaysia created a routing problem that rendered much of the Level 3 network unavailable. 3
- It has been widely reported that 70% of all internet traffic goes thru Northern Virginia 4 and, while this might be an overstated, there’s no doubt that there are several major chokepoints in the internet infrastructure.
At a minimum, an extended and widespread internet outage would cause dramatic revenue loss for enterprises, and could even create life-threating situations depending on what business the organizations is in. Initially, many organizations often brush this off by saying, “Well there’s not much we can do about it anyway” or “If there is a large internet outage due to a natural disaster, then personal safety is the priority and the enterprise connectivity is the least of our concerns.” However, there are very specific and actionable items that infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders should take to mitigate the impact of a large outage.
Strategic Planning Assumption: By 2021, 25% of enterprise telecom contracts will evolve to allow for greater flexibility such as canceling services or introducing new services within the contract period, up from less than 5% today.
Analysis by: Danellie Young
- Enterprise telecom contracts are typically fixed in both term duration and for the services required for procurement.
- Most larger revenue contracts ($1 million annually) require the enterprise to agree to minimum revenue commitments on an annual basis.
- Major WAN decisions are made by 31% to 47% of enterprises each year, including equipment refresh or carrier renegotiations (assuming the refresh cycle on routers is six years, and the average enterprise WAN service contract is three years).
- A large majority of enterprises are struggling with the cost, performance and flexibility of their traditional WAN contracts, further exacerbated by the proliferation of public cloud applications.
Enterprise telecom contracts remain rigid and fixed, with specified services required to ensure compliance. Typically such contracts penalize customers when services are disconnected midterm. Enterprise telecom contracts are typically negotiated on 36-month cycles, based on either full-term or revenue commitments. Revenue commitments are set based on monthly spend, annual spend or total contract spending. Upon meeting the contract’s revenue commitment, the enterprise can then renegotiate or consider alternative services or providers since their financial obligation has been met. Terminating contracts early for convenience will typically levy penalties on the enterprise. These penalties range from 100% of the monthly recurring charges (MRCs) to a percentage of the MRCs to a declining portion through the remainder of the term (i.e., 100% in the first 12 months, 75% in months 13 to 24 and 50% through the end of the term).
Currently, contracts are split between term and revenue commit contracts, whereby most of the revenue commitments are made on an annualized basis. Alternatively, a small number (5%) are offered or negotiated with total contract values tied to them. Total contract revenue commitments enable the enterprise to meet the obligation earlier in their contract and provide the opportunity to negotiate new lower rates and a new contract, and to solicit competitive proposals before the full 36-month cycle terminates.
In addition to traditional voice and data services, many networking vendors now offer SD-WAN functionality products, while carriers and managed service providers (MSPs) are beginning to launch and roll out managed SD-WAN services as an alternative to managed routers. Contract flexibility will be needed to allow the enterprise the flexibility to migrate to new solutions, without financial risk or paying early termination fees on services. Thus, while we anticipate rapid adoption of SD-WAN and virtualized customer premises equipment (vCPE) solutions in the enterprise, SD-WAN by itself will not improve contractual conditions.