As Europe continues rolling-out of 4G LTE wireless networks – with full coverage expected by the end of 2014 and 2015, 5G technology remains “around the corner,” according to Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO, Deutsche Telekom AG, who made his comments on behalf of the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance (NGMN), during the GSMA Mobil World Congress being held in Barcelona Spain this week.
“5G will remain on track, even if there is no doubt that LTE will dominate for the coming decade after 2020,” Jacobfeuerborn added. The first stage of the NGMN’s 5G initiative is being driven by its 21 operator members, which together cover more than 60% of the world’s mobile customers. The alliance initially will define use cases for 5G network, “and determine what technology maps onto that,” says Kris Rinne, SVP, Network Technologies, AT&T. “It’s not 100% about air interfaces. It’s about the evolution required for new use cases,” Rinne adds.
The alliance will consider several requirements including APIs, latency, and resiliency. “We are focusing on what will enable apps rather than defining the apps of 2021,” notes Rinne. Once operators have specified their needs, they will start in 2015 defining the architectures that can implement and deliver them.
Operators have to facilitate real-time multimedia services and faster access, and will be seeking more efficiency in the network as they, “bring control together across wireless and wireline networks,” says Jae Byun, Chairman, NGMN, CTO, SK Telecom. “Lower network access cost and new technology is the only way it makes it possible,” Byun adds.
NGMN will co-operate with standardization bodies, research institutes; fellow operators and regulators and vendors. OTT players, however, are missing from the line-up. That may change.
“Today, the transport, the APIs – we’re hearing them from the developer community. We’re working in phases – most is happening at layer 7,” says Rinne. “However, what the services will be is anybody’s guess. We need to reach out to OTT players and orchestrate more harmonious ideas,” says Byun.