The digital Big Bang: not just another G
5G is almost here. How do we get there, and how will it change our world? Our Brussels DigitAll Talk on 5G and what's next answered some of the key questions
Yes, your phone will get faster – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The next-generation of communications technology will enable unprecedented speed, but also a myriad of new uses transforming our daily lives – provided that the decision-makers work together to settle key questions on the road towards 5G.
This was the expert consensus presented at Huawei’s DigitALL Talk on 19 September, focusing on the challenges and opportunities for 5G, the first of series of lunchtime debates that will be held at Huawei’s Brussels Public Affairs Office once a month.
The new ‘G’ (as in generation) will be unlike any of its predecessors. "The need for a new G is driven by technical, societal and economical pushes," explained Dr Ömer Bulakçı, Senior Research Engineer at Huawei GRC and co-editor of a reference textbook on 5G system design, which was also presented at the event. He outlined the interplay between factors such as increases in mobile data traffic, demand for connectivity and the business imperative of cost-efficiency.
Dr Bulakçı predicted that 5G would combine enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable low latency and massive machine-type communications to enable a new reality of connectedness. This paradigm shift would see applications ranging from car connectivity to VR and telemedicine, potentially creating whole new industries in the process.
Collaborate to innovate
To get there, collaboration plays an essential role. As a case in point, Huawei’s close cooperation with European partners in this field started as early as 2009, spanning all phases of development, from research to deployment.
Policymaking is another central part of the process, with the updated EU telecoms rules, adopted before last summer, providing a valuable roadmap for Europe in this context. "The Electronic Communications Code is a large step in the right direction," said J. Scott Marcus, Senior Fellow at the think tank Bruegel.
Spectrum delayed, spectrum denied
He outlined some of the crucial challenges to be tackled, including permits for infrastructure deployment, EMF risk assessments and spectrum allocation. "Spectrum delayed is spectrum denied," he quipped, stressing the key role of 5G radio spectrum availability.
The next edition of our monthly DigitAll Talks will take place on 12 October and will focus on Smart Cities.