The 5G Era is Here
How to Balance Not Only Cost and Growth, But Also the Sheer Number of Sites as Well
Md7 was energized while attending the recent 5G World Summit, which concluded in London during the second week of June, 2019. There were a wide variety of different tracks and sessions, but one common theme kept coming up time and again:
Mobile network operators operating in the 5G era will not only need to learn how to effectively balance cost and growth, but also the sheer volume of sites and new technologies they’ll be adding and needing to manage.
Balancing the Cost and Growth of 5G
Yes, it’s true that the upfront capital investment to fully embrace 5G will be enormous. However, it was clear during the event that there are a number of different techniques that can help mitigate the upfront costs.
For starters, a standardization of infrastructure will be needed, along with more network sharing among operators. Zero touch network operations and deployment, along with predictive and automated solutions, can also help significantly cut down on the costs needed to expand digital operations.
Programmable networks like SDNs (software defined networks), NFVs (network functions virtualization) and SONs (self-organizing networks) can also help businesses both enable rapid innovation and cut down on operating costs at the same time.
Multiple service platforms will unlock new opportunities for monetization, which itself can help reduce some of this financial burden. These include things like the Internet of Things, application enablement, artificial/augmented reality and even gaming among certain segments of the population.
The Volume Factor
How to handle not only the volume of small cell sites but also the work functions within those sites was also discussed more than once during the event. The consensus is that as equipment costs go down, operators are then in a better position to deploy more equipment for the same capital expenditure. However, the operating expenditures to actually deploy and manage all of these sites will increase – representing a delicate tightrope act that will require new skills and new ways of support in order for the operators to be successful.
High volume deployments will not only need a standardization of processes, but also the tools and systems necessary to handle this trajectory. Some of this hasn’t even been invented yet. For example, new methods and existing technologies (like further applications of AI, MLP, computer vision, and others) will need to be adapted and customized for the specific needs of this industry.
Operational complexities will only continue to grow over time, and that is one trend that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. But here’s the silver lining: as long as the wireless operators and their partners continue on their path of innovation—in regards to both their services and the delivery mechanism—the future of 5G is a bright one indeed.
5G Summit Event Recap
From June 11 to June 13, countless wireless industry representatives from all over the world descended on London to participate in this year’s 5G World Summit at ExCeL. A number of Md7 team members were present including Maxi Kürschner, Head of Business Development MITL, John Cahill, VP of Business Development, Mark Christenson, President, International/CTO, and our CEO, Michael Gianni. While much of the focus was rightfully on the future, there were a number of fascinating tracks and sessions devoted to the state of 5G as it exists today. It quickly became clear that 5G has come a tremendously long way in a short amount of time, which makes the next few years even more exciting.
The 2019 5G World Summit: Your Event Overview
Much of the discussions during the course of the event centered on two key periods – how far we’ve come as an industry and the effort that will be needed for the days ahead.
To speak to the former, 2019 was unquestionably dubbed “The Year of 5G“, and with good reason. Targeted deployments based on location, spectrum frequency and solutions are already beginning across the globe, all of which will dramatically accelerate in the not-too-distant future. As we move from 4G to 5G, many companies are shifting their focus away from the technology itself and more towards what the technology can do for their end users. This means placing an emphasis on things like more interactive augmented reality and virtual reality gaming, more interactivity with “smart” vehicles, and in general, more… much, much more.
None of this is to say that challenges aren’t present, however, because they are. Not only will upgrade costs to 5G be significant, but wireless companies are still trying to figure out how to properly monetize the upgrade. As equipment costs decline, operators will be able to deploy larger amounts of equipment for the same capital expenditure. Operating expenses to deploy and manage, however, will increase. These high-volume deployments will require a standardization of processes, new tools and systems, and even completely new methods and technologies to manage it all.
The wireless industry continues to progress at a faster and faster rate as technology generations are released on shorter and shorter intervals. In order to keep up with what consumers demand, the industry will benefit from continuous improvement and innovation along with dedicated, proven partnerships to meet those demands. At Md7, we look forward to continuing to be at the forefront of one of the most important technological trends of the modern era.