5G: Bridging hype, reality and future promises

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What should telcos do to bridge the gaps between current hype, actual performance, and future promises on 5G? We argue that a data-driven and forensic approach to roll-out and marketing will be the key, particularly in the uncertain economic environment driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, and review the timelines for future applications.


Format: PDF filePages: 43 pagesCharts: 06Author: Dave Burstein, STL Partners’ teamPublication Date: April 2020

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
    • 5G technology works OK
  • Early go-to-market lessons
    • Don’t oversell 5G
    • Price to match the experience
    • Deliver a valuable product
    • Concerns about new competition
    • Prepare for possible demand increases
    • The interdependencies of edge and 5G
  • Potential new applications
    • Large now and likely to grow in the 5G era
    • Near-term applications with possible major impact for 5G
    • Mid- and long-term 5G demand drivers
  • Technology choices, in summary
    • Backhaul and transport networks
    • When will 5G SA cores be needed (or available)?
    • 5G security? Nothing is perfect
    • Telco cloud: NFV, SDN, cloud native cores, and beyond
    • AI and automation in 5G
    • Power and heat

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Snapshot of edge computing deployments in the next 1-2 years
  • Figure 2: Summary of mid- and long-term drivers
  • Figure 3: Mid-band spectrum is the key to near-term 5G, but availability varies
  • Figure 4: 5G Standalone Core is central to future advanced features, not MBB
  • Figure 5: Rakuten says it is the first to deploy a cloud native core
  • Figure 6: Huawei argues that 5G will become more energy efficient

Technologies and industry terms referenced include: 3GPP, 4G, 5G, AI (artificial intelligence), AT&T, automation, AWS, backhal, BT, business models, CBRS, China Telecom, cloud-native, COVID-19, Deutsche Telekom, edge computing, Ericsson, fibre, FWA, go-to-market strategy, Huawei, LTE, Massive MIMO, mmWave, Network slicing, nfv, Nokia, NSA core, pricing, RAN, Samsung, SDN, security, skt, spectrum, Strategy, Swisscom, T-Mobile, Telco, telco cloud, Telefonica, Telia, Verizon, Video surveillance, Vodafone, vRAN