Sponsored It will be difficult to find more of a buzzword swirling around MWC19 in Barcelona next week than 5G. Everyone’s talking about it, even the US President, although he appears to want to go beyond it. But what can we expect to see? How will it affect different sectors and technologies?
According to the Nokia 5G Maturity Index, released in the lead-up to MWC19, the majority of operators plan a ‘limited’ commercial launch of 5G services by 2019-20. This contrasts with, for instance, the GSMA’s view of low power mobile IoT networks; the association said earlier this week that all leading operators were on board with this.
Yet there is plenty of positivity to be found in the Nokia report, put together alongside Analysys Mason. The study notes there is ‘plenty of ambition’ from the operator side, with those at the front of the pack for early 5G commercial launches focused on network virtualisation and cloud-based deployments.
Overall, more than 70% of operators are focused on 5G to help improve existing consumer services. “We essentially asked 50 operators: ‘how ready is your network and business for 5G?’ Their answers provide valuable insights into the best practices for operators as they design, deploy and operate 5G networks and services,” said Sanjay Goel, president of global services at Nokia. “We are already working with all the major operators in the lead 5G markets of North America, Korea and Japan and have the industry’s only end-to-end portfolio that is available globally.
“The 5G Maturity Index offers important data that we can share with our customers as we continue to work with them to achieve their 5G goals,” Goel added.
Plenty of material in the conference sessions at MWC19 Barcelona will focus on 5G, from how it affects the enterprise, to whether it will spark a digital divide, to specific product launches, for example from Huawei.
Yet there is also a focus on how 5G will impact other technologies. One session asks whether the ‘train’ of 5G will be the ‘infrastructure of the AI revolution’. Writing in a blog post earlier this month Dimitris Mavrakis, research director at ABI Research, noted how 5G will accelerate AI.
“5G may have more to offer to AI rather than the other way around,” Mavrakis wrote. “5G will introduce distributed intelligence throughout the cellular network, creating the platform for advanced Ai algorithms, including federated and personalised learning. This will create the foundation for new enterprise vertical services that utilise the edge of the network for AI model inference, and perhaps even AI model training.
“The benefits of this are very much sought after,” Mavrakis added, “privacy, security, distributed processing, lower latency and what mobile service providers have been trying to achieve since the early days of 3G: to become much more than connectivity enablers.”
Certainly over the coming week, the focus will be around not just 5G, but complementary technologies, their convergence, and how operators and enterprises can make the most of this rapidly changing digital economy.
Editor’s note: This article is brought to you alongside MWC19.