Mobile broadband technologies have always been introduced before widespread rollout of the network itself, and 5G will be no exception, Zhou observed. Technologies behind LTE for example, came out in 2002 but the LTE networks did not get rolled out until 2008 or 2009, Zhou pointed out.
Hardware infrastructure deployment for 5G would start in 2020 but the 5G networks would not roll out until 2026-2027.
In the near future, some technologies surrounding base stations such as cognitive radios will start to emerge in the market, he pointed out. These technologies will be focused on sensing user positions, improving signals and increasing cost efficiencies for telcos.
According to Zhou Yuefang, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Huawei’s LTE business unit, mobile broadband technologies have traditionally taken about five years to become mainstream and be accepted by the mobile ecosystem, before replacing its predecessor.
While Zhou could not give a defined network latency for 5G, he expects it to be 50Gbps, compared to current 4G LTE speeds typically ranging between 100Mbps and 150Mbps.
In Nokia’s vision of 5G they listed six things:
1. enable 1,000 times more capacity,
2. reduce latency to milliseconds,
3. teach networks to be self-aware
4. personalize network experience
5. reinvent telco for the cloud
6. flatten total energy consumption.
The most important deliverable to make 5G work is profitability for network operators, vendors and end users as well. To support 1,000 times more capacity, the industry must reduce the cost of production of each gigabyte of data by a factor of 50 over the next seven years.