There is no doubt 5G will be a major disruptor, one that will present a significant leap forward for vertical markets incorporating everything from autonomous vehicles to smart utilities. Yet several key challenges lie among the new opportunities -- profitability being one crucial factor broadband providers must successfully address.
Discussing this in an exclusive interview, post his keynote address at Broadband World Forum, was Cayetano Carbajo Martín, CTO at Telefónica Deutschland, who gave an in-depth analysis of the Gigabit Society and the role 5G is set to play in the coming years.
Broadband World News: What is the role of 5G in the Gigabit Society?
Carbajo Martín: 5G represents a massive opportunity... because it will deliver the technology that we can take advantage of -- we can take advantage of delivering new services to our customers but also [use it] to deliver more efficient services for us. [This] will make the Gigabit Society more available to more customers, and a performance that is much better than what we have today.
Pondering 5G's Future Role
After taking center stage to discuss 5G, Cayetano Carbajo Martín, CTO at Telefónica Deutschland, shared some one-on-one time with BBWN Contributor Amy Turner (a.k.a. Head of Digital Content at KNect365 TNT), so he could expand on some of his 5G thoughts. (Photos: Amy Turner)
BBWN: What part will fixed-access play in this?
CM: Fixed access will play a key role in 5G. The promise of wireless technology delivering real fixed access services has not been fulfilled by any of the technology before. With 5G, we think this promise can be fulfilled. The range of performance that we have with millimeter wave length 5G, we are talking about 1 gigabit or more giga-speed for each customer; this can allow us to be more competitive [against] copper for sure, and in some cases, with fiber.
BBWN: What are the biggest challenges in the rollout of 5G?
CM: The biggest challenge for the rollout of 5G will be the driver, so we will be investing a lot of money for the rolling out of 5G.
BBWN: So what are the use cases and who will pay for these use cases?
CM: I think the key driver there is capacity in mobile networks and the business case will be the same as we have today. 5G will enable more capacity and turnover cost per gigabit, but for the specialized use cases specific for 5G, we need to define the use cases and we need to define the way we monetize it. For instance, if we deploy 5G on all the highways of the country with very low latency for assuring that we can have autonomous driving, who will pay for that (and how much) because investment is significant?
BBWN: How long before we see a truly 5G-enabled Germany?
CM: I think 5G massive deployment will be there whenever the market requires it. Today we do not have the technology available but we are working and playing with prototypes, so next year for sure we will have the first network equipment that will be real product and not prototyping. From that point onwards this will enable us to deploy whenever the market requires it .
BBWN: What comes after, then?
CM: It is a bit too early to say, as we have not deployed 5G and we are thinking about what is coming after 5G. In my opinion, like anything in mobile, there will be an initial deployment phase, then a massive deployment phase and then optimization and improvement over the years. This is the same as what we had with 3G, with increased performance and capacity -- we will have a progressive evolution of technology allowing higher performance and capabilities from a technological point of view. Ultimately, this will be in another generation. We are far away from that.
BBWN: What are the three biggest challenges to the Broadband Business as a whole?
CM: The biggest challenge in my opinion is profitability -- traffic is increasing a lot, both in fixed and in wireless networks, and customers are paying less and the requests for efficiency to operators are extremely high. This will continue that way and there will be a point at which efficiency cannot be increased more. We are using wonderful technologies today but the cost per gigabit has decreased substantially up until now and will decrease substantially in the future, and maybe this will not be enough for sustainable profitability. So this is a challenge for the whole industry.
With two more days of panel discussions, presentations and keynotes covering broadband's impact on IoT, 5G, smart cities and more -- Broadband World Forum (23 – 25 October 2018, Messe, Berlin) is the place to build your Next Generation Network. Find out more about the 2018 event here. There’s still time to register for your free Visitor Ticket here.
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The MDU market continues to face fierce competition among service providers due to tech-savvy residents (i.e., millennials), demand from building owners and management companies, plus the favorable economics of bulk contracts. However, no MDUs are the same, so service providers must use multiple technologies and inconsistent deployment models, increasing operational complexity and rollout costs.
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Plus, special guest, Alice Lawson, Broadband and Cable Program Manager for the City of Seattle, will discuss Seattle’s B4B-Build For Broadband initiative that addresses best practices in planning for MDU telecommunication infrastructure.