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MWC panel calls for more services, lower 5G cost

Posted: 24 Feb 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:5G  digital natives  smartphone 

"At home, on a plane, driving, people would like to be using these connected services, but with a much higher level of privacy and security," said Jacobfeuerborn.

Jacobfeuerborn posed an answer to the 5G future at odds with Choi's robotic/virtual, augmented reality utopia. "Don't start with a technology solution. Simplify," he said. "Look at what the customer wants to have and start with this."

Panelist Ilker Kuruoz, chief technology officer at Turkcell, a leading mobile phone operator in Turkey, offered an example of this simplification, in which "all the devices in the home connect to a smartphone gateway, al

EU panelist

European Parliament panellist Pilar del Castillo

Simplification, however, poses challenges. As Grob, of Qualcomm noted, 5G telecommunications will be enhanced by the unifying of WiFi, LTE and unlicensed broadband spectrum, which is more aspiration than reality in today's competitive environment. Panelist Pilar del Castillo, a member of the European parliament pointed out that the European Union is hardly united on policies for spectrum management.

"We need to break the fragmentation among our 28 nation states," she said. "The scalability that we have to take advantage of is a problem for us."

In the end, the message that the panelists were reluctant to state but delivered anyway was that, while 5G is inevitable as a technology, it faces a host of real-life challenges. One, clearly, is politics. Another is the dramatically different visions of 5G's potential among the operators who will deploy it.

Above all, as Grob reiterated at the end of the conversation, is cost. "We can give the consumer 1,000 times more bits [per second]," he said. "But we can't charge them a thousand times more."

- David Benjamin is journalist covering Mobile World Congress for EE Times.


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