NGMN 2019 230SIx world-class engineers came together at NGMN Barcelona looking for answers to the question, "What are 5G Use Cases beyond Mobile Broadband?" Exciting new consumer applications are mostly years away. Will business services come sooner? 

5G advocates promised 1 ms latency and multigigabit speeds. Autonomous cars would be controlled from that network. AR & VR needed latencies of ~5 ms to work well. Volume would explode on the 5G network. ...

Reality in 2019 is that 5G latency is between 15 ms and 35 ms, depending on how you measure.

85%+ of 5G networks run at a few hundred megabits, about the same as a good LTE network. Automakers have decided that autonomous cars needed to work well when not connected and not be dependent on 5G. 

Carriers are now looking to industrial users. Will that drive sales?

Emmanuel Lugagne Delpon, Senior Vice President at Orange Labs Networks, kicked off the session by revealing why immersive experience for Industry 4.0 needs 5G. 

Orange augmented reality 650

Certainly worth working on, but factories won't be rebuilt quickly. If they are, telcos may see little benefit. Many industrial companies will build their own internal network.

Applications like this are generally expensive and rake time to develop. It may be years before the traffic generated will tip the scales at a telco.

Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President of Wireless Technology at AT&T, discussed the creation of a 5G zone at the Magic Leap campus in Florida, enabling developers and creators to test applications and devices on a 5G network as the product is being built.

ATT Magic Leap 650VR certainly will benefit from lower latency. But evidence is lacking AR/VR - whether gaming or industrial - will quickly generate a large volume of traffic. 

Guangyi Liu, Wireless CTO of China Mobile Research Institute, China Mobile, explained how the unique capabilities of 5G technology will enable a different level of automation in energy networks. 

Seizo Onoe, Chief Technology Architect at NTT DOCOMO and President of DOCOMO Technology, highlighted the medical healthcare trials with partners on 5G remote and mobile diagnosis. Telemedicine is already a substantial business. Will 5G produce much faster growth in telemedicine?

Arash Ashouriha, Senior Vice President, of Technology Architecture & Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, showcased the 4G and 5G campus network solutions available to industry customers, and the dual slice approach that integrates public and private LTE and 5G connectivity. 

Campus networks, whether academic or industrial, generally take years of planning and development.

Luke Ibbetson, Vodafone Group R&D Director, closed the presentations by discussing the transformation of factory automation, with a focus on spectrum licensing. Qualcomm's MultiFire is designed to bring the advantages of fast networks to local entrants. It's ready to come out of the labs.

England and the U.S. are setting aside spectrum for sharing. Germany is moving ahead on a plan to make spectrum available for local and regional builds. 

Conclusion: Many interesting opportunities that should be investigated and supported. Most will take years to grow to volume.

dave askOn Oct 1, Verizon turned on the first $20B 5G mmWave network. It will soon offer a gigabit or close to 30M homes. Thousands of sites are live in Korea; AT&T is going live with mobile, even lacking phones. The hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

The estimates you hear about 5G costs are wildly exaggerated. Verizon is building the most advanced wireless network while reducing capex. Deutsche Telekom and Orange/France Telecom also confirm they won't raise capex.

Massive MIMO in either 4G or "5G" can increase capacity 4X to 7X, including putting 2.3 GHz to 4.2 GHz to use. Carrier Aggregation, 256 QAM, and other tools double and triple that. Verizon sees cost/bit dropping 40% per year.

Cisco & others see traffic growth slowing to 30%/year or less.  I infer overcapacity almost everywhere.  

Believe it or not, 80% of 5G (mid-band) for several years will be slower than good 4G, which is more developed.

-------------------

5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.