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Taking a fresh look at 5G – Phase of inflated expectations

5G is the talk of the town but the claims are suspiciously similar to the ones made ten years ago for 4G. So what is really new in terms of needs and answers? Image Credit: PresseBox

What is becoming crystal clear is that 5G is not just a discussion about a network technology where consumers will have a bigger and faster pipe. 5G is a technology, business model and ecosystem overhaul in which operators will no longer be selling airtime packages and handsets but instead offer consumers an all-IP network experience for many types of consumer devices.”  (Fierce Wireless)

Key drivers to 5G will be:

  • a multitude of diverse devices (distributed, embedded, wearable, pervasive)
  • predominance of machine-to-machine communications
  • dynamic networking and air-interfaces
  • improved coverage mechanisms
  • improved and dynamic spectrum usage.

Hence it will need to provide higher speed with lower latency

(IEEE Vision Statement)

My apologies. In the previous statements there is a mistake. Rather than 5G the original statements had 4G (both of them were published in the early years f the next decade when people started to talk about 4G).

If you did not realise the mistake, may be it is because today you are reading very similar sentences about 5G, to the point that those two would fit seamlessly in today’s literature. This, to me, is a clear sign that we are in a virtual marketing phase for 5G, not in a real development phase (or if you want, that development is looking for a justification).

It is interesting to note that those two previous “visions”, related to the 4G, contains two elements of which one applicable to 6, 7, 8 …G (more bandwidth, lower latency) and the other related to a change in the structure of the market with the entrance of new players and a repositioning (displacement?) of the present ones.

Given that the “dream” for the 5G is pretty similar to the one we had for 4G, and to the one we will have for the 6G…, I feel it would be more to the point to look at what new technology enablers would make a 4+1 G possible and what could be the implication on the business and market that might steer the evolution one way or another.

In the first series of posts I will take a look at the former. Stay tuned.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.

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