The Magical Land of 5G

I want to go, please. Any content wherever i am. Seamless connectivity without geeky configuration. An end to buffer face and “service not available” pop ups. The nirvana of mobile connectivity that we have been waiting for since, er, well, since 3G didn’t live up to the hype.
Recent 5G presentations at Mobile World Congress painted a picture of mobile connectivity in the 2020ies that not only capture the true aspirations of users, but also appear to have some, or indeed most, of the technical answers ready at least at demo level. The fundamental challenges that undermined 3G and left it falling short of the hype and still plague 4G appear to have been built into the plans for 5G.
The two underlying problems are Spectrum and the physical availability of the network.  Most estimates predict that we will need 10x the spectrum to meet the data demands put on the network, together with 10x improvement in the amount of data carried by the spectrum and 10x improvement through network management improvements. The 5G proposals address the utilisation of the spectrum and the network but depend on more spectrum availability. while this presents challenges, the discussions are running and policy (at least in the UK) reflects the sociatorial need to some extent. While more spectrum is fundamental to 5G and regulators and policy makers have been planning to make more spectrum available the other magic ingredient is the ability to roll out a network. i have heard it claimed that for every Billion spent on 4G spectrum, Network Operators need to spend 10 Billion on infrastructure to fully exploit the investment. With markets approaching saturation in Europe and declining average return per user (ARPU), where will the money come from? Add in resistance to European scale operators growing from market consolidation – the natural process in a true single market, the challenge seems to grow and grow.

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