FRANKFURT, Germany--The mobile industry appears largely in agreement that 5G will require a new air interface or waveform in order to handle the challenges presented by proposed new use cases, but as yet it is not clear what this new waveform will be.
Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs unit has launched a new consulting division that it says will focus on advising the IT and broader communications networking industry as it prepares to deal with upcoming network challenges that will emerge in the year 2020.
If I had to cite one word that featured in a number of presentations at the NGMN Alliance's industry event this week on 5G, it would be "slice". Not the most technical of terms it has to be said, but it cropped up time and time again as operators and vendors sought to explain how future mobile networks would be designed to cope with the demands of the "5G era" after 2020.
Alcatel-Lucent may be an advocate of VDSL2 and vectoring, but the Franco American company says that those technologies may be not be enough to overcome interference issues to deliver 100 Mbps and above over existing copper pairs to broadband customers.
While there is a legitimate concern that LTE Broadcast content will be given a higher quality of service than regular, over-the-top video content, I don't think the situation will violate net neutrality. In fact, based on conversations I have had this week with experts at vendors that specialize in LTE Broadcast (and, admittedly, are proponents of the technology), carriers' use of it is likely to benefit customers, even those who are not taking advantage of it.
In Africa, LTE deployment and usage is accelerating across a continent that faces considerable challenges in terms of its terrain, economic prosperity, and political and regulatory stability. While the number and breadth of network rollouts are clearly still far behind those in Europe, North America and Asia, Africa is providing a fertile breeding ground not only for different types of LTE players but also for different LTE service propositions and the role of mobile connectivity as an alternative to fixed-line services.
Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes said the company has demonstrated its commitment to open innovation in the digital sector by partnering with Partech Shaker, the first research campus established by a venture capital company.
Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia and Huawei are among the leading players in the small cell market, which is expected to boom to more than $5 billion by 2019, according to a new report from ABI Research. Fiber owners like Virgin Media, Zayo and CloudBerry are also likely to benefit from the move to small cells.
Service providers' ongoing moves to upgrade existing copper and build out Greenfield fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services were a key contributor in broadband aggregation revenues, a sector that Infonetics Research said rose 9 percent in 2014 to $8.2 million.
T-Mobile US will be one of the first carriers to deploy Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) in 5 GHz spectrum in 2016.