Deutsche Telekom's 5G executive programme manager called for fixed and mobile industries to align their efforts in developing the next-generation technology to ensure it offers a seamless experience to end-users.
Speaking during a quarterly meeting of the Broadband Forum, Antje Williams said more collaboration is needed between mobile and fixed standards bodies to ensure future networks are access agnostic, which she argued will be an essential element in terms of realising the full potential of 5G technology.
In addition to standards bodies, open source communities must also develop close working relationships, Williams stated.
"When you look at the amount of challenges and traffic that has to be transported in the future, we will not manage that with just the mobile network," Williams noted.
The Deutsche Telekom executive added that fixed broadband networks still carry the bulk of today's data traffic, and argued that the best approach to developing 5G standards would be to provide end-users with a combination of fixed and mobile broadband networks. "This means that when using the networks, consumers shouldn't see a difference between mobile access and Wi-Fi access," she stated.
European operators are increasingly offering converged services that offer fixed and mobile access on a single contract, typically as part of broader triple- and quad-play tariffs. Indeed, Deutsche Telekom recently established a new technology and innovation board, the remit of which is to focus on driving the operator's convergent network as part of its push towards a digital future.
While operators are looking to exploit the opportunities of converged networks and services, Williams noted that standards bodies in the fixed and mobile worlds continue to work separately from one another.
"Today, standardisation of the two networks is done separately and to become one network, we need more alignment," she said, adding: "From a consumer perspective, one of the most important topics is convenience. Therefore, it is essential that 5G delivers to its full potential."
She called on Broadband Forum members to address that separation between the wired and wireless worlds, emphasising that a collaborative approach is necessary to develop fully functioning next generation broadband networks.
- see this Broadband Forum announcement (PDF)
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