5G connect conference:

Telefónica shares an outlook on the gigabit network of the future

Photo: Lukas Barth
Telefónica attended this year’s connect conference in Munich with a number of experts to present the possibilities and challenges of the future 5G standard. Cayetano Carbajo Martín, CTO – Managing Director Networks of Telefónica, called upon the participants of his keynote to take a differentiated approach – despite the elation – towards the roll-out of the new mobile communications standard. What benefit compared to established 3G and 4G networks does the new standard imply for both operators and users? What part does the current roll-out of 4G play for 5G? Is 5G a “one network fits all” solution? Telefónicas’ CTO Cayetano Carbajo Martín answered these and other significant questions during a 5G conference by the german magazin connect on 1st June in Munich: “We at Telefónica see the revolutionary side of 5G: The network architecture will change radically! Concepts like Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Network Slicing will allow a more efficient use of hardware components which are the base for many innovative applications. Software defined network (SDN) based on a fiber optic network will enable a smooth rollout. This means that 4G/LTE will be the last “One network fits it all”.”

The mobile communications providers agree

During the 5G conference one thing became clear: “Racing for peak rates” won’t get the mobile communication providers anywhere on the way to 5G – this is not only the opinion supported by Michael Reinartz, Area Director Innovation of Vodafone, and Martin Bouchard, Senior Vice President Technical Planning & Rollout of Telekom. The focus is on the user experience: Consumers should be able to use their services without disturbance, for instance when streaming videos or music. This should be possible irrespective of whether the bandwidth is 10, 100 or 500 mbps.

The future of the network

With the future 5G network, customers will benefit from lower latencies and a higher reliability for particularly demanding applications. It connects the complete spectrum of digital devices far beyond the kind of connectivity that M2M solutions offer today. Even the interaction of the 5G mobile network with other networks, such as WiFi and LTE, will be possible. The new gigabit network is also efficient. Its energy consumption can be reduced in particular for IoT applications. Some applications will in the future run for more than ten years on just one battery. Even if no one can as yet predict all future use cases, three significant new fields of business are sure to be opened up:
-Massive Machine Type Communications (MMTC): Evolution of IoT applications such as Smart Cities, Smart Grids, Smart Metering.
-Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB): Expansion of capacities that allow for higher data rates to be transmitted, so that more users can benefit from 4K/3D video streaming as well as VR/AR applications.
-Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications (UrLLC): Connected driving and automation of the industries.
Cayetano Carbajo Martín, CTO – Managing Director Networks; Photo: Jörg Borm
Cayetano Carbajo Martín is convinced that Telefónica will drive forward the transition to 5G significantly:“Telefónica is very optimistic that we as a mobile communication provider will always be able to make a difference by offering our long-term industry experience, valid client contacts and connectivity as managers of big networks. And: Telefónica as a provider with a high level competence will be part of the new ecologic system”. The Munich "Tech City" project by Telefónica conveys an initial idea of 5G: The 4.5G high-speed mobile network currently also serves as a trial and research environment for the future standard. In the pilot network, applications that require low latencies as well as high transmission rates simultaneously are tested for their practicability. The powerful system technology is provided by the long-time technology partner Huawei. In late February 2017, during this Tech City project in Munich, the two companies were the first in the world to conduct a field trial that successfully applied Massive MIMO end-to-end in the frequency spectrum around 3.5GHz, reaching a data transmission speed of 650 Mbps. With the consolidation of five licensed LTE frequency bands at the beginning of March, the companies registered their next success by reaching a maximum peak download rate of 1.65 GBit/s. Together, the two drivers of the digitization in Germany are paving the way to 5G. Telefónica and Ericsson are implementing another major project on the A9 between Munich and Nuremberg. With 5G Connected Mobility they are working on the connected mobility of the future. Real-life application environments provide the optimum precondition for practically relevant trials. This turns the motorway into a digital test field for real-time vehicle-to-vehicle communication.