LIVE FROM 5G ASIA, SINGAPORE: Takehiro Nakamura, GM of NTT Docomo’s 5G Laboratories (pictured), highlighted a significant gap between the actual speeds and latency users experience on the technology compared with theoretical rates promoted by some operators.

He said initial 5G deployments can’t consistently deliver gigabit speeds, as to achieve these headline rates requires almost ideal scenarios, with users in line of sight of the nearest base station.

Exploring myths versus reality, he explained typical latency rates will range from several milliseconds to tens of milliseconds, depending on the network configuration, and distance between base station and server.

The executive also noted future 5G coverage will be far from ubiquitous, with deployments in limited areas. He added it will be essential for operators to combine 4G and 5G networks, continuously upgrading both.

Over the next 18 months, Nakamura said Docomo’s main challenge is to stablise the network while gradually expanding coverage. It needs “to identify business models by working with partners, and see a potential for revenue sharing. The question is how to share”?

He said it deployed 200 5G base stations ahead of a pre-commercial launch for the Rugby World Cup, which is being held in Japan and starts on 20 September.