LIVE FROM CTIA SUPER MOBILITY WEEK, LAS VEGAS: 5G returned to the top of the agenda for Thursday’s keynote sessions, as Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri and Qualcomm CTO Matt Grob addressed why the technology is worthy of the hype it has attracted.
Suri’s presentation was heavy on exactly why the industry needs 5G.
“4G is great but the future requires 5G,” he proclaimed. “4G, while a big step forward, was about doing what 2G and 3G could, but faster. 4G will never have the capacity to meet the needs of the use cases that have potential to radically improve our world. By harnessing technology we can build a world that can be more efficient. That won’t happen with what we have today. We need the input of 5G if we want things to change.”
Suri’s examples of 5G use cases included autonomous driving, remote health monitoring and fully connected smart homes. “5G has the potential to give you more time, something which is an increasingly rare commodity,” he stated.
Suri said fully autonomous driving could save people time on daily commutes, enabling society to redirect activity to other actions, “not to mention the economic and sustainability gains.”
He continued: “And when your home knows you as well as you know it, you won’t need to worry about so many everyday chores.”
As for healthcare, our world could get “better health at lower costs… Our hospitals could arrange remote surgery using VR via a customised 5G network. Drones could be used in the delivery of patient samples for testing. In terms of healthcare 5G would mean improving quality of life, increasing life expectancy and saving lives.”
Suri was adamant that today’s 4G networks can’t provide either the low latency required for these applications or the capacity needed to support them. He warned that the average amount of data consumed by a US citizen will grow from 90-100 GBs a month to 388 GBs by 2025.
“5G gives people back more time, it makes them more productive. That to me is the promise of 5G. That is why we need to make 5G a commercial reality,” he concluded.
He sees 5G as a “unifying connectivity fabric” across three main pillars: enhanced mobile broadband, massive Internet of Things, and mission-critical services. The latter of these will be supported by drone technology, an area which Qualcomm is supporting.
“Multi-mode connectivity will be essential to 5G services,” said Grob, noting that support for simultaneous connectivity across 5G, 4G and WiFi will be required from mobile devices.
And 5G will need to support all different spectrum types. “70 per cent of millimetre wave spectrum, recently released by the FCC, is unlicensed,” he added.
As for the devices, Grob sees “incredibly advanced head displays becoming the norm.” Qualcomm’s CTO wants to see the industry develop beyond today’s early VR offering.