The mobile industry should consider 5G as a “special generation”, introducing “challenges in all layers of the technology”, Mike Short, VP of public affairs Telefónica Europe, said at Mobile World Congress today.

Speaking in one of today’s sessions covering the next-generation mobile technology, he said: “It’s beyond what we’re doing today with mobile. 5G will have a huge influence on our connectivity to the internet and wireless broadcast capabilities.”

But Matt Grob, VP & CTO for Qualcomm, questioned any need to rush. “We have engineering teams working on LTE and 5G. Each time the 5G team unveil a new performance leap, the LTE engineers respond by matching it.”

Underlining the need for a new generation, Mischa Dohler, professor of wireless communications at King’s College London, insisted that “We really do need 5G in order have a paradigm shift. The order of magnitude jump in traffic is what is really driving this move.”

He said the industry is nearing the limit and needs to have breakthroughs, which will hopefully come from the 5G developments.

This stand was supported by Allan Kock, director of RAN development at TeliaSonera. “5G is a fundamental change in technology and will have a significant impact on how we offer services. We must look at performance and coverage, and not just consider microcells.”

Ericsson group CTO Ulf Ewaldsson said it’s important to have a full understanding of needs of industries that are being transformed.

This means that there are a wide range of potential requirements, from low-power sensors to fast-moving vehicles that require extremely low latency.

“And we’re going to fit all that on one network. The risk with 5G is we’re stretching it too wide to be able to build it. But we don’t know that yet,” he cautioned.

Chaesub Lee, director of ITU’s Standardisation Bureau, however, noted there is a long way to go since the industry’s current treatment of traffic isn’t smart enough to serve all the business models. “We now only have one classification of traffic – broadband or not.”