LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – MENA, DUBAI: Ericsson warned that 5G faces becoming an expensive failure without the availability of affordable spectrum, particularly high-band frequencies.
Chafic Traboulsi, head of networks at the infrastructure giant’s Middle East division (pictured), issued the stark warning to the industry as operators prep deployment of the next-generation mobile network technology.
“The reality is if we don’t take care of the frequencies we’re going to use for 5G, if we don’t make those frequencies available for the service providers… then 5G will be a flop,” stated Traboulsi. “But that is not enough. We have to get the higher bands on the agenda of the regulators in order to make a real difference. We need the millimetre waves. Without those frequencies there will be no success.”
Traboulsi also highlighted other challenges on the road to 5G, including ensuring operators protect their existing 4G network investment. In fact, the Ericsson executive stressed the need “to take care of 4G” because the technology will support the majority of mobile traffic for the next few years.
“Massive MIMO works on 4G…these things can start now…we don’t need 5G to be there,” he noted.
Adding capacity in the face of ever-growing traffic demand was also marked as a big operator challenge.
And of course there’s the big question of what new use cases 5G will enable and how operators can monetise them: “The problem of 5G is not really the tech,” said Traboulsi. “It’s how to make money out of it.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter