Operator executives used a media roundtable to highlight demand from enterprises to use mmWave 5G indoors, a move which would mark a departure from the outdoor use cases typically deployed to-date.

During a round table discussion at MWC23 Barcelona today (1 March) Juan Cambeiro, manager of 5G customer innovation at Telefonica, said the biggest opportunities for mmWave deployments by businesses were logistics and industry.

He noted enterprises want to use the spectrum for “control of everything that moves”, including continuous route optimisation of robots in factories using on-board cameras.

Cambeiro added mmWave will enable businesses to remove cabling in factories, while providing more bandwidth and security than Wi-Fi.

To deliver mobility and the ability to reconfigure equipment “I need wireless communications that have low latency, and high reliability”.

“What we see in the short term is deploying this pretty much on demand for the enterprises.”

Verizon VP of device technology Brian Mecum said the company has deployed mmWave across more than 40,000 locations, explaining enterprises are “waking up to the notion that managing Wi-Fi is a losing proposition”.

He noted mmWave connects enterprises to macro networks to give them more flexibility and security than Wi-Fi, along with voice integration with their existing phone numbers.

“IT groups don’t want to manage Wi-Fi.”

Cambeiro noted mmWave could also be used to provide TV or video services for enterprises, which would eliminate the need for dedicated equipment.

Over time, it could also be used to create a digital twin of a company to support manufacturing processes.

“We have a lot of activity in other areas, but it’s going to take them [enterprises] more time because they have to follow a path of digitisation,” he stated.