LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS SHANGHAI 2017: 5G, and the varied applications it will support, means operators need to be much more efficient in their network architecture, according to Telefonica Group CTO Enrique Blanco (pictured).

Speaking at the 5G Industry Summit yesterday – an event hosted by the GSMA and ZTE to discuss the technical progress made towards the new technology and future use cases – Blanco said he saw virtualisation as one of the central enablers to 5G, with network slicing a major component.

Telefonica began upgrading its systems across many of its markets to accommodate 5G use cases four years ago, including the virtualisation of a range of infrastructure elements.

“5G for operators means we need to be much more efficient,” Blanco said, adding the sector needed to embrace the technology needed to deliver it properly.

Keeping the customers happy
Meeting the ever-increasing demands of customers was a major reason the executive cited for these technological developments.

The industry “needs 5G” to meet demand for a range of new applications, he said, calling IoT the “trigger for 5G deployment”. Networks will need to support everything from new healthcare applications, to improved media delivery and providing the backbone to connected vehicle technology.

In terms of creating the ecosystem to deliver the raft of new technologies, he said collaboration was needed “outside of the traditional vendor-operator collaboration” but warned perfecting 5G and implementing supporting infrastructure elements would be a long process.

“This is not a 100-metre race,” he added. “It is an ultra-marathon of 100 kilometers, which we are just beginning”.