LIVE FROM BROADBAND WORLD FORUM 2018, BERLIN: Telefonica Deutschland’s CTO believes 5G could finally deliver on the promise of fixed wireless access (FWA), with the need to support spiralling mobile broadband volumes tipped to be the key driver for initial deployments.

Cayetano Carbajo Martin (pictured) explained historic attempts to use wireless technologies to deliver fixed services have typically failed: “When I say failed, I mean they have delivered only a niche market application. Maybe with 5G, we will have the final reality of the promise of delivering fixed services using wireless technology.”

While fixed wireless services have been promised for some time, previous generations of the technology have not delivered the right capabilities, “at least if we want to have competitive services, with substantial traffic and substantial speeds, so if we want to compete in markets where there is already fibre or the latest versions of copper”.

Telefonica Deutschland is already trialling 26GHz FWA technology in Hamburg with equipment vendor Samsung and intends to move to commercial trials soon.

“The target for this for sure is to test the technology, but also what the market acceptance is, what the opinion of our customers is, for this kind of technology. There have been tests in other parts of the world, but maybe the data we have for German cities is slightly different, so we want to do our own tests,” he said.

The executive said Germany is potentially a fruitful market for FWA services using mmWave spectrum due to high levels of population density, coupled with lower levels of fibre penetration. The aim is to finish pilots in early 2019 before making decisions on deployment options.

While FWA was identified as a service which can only be delivered effectively using 5G, the CTO said the key driver for early (and widespread) 5G rollouts is already familiar: “In my opinion, the main driver for the implementation of 5G will be capacity…for mobile broadband.”

“With certain hypotheses, in 2022, 2023 we will need already massive deployment of 5G to meet the capacity needed if we continue the trend of traffic growth we have today. And it’s quite reasonable to think that traffic will continue to grow at the same pace.”

In conclusion, he said of 5G: “We cannot deploy it today, but we can deploy it soon. Mobile broadband demand is big enough today to forsee that we will need to deploy this.”