Telenor chief Sigve Brekke (pictured) expects the rollout of 5G to be more gradual than deployments of earlier technology generations, driven by specific use cases rather than speculative investments, Reuters reported.
Citing comments made at a conference in Oslo this week, the report said Brekke had described earlier generations as “a complete network update”, and noted a big investment plan like those needed previously will probably not be in place for 5G.
Underlining this is the fact customers are currently well-served by 4G networks, which through continued evolution are keeping pace with existing service demand. This means 5G can be targeted where there is specific need.
However, this piecemeal approach means 5G is unlikely to lead to the arrival of new entrants to the market, with participants instead being those who have an established mobile and fixed market position.
Brekke also said it will be a long time before 5G reaches Telenor’s emerging markets businesses, with initial deployments focused on Norway and Sweden.
The comments align with those made by Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway, at 5G World 2017 in June, where she said increasing efficiency and enabling faster speeds would not alone justify the investment needed for 5G.
New use cases which could be enabled by 5G include autonomous driving, remote surgery and applications in the agriculture sector, Svendsen said.
Telenor’s stance is also in line with other operators globally. China Mobile – the world’s biggest operator – said it will not be able to determine its planned spending on 5G until technology and business models are more mature.
Earlier this year, Telenor said it had tested 5G in Norway in partnership with vendor Huawei.