Qualcomm’s Jacobs sets out 5G vision

12 MAR 2014

VIDEO INTERVIEW: 5G will not just be about increased speeds and reduced latency. According to Dr Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm – and who recently handed over the CEO reins to Steve Mollenkopf – 5G will mean a new level of network reliability and robustness.

“We’re considering what we can do to re-architect even the structure of the internet – as seen through mobile devices – to make it more reliable, accountable, private and secure,” he told Mobile World Live. “Those kind of things is where 5G ought to head.”

To illustrate the size of the 5G task ahead, Jacobs posed a question: what would it take to build a wireless system so you would feel comfortable putting your pacemaker controller in the cloud?

Jacobs spoke to Mobile World Live fresh from winning the 2014 GSMA Chairman’s Award, which recognises outstanding personal contribution to the growth and development of mobile communications around the world.

Jacobs reflected on the enormous change Qualcomm has undergone since its inception in the mid-1980s, moving from a CDMA2000 chipset firm to a company covering a wide array of mobile technologies and now pushing into adjacent industries, such as internet of things, wearables, automotive and smart cities.

And with his new role (executive chairman), Jacobs said he would be able to get back to his “real passion” – creating the next wave of new technologies

Watch the whole video to find out which technology areas Jacobs views as holding out the most promise for growth over the next few years.

  • Really disagree with this sentiment. 5G has to just be about speed and latency for two reasons.
    1) The timeline – the kind of capabilities and the underlying technology to support them, that are being discussed need to start emerging in networks a lot sooner than the nominal 2020 timeline that has been dreamt up by the 5G marketeers. NFV is a major enabler for a lot of this, and it is happening now, not in time for 2020.
    2) The technologies – many of the technology areas that are being discussed are actually applicable to all generations, not just 5G. So bundling them under a ‘5G’ umbrella does a disservice to those parts that can bring benefits to everything else. We should be looking to make all networks capable of supporting denser connections, higher bandwidth per km^2, lowering power demands, improving cell edge performance and improving indoor coverage. These are not 5G requirements, they are network requirements in general.
    So once you strip out all of this, what are you left with that is 5G specific? Higher bandwidth per connection and lower latency. And when you reflect on what has characterised the new generations over the last 20 years, at a service requirements level, it has always been thus. Focussing 5G on just these two points makes the timeline make sense, and refocusses the work on a new generation on the RAN, as per 4G and 3G before it.


Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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