Operators may already be pushing full steam ahead toward next generation deployments, but T-Mobile US VP of network technology development Karri Kuoppamaki argued additional work is needed in a number of key areas to develop 5G to its full potential.

Speaking at the Brooklyn 5G Summit, Kuoppamaki revealed initial 5G speeds will be 25 per cent to 50 per cent faster than today’s 4G LTE speeds. But, as with LTE, he said those will “improve over time”.

“Initially, we didn’t see gigabit speeds on LTE, we saw very low speeds. But today we see much higher than that. And that’s because the technology has evolved to where it is today. That same thing will happen with 5G, so it’s kind of irrelevant what that number is going to be on day one.”

Areas for improvement
Though the basics of 5G have already been sketched out, Kuoppamaki flagged several areas where further development work could help yield improved network experiences.

First, Kuoppamaki noted the industry needs to more fully address the paradigm shift in network planning which comes with the use of mmWave spectrum.

“The environment, whether that’s indoors or outdoors, will have a very big impact on the planning tools and performance to a greater degree than what we see today…So having the ability to accurately plan for what will the network look like, what will the performance be like and how do we make the most out of it is going to be crucial in the 5G era.”

Additionally, Kuoppamaki asserted a better understanding of 5G use cases and their impact on networks would help operators improve network planning.

Further development work on 5G radios could also provide operators with better equipment. This might include higher efficiency power amplifiers; wider bandwidth receivers; smaller, more energy efficient, base stations; and more flexible deployment options to enable 5G launches in more locations, he said.

On devices, Kuoppamaki pointed out 5G will include many form factors beyond smartphones. But he noted work remains to develop products for new applications, such as virtual and augmented reality, which will integrate seamlessly into consumers’ lives.