LIVE FROM HUAWEI’S GLOBAL MOBILE BROADBAND FORUM 2017, LONDON: Canada-based operator Telus “took the view that 5G was going to be the convergence strategy for our company, and very much set out on that path”.

Eros Spadotto, EVP for the company (pictured), said this approach already had implications for its fibre rollout strategy: “We did not only undertake it with the view of creating fibre-to-the-home connections. We very much took the view that the next-generation wireless networks will be very much dependent on fibre”.

With some operators looking at the potential of 5G for last mile fixed wireless connectivity, Telus is also looking at this opportunity, using mmWave frequencies.

“We’ve been doing trials with that, even though we have a very active fibre programme, for the express purpose of finding if there is a better economic path to doing connectivity than fibre. We are not altering or slowing down our fibre plans, but we are looking at that,” he said.

Microcells pay off
Another area where Telus is using its fibre assets is small cells: “As we go and deploy the fibre, the technicians that are fitting fibre plant are also putting up our microcells,” Spadotto explained.

“Today our microcell network carries about 10 per cent of our traffic. But where we’ve put microcells, we’ve discovered we increase the traffic of those areas by about 30 per cent – in other words, we found an untapped market. More microcells create more wealth for us,” the EVP said.

“In many cases, our microcells have payback periods of less than a year, on average they are about two years. That’s a tremendous opportunity as we look to make more money,” he continued.

Huawei and Telus have showcased what they described as an “innovative small cell solution” to deliver speeds of more than 1Gb/s in an outdoor live testing environment. It uses technologies including 5-carrier channel aggregation, 4×4 MIMO and 256 QAM modulation.

Spadotto also said Licensed Assisted Access, which aggregates licensed frequencies with unlicensed spectrum, is an important tool for the future: “There’s a tremendous amount of speed improvement for spectrum that is largely laying fallow, and is being used by Wi-Fi.”