Six Not-So-Mysterious 5G Takeaways from MWC19

5G isn’t really that mysterious anymore. We already know that mobile cloud architecture is the future, classic mobile networks are dying, and revenue generation depends on meeting stringent performance requirements aligned with who uses service and for what purpose.

Given all the knowns, what did MWC19 reveal about 5G? Here are my key takeaways from the event.

1. 5G business and deployment models are taking shape. Service providers know they must leverage 5G’s service-based model to differentiate applications and niche business offerings to make next generation mobile a true revenue generator. I predict they’ll do so with a hefty focus on low-latency and network slicing.

2. Generating 5G revenue depends on collaboration among and between all parties involved, including operators, vendors, manufacturers, regulators, enterprises, and consumers. These collaborations must extend beyond commercial and interoperability agreements, to include validation that combined solutions work at peak efficiency and meet 5G performance requirements. Stringent performance requirements are fundamental to any and all innovations if they are to become high-potential 5G revenue enables.

3. Everyone involved with 5G must update their skill sets—both technical and business collaboration—to understand the subjective concepts of QoE and its impact on networks, services, and business goals.

4. 5G compatible mobile phones and other devices are lagging; the industry is not quite there yet in this arena. Nope, the foldable phone war going on between vendors does not constitute readiness for 5G. Sorry!

5. 5G brings a paradigm shift to units of measurement and scale—whether you’re talking about the sheer quantity of radiating points (think small cells on steroids), or anticipated speeds, or the amount of data that will be transferred. KPI discussions now center on 1 millisecond or less with 0.5% packet loss. Compared with only a few years ago, these are radical changes! The new normal requires using analogies like comparing a snail to a supersonic rocket, or 5 ½-inch, 1.2MB floppy disks with 1TB capacity flash drives.

6. Measuring and assuring next-generation service performance is only possible with the addition of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and new algorithms; traditional tools and KPI sets won’t cut it. Operators need to change the way they measure, deploy, and troubleshoot services to deliver quality of experience (QoE) promises. Accedian is clearly at the head of the pack in focusing on performance management as a key enabler of 5G.

5G is on the cusp of commercial reality, with actual deployments (albeit in selected test markets) and deals and integration models being discussed. Proofs-of-concept at MWC19 highlighted now so much the mysterious possibilities for 5G but rather ways in which it will revolutionize telecom and other industries.

When ultra-stringent performance requirements are validated at ultra-scale in a collaborative environment involving myriad vendors, technologies, and industries… well, the sky’s the limit!

The next few years will be fun but challenging. If we work twice as hard, though, we can take control of 5G and reap some radically awesome rewards.