By Joseph Waring

Ericsson aims to tackle cost-per-bit challenge

Future 5G networks must address both the capacity and cost-per-bit challenges operators face as data demand continues to soar worldwide, urged Thomas Noren, Ericsson’s head of 5G commercialisation.

Noren, who spoke with Mobile World Daily ahead of today’s 5G Summit, said with mobile traffic growing 40 per cent to 50 per cent per year, enhanced mobile broadband will be the most common first use case for 5G.

“Our research shows 70 per cent of consumers expect 5G to be faster and have better coverage than 4G. Video consumption continues to grow and devices become more sophisticated for advanced use cases, for example with AR developer’s tool kits. All this continues to drive traffic,” he said.

The key driver of 5G is the need for additional capacity and deliver a better user experience at a lower cost per bit compared to today, he said, with the cost per bit expected to drop to 1/10 the level of initial LTE.

A second driver will be to generate growth from emerging use cases, such as fixed wireless access, massive IoT and critical IoT, which to some extent are already addressed by LTE and NB-IoT, he said.

“You’ve heard the talk, we have the tactics - where, when and how to turn on 5G. To help operators to balance investment, new revenue streams and competitiveness while minimising risk,” he explained.

He noted that spectrum will also be a big challenge for mobile operators. “With 5G, operators have a new opportunity to maximise the use of their spectrum. They will need to develop spectrum strategies based on their own particular business focus and the frequencies available to them, today and in the future. Investments will be more targeted, especially for critical applications which require a good business case.”

The second half of 2018 will be a very exciting time for 5G, Noren said, adding “you will see more technology milestone announcements in June and we will have multiple 5G demo showcases at our booth”.