Get ready for 5G wireless connectivity.

The results of a new study posted this week by market research firm IHS Market indicates 12% of North American mobile operators are planning commercial 5G rollouts by year’s end.

Furthermore, the firm’s study measured 82% of responding mobile operators “are busy trialing and testing the technology, mainly in North America and Asia.”

So what, you might ask, does this have to do with HD or 4K Ultra HD video?

The study found the second highest rated use case for 5G–behind Extreme mobile broadband (eMBB)–was real-time video gaming, which will require eMBB to operate.

“As real-time gaming requires a super-fast network with low latency, it cannot occur in the absence of eMBB; the same applies to high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) video services and tactile low-latency touch and steer,” said Stéphane Téral, executive research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Markit, in blog on the IHS site this week.

In addition, video-focused company’s like Taiwan’s Foxconn have cited the approaching “8K/5G” ecosystem as motivation for the establishment of new 10.5 Gen 8K and 4K video display panel fabs, anticipating a rapid ramp up in native 8K content made possible by more robust eMBB bandwidth to be used in the creation and distribution of the higher resolution content.

Regardless, most respondents expect fixed-wireless access (FWA) to be ready for commercial deployment first, ahead of eMBB.

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“Get ready, 5G is around the corner,” Stéphane Téral, executive research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Markit said in blog on the IHS site this week. “5G is going live in North America by the end of 2018, and then in South Korea in 2019. Most operators in Europe, however, aren’t planning to deploy 5G until 2021 or later.”

The 82% of operators polled in the study as trialing 5G rated ultra-low latency (ULL) the chief technical driver, followed by decreased cost per bit (76 percent) and increased network capacity (71 percent).

“Every technical aspect that’s related to substantial improvement in network performance — lower latency, higher capacity, higher bandwidth, higher throughput –while decreasing the cost per bit continues to receive high ratings in our survey,” stated Téral. “This is logical because it’s the foundation of the 5G definition.”

Meanwhile, the most challenging network development item on the 5G agenda is radio, according to the study. Fifty-three percent of operator respondents said radio is the area of the network that will require the biggest development effort to make 5G happen, followed by transport (24 percent) and management (14 percent).

“The bottom line is early 5G will be an extension of what we know best: broadband, whether in FWA or eMBB form,” Téral said. “Don’t expect factory automation, tactile low-latency touch and steer, or autonomous driving to be ready on 5G anytime soon despite being touted as the chief 5G use cases.”


By Greg Tarr


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