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5G Development Plans Begin to Take Shape
5G refers to wireless technology that isn't expected to be deployed until 2020 at the earliest. The technology has not been clearly defined yet, there are no standards and no one knows exactly what 5G will comprise. Mobile operators worldwide are far from recouping their 4G investments and many have yet to even roll out 4G networks. As one equipment supplier put it upon reading recent reports of 5G breakthroughs and investments, "I felt a cringe in the force."

So the race is on to be first with 5G at a political level and among technology researchers and developers. Last year, China, Japan and South Korea each organized national research programs; the EU invested more funds into 5G research; several academic conferences presented papers on 5G technologies; and some equipment vendors announced 5G R&D investments.

Now is the time for big ideas. Now is the time to question and challenge current wireless systems, and imagine how 5G networks could do better and what communications needs they could meet. Researchers are looking beyond the network and studying social interaction and human behavior to better understand how mobile traffic patterns will grow and change. They're asking, for example, what would teenagers want to do with their cell phones in 2020? They are also looking at the potential for other industries to use wireless technologies through massive machine communications (MMC), if the networks were designed to handle that kind of traffic. There is a desire among researchers at universities, vendors and operators alike to ensure that the technology is not developed for technology's sake but rather in response to real communications needs, whether for people or for machines.

The development of new technology starts with a vision. The 5G visions presented in this report highlight the wireless industry's aspirations for enabling new services, connecting a wider variety of devices and coping with ever-rising levels of mobile traffic after 2020. The next 12-18 months will be an important period for further research to explore these visions and eventually translate them into a practical, working system that can be produced and deployed profitably.

5G will be different from 4G and previous wireless generations if, as envisioned, it is designed for a variety of different use cases rather than just peak data rates or coverage, if it is optimized for M2M communications, if it heralds new licensing regimes and if it has energy efficiency built into the system from the start. A new technology generation marks an opportunity to improve upon previous technologies either through evolution or revolutionary new designs. The hope is that 5G won't miss that opportunity.

5G Development Plans Begin to Take Shape presents the 5G visions from operators, vendors and research groups. Some of the ideas may not ever see the light of day in a commercial network. But from these visions, there will one day emerge a workable 5G wireless system.

Sample research data from the report is shown in the excerpts below:
Table of Contents (4gltei0214_toc.pdf)
The race is on to be first to define and develop the next generation of wireless communications. At a national policy level, some governments are facilitating 5G developments by organizing and funding research programs, but it is difficult to determine exactly which country or region is leading 5G research at this stage in terms of total public funding contributions. And while 5G R&D efforts are certainly competitive, there is also a desire to cooperate and reach consensus earlier in the research process than previous wireless technology generations. National projects in China, Japan and South Korea have forged agreements to work together on 5G, for example, and now hope to extend that to the EU and the U.S.
[click on the image above for the full excerpt]
Companies profiled in this report include: 5G Innovation Centre; Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU); China Mobile Communications Corp.; Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC); Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; The METIS 2020 Project; NEC Corp. (TYO: 6701); Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK); NTT Docomo Inc. (NYSE: DCM); and Samsung Group.
Total pages: 21
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