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Bruno Jacobfeuerborn: Our 5G definition

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2G… 3G4G… please don’t expect me to say 5G now. While it would be right from a chronological and somehow from a logical point of view, the coming generation of a worldwide communications standard will differ from its predecessors in many ways.

We recognized early that there are multiple views in the industry of what 5G is, and therefore there is also no sharp generic definition. But this is exactly the ambiguity we need for a comprehensive discussion on 5G, to foster innovation and to come to a common worldwide standard one day.

If you keep in mind the latest developments regarding 4G and the pure evolution of technology, it’s not easy to identify where 4G will end and where the next generation will start. LTE Advanced isn’t the last stop on the road to 5G. The successor - LTE Advanced Pro – looks very promising in our trials. Deutsche Telekom is in discussions with operators all around the world. Many share our view, that 4G will be adopted as a part of generic 5G - as a cornerstone of its capability, serving the significant Mobile Broadband, mainly people focused needs.

There is a lot of technology still to come in 4G. We have only just started with cloud based capabilities. These technologies will play out in the next four years. Commentators anticipate that the changes to come in 4G, coupled with the changes in the regulatory and competitive environments, will stimulate our current business model as Deutsche Telekom. If this plays out, it might mean that 5G will start from a different business model than used today.

Stimulated by these discussion, the cooperation in several initiatives and in the NGMN alliance, the mission to design this next generation took shape. 5G will be the mirror of the cross industry challenges 2020-2030 and the resulting business demand regarding data exchange and communication needs. In 2016, the global initiative 3GPP starts to define the new radio access technologies, and an access agnostic and highly flexible core network to enable operators to satisfy the multiple and diverse needs of the market.

Three development priorities have been set up to meet these requirements. They are: "Enhanced Mobile Broadband", "Massive & Critical Internet of Things" and "Ultra reliable Communications". Our consumer customers will benefit, but their needs will be broadly satisfied by 4G era technologies. Many of the new 5G capabilities will be focused towards Machines and Vertical Industry Requirements. This will be a step change in how we support and facilitate business customers. All in all, 5G will provide round about 1000x more capacity, 100x more connection density, 10x more speed, 10x less latency, 1.5x more mobility.

But it’s not these numbers that will make the difference - the ability to efficiently and effectively construct and operate virtual network slices will be a key differentiator within the 5G era.

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