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5G – Just how different will it be from 4G?

A report from Rethink Technology Research suggests that there is a growing gulf between the way that 5G networks were expected to be deployed and monetised, and the actual plans of various operators.

While there are three elements that will differentiate 5G substantially from 4G, diversification, densification and virtualisation, the latest survey of operators’ 5G deployment plans, by Rethink, reveals that, the closer commercial launches come, the more conservative the proposed road-maps.

Last year 50% of Tier 1 and 2 operators said they planned to deploy 5G ‘small cell-first’, now the consensus is that two-thirds of 5G sites deployed in the first two years of commercial roll-out will be macro.

Despite the promise of 5G and calls for taking an innovative approach to its deployment, this research suggests that there’s a new mood of conservatism about which could mean postponed investment in new infrastructure and delays to the full business returns promised by new services dependent on the roll-out of 5G.

Neil Tyler

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