The fifth generation of mobile wireless communications brings many exciting benefits for consumers and telecom carriers ranging from lower latency to faster download speeds. As 5G rolls out across the world, the technology’s ecosystem continues to expand as more telecom operators upgrade their infrastructure and expand their services to meet shifting customer demands. Here are three strategies carriers should consider before making the shift to offering 5G:
1. Understand the Pros and Cons of 5G
Telecom companies interested in providing 5G for their customers should first understand the technology’s capabilities and its disadvantages before forming a strategic deployment plan. Advantages of 5G for carriers include:
Faster Data Transfer
5G is anticipated to offer much faster download speeds than 4G. While 4G could offer an average of 15-50 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, 5G will consistently provide 50Mbps speeds and top out between 1 and 10 gigabits per second (Gbps)1. This significant difference enables end-users to load web pages faster and download content quicker than ever before. The data transfer upgrade is especially useful as more devices and applications live and operate out of the cloud.
5G is anticipated to provide a 10x decrease in end-to-end latency2 compared to 4G, enabling near real-time interactivity for remote actions, such as with automated cars, precise medical equipment, or industrial machinery.
Increased Network Capacity
5G will provide 100x larger capacity to support millions of devices connecting to the same network across a given area3. This advantage will help expand telecom infrastructure to support the rise of the internet of things (IoT) technology, enabling real-time information transmission between connected devices.
5G enables carriers to split physical networks into several virtual networks, enabling them to better support different end-user needs. This network splicing capability allows operators to provide unique connectivity specifications to customers while enabling the isolated experience of a physically separate network.
Disadvantages of 5G
While 5G will bring several benefits for carriers and consumers, there are a few cons that operators should be aware of:
High deployment costs
Limitation in rural areas
Increased device battery drain
Potential frequency crowding
Armed with information on what to expect with 5G technology, telecom operators will be able to better design their deployment strategies.
2. Plan for Rollout
The implementation of 5G will likely take a multi-phased approach. Identify what developmental steps your business will need to take to start supporting 5G and start planning as early as possible to prevent roadblocks down the road. Part of this strategy involves using analytics to understand how existing customers are using the existing network to inform how much to reduce 4G budget investment to make way for 5G.
Determine How To Upgrade Network Infrastructure
The transition to 5G will require the latest network technology to support its capabilities and to provide customers with reliable connectivity. Luckily, a good portion of 5G technology builds off the existing 4G infrastructure. For the new build-outs, telecom operators should decide how the new network design should look, paying close attention to what setup best supports cloud-based connectivity and automation tools, as well as enabling backward compatibility with 4G as needed.
Test 5G on a Small Scale
Before a full roll out, carriers should plan to start 5G deployment with small markets and assess how the upgraded network serves a small portion of customers. Take note of the analytics on end users and their device connections to determine what to tweak or change before you expand into larger environments. This transition is a great place to identify areas of cost savings, such as where unnecessary capacity can be scaled down.
3. Work With A Local Managed Network Services Provider
While the road to 5G may be a long and complex one, partnering with a local managed network services provider (MNSP) can help take the burdens out of transitioning by providing industry expertise and the infrastructure resources necessary to upgrade seamlessly.
With a local MNSP telecom operators receive:
On-site assistance for installation and maintenance