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5G: Infrastructure, Challenges, and Opportunities – Research Roundup August 2018

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*The Research Roundup is a semi-regular list of outside research we have found interesting and think is worth sharing. The views and conclusions of the papers’ authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone affiliated with TPI.*

 

This month’s Research Roundup focuses on research discussing new regulatory and economic implications, opportunities, and challenges of 5G. Discussing everything from thirty-thousand-foot views of 5G technology and applications to localized discussions of small cell technology, spectrum, and intermarket relationships, the papers included here are just a small sample of recent 5G research. Last month’s annual TPI Aspen Forum, which brings together some of the most prominent academics, policy makers, and technology executives from the most influential firms across the digital ecosystem, included a rigorous discussion of 5G infrastructure. The video of the discussion titled, “What Infrastructure Will Power the Digital Economy and How Will We Get There?” provides an interesting complement to the literature included below.

 

Click through for more detailed descriptions and links.

 

A survey of 5G technologies: regulatory, standardization and industrial perspectives

How Disruptive is 5G?

Leadership with 5G in Europe: Two Contrasting Images of the Future, with Policy and Regulatory Implications

On the Interdependence of the Financial Market and Open Access Spectrum Market in the 5G Network

On Regulations for 5G: Micro Licensing for Locally Operated Networks

Descriptions of papers below are edited abstracts from authors

 

A survey of 5G technologies: regulatory, standardization and industrial perspectives

António Morgado, Kazi Mohammed, Saidul Huq, Shahid Mumtaz, and Jonathan Rodriguez

In recent years, there have been significant developments in the research on 5th Generation (5G) networks. Several enabling technologies are being explored for the 5G mobile system era. The aim is to evolve a cellular network that is intrinsically flexible and markedly pushes forward the limits of legacy mobile systems across all dimensions of performance metrics. All the stakeholders, such as regulatory bodies, standardization authorities, industrial fora, mobile operators and vendors, must work in unison to bring 5G to fruition. In this paper, we aggregate the 5G-related information coming from the various stakeholders, in order to i) have a comprehensive overview of 5G and ii) to provide a survey of the envisioned 5G technologies; their development thus far from the perspective of those stakeholders will open up new frontiers of services and applications for next-generation wireless networks.

 

How Disruptive is 5G?

Martin Cave

The hypothesis is put forward that, after three decades of stability, there is now the prospect of significant change in the vertical and horizontal structure of the mobile market place. On the supply side, significant factors are, first, the availability of a new and very powerful form of mobile connectivity in the shape of 5G, and second, software defined networking, which allows a single network to provide a variety of heterogeneous services or ‘slices’. On the demand side, the digital transformation of the whole economy (and not just the communications sector) creates the need for diverse communications functions operating in a universe with a much wider set of digitally transformed services.

Mobile operators will find themselves contesting customer relationship with firms or other organizations providing these services in an integrated fashion, and thus risk replacing their direct link with end users with becoming the wholesale supplier of an expanded but ‘commoditized’ communications product. We may also observe fewer radio access networks; more competitive backhaul; and the (partial) vertical disintegration of mobile network operators. The regulatory changes implied may include heavier regulation of fewer RANs, and the need for market analyses to confront situations in which network operators sell more and more of their services to a variety of heterogeneous content and application providers – some of them exercising substantial levels of market power.

 

Leadership with 5G in Europe: Two Contrasting Images of the Future, with Policy and Regulatory Implications

Wolter Lemstra

This paper addresses the following questions: what explains the success of 2G-GSM and how can it be applied to create success with 5G in the European Union? The paper first identifies the leadership lessons to be drawn from the success of 2G-GSM in relation to its successors 3G and 4G. Secondly, the contribution describes two stylized images of possible futures of 5G, called “Evolution” and “Revolution”, as input to the policy debate on the options for leadership with 5G. These images reflect two extremes in terms of possible futures of 5G. “Evolution” follows the pattern of previous generations and current trends. “Revolution” represents a clear break with these trends and a path towards leadership with 5G, as it exploits the opportunities of standardized APIs for service creation, being enabled by network virtualization as an architectural foundation of 5G. These open and uniformly applied APIs allow the market entry of a multitude of virtual mobile network operators (VMNOs) serving particular industry verticals or economic sectors with tailored feature sets and qualities of services. They allow a market momentum to be built that constitutes leadership with 5G in Europe.

 

On the Interdependence of the Financial Market and Open Access Spectrum Market in the 5G Network

Juraj Gazda, Peter Tóth, Jana Zausinová, Marcel Vološin, and Vladimír Gazda

Modern 5G networks offer a large space for innovation and a completely new approach to addressing network functioning. A fixed spectrum assignment policy is a significant limitation of today’s wireless communication network practice and is to be replaced by a completely new approach called dynamic spectrum access (DSA). However, there is no general agreement on the organization of the DSA. Some studies suggest that open access market can be inspired by the electricity or financial markets. It allows to treat operators with region coverage as investors entering the market and trading the spectra on an on-demand basis. Because investors operate in both the financial markets and the markets for spectra, new interference between both markets emerges. Our paper shows how the risk-free rate of return stemming from the financial markets influences the techno-economic properties of the network. We show that, for low risk-free returns, the spectrum market becomes oversupplied, which keeps service prices very low and spectrum trading volumes large. In contrast, if risk-free returns are high, then spectrum trading volumes decline, and the market becomes price sensitive; in other words, economic rules begin to work better.

 

On Regulations for 5G: Micro Licensing for Locally Operated Networks

Marja Matinmikkoa, Matti Latva-aho, Petri Ahokangas, and Veikko Seppänen

Future 5G networks aim at providing new high-quality wireless services to meet stringent and case-specific needs of various vertical sectors beyond traditional mobile broadband offerings. 5G is expected to disrupt the mobile communication business ecosystem and open the market to drastically new sharing-based network operational models. 5G technical features of network slicing and small cell deployments in higher carrier frequencies will lower the investment barrier for new entrants to deploy local radio access networks and offer vertical specific services in specific areas and allow them to lease the remaining required infrastructure on demand from mobile network operators (MNO) or infrastructure vendors. To realize the full vision of 5G to benefit the society and promote competition, innovation and emergence of new services when the 5G end-to-end network spans across different stakeholders’ administrative domains, the existing regulations governing the mobile communication business ecosystem are being refined. This paper provides a tutorial overview on how 5G innovations impact mobile communications and reviews the regulatory elements relevant to 5G development for locally deployed networks. This paper expands the recent micro licensing model for local spectrum authorization in future 5G systems and provides guidelines for the development of the key micro licensing elements. This local micro licensing model can open the mobile market by allowing different stakeholders to deploy local small cell networks with locally issued spectrum licenses ensuring pre-defined quality guarantees for the vertical sectors’ case specific needs.