At 5G World in London operators were in agreement that the industry needs to stop having panic attacks about the business case for 5G and just get on with it.
The CTOs of both Swisscom and Three UK both expressed frustration at the apparent tendency of many in the industry to wait for a killer business case before going all-in on 5G. Since 5G is inevitable and the eventual ROI seems beyond dispute, why not just get on with it now. ‘Sh*t or get off the pot,’ they seemed to be saying.
Heinz Herren of Swisscom and Bryn Jones of Three were joined in a panel moderated by Gabriel Brown of Heavy Reading by the brilliantly-named Constantine Polychronopoulos, CTO of the Telco NFV Group at VMware and the latter concurred that 5G is a ‘do or die’ situation. It’s not a matter of if, but when, so get on with it already.
One of the main reasons for hesitation, presumably, is the presumed capex spike that it will entail, but all three of the panel were sceptical about that objection too. Herren doesn’t see the sub-millimetre wave upgrade to 5G requiring significant additional capex and Jones compared network upgrading to painting the Forth Bridge in so much as it’s a constant, rolling, substitutional process so the capex is already baked in.
They did concede some areas are going to cost a bit extra, such as massive MIMO antennas, additional need for fibre and the cost of buying, placing and servicing small cells. Herren and Jones both concurred that having as good and active a relationship as possible with vendor partners is vital. You can read more about the capex discussion at Light Reading here.