5Qs on 5G: With Tele2

CTIO Joachim Horn

Self-professed “challenger” Tele2 wants to make 5G about more than speed. Sure, speed and low latency are good to have, but the operator has its eye on exploiting flexible networking technlogies to create a personal, virtual, optimised network for each user.

CTIO Joachim Horn spoke to Inside5G about how the company is aiming to keep up with the competition for the next-generation.

What is the purpose of Tele2 in terms of 5G?

We want to build on the success of LTE and make sure that a 5G standard becomes an even greater success than LTE. To achieve that, we are engaging in the operator initiative Next Generation Mobile Network NGMN, which works on defining the operator requirements as an input to standardisation and development of such technologies.

The operators in NGMN represent more than 50% of all mobile subscribers worldwide. NGMN has already been successful in putting down the requirements for 4G/LTE nine years ago.

What is your focus?

“we are … becoming much more user and application focussed”

In 5G we are moving our focus from being network centric to becoming much more user and application focussed. While 4G has proven to be a far superior technology both from user experience and production efficiency compared to any other technology before, it still is one network for all kinds of use cases.

Recently, the number of use cases have dramatically increased, spanning from internet browsing over video streaming, cloud based services, medical and financial applications, real time applications like self driving cars to M2M and IoT, just to name a few.

“5G will have to become … a personal virtual optimised network for each user”

Therefore 5G will have to become much more flexible to identify the use case and user behaviour and then instantly assign exactly the resources and performance needed for that use case, practically creating a personal, virtual, optimised network for each user .

What are your targets in terms of output and results?

“5G will not be another speed race”

5G will not be another speed race , competing about how much MBit/s or even GBit/s will be possible. We can hear those claims already today, but this is not what we are looking for!

Of course we will need much higher capacities and speed at lower cost and energy consumption, but instead of talking about theoretical speed we will much more focus on the realistic user performance dependent on the use case and the environment a user is in.

“cost and energy efficiency … is of particular importance for us as a very cost efficient operator”

For that NGMN has identified around 26 potential use cases in its recently released 5G White Paper and put down operators requirements for user experience, performance and cost and energy efficiency, which is of particular importance for us as a very cost efficient operator. The white paper is intended as an input to standardisation bodies and system vendors to develop 5G.

Standardisation is about to start during this year, first trials will potentially happen during 2018, 2019 and 2020 has been identified as a realistic date to see the first networks launched.

Who are you collaborating with and why?

Through NGMN we are working with the whole ecosystem, like GSMA, standardisation bodies, system and device vendors and universities and research institutes.

“seamless roaming worldwide for our customers”

It will be a global standard, there for all regions are actively involved from operator perspective. Only by that we can achieve economies of scale and ensure seamless roaming worldwide for our customers.

What technology is of particular interest and what are the biggest challenges for this?

“LTE air interface will very likely become also a part of 5G”

There will be many technologies, but to name a few: LTE air interface will very likely become also a part of 5G, we have not yet exploited its potential and we will see many improvement steps in the next years in LTE. By making LTE also part of 5G we can ensure a smooth and cost efficient migration. There may be a few additional radio standards included to address in particular very high frequency bands.

Other technologies will be massive MIMO, NFV and cloud based architecture. The latter two will be key to realise the vision of a virtual optimised network per use case.

“main challenge is to leave the technology focus and design 5G from an end user and application perspective”

The main challenge is to design 5G from an end user and application perspective, instead of having a technology focus. That is a new approach and will take a while until it has been embraced by the whole industry. But the initial feedback is very positive!

Follow us on Twitter @Inside5G