Maximise 5G potential to avoid hype

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The industry can create a better 5G through collaboration, says BT’s Watson

Industry must strike a balance between competing for customers and rolling out 5G

The mobile industry needs to pull together to maximise the full potential of 5G so it avoids being just hype, according to BT.

BT chief technology innovation officer Howard Watson made the admission during a keynote speech at Huawei’s Global Mobile Broadband Forum, while also outlining the company’s strategy for 5G.

“Telecoms companies can play a part in collaborating together in working towards a better 5G, in particular working together on trials and efficiency,” he said. “Although we’ll compete on customer propositions, it’s important that as an industry we work together.

“It’s all about simplicity and giving the customers the ability to always be connected, otherwise it runs the risk of being too complicated.”

BT, which owns EE, the UK’s largest mobile network, held live 5G trials in London last month. The company has also unveiled plans to launch the technology in 16 cities in 2019, including London, Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow.

Watson said the trials have allowed BT to identify the practical challenges involved in deploying 5G, particularly in dense urban environments.

Integrated

Watson claimed BT is the only operator in the UK to provide a “truly integrated smart network”, with 5G set to be at the heart of this.

He also spoke of BT’s aim to reduce poor connectivity and provide customers with a near-perfect signal.

“We are aspiring towards giving customer 100 per cent connectivity all the time,” he said. “That focus on convergence and connectivity is at the heart of BT’s strategy. Future networks need to be intelligently designed to provide the best end-to-end experience.”

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