5G networks launched before 2020 will be “rudimentary”

Telefonica’s Network & Infrastructure Strategy Director Javier Guttierrez has warned that the earliest 5G networks might be “very rudimentary”.

This is according to TotalTelecom, who published a story referencing conversations that Guttierez had with journalists at Agencia EFE. Guttierrez suggested that operators who chose to rush 5G deployment in 2019 will probably need to change hardware at a later date as the technology won’t be up-to-scratch.

Telefonica (O2) recently managed to secure the largest chunk of new mobile airwaves in the UK. Blocks of both the 2.3GHz airwaves (primarily designed for boosting 4G connectivity) and 3.4GHz airwaves (reserved for 5G) were put up for auction in April 2018.

O2 successfully bidded for all of the available 2.3GHz blocks, signalling perhaps their commitment to improving 4G, before rushing into 5G. Only 77% of network users in the UK consistently have access to 4G, according to OpenSignal’s State of LTE report.

All four UK mobile operators have bought airwaves in the 3.4Ghz spectrum, ready to build the foundations for 5G. BT owned EE has claimed that it’ll be the first to deploy 5G, in 2019.

It seems that there are still many unknowns when it comes to 5G, with the major mobile operators adopting different strategies for its eventual deployment. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not EE’s decision to push 5G early will pay off and whether the technology will be ready in time to operate at scale.

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