Mobile and wearable devices have ushered in an entirely new wave of content innovation, sparking the need for improved network connectivity. Verizon is responding to the call by leading the charge for 5G adoption and challenging its competitors to do the same.
The University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) defines 5G as the "flexible infrastructure capable of handling our ever-increasing demand for mobile data and providing connectivity for future technologies such as the Internet of Things." This rapidity of media consumption now represents an opportunity to expand upon the present nature of telecom customer relationships.
Last September, the company announced its plans to start field trials on 5G technology, with the goal of making it widely available by 2017. It intends to expand mobile broadband capabilities to keep pace with and inevitably exceed the need for faster, more reliable connectivity. In fact, the company estimates that 5G connectivity will be 30-50x faster than its current 4G LTE network, thereby enabling consumers to download full-length feature films in mere seconds, not minutes.
According to Ericsson, one of Verizon's innovation partners, mobile broadband subscriptions will grow to 7.7 billion by 2020, up from 2.9 billion in 2014, while mobile video traffic will experience 13x growth between 2014 and 2020. Such dramatic growth underscores the need to explore and develop 5G technologies, for this next-era network will offer users added speed and flexibility, thus revolutionizing how both humans and their devices interact.
Developers in other countries, however, are also well on their way when it comes to 5G expansion. Leaders in South Korea hope to deploy 5G capabilities in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and Japanese providers hope to roll out 5G by or before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. But, despite this clear desire to deliver innovation with rapid speed, it's still difficult for any company in the space to pinpoint precisely how 5G will evolve within these development stages alone, which teams will truly lead this impending technological revolution, and how 5G will alter the mobile dynamic for good.
Here 1to1 Media speaks with Adam Koeppe, vice president of network technology planning at Verizon, to understand how the major telecom provider plans to lead this impending shift within the industry, and how 5G will change how everyone and everything connects in the future:
1to Media: How will 5G capabilities differ from what's available to consumers today?
Adam Koeppe: Like with prior evolutionary shifts, we expect the customer experience to improve. Significantlyfaster speeds, lower latency for real-time services, and significantly rapid scalability are all cornerstones of 5G. We expect it to build on the robust capabilities of 4G LTE and, as thetechnologyevolves, it will open up new innovation that isn't even seen today.
1to1: How have content consumption, social experiences, and the Internet of Things influenced the discussion around network improvements and changes?
AK: Content consumption has evolved in recent years. The demand for video and the always-connected social media require increasing capabilities. We've upgraded thenetwork with consistent capital investment to accommodate the increasing usage demands of our customers. Like we've seen in the past, usage will go up, driven by video consumption on apps like Go90, social media will continue to drive both upload and download volume, andthe Internet of Things will require theability to handle exponentially more Internet-connected devices. Future network design has to take all this into account and that's exactly what we've done with 4G LTE and will continue to do with 5G.
1to1: How has the overall telecom industry responded to this impending shift?
AK: Telecom as a whole continues to grow network density to meet demand. Fiber has become a critical asset for wireless backhaul and we've aggressively deployed it. In addition, services need scale and rapid provisioning. Verizon's network density execution and software-defined network path has enabled us to stay ahead ofthe growth.
1to1: More specifically, how has Verizon responded to this shift? What actions has the brand already taken to prepare for this change?
AK: We've been aggressively deploying network solutions to meet customer demand-small cells, in-building systems, and DAS systems continue to be a huge part of our network plan. We've also migrated core elements to virtualized applications, which helps dramatically with scale andprovisioning timeframes. On the 5G front,sandboxes have been created in Verizon's Waltham, Mass., and San Francisco Innovation Centers. We're conducting field trials this year to kick the tires on some early innovations from our technology partners. Just like in the early days of the development of 4G LTE technology, collaborating in a shared environment will help shape the landscape, define technical parameters, andfoster compelling applications faster.
1to1: What steps are necessary for telecoms to take in order to preserve customer satisfaction and loyalty during this transition?
AK: Throughout any network upgrade or change, maintaining reliability is a must. We are better than anyone at that. And you have to stayahead of demand with the latest and greatest network. Be aggressive. Don't wait for technology-drive it.
To learn more about how Verizon and its partners are working together to drive 5G innovations, watch the video below: