ITU regions take different paths to 5G
Jun 22, 2018 by Manuel R. Marti


The story of 5G is yet to be written. To some, 5G is a brave concept. But to many, 5G is a revolutionary technology set to transform mobility, manufacturing and entertainment, among other sectors.

At industry trade events and conferences, legislators, vendors and engineers line up to share their latest visions and these usually tend to end up in disagreements. But there seems to be a reasonable level of consensus regarding the initial role 5G will play in each ITU region.

In the Americas, the industry has concentrated its efforts on providing last mile fixed networks. Relying on millimetre wave spectrum, US mobile operator Verizon is on track to provide fixed wireless access to its customers before the end of this year.

Asia, meanwhile, aims to unlock the full potential of 5G by focusing on enhanced mobile broadband. Greater bandwidth and high-capacity connections appear to have bigger relevance, as they would power newer applications like virtual reality, mixed reality or immersive gaming which are set to be really popular in the region.

Europe remains patient. Lawmakers might be waiting for other countries to provide a first indication of the difficulties and uses of 5G before they make their move. Although many have criticised Europe’s hesitant position, the European Commission believes that 5G will be a key asset for a societal and economic transformation, leading to the fourth industrial revolution and impacting multiple sectors.

Which region has taken the right approach? It’s clearly too early to say. Will 5G measure up to the aspirations attached to it in different parts of the world? The industry promoting it hopes so…