back to article EU operators’ 5G manifesto misses the point

Never before have events coincided so neatly to demonstrate the gap between mobile operators’ thinking about 5G, and how future networks will really be deployed for disruptive effect. While Europe’s leading MNOs were presenting a backwards-looking "5G Manifesto" to the European Commission, veiling pleas for net neutrality …

  1. Roland6 Silver badge

    With much gushing about over-the-top-networks and statements like:

    "Network slicing is the great 5G disruptor. It creates the ability to dial up virtual, dedicated slices of the network, on-demand, for a particular customer or application, optimized for that usage – and dial them down again when no longer required."

    I wonder whether the author actually understands a key issue raised in the 5G Manifesto, namely, that to provide anything other than a standardised consumer-grade QoS to over-the-top-networks or to network slices, potentially changes will need to be made to network neutrality.

    I suspect the key question is whether network neutrality rules apply to the carrier/bearer service or just to a specific Internet connection. Ie. On my mobile all streams over the mobile broadband network have to be treated equally, but my device can have a much lower standing with the network and hence can be dropped if a higher value/priority over-the-top/network-slice service wants the bandwidth.

    This combined with a clear lack of any real business understanding (for example, the key preoccupations of the MNOs are the preoccupations of any business intending to deploy/upgrade infrastructure) makes the article an irritating read.

    1. Commswonk

      Roland6: I am puzzled as to why someone should give you a downvote for your post, so I have done what little I can to offset it.

      This combined with a clear lack of any real business understanding (for example, the key preoccupations of the MNOs are the preoccupations of any business intending to deploy/upgrade infrastructure) makes the article an irritating read.

      While almost a statement of the obvious it obviously needed saying; if the MNOs are going to commit a lot of capital to providing 5G networks then expecting a return on the investment is perfectly reasonable. How could anyone ever think otherwise?

      As to an irritating read it came extremely close to TL;DR here.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right on!

    Learning of the European Commission's "Targeted consultation on the co-ordinated introduction of 5G networks in Europe" on Saturday, two days before it closed, I took it upon myself to respond as a consumer. Clearly, they were not looking for my input: it's framed on the assumption that consumers will get what The Market (or those players in it that have the Commission's ear) deems they want, and like it. So many of the questions were along the lines of "5G may or may not be able to do such-and-such a thing. Are you, dear respondent, prepared to shell out to see whether it can? And would it help if we gave you a bung or preferential treatment?" But the whole point, as the article says, is that, if "5G", which seems rather fixated on high-bandwidth usages, does not address other requirements in a timely manner, a whole succession of end runs will be made around it to meet particular emerging needs. This may or may not be a good thing. In particular, I'm not sure that I like the new bosses listed any more than I like the old bosses.

  3. Anonymous Blowhard

    Sounds like the MNOs have a real problem here; what's the point in investing billions of Pounds/Euros/Dollars in infrastructure if you don't have a concrete plan for getting your money back?

    Companies like Google and Facebook talk a good fight on "network neutrality", but infrastructure has to be paid for so it's either by the direct model (i.e. user pays for service with money) or the indirect model in which operator pays by selling user's data/privacy.

    Punter dials 999:

    Google Network: Before we connect you, here are some advertisements that might be relevant to your call today, you can bypass these messages in thirty seconds...

    1. GrumpenKraut
      Coat

      > Google Network: Before we connect you, here are some advertisements that might be relevant to your call today, you can bypass these messages in thirty seconds...

      Then, after the ads,

      - are you in the process of being murdered? press 31415926535

      - is your hair on fire? press 16180339887

      - would you like a lovely pizza delivered to your house? press 1

      - do you want to talk to a human operator? press 27182818284590452353602874

      - (etc.)

    2. Commswonk

      Companies like Google and Facebook talk a good fight on "network neutrality", but infrastructure has to be paid for...

      I wonder how much they are offering to pay towards up - front development and installation costs. If nothing then I suggest they are cordially invited to take a hike.

      I finished up with the distinct feeling that the over the top operators are trying to parasitise on the MNOs before the 5G networks even exist.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We don't 'need' 5G

    We haven't even deployed the highest speed LTE variations yet, let alone deployed them widely. If some operators don't believe they can make money from and don't want to invest in 5G (or they hope refusing to give it to us like a little kid holding his breath will make us give in on net neutrality) that's fine.

    Some operators will invest, or new ones will appear who do so, and to the extent that people really need that kind of speed for mobile data (something I'm skeptical of) 5G will be available, and those who decided against investing will lose out in the marketplace.

    I suspect 5G will be mostly about provided fixed wireless broadband, and less so about mobile devices. Given that we can already exceed 100 Mbps on LTE and we haven't even exhausted what it can do yet, I fail to see the point of 5G for mobile devices. Where does a need for 100 Mbps data ever come in, aside from short bursts to sync with a cloud or download that giant powerpoint attachment a second or two more quickly? HD video only requires 3-5 Mbps, and while 4K may come to the big screen there is ZERO point to having it on a 5" display even if that 5" display is 4K. Even if you did that's far short of 100 Mbps, and unlike with a home broadband connection where multiple people might be watching different things at once you only watch one thing at a time on your phone. We certainly don't need the multi gigabit data rates 5G proponents are talking about on a phone. Any phone.

    We'd be better off improving the usage of the spectrum we have today by phasing out 2G and repurposing those frequencies, and using beamforming and MIMO to improve the directionality and enable more overlapping use per tower. The idea that 15, 30 or even 60 GHz spectrum will be useful for mobile devices is silly - heck 60 GHz has trouble getting very far in fog, let alone rain, let alone through any outside wall of a building. 15 GHz should be OK in the rain at typical distances from the tower but still is blocked by buildings and trees. It'll be great in Kansas, not so much in NYC unless there's a transmitter on top of every traffic light (and even then would only work outside) That's why it really only has a future for fixed wireless, despite the hype.

    1. D@v3

      Re: We don't 'need' 5G

      Hell. There are a lot of places that still don't have a satisfactory 3G deployment. If we are talking mobile, as in phones, then from my experience a Good 3G connection is fine for most things (reading well formatted web pages, email, maps / directions, "social networking").

      Don't get me wrong, 4G is good, and much better for things like video, but how about we look at finishing one roll out before moving onto the next.

  5. Charles 9 Silver badge

    But 2G still has its uses for low-power, low-data applications like embedded devices (IoT).

    Anyway, my current beef is all this talk of priorities and so on. What happens in say a very crowded city when the spectrum gets saturated? Neutrality insists on equal time because otherwise people get left out which is unequal treatment of citizens and so on, whereas prioritization takes the capitalist approach, allowing those who can afford it to buy better access by shelling out more money. The MNO's are in the troublesome position of having to find a way to keep as many customers as possible and minimize defections but caught between Scylla and Charybdis in that, no matter what choices they make, they'll lose customers and money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Newer standards are lower power than 2G, and for more bulk data the quicker it is sent the less time the radio needs to be active.

      The solution to spectrum saturation is to retire old standards like 2G, and reuse that spectrum.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022