5G | Broadband/Network | Emerging Trends | Infrastructure
November 28, 2016

Wireless carriers and auto makers seek common ground on 5G standards

By Roger Lanctot:

5G wireless technology has become a little like fully automated cars. Nearly every day some new study is forecasting an earlier than previously anticipated arrival of fully autonomous cars, while some respected expert is claiming full automation is decades away.

With 19 automated fleets already plying controlled-use areas, I am inclined to buy the early onset assessment of automation vs. the over-the-horizon outlook from skeptics.

The same holds true for 5G. But there is a separate scenario within the cellular industry, where generational transitions can, indeed, take many years to complete.

Disagreement among wireless experts can influence implementation outcomes. The resulting confusion threatens to impede the adoption of new technologies as car makers, in particular, may cling to more familiar solutions.

Could 5G come sooner than predicted?

In the case of 5G, forecasts of distant vs. near-term adoption have given some auto makers pause in their planning for implementing embedded connections. Why bother with LTE, the thinking goes, if 5G is just around the corner. Conversely, an equally valid thought process might be: “Best to put in LTE now, because 5G adoption is so far off.” It all depends on what you believe.

The crazy reality is that both viewpoints are accurate. 5G cellular technology is much closer to market implementation and adoption than most people believe, but that adoption will be spotty and regional, even if it is rapid. The good news is that 5G is an evolution of existing LTE technology so the transition should be less jarring than previous generational shifts.

Car makers more involved in 5G standards

Most interesting of all as far as 5G is concerned is the involvement of the automotive industry in setting and testing the standard.

For the first time auto makers and wireless carriers are actually seeking common ground around the creation of the new standard. In fact, the priorities of auto makers are in the forefront as the use cases are particularly suited to safety and smart city applications.

The full, original version of this excerpted post was published on the Strategy Analytics blog. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of ITU.

Roger Lanctot
As Associate Director in the Global Automotive Practice at Strategy Analytics, Roger Lanctot (@rogermud) has a powerful voice in the definition of future trends in automotive safety, powertrain, and infotainment systems. Roger draws on 25 years’ experience in the technology industry as an analyst, journalist and consultant. Roger has conducted and participated in major industry studies, created new research products and services, and advised clients on strategy and competitive issues throughout his career. Some consider Roger the Kevin Bacon of the connected car industry as evidenced by his wide LinkedIn and Twitter following and his frequent speaking and blogging activities on critical industry issues impacting critical topics such as vehicle safety, fuel efficiency and traffic. Roger is a graduate of Dartmouth College.
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