Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Germany: On the right path for 5G leadership

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 18 November 20

In this morning’s keynote session at Connected Germany, a range of expert speakers shared their views surrounding Germany’s 5G future

One of the things we have all seen this year is a huge increase in data consumption. While this is largely driven by the changes forced upon us by the coronavirus pandemic, the industry broadly agrees that 5G will see data demand skyrocket even further in the coming years. The greatly increased capacity of 5G will unlock numerous new services, many of which have never been seen before. For Mallik Rao, CTIO at Telefonica Germany, speaking at this year's Connected Germany, video-related services will be a key driver for 5G network innovation.  “The video traffic will continue to increase and, in the next three-to-five years when we begin to get the augmented and virtual reality applications…

One of the things we have all seen this year is a huge increase in data consumption. While this is largely driven by the changes forced upon us by the coronavirus pandemic, the industry broadly agrees that 5G will see data demand skyrocket even further in the coming years.

The greatly increased capacity of 5G will unlock numerous new services, many of which have never been seen before. For Mallik Rao, CTIO at Telefonica Germany, speaking at this year's Connected Germany, video-related services will be a key driver for 5G network innovation. 

“The video traffic will continue to increase and, in the next three-to-five years when we begin to get the augmented and virtual reality applications, these will need to go closer to the edge, closer to the customer,” he said. “I think these types of new applications will bring on a significant change – for support, for services, for connected cars. These will really need edge compute capabilities.”

But delivering the additional capacity required to support these services will be no easy task. Part of the discussion that took place on the panel focussed on the concept of micro versus macro sites, particularly regarding the associated costs. 

Due to their scale, microcell networks are expensive, with Hermann Rodler, CTO at M-net Telekommunikations, suggesting that they were still around seven-times more expensive to deploy than traditional macrocell networks. However, this is not the whole story, with microsites having some considerable cost-savings when it comes to acquiring permits.

“You have permitting costs of around €10,000 for a macro site – and you don’t even have approval yet!” said Rodler. “With a microcell below 10W you don’t need approval from the Bundesnetzagentur. So, if you remove the permitting costs, the microcell networks become commercially even with the macrocell networks.”

Furthermore, getting permission for a macro site is often a challenge, I part due to the proliferation of misinformation surrounding 5G.

“This is not a rational issue,” he said. “With rational people you could convince them in 10 minutes [that 5G antennas are not dangerous]. But this is an emotional issue, and you can’t address emotions with rationality. So, the only thing that helps is if people don’t see it – because what you don’t see doesn’t exist.”