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Mobile bosses question cost of 5G

Are we being realistic about the rollout of 5G and, more specifically, how to pay for it? Company bosses have some divergent views on the topic.

According to a report in The Register, BT CEO Gavin Patterson is struggling to make the business case for rolling out 5G in the UK. The BT boss, speaking at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London, said “I talk to other CEOs around the world... and we’ve all been struggling a little bit to make the business case work.”

Maybe one of those executives was Vodafone CTO Johan Wibergh who, speaking at the same event, said that providers need to be more realistic about 5G goals.

The cost of rolling out 5G is not going to be cheap. After paying for licences, operators still have to lay down the 5G infrastructure. “. "We've got to finish the job on 4G, and we've got to make sure we get the return on investment [on that]."

No delay

But Russell Crampin, UK Managing Director of Axians, says that the technology should not be delayed. “t is crucial that that the telecoms industry works together to bring the undoubted benefits of 5G to consumers and businesses on schedule. Delaying any rollout of 5G in the UK will see us fall behind other European countries, which we cannot allow with the impending Brexit deadline. This will be critical for UK companies as the wider benefits of 5G will extend far beyond just increased bandwidth.

The Axians' approach echoes that of the government’s: the Conservative administration is very keen to talk up the importance of the technology, just last month it announced a competition to promote 5G.

Crampin stressed the importance of 5G to the deployment of IoT in the UK. “A good example of this high capacity, low latency, high availability set of requirements can be seen in the context of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) architectures. This goes beyond the requirements of smart navigation that exists in many cars today, signalling the road towards automated driving as well as road safety and traffic efficiency services,” he said.