All change: how 5G will shake up spectrum management

Although the technology underpinning 5G is still in development, it is likely to offer additional capacity and efficiency in the radio access network much as preceding generations have. However, with ever-growing traffic demand, challenging competition, and the rise of OTT services, operators are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain healthy business margins. There is uncertainty therefore over how viable the business case for 5G will be, without the types of new services introduced by 3G or the cost savings brought about by LTE. To enable commercial success, 5G will need to be more than just an incremental upgrade; we envisage a mesh of interconnected technologies driving a new digital services ecosystem. Understanding how these technologies will interact will depend on a clear picture of trends in traffic growth – not just in aggregate, but looking at each service and its requirements separately.