Mobile - 5G and beyond
If you have a need for:
Advisor Video - bringing your vision to life, in the language of customers and investors
(subject to regulatory compliance)
Principal consultancy - Telecom Technology, Strategy and Business
Speaking engagement - 5G Society and Beyond
Investor network (no endorsements, promotions or brokerage - if I see a match, I connect you for free)
… then I can help! Email LS@LSfuture.com or Call / WhatsApp / iMessage +46 7220 94273.
Why 5G++ Matters
This has been my life for 22 years, from programming the protocols that set off the entire mobile data revolution in the 90s (still used today) to the follow-through as product manager and heading the practice into the big global markets. I could talk about this all day. Instead, I will highlight a one interesting point that is largely overlooked and that might fundamentally change our society - once again.
Not only user service is different
Where 5G is different from previous generations of networks from a user perspective is fairly well understood. New applications are enabled, extremely low-cost, low-power, long-lifetime, always-on devices that can replace much of the short-range communication of today (Cat-M1, NB-IoT etc). At the same time, sub-millisecond latency and 10+ Gbps services can enable another new category of services and applications. That much is clear.
What is overlooked, however, is another factor. As the spectrum moves up into higher frequencies, two things change: As the spectrum bandwidth in GHz gets bigger, we get more data bandwidth in Gbit/s. Secondly, and that is where it gets really interesting, the signal travels shorter distance (which is why the “5G causes cancer” movement is more off than usual, since the signal actually penetrates less). Consequently, cell size will be smaller. In turn, that means that same spectrum can be reused more times in the same area, serving different people at the same time.
A Shared Resource, such as radio, is capacity limited
A fiber is a dedicated resource. Adding a second fiber to another person doesn’t reduce the bandwidth to the first person. But mobile data is a shared resource in each cell. Doubling the amount of users in a cell cuts the maximum bandwidth to each user by half (approximately). This is what has limited mobile networks from completely replacing fixed networks.
But with 5G and beyond, the network will have more capacity, i.e. total network bandwidth. Much more.
The end of Mega-cities?
In fact, it will be so much capacity, that I think it will impact society yet again, because another tech trend is happening at the same time: Better digital interface technologies (see VR&AR). Put together, I think these 5G + VR/AR will radically lessen both the practical and emotional necessity to live near our colleagues and friends.
First we humans lived spread-out, because we needed to farm in different places and we didn’t want to travel far to the field.
Secondly we moved into one spot, cities, because we needed to go to the same factory, and later we had to go to the same office in order to sit around a conference table and look at the whiteboard, or chit chat at the coffee machine, and socialize with friends after work.
I think there will come a 3rd phase, where we start spreading out again, enabled by the higher bandwidth mobile technologies that give better VR&AR devices the bandwidth capacity they need.
If you could truly live wherever you like on the planet and still do the same work, plus you find that your social life largely happens in “VR social media” anyway, would you buy an expensive condo in a city suburb, or go live on the beach?
The answer is not obvious, but maybe inner city real estate prices won’t always continue up, and maybe there is a solution in sight for city pollution. I wouldn’t mind the beach personally, but we are not there yet.
Technology Leadership & Perseverance
In every radical technology and society change, there are opportunities to flip old truths. Rather than focusing on today’s competitors, there will be people carving out new monopolies.
I’ve tried to embody the term “Technology Leadership” for two decades. That is where the fun it tech lives. Don’t be a follower, it is dull. Let them copy behind you. When you see yourself copied, you know you are winning.
I am eager to work with other thought leaders in the industry, who have enough perseverance to stick around until real value, to real customers, at scale, is achieved. It is always a long journey, and a rewarding one.
Anders Larsson, M.Sc.
Founder LS Future Technology AB
Formerly Ericsson Head of Mobile Broadband Practice in Southeast Asia and Oceania and many other roles