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September 24, 2018

MWCA18 in Review: 5G Tech on Display .

    MWCA18 in Review: 5G Tech on Display


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    Tom Sawanobori
    Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer

    As a network engineer, one of my favorite parts of Mobile World Congress is hitting the show floor to see all the latest demos and technology innovations. With the launch of 5G just around the corner, this year’s MWCA was particularly abuzz.

    Equipment manufacturers such as Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung are providing the network architecture to power 5G networks. The companies were all on hand to show off the latest small cell technologies and the high throughput and low latency capabilities that will become a hallmark of the next generation of wireless through ultra-high definition video, holograms, and robotic control demos.

    I also saw the latest 5G-enabled hardware, including the first 5G home routers which are already being introduced, concepts for 5G mobile devices—which will begin to launch next year—and even AI-powered robots!

    Companies like Qualcomm and Intel are enabling many of these 5G-powered devices through innovative technologies, including advanced chip sets. Both companies demoed various use cases for 5G wireless at MWCA. Qualcomm shared extensive ecosystem partnerships along with plans for connected cars, industrial automation and artificial intelligence. Intel showed off the future of media, gaming and entertainment with demos from the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament, where they trialed 5G by streaming 4K video live over 5G radios.

    Gaming and high-definition video were a common theme throughout the week—these applications will be some of the earliest to be enabled by 5G networks. VR and AR demos were popular features on the floor—I even tried one that had me riding a VR horse that galloped when I pedaled a stationary bicycle!

    Wireless providers shared the latest on their 5G commercial launches—both for fixed and mobile service. The first 5G networks are expected in the next few weeks! It’s an exciting time and I’m proud of the way the industry has risen to this challenge, competing to offer 5G solutions to consumers across the country.

    Off the show floor, John Saw of Sprint, Nicki Palmer of Verizon, Neville Ray of T-Mobile and Andre Feutsch of AT&T discussed their plans for the future of 5G on the CTO panel. In addition to their market strategies, they spoke about the mix of low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum they plan to employ to power their 5G networks, and about the exciting use cases that 5G promises.

    All in all, it was an inspiring week at MWCA seeing the wireless industry’s most cutting-edge technologies. The 5G future is dawning and I can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring.

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