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European Telecoms Standards Institute to World+Dog: please start caring about 5G

Industry verticals, busy trying to make money, aren’t paying attention to the telco biz’s future.

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5G is on the way – no, really, it’s on the way, stop giggling – but outside the telcos and their suppliers, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is having trouble getting industries to care.

That’s a problem, because the business case for 5G depends not only on flogging fast broadband dongles, but flogging low-latency services to industrial Internet of Things applications.

At Broadband World Forum, the chief technology officer of ETSI’s specifications group Adrian Scrase said getting interest from industry verticals – the putative customers that will help push billions of Things into industry – is difficult.

LightReading says he identified factory automation, agriculture and mining industries as problematic.

Without their input, he said, 5G’s roadmap is hard to achieve: “we need actors to work together coherently with this challenging timeline”.

ETSI, he said, isn’t used to dealing with these industries, nor the disparate government departments that are assigned responsibility for them around the world.

With vendors and carriers all trying to plant their own flags in standards as soon as possible, ETSI and the 3GPP are under pressure to finalise their own ideas.

The telco sector is pushing ahead with work in different part of the spectrum – Qualcomm has just announced a 28 GHz chip that will reach sampling next year, a band that Nokia’s also working in, while others like AT&T are pushing the 70-80 GHz band.

This is also worrying for standards-setters, because it’s happening while they’re trying to work through the much slower World Radiocommunication Congress process of international spectrum harmonisation. ®

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