The battle is on between the telecom giants to advance their 5G networks. On Monday, T-Mobile US named Nokia to supply it with $3.5 billion in next-generation 5G network gear.
Nokia will provide T-Mobile with its complete end-to-end 5G technology, software and services portfolio, assisting “the Un-carrier” in its efforts to bring its 5G network to market for customers “in the critical first years of the 5G cycle,” the companies said in a press release.
“This is our largest 5G deal to date, in fact it’s one of our largest-ever deals,” Nokia’s global marketing chief, Phil Twist, told CNBC. “This is reinforcing the fact that we see 5G accelerating to market in Q3 and ramping up in Q4.”
Last week, Verizon announced plans to launch 5G technology in Houston starting in the second half of the year, after previously announcing it would do the same in Sacramento and Los Angeles as part of its plan to deliver residential 5G broadband service to certain U.S. markets.
“With 5G we are ushering in a fourth industrial revolution that will help reshape cities and lead to unprecedented innovation, and Houston will be at the forefront of that innovation,” Verizon’s incoming CEO, Hans Vestberg, said in a press release.
In its race to compete, AT&T on July 20 announced plans to begin introducing mobile 5G to customers in a dozen cities this year, adding Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City as the next three identified cities for the company’s buildout. AT&T previously announced it would bring mobile 5G to Dallas, Atlanta and Waco.
“No company in the world is better at building networks than AT&T,” Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T technology and operations, said in a press release. “It’s why we’re building America’s first mobile 5G network as well as FirstNet, the country’s nationwide public safety broadband platform dedicated to first responders.”
Experts expect the fifth-generation of wireless broadband technology will bring an exponential increase in data bandwidth capacity. With the new technology, enthusiasts hope for new capabilities, such as remote surgery, and they expect 5G to make certain technological revolutions, such as autonomous vehicles, more practical and realistic.
Many of these applications depend on ultra-low latency and an ultra-high level of consistent data throughput. According to Jim Poole, Vice President for Global Ecosystem Development at Equinix, these futuristic applications could mean a shift in how cellular networks are deployed.
“To best prepare for 5G, companies need to move IT to the edge of the network, close to the users who are actually consuming these services,” Poole writes in a Network World op-ed. “That’s going to require a shift in mindset that puts the edge, and interconnection, at the center of network design.”
What this means is, in a typical city neighborhood, dozens of shoebox-sized small cells might be mounted on public infrastructure, like telephone poles and street lights. In less populated areas, operators will need to significantly increase the density of existing networks by building macro cell sites along the way.