Mid-Term 5G Implementation Strategy for Telecom Operators

Zoltán Kukhely

Student thesis: Master thesis


The next generation of wireless network will drastically change the future of various industries and the society. To provide greater capacity and performance, the end-to-end signalling and process management has to be reconsidered. Using new spectrums, signalling solutions and network virtualisation on cloud infrastructure, telecommunication companies have to build a new network on the top of the currently used 4G appliances. 5G’s complexity is challenging the carriers, regulators and technology vendors all over the World, so they need to collaborate to develop the network effectively. Telecommunication companies play a leading role in the implementation, and they are responsible to target customer segments, and find use cases for application. Building a standalone commercial network is financially expensive, therefore operators might consider to collaborate with municipalities or build the infrastructure together with other operators, depending on their market position and their back- and fronthaul network. Deployment of small cells shall not begin until regulators publish the available frequencies, which heavily influences the developments, test cases and industry collaborations. The main customer focus in the 5G era moves towards the B2B channels, since the new network functionalities are mainly designed for machines. Early engagement of industrial partners enables quick standalone network deployment, creating local access network for industry specific use cases, which generates return in the upcoming years. In contrary, commercial demands are not yet decisive due to the lack of available 5G compatible devices and performance critical applications. Therefore, operators need to focus on industrial applications of 5G and at the same time continuously build 5G appliances in dense areas to serve customer demands when appears. The research shows that the size of the market heavily influences the pace of the innovation and deployment, therefore bigger markets are expected to evolve the network earlier. Operators shall also drive the innovation and create use cases for either commercial, industrial and municipal segments. Hence, involvement of industrial partners, OTT players and start-ups needed either by collaboration or merge and acquisition. While deploying the infrastructure, operators need to consider if solvent demand is in place and ultimately, whether the enhanced 4G network is able to supply the required performance. In conclusion, the 5G implementation have to take place indisputably, however, operators shall avoid too early deployment and also too late commitment to network evolution. Standalone 5G operation enables operators to reduce operating cost by dismounting 4G appliances. Overall, 5G will change the operating and business models of telecom companies, and this transformation requires huge innovation engagement, collaboration across industry boundaries and adaption to demands of different customer segments.

Educations, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages80
SupervisorsQiqi Jiang