5G and mobile network developments— Emerging issues



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research acma. evidence that informs.

5G and mobile network developments—


Emerging issues


Occasional paper

FEBRUARY 2016



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Executive summary 5

Feedback—tell us what you think 6



1.Are there any additional demand drivers supporting 5G network deployment in Australia not identified in this paper? 6

2.Are there any additional significant enablers or major inhibitors to 5G network deployment in Australia that are not identified in this paper? 6

3.Are there additional regulatory issues around 5G network deployment, relevant to the ACMA’s responsibilities, which are not discussed in this paper? 6

Introduction 7

(R)evolution towards 5G 9

Evolution of mobile networks 9



4.Mobile networks evolution 10

Towards 5G 11



Demand for mobile services 13

5.Demand drivers for improved mobile networks 13

Consumer demand drivers 13

Business demand drivers 16

1.Are there any additional demand drivers supporting 5G network deployment in Australia not identified in this paper? 17

Technological enablers for 5G 18

Technology developments and spectrum efficiency 18



6.Examples of 5G demonstrations at millimetre wave frequencies 19

Network infrastructure and topology 20

Spectrum 22

1.Ensuring spectrum management arrangements for bands expected to be used by mobile broadband services are made under suitable conditions including sufficient licence tenure and technology flexibility. 22

7.Optimisation of arrangements for spectrum already available for mobile broadband services. 23

8.Re-farming (as appropriate) additional spectrum for potential use by mobile broadband services. 23

Other 5G technological enablers 24



9.Are there any additional significant enablers or major inhibitors to 5G network deployment in Australia that are not identified in this paper? 25

Six 5G use cases 26

10.Drivers relevant to the IoT use case 26

11.Drivers relevant to the rich communication services use case 28

12.Drivers relevant to the augmented reality and tactile internet services use case 29

13.Drivers relevant to the vertical industry sectors use case 30

14.Drivers relevant to the ultra-reliable and lifeline communications use case 33

15.Demand drivers relevant to the mobile broadband access everywhere use case 34

5G developments and existing regulatory arrangements 36

Infrastructure 36

Devices 38

Services/applications 39

Content 39

User experience 41



1.Are there additional regulatory issues around 5G network deployment, relevant to the ACMA’s responsibilities, which are not discussed in this paper? 41

Conclusion 42

1.Are there any additional demand drivers supporting 5G network deployment in Australia not identified in this paper? 42

2.Are there any additional significant enablers or major inhibitors to 5G network deployment in Australia that are not identified in this paper? 42

3.Are there additional regulatory issues around 5G network deployment, relevant to the ACMA’s responsibilities, which are not discussed in this paper? 42

Glossary 43


Executive summary


Four years after the initial deployment of 4G networks in Australia, the mobile sector is turning its attention to the specification and development of the next generation of mobile broadband services: 5G or fifth generation mobile.

Australia has benefited from progressive investments and upgrades in mobile network capabilities and service deployments. Successive generations of mobile technologies have been deployed in Australia approximately every ten years. 5G represents the next expected evolution in mobile technologies, with the first commercial deployments in Australia expected from 2020.

There are two defining requirements for 5G that separate it from previous developments. They are its near-zero latency and data rates of 1–10 Gbps.1

These two features support an ‘anytime, anywhere, anyone and anything’ capability of 5G, which is expected to play a role in supporting a wider deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) in Australia.2

This paper uses the 5G characteristics identified in the GSM Association (GSMA) Intelligence’s Understanding 5G: perspectives on future technological advancements in mobile to assess consumer and industry demand, technology developments enabling 5G and potential use cases. These technology characteristics are outlined below.

Specific requirements for 5G (source: GSMA Intelligence)


Data rates 1–10 Gbps connection to end point in the field

Near zero latency: 1 millisecond end-to-end round trip

1,000 times more bandwidth per unit area

10 to 100 times more connected devices

Perception of 99.999 per cent availability and 100 per cent coverage

90 per cent reduction in network energy usage

Up to 10-year battery life for low power, machine-type devices.

The ACMA’s current focus in this area, as outlined in its Corporate plan, is directed towards facilitating access to public resources such as spectrum and telephone numbers, as Australians move to adopt 4G and 5G technologies and make increased use of mobile broadband, machine-to-machine communications and the IoT.3

Enabling the next phase of mobile network development is likely to require the regulator’s attention in a number of areas, including:

facilitation of access to mobile services by allocating resources necessary to allow wireless networks to develop

supporting the international harmonisation of spectrum arrangements to provide economies of scale for manufacturers and provide flow through benefits to Australian consumers arising from lower device costs.

This report examines:

the ongoing development of mobile networks in Australia

expected consumer and business drivers of demand for the next generation of mobile services

the technological developments that will underpin 5G network deployments

use cases that will require 5G in order to be deployed.

The paper also reflects on aspects of existing regulatory arrangements that enable or potentially inhibit the further development and deployment of the next generation of mobile services in Australia.



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