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Proponents claim that 5G will be unlike any other mobile standard to date; a technology that could revolutionise not just everyday communications but entire industries and public services like automotive, healthcare and utilities. 5G-equipped driverless cars, e-healthcare and smart power will certainly happen. However, they are also a long way off. It may not be until 2025 that we all truly experience the value of 5G – or longer.

That’s because not only is 5G complex but it will host multiple services and applications, with high speed broadband and the Internet of Things among them. To achieve economies of scale a lot of countries will have to agree – or at least compromise – on spectrum allocation and harmonisation. To make strategic decisions a clear view of likely demand and how to meet it and the business models that take into account the changing requirements of operators, vendors and end users, and new stakeholders and value chains. It also requires an assessment of the role of existing 2G, 3G, LTE and WiFi assets during the transition to 5G.

To tackle 5G then will mean understanding not just technology but markets, economics and investment strategy. Our role is to bring all these worlds together in our analysis and offer insights on that basis.

We have already demonstrated this capability as part of the 5G Novel Radio Multi service adaptive network Architecture (NORMA) project, for which we joined a consortium of leading companies and academic groups as part of an initiative to help define 5G, its end-to-end architecture and its potential benefits.

We have played – and continue to play – a key role in identifying value propositions that define the direction of technical specifications and the all-important business case that will be essential in generating investment for 5G development.

This experience has put us in a unique position among wireless consultants. We have the vision, technical expertise and experience to see 5G in context and to assess, sometimes critically, official policy or pronouncements.

Perhaps most importantly, we are independent wireless experts with experience in delivering 3G and 4G networks and the economics, regulation and standards behind them. We can assess where 5G is going because we know where it came from.

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