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Nokia Execs Talk The State of 5G In The US

A fragmented approach to spectrum availability, coupled with rigid albeit changing siting regulations for wireless infrastructure, are impediments to the deployment of 5G in the U.S., according to Rick Corker, Nokia’s president of North America. And aside from the economic benefits associated with 5G, deployment is an imperative in terms of keeping up with accelerating demand for mobile data.

Speaking with media during Mobile World Congress Americas, Corker and Mike Murphy, Nokia’s CTO for North America, discussed opportunities and challenges U.S. operators should expect as they move to scale out early 5G deployments.

“North America is in a great position,” Corker said. “When we look at 5G, the architecture of 5G is going to be fundamentally different from 4G. Every part of the network is going to change.” In breaking down the global competitive landscape, the executive noted progress in Japan, Korea and China. “What’s unique about the U.S. compared to other markets is we have a very fragmented 5G spectrum portfolio.”

For instance, Verizon will launched its initial 5G service–a residential broadband service that will go live Oct. 1–using 28 GHz millimeter wave spectrum. AT&T is tapping high-band frequencies for its standards-based mobile 5G service due out by year-end. Sprint, for its part, is hinging a lot of its 5G ambitions on 2.5 GHz and T-Mobile US is promising nationwide coverage with its 600 MHz holdings.

As it relates to siting guidelines, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering rules that would remove a number of local-level barriers, while states are simultaneously passing rules to the same effect.

Murphy called out the push for non-consumer revenue streams based on the next generation of cellular. Noting relatively stagnant if not declining ARPU, he said, “The trend is for more and more data for free. You’ve go to make money somewhere else so there is a very strong push in the U.S. in particular, maybe even more than those other countries to find paths to other revenue sources.”

Murphy called out industrial-facing initiatives with Bosch, BMW and the port of Hamburg where the network infrastructure vendor worked with the port authority and Deutsche Telekom to test various port management and automation applications. – RCR Wireless

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