As we were finishing up the latest iteration of our monthly round up of telecom vendor services contract announcements, we paid special attention to Alcatel-Lucent’s announcement with China Mobile on a wholesale network transformation project. Unlike most LTE network rollout deals we typically see, this one called not only for the requisite macro base stations and mobile core equipment, but also for small cells and GPON kit in order to enable China Mobile to provide its users with high-speed broadband access regardless of where they might happen to be or what device they might be using at any given time.
About two months ago, I spent some time in this blog talking about 5G and what Mobile World Congress 2014 told us about the evolution of mobile broadband technology (MWC 2014: 5G – More Relevant Today Than You Might Think). The upshot? 5G looks to be an amalgam of many, diverse technologies and network features currently being developed – technologies that could well be implemented before 5G is officially a commercial reality: peer-to-peer architectures, broadcast, self-interference cancellation, deep virtualization, etc. As a result, “Today’s network investments will have far-reaching implications. Today’s network R&D will help to decide the 5G winners and losers.”