5G race has already started. There is talk of USA vs Pacific (China / Japan / S. Korea) competition for this race. What is needed to deploy 5G quickly to win the race?
Until now, Mobile Operators have grown their network independently. All USA Mobile Operators have their own assets for end-to-end solution with very little network sharing or roaming using other MNO’s network within USA. Given the Network densification requirements, this deployment model is not scale-able.
Cost of network densification is huge and not supported by business case of new revenue generation potential as of now. Given this situation, what are the best 5G Infrastructure Pillers for Densification? I have presented my ideas in this article to start a public debate / discussion for public-private partnership that will help in 5G network densification at a reasonable cost.
Pubic Private Partnership
Several key Public Private Partnership (PPP) 5G infrastructure initiatives can be created to help in 5G network densification. Examples are:
Fiber in the ground
In my view, this is a national strategic asset in which US federal / state governments invest to create digital highways much like physical highways system. This digital asset should be available at very reasonable cost to all stakeholders as part of OPEN Digital Highway Access mechanisms.
Fiber infrastructure is a “shared” strategic asset which can be offered to private partners and operators at very low cost with equal, fair, easy access rules without much bureaucracy involved in getting access. This can be called as “building strategic national asset initiative”. Some of this nation-wide IP-network capacity can also be used for defense, public-safety, rural, Smart City and Government IP-network requirements.
Street Furniture access
It is not feasible to develop separate street furniture locations for each operators with independent fiber infrastructure for each of them. One operator with leadership in Street Furniture access or bigger fiber infrastructure will create “unfair long-term advantage” for that specific Operator and erode revenue opportunities for other operators or smaller ISPs.
There is a need to create fair and equal access rule to Government and street assets that encourage network sharing. Creating separate street furniture access for each operator is not a scale-able and economically feasible option. So, fair and equitable rules for shared site access of street furniture managed by Govt / state / city administration at break-even cost is needed.
Three Pillers of 5G
Create regulatory policy and private-public partnership for deployment of following three pillers of 5G infrastructure building blocks:
Every building can have multi-MNO neutral-host and private 5G network deployment build on 5G network architecture principles of virtualization, Hardware-software separation, Network-slicing to ensure low cost in-building solution development and operational models.
5G plays a key role in building Smart City Infrastructure. Develop new regulatory policies with new investments in Retail, Roads, Utiliities, Public-safety and city-level applications that can be replicated across many cities in a consistent manner.
Smart Transport 5G deployment and operational models must be developed with an objective of 5-year execution plan using Public-Private Partnership investment models. Every car, truck and public vehicle can deploy a 5G hotspot or relay devices for public / private network access, connected car applications and eventually autonomous applications as a long term plan.
These three 5G deployment pillers with Public Private Partnership will create GDP growth that is projected from 5G investments. Without concrete action plan for 5G investments to create GDP growth, this potential will not be achieved.
Private ownership should be encourages where-ever possible. However, fair and equitable Physical Resources access policy is needed to make sure that unfair advantage is not created for a specific operator via long-term agreements of exclusive use for any public physical resource.