4G technology still has a long way to go in certain parts of the world. Aside from US and some other countries 4G coverage is rather poor, even if some operators fully support it, it's only usable in big cities and only parts of them. It's dependant on the country we're talking about of course. Either way, 5G has been talked about for some time now and it seems everything is going into that direction. Alcatel-Lucent's wireless CTO, Michael Peeters, had an interesting talk at the Towers & Small Cell Summit (part of CTIA's Super Mobility Week). Mr. Peeters is getting visibly annoyed and frustrated with the industry's approach to 5G technology.
Peeters basically thinks company's are making a mockery out of 5G technology considering they're throwing basically everything that was not included in earlier technology evolution in it. MIMO, M2M (machine-to-machine) and millimeter-wave technologies he listed as examples. He added that companies even argue their own intellectual property and assets should be considered 5G components despite the fact 5G itself hasn't even been defined at this point. He called the whole situation "ridiculous" while adding the following: "Next-generation network architecture must be federated and open". Peters said that 4.5G will be a stepping stone on the path to 5G, the first step will be deploying small cells for network densification which can enable a 50% reduction in total cost of ownership within congested areas. "Some operators are using carrier aggregation to federate spectrum", he said, explaining that the operators are already moving to federate everything. Peters also noted that new approaches to enable the use of LTE in unlicensed bands usually used by Wi-Fi will provide 30% capacity gain. Mr. Peters also called all operators to open their networks as much as they can in order to speed up innovation by installing interoperable network equipment. In the end, he noted that carriers should consider exposing their data (like information regarding user's location), considering this would enable new business model and enable better segmentation of the end users, according to Peeters.
What is the status of network speeds in your country? Do you use 4G and is the coverage any good?