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Open Site: 5G for society, society for 5G

2020.01.21 By Zhang Yu

The next generation of wireless technology has the potential to have a global impact. As the most advanced telecommunications system to date, 5G can bring people online who were never previously connected, advance ubiquitous connectivity, and transform how people all over the world live, play, and work. 

Like anything with a global scale and scope, rolling out 5G worldwide is going to require significant time and investment. Globally, investments from mobile operators are expected to hit US$1 trillion between 2018 and 2025, as telcos deploy the specialized networks that 5G requires. To lower these costs and speed up global rollout, Huawei is working with telcos, mobile carriers, policymakers, regulatory bodies and industry partners to find solutions that benefit all stakeholders. 

An open platform

One of these initiatives is the Open Site Interest Group—a multi-partner body that aims to share, replicate, and promote good practices in site development, open up public social resources, and encourage partners from other industries to jointly develop site ecosystems. To help achieve these aims, the group’s stakeholders aim to build a resource-sharing platform and develop site construction standards through broad collaborations amongst diverse industries. 

It’s an initiative that the Swiss telco Sunrise is embracing, working with Huawei to install 5G across the cities and countryside of Switzerland. “The Open Site Interest Group is interesting for us because it will help us to deploy more sites in an easier way in the future,” said Roland Eisenhut, Senior Manager of Central Radio Engineering at Sunrise. “We have partnerships with other companies, of course. But if we can somehow find a way to do this on a larger scale, it makes it easier for everyone.”

These collaborative efforts can have a real impact. By enabling an open forum, members can discuss national policies on 5G, share industrial standards and resources, and exchange ideas and best practices. “The Open Site Interest Group is about the power of 5G and the development of 5G,” said Race Hao, President of Huawei’s Wireless Site Domain. “Huawei will continue to work with partners to perfect the ecosystem and seek more efficient infrastructure that accelerates 5G construction and reduces overall social costs.”

Developing and standardizing infrastructure

One of the topics discussed at the Open Site was infrastructure. “We’re transforming towards the digital society, you could even call it the smarter society,” said Dr. Eun-Ju Kim, Chief of the Digital Knowledge Hub at the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nation’s agency that’s responsible for issues relating to the information and communications technology. Kim argues that to deliver this new smarter, digital society requires global 5G infrastructure. “You need to have a new infrastructure. And new 5G networks with faster data rates and speed and then less latencies,” she said. 

In the same spirit of collaboration as Open Site, operators can share both infrastructure and networks. However, this needs to be managed and organized in set parameters. “Infrastructure sharing needs to have some kind of regulations or policy guidelines in place. In the era of 5G, you need to work together to make this standardization and ensure interoperability between the machines and between all the devices,” said Kim. 

“With the arrival of the 5G era, there is a need for standardization and the adaption of the infrastructure. However, we are yet to have a uniform standard,” said Hao. He argues that standardization could mobilize the resources and present a fast, low-cost network construction solution. 

Policymakers are important stakeholders in this discussion, as they can provide the legal frameworks in which 5G can flourish. “It’s not really that the authorities need help give us infrastructure,” said Eisenhut. “It’s more to help us to set the rules so that we can use the infrastructures properly.”

An interconnected ecosystem

The 5G global network is a complex ecosystem made up of various products and apps. Ensuring equitable, win-win partnerships among all stakeholders is central to a successful, global rollout of 5G. The Open Site Initiative could be the answer by fostering a collaborative, transparent environment amongst telecom operators, policymakers, regulators and other industry stakeholders. 

“We need to work together as partners to make sure this technology can be beneficial for all,” said Kim. “5G can improve our quality of life, help our socioeconomic development and support the sustainable development goals.”

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