5G and mobile network developments | ACMA

5G and mobile network developments

Consultation closes: 14 March 2016

IFC: 5G/2016 5g-research jpg

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The ACMA received four submissions on our occasional paper on 5G and mobile network developments. Comments and submissions can be accessed from the right hand side index box


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5G and mobile network developments—emerging issues occasional paper

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5G and mobile network developments

In our latest occasional paper 5G and mobile network developments—Emerging issues, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) looks at 5G mobile developments and the opportunities that this evolution in mobile technology offers to the Australian community through increased use of mobile broadband and machine-to-machine communication.

Australia has benefited from progressive investments and upgrades in mobile network capabilities and service deployments. Successive generations of mobile technologies have been deployed in Australia approximately every 10 years. 5G represents the next expected evolution in mobile technologies. There has already been a range of 5G-related announcements by Australian mobile operators over the past year, including the commitment to work towards a commercial 5G mobile network deployment in 2020.

5G capabilities are expected to support a massive increase in connections, lowered latency and much faster speeds. There are two defining requirements for 5G that represent a step-change from previous mobile network developments. They are its near-zero latency and data rates of 1–10 Gbps.

By comparison, 4G networks in Australia provide advertised data rates of between 2–100 Mbps and a minimum latency of 10 milliseconds end-to-end round trip delay.

These two characteristics support the ‘anytime, anywhere, anyone and anything’ capability of 5G.

In this paper, the ACMA considers the demand for, and technological enablers of, the deployment of 5G networks. The paper examines:

  • the ongoing development of mobile networks in Australia
  • expected consumer and business drivers of demand for the next generation of mobile services
  • the technological developments that will underpin 5G network deployments
  • use cases that will require 5G in order to be deployed.

The paper also reviews the existing regulatory arrangements that may be useful in facilitating the next stage of mobile network developments.

The ACMA is already working to identify ways that 5G technologies can be facilitated in Australia. In addition to the ACMA’s spectrum management activities, other initiatives include the our recently released mobile broadband strategy, Beyond 2020 and the Spectrum Review undertaken jointly with the Department of Communications and the Arts.

Feedback—tell us what you think

In this paper, the ACMA is looking at the potential routes to 5G network deployment, and asking whether there are any major impediments to the development of 5G networks in Australia.

Further discussion of these matters is set out in the occasional paper.

The ACMA welcomes comments and feedback in response to these questions:

Issue 1

Are there any additional demand drivers supporting 5G network deployment in Australia not identified in this paper?

Issue 2

Are there any additional significant enablers or major inhibitors to 5G network deployment in Australia that are not identified in this paper?

Issue 3

Are there additional regulatory issues around 5G network deployment, relevant to the ACMA's responsibilities that are not discussed in this paper?