Years of Work, International Collaboration Needed to Reach 5G Era, Says Intel Official


Technologists and policymakers tout the coming 5G revolution of next-generation wireless networks, but it will be years before they’re fully in use, Intel Corp. vice president Asha Keddy told Bloomberg Law in a recent video interview at a Bloomberg Next event.

“The standards, we’ll start setting as early as end of this year,” she said. “But the real use cases, I think, will take up to 2022 to 2025, and then over the next 10 years.”

These “5G” networks are designed to be high-speed successors to today’s 4G LTE mobile networks. The term also refers to a vast set of applications and Internet-connected devices that ubiquitous, ultra-fast wireless connectivity would enable.

The next-generation networks will support things like ultra-high-resolution streaming video and virtual reality, Keddy said. But 5G also will serve as the backbone to artificial intelligence-aided traffic management systems and energy grids that are designed to be more sustainable, efficient, and safe, she said. 

Keddy said 5G is “as much about infrastructure and data” as it is fast wireless broadband for consumers.

Still, it will take considerable time and effort from the telecom industry, policymakers, and standards groups to deploy 5G networks and capabilities. Some countries may be better poised than others to roll them out more quickly, but technological breakthroughs and effective policies coming out of certain countries may be adopted by others, she said. That could help ensure no country is left behind as 5G networks evolve and could position some countries that now lag in broadband availability to skip straight to 5G speeds and capabilities.

At present, U.S. players like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are focused on making “the last mile wireless” — the final portion of the telecom networks that reaches consumers — and delivering high-speed mobile and fixed wireless broadband that connects users to existing fiber networks, she said.

Countries like Japan and Korea are focused on reducing latency for online video games and expanding connectivity to places like underground parking garages common in their densely populated cities. China is working to make connectivity fully available to its massive population.

Innovations that meet these challenges will likely help spur 5G deployment around the globe, Keddy said.