2016: A year for Conflicts and Reconciliations?

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Reconcile the following two statements: "Because the race to 5G is on and the United States should lead the way" by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, from the 17th December on the outcome of WRC-15 and "I have to say that 5G is some way off, but I am pleased that we are investing in the research" by UK Minister Ed Vaizey on the 3rd of December to Parliament. Both statements are correct, but, significantly each betrays the underlying mind-set: one is a leader and the other is a follower. In the November Ericsson Mobility Report their forecast is for 150m 5G enabled subscriptions in South Korea, Japan, China and the US by 2021. What is the score for the UK?

 

Hence, EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has got in on the 5G act having summoned the top ten EU players to Brussels, then, the following day, Orange Group leader Stephane Richards starts the consolidation race in France towards 5G in earnest, and, the BT/EE merger has now been given the green light. One open question is: have the French learned their lesson of history from GSM? If so, just how far behind has the Chancellors "creeping complacency" scenario overtaken OFCOM and Ed Vaizey?  

In the January issue of Electronics World we were treated to two articles sourced and authored from Iran and one from China. What brings these articles together is technology and particularly the technically literate audience these authors are seeking as we progress to an ever closer union of scientists and engineers. These articles are a welcome addition and a fresh breeze. In a similar vein, just recall that as we entered the New Year, the lead midnight news story was a hotel fire in Dubai. Later that day I stupidly questioned the BBC's priorities to an acquaintance of mine and I was shocked by his reply: his sister and her husband (who was a retired MET police inspector, now a Dubai police inspector) owned a hotel in Dubai (not the 63 storey one!) but they don't talk to her anymore because when she comes home she wears £6,000 shoes!!! It's now a very a small world, though still some things and human drama never change. Though I suspect that the truly significant January article was that which referred to the new Radio Equipment Directive (RED) (I shall skip any Taylor Swift references) to be enacted into Law this June. How the John Milton Brigade Luddites would harken for a return to the ancient British Standards Kitemark for 5G, however, with apologies to the BSI Group, this EU issue is far too serious to leave the JMB to their delusions that OFCOM could engineer a 5G standard for them.      

The WRC-15 Outcome

Back on the 17th December we were also treated to a presentation by the FCC delegation on the outcome of the global negotiations and deliberations at WRC-15. Whereas in the UK we are still awaiting OFCOMs public reaction and response; WRC-15 ended on the 27th November. This latest omission highlights the need for Sharon White to urgently reform this follower culture within OFCOM, as it has long past the Chancellors "creeping complacency" critique stage. Given that Sharon is also on the record as stating that the status quo at BT is not an option, I hope that we shall have just a little while to wait to see what she is up too and what new tools she desires. 

Anyway, lets us get back to the real leader, and not the rest of the pack, with what Chairman Wheeler had to say: 

       "The World Radiocommunication Conference is kind of like the Olympics of wireless public policy: a quadrennial international gathering of elite talent, which requires years of preparation from participants seeking to make the most of this rare opportunity.  As with any Olympics, the U.S. enjoyed victories worth celebrating.  We also endured some disappointments that have left us determined to work even harder moving forward to achieve our goals. 

          Leading the most notable advancements, the United States and others in our region identified 619 MHz of additional spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications, far more than any other region.  I know some would have preferred to see more global allocations for IMT, especially in the UHF band.  But I believe other regions will take a much closer look at these bands when they see the progress we will make in our region over the next few years.  

       The same will be true for efforts to identify spectrum for 5G.  It would have been far better if the Conference had agreed to study the 28 GHz band among the bands they agreed to consider for 5G, but the U.S. and other leaders in the 5G arena will go forward with our own studies.  And I am fully confident that, as we and others move forward with 28 GHz, an international consensus will develop."

Furthermore at the New America Foundation conference, immediately following on from CES in Las Vegas, where once again automotive platforms were at the fore, two other FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Michael O'Rielly outlined how they are to rapidly enact the 5.9GHz "Car Band" initiative by the end of 2016, thus further strengthening President Obama's Legacy. 


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