Case Study Calculates Cost of 5G Deployment for Mobile Operators

Mobile Experts have published a new case study on 5G Ultra-Broadband, that explores the Return on Investment (ROI) of Fixed-Broadband 5G Networks. The study calculates the potential ROI for a mobile operator to invest in a 28 GHz pre-5G network by comparing it to LTE costs and potential costs for a sub-6 GHz network using 5G technology.

The study identifies three main factors that analyze spectrum cost, link distance, and traffic density. At historical prices, 5G will not be successful. According to Mobile Experts, inexpensive access is absolutely necessary to large spectrum blocks.

The business case for 5G Fixed Broadband is not a slam-dunk. Mobile Experts expect pre-5G deployment to be a very targeted investment by mobile operators, addressing very specific neighborhoods instead of nationwide deployment. Short mm-wave links at 50 meters create a challenge to the business case, because the number of customers served by each radio will be too small. Mobile Experts has determined that longer links, roughly 200 meters, will be necessary to reach more people.

Link Distance is a key factor in the pre-5G business case at 28 GHz. They've conducted some in-depth link budget calculations and compared their results to trial results reported by Samsung, Ericsson, Intel, and others. Based on this deep technical work, they have some concerns about the power, linearity, and heat dissipation in pre-5G infrastructure. The laws of physics will limit these pre-5G networks.

Mobile Experts concludes that Fixed Broadband at 28 GHz will be a starting point for 5G development, but a combination of low-band and high-band spectrum will be important to reach mobile gigabit performance.

The case study's assumptions are also laid out in detail for a hypothetical test case, with an Appendix indicating the calculation itself for complete disclosure. Click here to read the full case study.