The future of the 5G network in Mexico

In two years, the first 5G network could launch in Mexico. Image: Pixabay
In two years, the first 5G network could launch in Mexico. Image: Pixabay

With the presence of executives, authorities, and analysts from more than 40 countries, the fifth edition of the Mobile 360 ​Latin America was held this week for the second time in Mexico City.

The focus of the meeting was to analyze how Latin America can adopt the latest innovations and, at the same time, improve and expand the use of existing technologies to accelerate the digital transformation of businesses and societies.

There are four key points that should be considered in such a framework: timely release of spectrum under the right conditions; approval of consolidation to boost investments while maintaining effective competition; equivalent rules for digital service providers - that is, a level playing field for operators and Internet companies; and harmonized international policies on privacy and data protection.

The inaugural conference also featured masterly presentations by Javier Jiménez Espriú, Secretary of Communications and Transportation of Mexico; Carlos Slim Domit, President of the Board of América Móvil; and Gabriel Contreras, Commissioner President of the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT).

Carlos Morales Paulin, CEO of Telefónica México, and Eduardo Gutiérrez, President of IBM Mexico, participated in a panel on how to intelligently connect to Latin America, moderated by Laxmi Akkaraju, Chief Strategy Officer of the GSMA. The welcome to the event was made by Javier Piñeiro, the new Regional Director for Latin America of the GSMA.

The debate sessions continued throughout Tuesday with topics such as the impact of the networks of the future, discovering the potential of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things and regulatory challenges for the arrival of 5G.

On Wednesday, the main conference was dedicated to the power of data and automation, how to build trust in the digital economy, and how to boost business agility in the midst of digital transformation. Featured speakers included AT & T, Cisco, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Korea Telecom, Nokia and Telecom Argentina, among others.

Mobile 360 ​​Latin America also offered a varied program of workshops, meetings and special activities, including the Latin America Strategy & Innovation Forum meeting and a round table on gender diversity in the technology industry. It also had its place, for the second time in a Mobile 360 ​​Series conference, the 4YFN Startups Zone (Four Years From Now), in which they exhibited their local startup solutions.

On the third and final day, a meeting was held on successful models for the deployment of infrastructure in the region organized by the National Telecommunications Association (ANATEL) and a summit of Internet of Things companies in charge of the IDB Invest, arm for the private sector of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Source: Agencies

In two years, the first 5G network could launch in Mexico

By the end of 2020 or early 2021, the first launches of the 5G network could take place in Mexico, which will allow navigation at a much faster rate than current technology, said José Otero, director for Latin America and the Caribbean of 5G Américas.

The specialist indicated that the first 5G launches around the world are targeting a corporate or corporate sector and considered that the same would happen in Latin America, including Mexico.

He added that the announcements that have been made in other countries about this technology are limited to certain parts of the city, and "this should be the case in Mexico by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021."

However, he did not rule out that, given the global and regional strategy of the different market operators, some could decide to launch this year, "but it is a technology that will target a corporate, corporate sector, not so much the market massive".

In an interview with Notimex, he said that the cities of the country where this network would arrive first would be Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City, where there are more companies.

The president of the organization composed of service providers and manufacturers of the telecommunications industry explained that the launch of the 5G network does not mean coverage, since it is a very limited scope, as has happened with other technologies.

In Mexico, for the 5G network, you need a combination of low frequencies that have traditionally been used for generations 1 to 4, but you also need medium and high frequencies, however, some of the latter have not been assigned.

"It also has that factor, that you have to wait until these frequencies are assigned to see what is on the part of the operators, that there are more incentives to reach these technologies, because what are you going to launch technology for? The market in its full potential"

Otero pointed out that until the fourth generation (4G), the focus of growth as humans, but from the fifth (5G) will be the devices, which will collect information to send it to a database.

"When we were talking about the first four generations, the target customers were human beings: the question was: what can you give each individual to improve their experience when using the cell phone? That's why text messages were first, of unlimited form the applications, to navigate to the web, soon the applications with speeds that increase until the video conference and everything that you have now "

The 5G network will be very important for the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT), since these technologies seek to have devices connecting in all economic segments to improve efficiency and make them more productive, he said.

"We are talking about having a large number of devices so that people can improve the monitoring of energy consumption, water, where governments can have better control of logistics information, how traffic is going, safety issues or that the private sector can make deployments to monitor the mines, control internal processes, that requires thousands of new devices"

On the other hand, he added, more and more things are connected, for example, new cars that have the ability for the customer to connect to the Internet.

"In other words, we have in the near future an increase in things that are going to be connected, that is going to haunt a country like Mexico in the millions of new connections, that makes the networks have the need to be able to support all these new connections that are going to be enabled by things, machines, cars and there comes 5G"

Otero argued that the arrival of 5G does not mean the replacement of the 4.5G network, also called LTE Advanced, because it will be based on much of the technology that LTE already has.

In the 5G network just "we are waiting for the first mobile phones to emerging" capable of supporting this technology, "you do not have that variety and you do not have all that production that you already have for LTE; As time goes on and they go cheaper, you will have an increase in consumption," he said.

Mexico will present a frequency plan for 5G, the first in Latin America

According to Navarrete Torres, the intentions of the IFT are between reordering the spectrum from 3.3 to 3.6 GHz and "moving" the current three dealers of that band (Telmex / Axtel / AT&T) to the "highest" and create contiguous blocks of frequencies, wider and technically more apt to exploit them later in 5G.

Manufacturers, operators, analysts and civic organizations interested in the telecommunications industry will know before June a plan from the Federal Institute of Telecommunications that will detail the frequencies available and susceptible to be exploited in the fifth generation or 5G services and other related technologies.

If so, Mexico will become the first Latin American country to have a well-established roadmap on spectrum exploitation for 5G in bands, such as 3.4 GHz and millimeter frequencies ranging from 24 to 86. GHz, and then the industry will have greater certainty of where and in what terms to guide their investments in this area.

Only Europe and Asian nations have outlined more clearly and tendered and frequencies for this type of man-man or machine-machine communications.

"What we want to achieve is a clarity of what we have available, what we must reorder and what works with this technology once it is standardized. Basically, to have a plan for the industry to know, for example, which bands we consider medium, low or high; for coverage or for capacity and why we propose them for what services. Basically, they will know what we have already told them, but now it will be in a serious document, on paper," said Alejandro Navarrete, head of the IFT Radioelectric Spectrum Unit, which this week holds ministerial meetings with its regulatory and industrial peers from America, Asia and Europe related to this sector.

"To be clearer, it will be a route axis that will define our plans for the next few years and the industry will be clear about what we do. We believe it will be very important for the market (...) Yes, it will be like a guide for the next decade, because it will be a document of greater scope and scope for the following years and we hope to present it in a couple of months ".

While the full regulator knows and, where appropriate, approves this document, the Radioelectric Spectrum Unit continues the work to simultaneously tender the frequencies of 3.4 GHz and 600 MHz in 2020, the first in the process of reordering and the second one has already taken up by the State after the process of transition to digital television.

According to Navarrete Torres, the intentions of the IFT are between reordering the spectrum from 3.3 to 3.6 GHz and "moving" the current three dealers of that band (Telmex / Axtel / AT & T) to the "highest" and create contiguous blocks of frequencies, wider and technically more apt to exploit them later in 5G.

The 3.4 GHz band in Mexico goes from 3.3 to 4.2 Gigahertz and in other markets, it is identified as "3.3 GHz" or "3.5 GHz".

To date, the regulator has already defined that at least 300 Megahertz of these frequencies will be exploited in 5G services, including the 150 already owned by AT&T, Axtel and Telmex and if it is in their interest to retain them.

At the same time, the IFT is also studying how to obtain a total of ten Gigahertz of bandwidth distributed between the millimetre spectrum that goes from 24.25 to 86 GHz and equally destine them to services of the fifth generation, after a "combination" with coverage bands such as 600 MHz.

"We have free spectrum in the 57 to 64 GHz; from 71 to 76 and from 81 to 86 GHz, "said Alejandro Navarrete. "We are thinking and listening to what is being done for 5G, according to what Europe and other advanced countries do. For now we seek to unify and get there about ten Gigahertz for wireless services and tender in 2020 the bands of 3.4 GHz and 600 MHz, because this year will finish standardizing 5G technology and there we will go ".