Towards 5G

5G is more than just a new radio technology; it holds the promise of enabling new communications possibilities and applications. Such opportunities, of which many are still unknown, will eventually lead to a ‘hyper connected society’.

5G will transform our lives, economy and society at large.

The development of 5G is a reaction to the ever-increasing demand for more capacity, to provide better quality of service and enhanced experience. 5G will permit the emergence of new services such as the possibility of facilitating the Internet of Things and time-sensitive applications. The ITU recommendation ITU-R M.2083-0, approved in September 2015, defines the overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond.  In order to enable this true generational shift, 5G networks will require more of the existing and new spectrum bands in addition to the widespread installation of small cells.

Europe's 5G Action Plan

The European 5G Action Plan is a strategic initiative which concerns all stakeholders, private and public, small and large, in all Member States, to meet the challenge of making 5G a reality for all citizens and businesses by the end of this decade.

On 14 September 2016, the Commission launched a plan to boost EU efforts for the deployment of 5G infrastructures and services across the Digital Single Market by 2020. The action plan sets out a clear roadmap for public and private investment on 5G infrastructure in the EU.

The proposed Directive establishing the European Electronic Communications Code and the 5G action plan are closely related: they both aim at fostering the competitiveness of our industry in the Digital Single Market. They will also both support the deployment and take-up of 5G networks, notably as regards the timely assignment and availability of radio spectrum, more favourable conditions for small cell deployment or sectorial issues preventing the deployment of particular services, investment incentives and favourable framework conditions, while the recently adopted rules on Open Internet provide legal certainty as regards the deployment of 5G applications.

Facilitating the deployment of 5G in Malta

The MCA has outlined a 5G Implementation Strategy aimed at facilitating the deployment of 5G networks in Malta while concurrently achieving the 5G targets as set by the European Commission. The MCA took all the necessary safeguards in order to ensure that such a plan is aligned with:

  • existing EU Telecoms  Regulations and Directives
  • EU spectrum harmonisation decisions supporting deployments of next-generation wireless systems
  • the EU 5G Action Plan & Roadmap
  • RSPG Opinions
  • ITU/CEPT activities in respect of WRC-19 on the identification of frequency bands for the future development of IMT
  • the CEPT 5G Roadmap
  • MCA’s strategic objectives

The roadmap aims to safeguard access to the necessary key resources by the operators and other interested stakeholders for their 5G business value proposition, facilitating innovation and business development.  The resources required for 5G are large amounts of contiguous spectrum, densification of small cells and eventually given the continuously ever increasing uptake of connected things, IP addressing. It is also within MCA’s interest to ensure that investors find the appropriate environment to encourage further investment.

Moreover, it is important that MCA keeps abreast with emerging technologies to continuously identify new required resources, emerging business models and investment considerations. Ensuring the timely availability of 5G services in Malta, in line with EU and national policy will contribute to further industrial and societal transformations and economic growth.

Bridging the 5G challenges

With the finalisation of the NSA 5G NR standard late last year and with the identification of the 5G pioneer bands, carriers, technology providers and vertical industries do not have to wait any longer to commence their 5G field trials.

The geographic properties, economic situation, population density and technology forefront, coupled with MCA’s Test & Trial licensing framework, provides the ideal test bed for the 5G industry to carry out their commercial trial deployments.

Contact us by telephone on  + 356 21336840 or via email spectrum@mca.org.mt in order to obtain further details on how the MCA can assist the 5G industry and other stakeholders in carrying field trials in Malta.

Updated:- 26.04.2018