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12/8/2016 | 9:32:12 PM
Is fragmentation really a concern?
... or an opportunity?

When we look at recent developments like 5G NR from Qualcomm, we can clearly see that 5G strength may reside in its capability and agility to use and agreggate any kind of spectrum available on licensed or unlicensed bands.

The main challenge is definitely the UE radio interface but knowing that Qualcomm is leading the pack would probably increase the odds that this won't be an issue in hte future.

The question raised by spectrum fragmentation and also by the opportunity to use unlicensed and licensed at the same time is 5G performance. Each frequency has its own physical challenge in term of coverage, interference resistance and capacity. If you add up the possibility to use unlicensed, you have a wide variety of performance that will all be labelled 5G.

At its launch, 4G rapidly lost a lot its meaning as telcos were tempted to label HSPA+ and Wimax networks over that name, providing performance that were far away from the expected 100mbps+. The risk is to see 5G follows the same road much quicker and in a more dramatic way and to completely lose its meaning.

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