Leading Lights 2016 Finalists: Most Innovative 5G Strategy

This year, it has become clear that 5G is set to become a major change agent in mobile -- and quite possibly the way we live our lives -- as the next decade in the 21st century rolls around.

The fifth generation (5G) of wireless is expected to be tens or hundreds times faster than current 4G networks. The advances in network technology and design could also help enable applications like autonomous cars and industrial and consumer robotics. (See 5G: As Close as You'll Get to a Jet Pack!)

To recognize the emergence of 5G, Light Reading has this year launched a dedicated site on the topic and introduced a new Leading Lights category, Most Innovative 5G Strategy. 5G is still very much under development, with the first standards expected in 2018, but early testing on 5G technology has begun.

See our 5G choices below.

The winner will be announced at the Leading Lights Awards dinner on Monday, May 23, at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas. The following day, the Big Communications Event 2016 opens its doors for two days of networking, learning and fun.

To find out which companies were shortlisted in all 26 Leading Lights categories, see Leading Lights 2016: The Finalists.

AT&T's 5G Strategy
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s early 5G strategy is built on testing out new centimeter and millimeter wave radio, initially at 15GHz and at later at 28GHz. There will be both fixed and mobile field and lab tests in Austin, Texas and New Jersey in 2016.

At the same time, AT&T has identified software-based networking, a virtualized mobile core as key to a 5G future. The operator aims to virtualize 30% of its network functions by the end of 2016.

Cisco's 5G Strategy
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is pulling together a multi-partner, multi-year, multi-industry evolutionary strategy for a 5G future. This includes working with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) to try to develop the 5G infrastruture faster.

Specific products include a next-generation 5G router for business and residential services. Cisco is also describing its new Cisco Ultra Services Platform as "5G-ready" because the software-based core platform supports the separation of the user and services plane now. This becomes especially important as the operators start to develop Internet of Things (IoT) machine-networking services that may need to be more flexible about supporting large numbers of M2M devices and services on the network.

Nokia – Accelerating 5G commercialization with AirScale
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s AirScale platform is intended to enable operators to test pre-5G systems in the field with a commercial platform.

AirScale offers operators tests of live 5G use cases in their networks using all spectrum areas, including sub-6GHz for wide area coverage and centimeter wave and millimeter wave for higher speeds and capacities.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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