Chris Pearson, President, 4G Americas is taking part in panel discussion on spectrum and on 5G at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.
Tell me more about the role that 4G Americas plays?
We’re focussed on technical facilitation and co-ordination – pre-standard, when you come up with ideas and concepts that need to go into 3GPP, or even post standard—when a standard has been made but you need an education into the wireless industry about what that means and how you get it into the marketplace.
Secondly, we do a lot or regulatory or advocacy work in the Americas. You need organisations that understand [spectrum] and can go out and work with governments on auctions and what are the internationally harmonised spectrum bands that need to come out—all kinds. We bring a real technical and international viewpoint for the Americas.
Finally, we have a lot of industry analysts and government and media that want somebody to be able to talk to, to explain the technology for them so they can do their jobs as stakeholders in the industry.
What would you say are the main challenges promoting interoperability?
I think that one of the bigger challenges right now is how do we get around the fact that there are so many different spectrum bands for roaming. Is there a way we can move forward with some commonality, at least in regions, so they you can come to devices that have economies of scale and also can be utilised throughout the world? In the Americas we are trying to get that commonality.
We’re hearing a lot about 5G – are you starting to put together a strategy for 5G?
Let’s put together some perspective on that. Right now we’re at around 300 LTE networks worldwide and we expect to get to 350 by the end of 350 – there are just five LTE Advanced, and by the end of this year we expect that they’ll be 20. So there’s a long way to go to bring some of these great techniques out into the world and realising those benefits. It’s a great standard.
Now there is a lot of talk about 5G. So are we looking at the future of mobile and where it’s going to take us. Yes, we’ve started that process at 4G Americas but we don’t have any announcements to make about that – but 4G Americas will definitely have a viewpoint on the future of mobile broadband beyond LTE Advanced.
Would that involve another name change?
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!
Do you have any views on ending roaming charges?
We don’t comment on commercial issues but we are a firm believer in competition regulating the market rather than regulators, regulating the market. So when it comes to most items – such as QoS, we don’t see that there’s a great role for the regulator to get highly involved in those issues – as the ultimate vote is the consumer and if they don’t like their service their going to go to someone else. We see this issue in Latin America.
What’s your focus for the rest of 2014?
Our focus is in three main areas. Firstly, we will continue to work on the technical issues that will promote technical innovation – so again, technical facilitation and co-ordination. RCS, VoLTE etc. Second, we’re going to continue to work on spectrum—in North and South America there is a huge mobile broadband demand and one of the key ways to help that is to get more international licensed spectrum to the marketplace. And the third area is to keep working on regulatory regulation and getting a new mindset to the regulators that we need to look at new concept; concepts such as licensed shared access, to be part of the dialogue to look for forward to solve this mobile broadband data challenge.