Why 5G Could be a Wild Success....When 6G Arrives

The “5G-NORMA” initiative by the 5G Infrastructure Association Public Private Partnership (5G PPP), an international non-profit association for collaboration on 5G, is one of a number of groups working to define the features and attributes of the fifth generation mobile network.

The 5G NOvel Radio Multiservice adaptive network Architecture does face some potential issues, though. The effort has goals other than the purely technical.

It is intended that 5G-NORMA will help 5G “create a single digital economy and put Europe back in the driving seat with a ubiquitous network,” 5G-PPP says.

Granted, all standards involve commercial interests and pressures. But the 5G-PPP effort also has serious political constituencies and objectives as well. Whether that is helpful or harmful cannot yet be determined.

But it is probably worth noting that most “next generation network architectures” proposed by the telecom industry have had mixed fortunes.

In terms of commercial success, a wide variety of protocols and platforms have missed the market. ISDN, broadband ISDN (ATM), OSI, IMS and RCS are examples of next generation platforms that have had modest success, compared to Internet Protocol, for example.

Mobile next generation platforms have had adoption issues as well, but might generally be seen as more broadly accepted than the core network protocols and platforms. It would be hard to fault 2G or 3G as platforms or protocols that “failed” in the market, or had only a modest financial impact.

Long Term Evolution 4G seems destined for clear success. Eventual success for 5G likely is somewhat inevitable. But the impact could well be shaped by any number of matters.

The more-complicated and sweeping the standard is, the more complicated its political context, the less likely 5G is to succeed in the near term. As arguably was the case for 3G, success might be delayed. And most of the developments foreseen for 3G arguably happened only with 4G.

So the possibility exists that much of the hoped-for 5G success could be delayed until 6G. It would not be an unprecedented development.
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