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Special Report

Evolution from the Past to the Future Beyond 5G

Mr. Seizo Onoe, Chief Technology Architect of NTT DOCOMO INC. and President of DOCOMO Technology Inc.

Mr. Seizo Onoe, Chief Technology Architect of NTT DOCOMO INC. and President of DOCOMO Technology Inc.

Mr. Seizo Onoe, Chief Technology Architect of NTT DOCOMO INC. and President of DOCOMO Technology Inc., gave a brief presentation on the development of 5G technology in ITRI’s 45th Anniversary Forum. Mr. Onoe emphasized that 5G is aimed at meeting a wide range of requirements such as enhanced mobile broadband, massive connections, and super low latency communications. With these three key features, 5G technology is expected to stimulate new business models and ecosystems across industries.

Mr. Onoe expressed that the 5G boom started in 2015. Originally he urged people to calm down, but now he would say “get on the 5G bandwagon”. This is because the 5G boom has continued to grow, involving other verticals and attracting interest from a wide range of industries. DOCOMO, for example, has been expanding 5G applications by collaborating with different sectors such as automation industries, remote control of vehicles, security zones with image analysis, and 5G telemedicine.

He further shared some of his observations on 5G economics and technologies and dispelled some myths about 5G. One of the major misconceptions of deploying 5G is that it would require huge investments; especially for the mobile operators, they worried about a sudden increase in capital expenditure (CapEx). To address this concern, Mr. Onoe illustrated DOCOMO’s CapEx in the past 20-year period as an example, showing that new generation technology launches did not necessarily impact CapEx and the data transmission trajectory actually went up. Moreover, the company achieved incredible capacity increase thanks to the new generation technologies. But still people were not convinced, Mr. Onoe said, because many believed that 5G is just a hot spot system with short coverage, so in order to cover the whole market, it would require a lot of infrastructure. Here Mr. Onoe admitted that one single technology cannot solve all of the problems, thus cross-industry collaboration is required. For example, businesses in Taiwan have to work together and integrate to make 5G successful.

Lastly, Mr. Onoe introduced a prediction derived from the second law he proposed himself on mobile communications technology: great success only happens in even-numbered generations, e.g. previous generations like 2G and 4G had great success. But he stressed that cross-industry collaborations can lift up 5G to great success despite the second law’s prediction. He further introduced the third law: the advent of next generation services occurs after the next generation network launches. He indicated that this phenomenon is observed among the previous generations. However, DOCOMO is now trying to create 5G services before 5G launches through collaboration with partners. The company is also working on expanding their business opportunities to discover the blue ocean through 5G projects and its 5G open partnership program.

Mr. Onoe concluded that by “getting on the 5G bandwagon” and “creating 5G services before 5G launches”, we will be able to beat the second law for a great success of 5G through cross-industry collaboration.

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