There are no specs for 5G yet, but 2015 represented a year of activity about what it should be. Let me review.
First of all, there are user driven and network driven requirements.
User Driven Requirements:
There seems to be general agreement that the data rates need to be faster (100x faster than the average data rate today), battery life should be improved (to up to 10 years for some IoT devices), and there should be context awareness and a seamless experience for all mobile devices.
On the network side, spinning up capacity when required, improving coverage, and energy efficiency are primary concerns. When you add that all up, we see 5G requirements such as 1ms end-to-end latency and 100x higher data rates as prime real requirements. These specs will allow autonomous driving, tactile Internet, virtual and augmented reality, real-time gaming and remote control.
However, one of the biggest benefits I see is that it will likely bring IT concepts to telecom infrastructure. That is, we’ll see 99.9999% availability reached not by a single platform being designed for that, but by failover mechanisms in virtual and connected nodes. Another benefit will be much improved service velocity – that is, products in beta being rolled out, and updated daily. This can only occur in cloud-based environments. As such, NFV and SDN have to play huge roles in 5G specs.
Hopefully in 2016 we’ll actually see some movement on the 5G specs. Either way, I expect huge hype about 5G at Mobile World Congress, whether there are specs or not.