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By Gary Kim, Founder, Spectrum Futures

How 5G and Internet of Things can address industry limits and challenges were key themes at Spectrum Futures this year. How 5G evolves from 4G also was a key theme.

“Consumers are not willing and able to pay more,” said Sanjay Kamat, Bell Labs Consulting managing partner.

“As consumers get richer, they spend less on telecom,” said James Sullivan, J.P. Morgan Securities managing director. Also, to the extent new value has been created in the ecosystem, the “value does not accrue to telcos.”

“Either rationalize or nationalize; those are the options,” Sullivan said.

“We need to change our assumptions,” said Dean Bubley, Disruptive Analysis founder. “What is a service? What is the business model? What is a 2030 service provider?”

“5G will lead to ‘enterprise owned’ mobile and other networks. In fact, new 4G networks are coming that operate entirely in unlicensed spectrum,” said Dave Wright, Ruckus Wireless director.

For most of the conference, speakers focused on ways to “create new value” using 5G and IoT.

A business model revolution is coming, built on huge changes in spectrum supply, as outlined by Reza Arefi, Intel spectrum policy director.

New allocations of millimeter spectrum will boost capacity from 10 to 100 times more than is available at present, Patrick Tsie, Qualcomm International senior director, noted.

Policymakers and regulators also talked about 5G issues in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Japan, and Taiwan.

Many speakers emphasized that 5G will be the first network optimized for non-human use cases and revenue streams. Also, 5G standards work is not looking at voice, as was the case for 4G.

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