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GSMA Thrive Eurasia: trends and development of communications infrastructure for 5G in Russia

November 18, 2020|
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Russian experts discussed 5G development trends of the Russian market and the improvement of communications infrastructure for the implementation of 5G networks during GSMA Thrive Eurasia conference held on November 11-12. ICT.Moscow has collected the key points of this discussion in one article.

According to GSMA forecasts, by 2025 there will be more than 50 million 5G connections in the CIS region, or 13% of the total number of connections. The investments of operators in infrastructure deployment until 2025 are estimated at $25 billion, 57% of which will be focused on 5G.

5G is shaping trends

During his speech at The Next Stage for Technology opening section, MTS President Alexey Kornya specified several trends which emerged due to a new technological rearrangement - the transition to 5G networks. According to the expert, in the future 5G technologies will have an increasing impact on the development of the country’s economy as a whole, and any lag will lead to a lag in the overall technological development. “2G, 3G, 4G are about the consumer segment, and the transition to 5G and the new rearrangement will have a greater impact on the economy and industry”, - Kornya said.

The second challenge which the expert mentioned was the chains that appeared with the emergence of 5G and the new technological wave. “From the state to the corporations, there is a completely different level of security and requirements for localization. That is why technologies based on open architecture and open source are becoming more important”, - Kornya explained. The third element concerns the Internet of Things.

The main consumers will be not people, but devices. These are hundreds of billions of devices in our market alone. All of these things are based on 5G communications. It is much broader than just a communication technology. A huge number of technologies are emerging alongside 5G, but all of them are closely connected, and the speed at which these technologies are deployed is important.

Alexey Kornya

MTS President

New requirements for ethical and responsible business conduct are the fourth area that emerges with the new technological wave. It concerns both security of personal data and security of the services offered, Kornya noted. Gevork Vermishyan, CEO of Megafon, also agreed with the expert and also specified another couple of emerging trends: robotization, which is actively developing in business processes, and Cloud RAN Edge.

Base stations on tubular masts and roof constructions will be only radio-based: there will only be antennas and a base station controller, and all the computing power will be stored in data centers. This trend will come. This will allow to quickly deploy light RAN solutions, and heavy computing will be done in data centers. This will require significant investments in transport, because the base station will have to be connected to data control centers with optical fiber. There will be a great need for data centers and racks.

Gevork Vermishyan

CEO of Megafon

Edge Cloud will indeed be one of the main challenges, agrees Alexey Kornya from MTS.

For Internet players it is becoming a big challenge how to further implement solutions, as they are developing in Edge. Edge Cloud is one of the key challenges. Either telecom will become the driver, or Internet players will invest in infrastructure, bringing their infrastructure closer to the client. Cloud technologies and their development in Russia are still at an early stage. This is one of the highest potentials.

Alexey Kornya

MTS President

Gevork Vermishyan from Megafon also mentioned the state’s trend towards localization.

One of the trends in our state, and I support it, is the localization of 5G equipment. And there is a principle, according to which regulatory restrictions on the products of international vendors will stimulate the development of our own technologies. It is quite possible that we will be ready to buy and test local equipment and base stations made in Russia. But, of course, considering our long-standing reputation, we will do this under two conditions. The first is economic conditions. The second is the quality characteristics.

Gevork Vermishyan

CEO of Megafon

The representative of another telecom operator, Beeline, Valery Shorzhin, Executive Vice-President for Technological Development, speaking at Building the Future section, highlighted the need to simplify access to infrastructure and outlined new opportunities for 5G communication.

If we are talking about 5G, we cannot speak only about a new radio access technology. It is more than that. It is a network built on the Cloud architecture, which (from the consumer’s perspective) provides an opportunity to adapt networks to a specific consumer, slicing and other technological innovations. On the other hand, we, as operators, count on the new categories of consumers that do not exist now.

Valery Shorzhin

Executive Vice-President for Technological Development, Beeline

5G affects aesthetics

5G communications will also have a significant impact on the appearance of Moscow. For about a year and a half Moscow IT department has been working on urban communication aesthetics. According to the Adviser of Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technologies of Moscow Evgeny Novikov, a lot has been achieved during this period.

Currently the city has about 90 thousand base stations of all standards. After the introduction of 5G networks this number will increase by 3-5 times.

In particular, a competition was held and a concept for the deployment of communication infrastructure was developed, and the working groups were formed. The concept is aimed at preserving the image of the city while developing the communications infrastructure.

The developed concept includes several key principles. The first is to minimize costs for telecom operators. It is important to take into account CapEx, the requirements for modernization and restructuring of equipment. The second principle is a phased implementation. We took into account the experience of other cities and developed the rules for the implementation of the concept, bearing in mind a phased transition. The provisions of the document may be adjusted. And the third principle is to preserve the quality of communication that is now available in Moscow.

Evgeny Novikov

Adviser of Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technologies of Moscow

The expert also said that the concept included classification of requirements for communication equipment. “There are base stations that do not need any changes and those that need minimal adjustment. And only 10-15% of stations that telecom operators and infrastructure companies will need to improve”, - explained Evgeny Novikov. According to the expert, the zones where the communication object is located in the city (cultural heritage object, bedroom suburb, other zones), and buildings on which or close to which the communication object is located (historical and non-historical) will be taken into account.

The changes will include both the reduction in the size of the equipment, the unloading of antenna-mast structures, dual-purpose poles and their location adjustment, and also camouflaging. In addition, equipment marking is also provided, it will contribute to making managerial decisions in the development of communications in Moscow, the representative of the IT department explains.

Currently the normative legal acts elaboration is in progress. In the near future we plan to determine pilot zones. By the end of next year we will begin to implement the concept on an industrial scale.

Evgeny Novikov

Adviser of Deputy Director of the Department of Information Technologies of Moscow

Other preparations for the launch of 5G in the megacity

Moscow is interested in the development of 5G networks. Some time ago, work was initiated to assess the security of fifth generation networks. This was discussed on the second day of the conference.

According to GSMA estimates, 5G will account for about 20% of connections in Russia by 2025. This figure would be much higher if the state adopted international safety rules for the radio frequency spectrum, analysts say.

Source: GSMA

According to Tatiana Sedykh, a representative of the DIT of Moscow, the work in this area takes place in three stages and involves the collection and analysis of data, the creation of laboratory facilities and conducting research.

According to the expert, at the first two stages a comparative analysis was carried out to assess the levels of electromagnetic fields created by existing and future mobile telephone communication systems in places of residence of the population in six Moscow microdistricts. Moreover, laboratory measurements were carried out, requirements for the laboratory base for research were developed and the research program was developed. Now, during the third stage, full-scale measurements of electromagnetic fields are being carried out, mathematical models of exposure conditions are being developed, and data analysis is being conducted, the representative of the DIT of Moscow explained.

The laboratory facility created during the second stage consists of a complete set of equipment: 2G, 3G, 4G and, of course, 5G. Independent experts have confirmed the readiness of our laboratory base for studying 5G security. Now we are at the third stage and plan to get results already in the first quarter of 2021.

Tatiana Sedykh

The Department of Information Technologies of Moscow

During the discussion, which took place in the 5G electromagnetic fields and Health section, representatives of telecom companies also complained about the difficult and lengthy process of obtaining permits for the deployment of new base stations.

The process is logical and understandable - documents will be received consistently. But at each stage we face a situation that requires additional study, additional approvals, recalculations. This is a large analytical work aimed at obtaining the optimal solution for the deployment of the base station. We must take into account both the development of networks and the quality of communication and at the same time not violate the requirements of sanitary rules. [...] In general, it takes from six months to a year to put a base station on the air.

Anna Tarasenko

MTS

The DIT of Moscow is aware of the situation, Sedykh explains. Therefore, the department plans to create an automated system for coordinating the functioning of transmitting radio engineering objects in Moscow. According to the expert, this will help to improve the process of collecting, storing and processing information of telecom equipment deployed on the territory of Moscow. “The system will simplify the information interaction for the process participants and reduce the time needed to search for and provide the necessary information. It will resemble submitting an application electronically via mos.ru”, - the representative of the DIT of Moscow explained.

Original (in Russian)


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