The co-evolution of 4G and 5G networks is the key issue for the next technological growth as these two technologies will be sharing many resources and will be offering each other strong support in the next decade. It is essential for CSPs to modernize networks as 5G-oriented as possible and at the same time achieving better 4G capabilities, to co-evolve the networks to a more technologically and financially promising 5G future.
According to Shen Jianda, VP of ZTE Corporation, ‘The fast deployment of 5G would give operators a big head start. For the initial 5G rollout, high-value areas should be selected firstly, based on factors including high ARPU, high traffic, and high penetration rate of high-end smartphones.’ The executive highlighted that SA 5G networks are the goals of 5G development, as these networks will be able to provide more effective 5G services.
‘During the initial 5G stage, CSPs should make full use of the existing 4G networks, deploy 5G networks rapidly and efficiently, considering the requirements on the existing network and subsequent 5G networks, adopt an efficient and comprehensive 5G evolution solution,’ the executive said.
There are many resources that can be shared among 4G and 5G, and from RAN perspective, ZTE believes that RAN site and spectrum are the two most important things to be taken into consideration. Site space in high-value areas is insufficient, it is difficult to add additional equipment, and more equipment also means more rental cost and TCO. While 4G sites with a high load still need capacity expansion to meet the growing traffic requirements, it is also important to deploy 5G rapidly, efficiently, and cheaply.
According to ZTE, operators should strive for the balance between critical investment in 5G to offer much better user experiences and guaranteed service in the existing 4G. "This is exactly why ZTE believes a comprehensive solution for both efficient 5G rollout and modernized 4G is in the core of facilitating operators' network upgrade and 5G implementation.