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If NFV is delayed, it will be a longer road to ‘true 5G’

We have got accustomed to talking about two types of 5G – fast-track and even pre-standard, as a few operators race to go commercial in 2018 or 2019; and the more mainstream strategy to wait for more mature equipment and a 5G core, and go live between 2020 and 2023. But in fact, there are four distinct stages emerging. One, a combination of premature marketing hype (as in AT&T’s 5G Evolution) with very limited 5G deployment (a small number of 5G radios working with a 4G core, for instance. Four Middle Eastern operators are now claiming ‘world first’ credentials based on this approach (see separate item). Two, a wider scale deployment of 5G New Radio (NR), driven by business case…

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