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Nokia talks-up continuity-of-service at MWC Shanghai

Nokia 5G First

At MWC Shanghai Nokia has gone beyond idle and slightly irrelevant claims of 4.XG technologies and actually attempted to build a narrative around the PR fluff.

As everyone in the industry is now talking about super-speeds, or super-low latency, the noise is starting to become a blur. We also seem to have very short memories. During the build up to any technological step forward there are a number of claims made from trials in the lab or ‘real-world’ tests. Can you actually pin-point a time when these claims were taken into a commercial setting and experienced by the customer? It’s hype.

But Nokia is doing something we quite like here. Instead of focusing on the numbers themselves and going for the ‘shock and awe’ campaign, they are doing some old-fashioned marketing, building a narrative around the technology.

“We are committed to helping operators evolve their networks in the most effective way, allowing them to anticipate and meet demands with higher performance where and when it is needed,” said Tero Peltola, Head of the LTE business unit at Nokia.

“We continue to evolve our 4G offering with 4.5G Pro and 4.9G technologies, and with this network latency demonstration we can show operators how they could use LTE to deliver higher-bandwidth industry and enterprise applications to more customers on their path to 5G.”

Customers are not idiots, but they do need things explained to them occasionally. 4.5G or 4.9G or 4.99999G (or whatever they come up with next) is a stepping stone. You gradually adapt your business model for the 5G world, making it more suitable for the super-fast connected economy. What most people forget is that there are only a small number of early adopters in the world, for the rest, change is a very scary thing.

At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Nokia has said it will show its AirScale base station working with 4.9G technology to reduce network latency to less than two milliseconds, bringing performance closer to the latency levels 5G is expected to deliver.

Some will look at the radical change in business models and customer relationships with excitement, chomping at the bit to get their hands dirty, though the vast majority will be terrified. They are fail-last types of businesses, desperately need a theory to be proven and proven again before implemented, and will cling to tried and tested practises until absolutely necessary. These are the businesses which are suffering today, though their pain will only be intensified unless they are guided towards the digital economy 5G which promises.

This is the importance of 4.5G and 4.9G. Each stepping stone allows for a slight change and adaptation to the new world. 5G is still going to be terrifying for the majority, it will still create a new class of winners and losers, but with this gradual step change, the pain will be lessened.

So vast speeds and minimal latency might be a good story to capture the early adopters, but the fortunes will be made in the late followers market. The continuity-of-service plug is a smart move from Nokia.

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