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Vodafone: 5G will transform our company in five years

5G will be the key to reviving the economy in the wake of COVID-19, predicts Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone UK

Janet Brice
|Nov 1|magazine6 min read

“We’ll be a totally different company five years from now,” predicts Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone UK who reveals how 5G will redefine telecom companies.

“At Vodafone, we really believe 5G will be the key to reviving the UK economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, “ said Petty who recently took part in a ‘5G World’ panel discussion on how this technology could redefine telecoms companies over the next few years.

“5G is going to have a massively transformational impact on Vodafone UK, requiring new skills and a new innovation-based culture,” says Petty in the Vodafone UK News Centre.

Vodafone launched 5G more than a year ago and there’s now real momentum as all four mobile operators are now rolling out services. New use cases and capabilities are being developed all the time.

“We’ve launched innovation centres and we’ve worked really closely with the Government on their innovation incubators, too,” says Petty who points out that he has been “blown away” by the enthusiasm with which businesses, big and small, have been engaging in 5G development.

Hardware to software

Petty explains that Vodafone is going to expand from being a network service provider to a company that is also a software and IT business. 

“Because as we continue to virtualise and move to cloud-based technologies – think of OpenRAN and Software Defined Networking – we’re going to need more software development and engineering skills, not just networking skills,” he commented.

“We are becoming integrators and developers of applications, not just runners of networks,” he said.

Connected everything

Vodafone is seeing a big demand for MPNs, not always with standalone spectrum, but integrated into hybrid networks. 

“It’s about providing security and reliability of service outside, and increasingly, inside buildings,” says Petty. 

“Connected IoT sensors will monitor many office and factory operations as functions become increasingly automated. We’ll need to manage those sensor networks and offer services around how to interpret and respond to all the data they collect.”

Connected health and connected agriculture are two other sectors that show great commercial promise as they move from pilot projects to full-scale deployment in the UK, partly supported by the Government’s innovation centres.

“Building a pool of network and software development expertise will enable us to service these new clients more effectively,” says Petty.

Consumers will see a slightly slower change in 5G which is currently about the latest handsets and faster download speeds. This is set to change when augmented and virtual reality applications start entering the market next year. “But the most exciting use cases are probably a few years away yet,” commented Petty.

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