“5G is here now,” Inseego CMO says
Ashish Sharma, CMO and EVP of IoT & Mobile Solutions at Inseego, shares his perspective on 5G development in Europe, including opportunities around consumer mobility, fixed wireless access and private networks for industrial enablement.
Q: Can you give me a high-level overview of Inseego’s consumer and enterprise business in Europe today, and how you expect it to change as European carriers scale out 5G?
A: Inseego’s presence in Europe started as Novatel Wireless. We brought the first 3G voice/broadband FWA solution to Europe quite some time again and introduced the world’s first mobile hotspot with Telefonica. Many other connectivity solutions were distributed throughout Europe, including our Skyus industrial IoT modems. Today, we are in 5G trials and tests with Tier 1 operators throughout Europe. In addition, our well-established Ctrack asset tracking and management business serves SMBs and enterprises across a number of verticals, including aviation. This business intelligence solution is device-to-cloud. 5G has one key use case: data. Before we know it, all data driven will depend on 5G due to the dawn of massive IoT.
We are seeing significant opportunity in serving consumers and enterprises with our cutting-edge MiFi and FWA solutions, which is especially attractive to cost-effectively bring broadband to areas where fiber is not feasible to cost and time prohibitive, such as rugged terrain, low population density areas, rural areas etc. Operators need products in order to offer 5G services and Inseego has proven, secure devices that enable the business case.
Q: As more operators turn up commercial 5G services, what type of market variability are you seeing?
A: There are lot of commonalities as well as regional differences. The need for speeds, capacity, and low-latency are universal. There is lot of pent-up demand for fixed wireless in USA because of cable monopoly. Europe has lot of fiber in most part of its urban landscape, so 5G will mostly be used for mobile. Rural, rugged and low population density areas in both US and Europe would be ideal for 5G based fixed wireless solution. In both U.S. and Europe, 5G provides excellent opportunity for the carriers to offer bundled fixed and mobile services using a common network
Q: What’s your perspective on Europe’s mid-band first approach vs. the US’s millimeter wave first approach to commercialization. What do you see as the upsides and downsides of both approaches, particularly in terms of scaling coverage and setting user expectations?
A: No spectrum is bad spectrum. All have their pros and cons. It is our belief that no matter where the carriers start from, millimeter wave and sub-6 GHz, they will end using both of them. Europe’s approach of starting from Ssub-6GHz allows them to offer very high-speeds and capacity on wide area basis compared to millimeter wave. So that they can offer 5G service in large areas with fewer sites and more cost-effectively. They can utilize millimeter wave spectrum when the traffic ramps up and need for more spectrum arises
Q: What opportunities do you see around private networks? It seems like the EU is taking a much more systematic approach to exploring 5G for automotive, manufacturing, ports, mining, etc…What does that mean for Europe as a whole if they’re able to quickly digitize their industrial base. And what does this keen interest in private networks mean for Inseego?
A: There is strong interest across the board in private networks. Europe is at the leading edge of this development. Because of their strong industrial base, European players…are working more diligently than others to bring the private network from concept to reality. Private networks is another large opportunity. Because of its early leadership in 5G, Inseego is very well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity.
Q: Do you buy into the race characterization of 5G? If so, what position is Europe in and what headwinds/tailwinds can we expect?
A: Based on the market conditions it seems like it is a race. Last year there were roughly 70 operators that committed to a 5G strategy, today there are nearly 300 and the heat is on to kick of trials and commercial launches of any scale. The governments, regulators and carriers across the world are trying to position themselves as leaders and ahead of everybody else. And this is good for the entire industry and of course for consumers and enterprises. The sooner they get access to the extraordinary capabilities that 5G brings the better it is for them because new use cases and therefore new revenue streams open up. This being a global race, creates a large ecosystem which means the economies of scale are much better the pace of innovation is much faster than historical norms. So, everybody wins!