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Aug 14 2019

Changing the game with 5G

Like many sports, success in top level tennis and motorsport racing takes speed and fast reactions. Rather like 5G.

They’re a good match, with 5G’s extreme bandwidth and ultra-low latency creating exciting new ways to enhance events for spectators. It can also generate additional revenue for for mobile operators. The Global services team supports many events to bring this 5G experience to the general public.

Take the no.1 Tennis tournament of France, which ended in early June. Nokia and Orange deployed live 5G coverage to deliver the world’s first 8K TV broadcast over 5G, giving consumers ultra-high-definition (UHD) mobile TV.

Also in April 2019  we were in Shanghai at the International Circuit. Nokia built a 5G network for Shanghai Mobile using the 2.6 GHz band, based on our commercial radio modules. 5G's extremely low latency and high speed enabled ultra HD live broadcasting and a 5G Virtual Reality (VR) cloud game, allowing amateur drivers to race against each other.

5g game

5G changes the game

These examples of what 5G can do for sporting and other events are exciting many CSPs and venue operators. Getting fans more involved with the event and offering highly personalized services at the stadium can improve loyalty and fan interaction.

Spectators will be able to see the action from different angles by selecting the cameras they want to view, or choose to view Augmented Reality (AR) overlays with statistics and additional information. They could order their beer and hotdogs using their smartphone, benefiting from special offers and faster service without the worry of congestion, which is common during events that attract bandwidth hungry crowds.

5G is well suited to the speed and immediacy of big events like sports tournaments, music concerts and cultural festivals. It has the capacity for multiple high definition video plus AR/VR, combined with other applications. Only 5G architecture can  guarantee a reliable, seamless experience for spectators, so they can enjoy the event with no interruptions.

5G will be essential to meet the time-critical aspects of a live performance, cutting latency further by including edge computing analytics at the stadium.

Only 5G scores all the points

The technology is well suited to the speed and immediacy of big events like sports tournaments, music concerts and cultural festivals. It has the capacity for multiple high definition video plus AR/VR, combined with other applications​. Only 5G architecture can  guarantee a reliable, seamless experience for spectators, so they can enjoy the event with no interruptions.

Similarly, when it comes to latency, 5G will be essential to meet the time-critical aspects of a live performance. Edge computing puts analytics on site at the stadium, offering the potential to cut latencies dramatically as we no longer have to wait for computing resources to be available in the cloud.

It also allows gradual evolution – rather than a ‘big bang’ of moving straight over to 5G; you can use Non-Stand Alone (NSA) architecture, which makes use of your existing LTE network. 5G smartphones will connect to 5G to improve data throughput but will connect to your 4G network for non-data tasks such as talking to cells.

It’s a numbers game

I am often asked how 5G for stadia stacks up as a business proposition for CSPs. Together with Joe Madden who is an analyst at Mobile Experts we looked at use cases that can provide revenue for both the venue owner and the CSP. It considered an 80,000-seater stadium equipped with a premium video replay service, with content that fans buy. Over an eight-year period, this type of project could require an investment of $8 M to add 5G as well as install edge computing.

Fans would be willing to pay around $10 per event per user. With advertising revenue of one USD per user, a CSP would earn $20-25 M, which is  a 40 percent return on investment.

Trust Nokia to win at major events

Getting the technology right is important but bringing it all together is what really gets you over the line.

Nokia’s global experience has helped us develop these skills. For many years, Nokia has supported the Hajj, connecting millions of people in a small area. Despite the network’s growing complexity, Nokia consistently maintains near 100 percent cell availability, allowing the download and upload of hundreds of terabytes.  We are now upgrading our partner STC to 5G to offer additional services to these extreme crowd densities. We can see the hotspots and can plan the 5G network where it matters most for STC.

 Another global sports event that benefited from our service took place recently in South Korea. Korea Telecom wanted to ensure that spectators in the swimming stadiums could take advantage of the true power of 5G. Nokia was there to help, designing and deploying the sites with high capacity mid-band coverage and providing support throughout the championship. We’ve overcome the challenges the industry faces with NSA architecture by developing our own in-house research tools to design for optimal coverage and superior subscriber experience. 

And it’s not just us blowing our own trumpet – the quality of our networks is recognized by third parties as well. RootMetrics is an independent network performance testing company, which ranks network performance in six areas - network reliability, network speed, data performance, call performance, text performance and overall performance. In the latest analysis, Nokia came out as number one in all six categories. Overall this data shows that networks supplied by Nokia gained higher rankings versus those supplied by other vendors.

Arenas and stadium events have the potential to bring thousands of people together to share what your network can achieve. With Nokia 5G, CSPs, stadium owners and fans can all be winners.

For more about how 5G can transform an arena experience, see our webinar:

Further reading: Scale up your business with 5G eBook

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About Sanjay Goel

Sanjay has over 27 years of experience across the Telecommunications, Information Technology and Engineering industries.  He currently leads the Global Services organization in developing and implementing strategy, go- to -market models and sales performance with specific focus on growing Nokia’s Professional Services as well as diversification into new markets and verticals. In his spare time, Sanjay enjoys music, reading and likes to explore new places and cultures and is currently based in Finland.

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