CTIA CTO Tom Sawanobori


09c62fdCTIA Chief Technology Office Tom Sawanobori sat down with High Tech Forum founder Richard Bennett to discuss the state-of-play in the wireless industry. Click play to learn more about:

The need for more spectrum: “Spectrum Pipeline” is one of CTIA’s most important initiatives. CTIA has projected about a 6x growth in usage over the next five years — getting as much spectrum available as quickly as possible, Sawanobori said. Even with the incentive auction coming up next year, and discussions about a new 3.5 GHz paradigm, that won’t be enough, he said. “We’re working actively to identify additional bands that can be utilized” and “technologies that can be deployed in them.”

LTE-U v. Wi-Fi: “Wi-Fi is a great technology,” with a lot of traffic being carried, Sawanobori said. “We need both of these to work well and to co-exist.” Studies and tests have shown that it does co-exist well, and recent “fairly stressful” lab tests shows that when you replace a Wi-Fi node with an LTE-U access point on the same channel, “the Wi-Fi basically performs the same or even better,” Sawanobori said.

Next-generation networks: 4G LTE is working well and gives a “real scale opportunity” as the Internet of Things becomes a reality, Sawanobori said. Developments like carrier aggregation, better interference management techniques, and better antenna technologies will continue to be integrated into the LTE network. But even though 4G is doing great, it’s time to look at the next-generation technology of 5G, Sawanobori said: “We’re exploring new frequencies and modes of operations.”