Future Networks at MWC Shanghai 2017: RCS and 5G Central to Realising Next Generation Services in Asia

Aiming to develop and deploy next generation mobile networks and advanced communications across Asia, the GSMA’s Future Networks programme hosted a series of industry seminars, roundtables and interactive demonstrations at this year’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai – attended by a record 67,500 people.

With Asia experiencing rapid growth in connectivity, advances in mobile technology are becoming increasingly central to the development of services both old and new. Rich Communication Services RCS and its messaging arm, Messaging as a Platform (MaaP), are enabling businesses in the region to create services tailored to meet the needs of each customer. While 5G, with its vastly increased bandwidth and subsequent ability to ‘slice’ the network into different parts to meet different demands of each service, is spurring the creation of new vertical-specific solutions.

The event contained a number of signs that the mobile industry was making significant progress on the delivery of both RCS and 5G. Speaking at the ZTE RCS Seminar on the 28th June, Programme Director David O’Byrne remarked at how the Chinese mobile industry was collaborating closely to ensure the delivery of RCS, “There has been a substantial level of progress on interconnected RCS made between China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and ZTE. It’s great to see the Chinese mobile industry share our vision of a global next generation communication platform.”

Speaking at the seminar ‘A New Global Platform for Conversations, Chatbots and Commerce’, Dr. Petja Heimbach, Vice President of Communication, Deutsche Telekom and Chair of IPCET at the GSMA spoke of the success that RCS has achieved through an open ecosystem, industry cooperation and coordination. This collaboration has led to the creation of the Universal Profile (UP) and the development of the Hub-as-a-service offer as well native device integration. The UP is currently supported by 76 operators, OEMs and OS providers worldwide.

At the 5G seminar held on June 29th, the industry elaborated on the value that 5G would add to Asia and beyond. Opening the seminar, Head of the Future Network Programme Henry Calvert asked, “How can we connect the vertical industries to the infrastructure that we are developing? How do we ensure those vertical markets can talk to mobile customers and understand what they need?”.  As he explained, the challenge ahead is to expand the ecosystem to include vertical industry requirements: how manufacturing, finance and health industries can be brought into the development process to ensure their needs and expectations are considered.

According to David Gannon, VP of Technology Strategy and Industry Relations at Deutsche Telekom, “Among our top priorities at the moment is trying to define a standard definition of precisely what slicing is, so that we can take it to the vertical business partners and conduct a consistent conversation.” We therefore pleased to confirm that by September of this year, therefore, the GSMA will announce a definition with industry-wide recognition, allowing the work of those developing vertical markets to proceed without delay.

Complementing the industry seminars were live demonstrations from Future Networks of the new technologies in GSMA’s Innovation City. ZTE used virtual reality and robotics to demonstrate the potential 5G has to massively reduce latency and thus enable precise, real-time, remote operations. The equipment manufacturer ZTE also demonstrated their plans to develop RCS by adding layers to voice calls such as using voice to send locations and images.

Samsung demonstrated the power of MaaP by showing to connect people with their household devices. Illustrating MaaP’s Application to Person (A2P) communication, Samsung showed how household devices can easily inform the owner of product updates and service requirements, and thus demonstrated how RCS will form an essential component of the IoT.

For more information on how to become involved with the GSMA’s RCS or 5G initiatives, please contact [email protected]. For crucial updates on both of these subjects, including our industry-leading events, please sign up to our Future Networks Newsletter.