Mobile networks can help make game-changers such as self-driving cars and deliveries via drones a reality. But success is dependent on supportive regulatory frameworks.
Two new policy position papers from the GSMA’s spectrum team on unmanned aerial vehicles and intelligent transport systems detail what’s needed. The key ingredients are a technology-neutral approach to spectrum and licences.
Intelligent Transport Systems
The automotive world is about to undergo the single greatest revolution since its beginning. The first fully autonomous-capable cars are available. Connected vehicles will number in the hundreds of millions by 2020. In Europe, all new vehicles must alert emergency services in the event of an accident from April 2018.
Mobile technology can play a vital role with the latest version of LTE – called LTE-V2X. It provides direct connectivity between devices without needing network involvement. This can, for example, include communications between vehicles, roadside infrastructure and mobile devices.
Importantly, a significant portion of the automotive industry favours LTE-V2X over rival approaches. Deciding factors are superior performance and a clear upgrade path. Add to that its ability to leverage widespread existing cellular infrastructure. Also, the technology will evolve to 5G.
The GSMA’s positions on Intelligent Transport Systems:
1. Regulators should adopt a technology-neutral approach to spectrum that is set aside for safety-related ITS
2. Spectrum in the 3.4-3.8 GHz range should not be set aside for safety-based V2V communications
3. Regulators should adopt technology-neutral spectrum licences to support network-connected vehicles
4. Regulators should work with the mobile industry to support connected vehicles in future spectrum planning
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
UAVs (also known as drones) are becoming increasingly popular. They look set to improve a wide variety of industries and services. From transforming how businesses deliver their products, to supporting life-saving services like drug delivery in remote areas and enabling first responders to rapidly assess emergency incidents.
But it is essential tools are in place to authenticate, monitor and track this growing fleet of vehicles. Mobile networks and SIM cards can meet this challenge.
However, governments must first adopt a supportive regulatory framework to enable the benefits of using mobile connectivity. This is especially true for spectrum. The GSMA’s position paper on the topic details the needs.
Mobile networks already provide unrivalled connectivity. Also, SIM cards are a trusted authentication mechanism. Trials show terrestrial mobile networks can safely support connectivity at altitudes of at least 400 feet. This means today’s mobile networks can support the rapid growth of the UAV market. And do this without new technologies or network investments.
And here are the GSMA’s positions on UAVs:
1. Licensed mobile spectrum enables widespread, high quality connectivity for UAVs with sufficient capacity to support competitive services and rising usage levels
2. Licensed mobile spectrum can support affordable UAV connectivity worldwide
3. It is essential there are no unnecessary barriers to using licensed mobile spectrum to connect UAVs
4. Regulators should adopt a service and technology neutral framework to fully support UAVs