Rolling out 5G – ITRC-MISTRAL telecommunications analysis for the Netherlands

Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs

In autumn 2017, ITRC-MISTRAL digital specialists, Dr Ed Oughton and Dr Zoraida Frias embarked on a project to support the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs in assessing the potential costs of 5G mobile telecommunications infrastructure. This was the first time that the methodology developed within ITRC-MISTRAL had been applied to a telecommunications network outside the UK.

The study, conducted in partnership with the telecommunications consultancy, Stratix, sets out to understand the costs associated with different strategic 5G mobile network options.

In particular, the project team was asked to

  • indicate the investments needed to achieve certain levels of service for end users
  • understand the differences in the investments required for different networks
  • provide insights into the factors that influence investment costs.

Early in the project, a workshop brought together mobile telecommunications operators in the Netherlands, to test  the underlying assumptions and to get industry comment and feedback.

The modelling and analysis developed under ITRC-MISTRAL was then applied to a series of scenarios to explore a range of roll-out options. This included: testing ambitious user speed targets at 30, 100 and 300 Mbps, comparing the infrastructure cost implications for mobile-only versus fixed/mobile network operators; and applying a high-resolution capacity-demand assessment model.

By running multiple scenarios, decision-makers are able to check what happens to capacity, coverage, and cost when parameters are adjusted. It encourages them to consider a range of options, whether they are sticking to the mainstream, or instead choosing something more ambitious.

Within the telecommunications sector, this analysis would normally be conducted internally.  By using ITRC-MISTRAL’s methodology, this study is bringing transparency to the process of technological innovation.

The report is due to be launched by mid-2018.