BT is "well on the way to building a core 5G network"

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Neil McRae, Managing Director & Chief Architect, BT

Neil McRae begins by claiming bragging rights for BT, telling us that having beaten all the UK's competition to it, the telco's 5G network is up and running and that 5G handsets are available to buy now from the BT shops. BT's leading position has been achieved by leveraging its 21C Network which is a very high capacity platform used for fixed broadband. It carries more than 10TB of data per second and is scaled for 5G.

BT began to work on 5G immediately after acquiring the EE mobile network and quickly realised that a 5G network, predicated on millions of mobile consumers using handsets capable of generating 500 MB of traffic from wherever they might be at any time, is a huge technological leap forward. Neil McRae says that's why BT looked to the 21C Network and to scale it up. So, among other things, the telco put in a new SRS platform from Nokia and another platform from Ciena that enabled BT to take a giant step forward towards the next generation network.

Neil McRae says the benefits BT is enjoying as a result of the 5G investment include reduced costs, reduced energy usage and footprint at BT network sites as well as increased control and automation capabilities and, via them, reduced operating expenditure. He says, "BT is well on the way to a building a core 5G network that includes microservices, cloud native and components from the hyperscale world that permit BT to deploy and update changes quickly and easily."

Interestingly, BT's Chief Architect also believes that 5G's initial sweet spot will be in the enterprise, and that sector will have many use cases where orchestration will be vital where organisations need to scale-up a capability.

Filmed at DSP Leaders Forum 2019

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