Ericsson's Group Cheif Technology Officer (CTO), Erik Ekudden, says there's a growing need for the appointment of ‘national CTOs' to help policy-makers navigate the complexity of 5G and ensure its social and economic benefits are realised.
Fresh from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ekudden noted the opportunities offered by 5G to “address global societal challenges and transform how industries work”. However, to capitalise on this, he said that governments, policy-makers and politicians need to create policies that will enable innovation in a way that is both ubiquitous and cost-effective.
He said a national CTO would need to truly understand how the communications industry works and have a firm grip on growing and emerging underlying trends.
According to Ekudden, the first job for any national CTO would be to create “a blueprint for digital inclusion” to ensure governments have the right infrastructure, policies, strategies and services to ensure competitiveness.
The national CTO would need to bring advisory groups together and meet with leaders throughout government and industry.
Writing in a blog post, he said a national CTO is specifically needed because tasks like this are “as ambitious as they are complex”.
A national CTO would also work with governments to think about 5G through the lens of its long-term societal and economic benefits, rather than immediate ROI. Ekudden said this approach would better facilitate the 5G investment required and could mean, for example, cutting spectrum costs.
Ekudden explained: “If governments refrained from extracting the maximum monetary fees when awarding licences, this would free up the funds set aside for 5G infrastructure by operators.”
He added that policies are required to enable businesses to benefit from 5G capabilities such as network slicing, which allows digital networks to be created within a physical network. These digital networks can be ‘flexed’ dynamically, depending on the use case.
Ekudden said: “Digital transformation is occurring at an unprecedented rate, and there is a risk that if we are not leveraging 5G effectively, the whole economy will suffer.”
- Useful read: What is network slicing?