The era of 5G is well and truly upon us, following much hoopla and hype. Ironically, however, despite becoming an almost ubiquitous subject, it is still shrouded in an air of anticipation and mystery. And here’s why-initially, while the industry was eagerly awaiting and discussing its arrival, the subject of debate has now shifted. The key question on every stakeholder’s mind is: are players in the communication space poised to optimally leverage the business potential the technology offers?

Addressing this query, however, requires closely examining the larger, global picture.

But, what’s in it for Operators?

Clearly on an upward path, this! Now, onto the tricky part. What is in it for operators? Industry experts stand firm in their opinion-a plethora of things! Ranging from developing new business models to use cases and applications, to vast opportunities for engagement with enterprises, the 5G opportunity is clear. And here.

Putting 5G to Work: Key Use Cases

In all honesty, while the 5G era has certainly given way to multiple use cases, only a handful may generate interest (and demand). In the short term, at least.

Permit me to briefly outline a few, for the purview of this blog only.

Source: GSMA

5G and Beyond: Looking to the Future

In a nutshell, the future looks bright and ready for 5G! What, with 1.35 billion 5G connections expected by 2025 and 5G revenue to reach $1.15 trillion by 2025 (GSMA).

Industry experts caution, though, that the 5G journey is a marathon and not a sprint. It is expected to take at least seven years to reach 10 per cent of total global connections by 2024.

In the meantime, though, operators would do well to focus on orchestration, API exposure, network slicing and service monetization as potential gaps in their plans to leverage 5G to the fullest. After all, the idea, experts argue, is to not view 5G as a network upgrade, but as a transformation in enabling a horizontal platform to enable a set of new use cases.

But how does one get there? Ericsson chalks out a few handy pointers…

  • Provide partners like application developers and network providers service APIs that help provide value
  • Monetize those APIs through ideally a consumption based or equal revenue model
  • Take responsibility for service and business orchestration of the entire chain, including enterprise networks

Permit me a brief concluding note. 5G can, indeed, seem like a leap of faith for operators. It doesn’t have to be that way, though, particularly if planned well to cater to tomorrow’s requirements. How? By sensibly investing in capabilities such as orchestration and automation, naturally. And, of course, the nuts and bolts of any network, OSS/BSS stacks. After all, digital transformation isn’t a one-time event, but a continuous path of change. Are you ready?

Piyush Prasad

Piyush Prasad

Head, Product Management, Comviva