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Profiting From a 5G Future

Blog by Stephen Krajewski, Vice-President of Marketing

5G marks the single biggest commercial and technological advancement for the telecommunications industry to date. When all is said and done, billions of dollars will have been spent making 5G a reality.

Communications services providers (CSPs) are banking on a new generation of products and services to drive even greater demand in the years to come. 5G will redefine the way people interact and collaborate, as well as enabling the rollout of new services specifically targeting industries.

This means it’s crucial for service providers to ensure their commercial systems are able to handle new types of products quickly and efficiently. The question is: are they truly prepared to capitalise on the 5G opportunity? Based on our extensive work with CSPs, we believe most are still not able to channel the benefits of 5G into monetisable revenue streams with the agility and flexibility they will need. But why is this, and what do they need to do to get 5G service-ready?

B2B first

CSPs’ initial forays into 5G predominantly look at the technology through a business-to-consumer (B2C) lens. Hansen’s view is that the greatest opportunities lie in creating and delivering new solutions for enterprises, as opposed to consumer apps. The opportunity for CSPs to expand their enterprise offerings by bringing specific propositions to industries such as utilities, healthcare, manufacturing and transportation, among others, is enormous.

5G can catalyse the expansion of CSP services to create new revenue streams, enabled by capabilities only delivered by 5G networks – for example massive M2M and ultra-reliable low-latency communications. But delivering complex B2B propositions isn’t easy.

Make it real

Any plan to capitalise fully on 5G will need to address not only the technological aspects of its deployment, but also the changes in processes and procedures needed to exploit these new opportunities. CSPs will need to acquire greater expertise in industry verticals and implement a more ingrained, solutions-driven approach to communications services, rather than focusing on straight network connectivity.

It will require them to move beyond their current mode of operation, responding to demand on a case-by-case basis. This helps providers to become more deeply involved in collaborative efforts to deliver industry-wide solutions. In many respects, the era of 5G may very well be defined more by changes in the way that CSPs engage with enterprises and industries than the evolution of the technology itself.

Data – the 5G frenemy

Operational readiness cannot, however, be ignored, and the ability to manage product, service and resource data is another key factor in 5G readiness; it is the lifeblood of the CSP business and operations and business support systems, defining their ability to create, sell, deliver and monetise services. Data should be the friend of service providers in a 5G world, but right now it looks like it will be the enemy or, at least, the annoying neighbor upstairs.

Looking into the future, we see a world with an entirely different scale of connected devices (yes, your fridge may be broadcasting live on Instagram before we know it), a wider set of network choices and configuration options, more partner offerings, and a greater choice of products from CSPs themselves – all of which means more underlying complexity. This comes with product, service and resource data on a scale that will make it significantly harder to manage than it is today.

Single point of truth

Operational readiness will require service providers to commit to product lifecycle and data management from a single point of truth: in our view, there is no other way of getting around it. Otherwise 5G product, service and resource data could become so unmanageable and disparate that the potential service value is negated by the inability to automate critical create-sell-deliver processes. Getting this right will be key to the profitable delivery of a 5G reality for services.

The key is to get the relevant elements of process and systems in place, before the scale of 5G product, service and resource data overwhelms current business support systems. To find out more, read our whitepaper: Profiting from a 5G Future.