Fuelled by impending 5G, pressure on operators to automate their networks is mounting. So where are European operators in their journeys and what obstacles do they still need to overcome, asks Kate O’Flaherty?

Bengt Nordström, CEO of consulting firm Northstream, looks at 5G roll-outs around the world so far, early use cases and those to come. He outlines three primary areas where he thinks mobile operators must make big changes if they are to gain maximum benefit from 5G.

Could edge computing shift the balance of power from the big public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services to network operators and and help them address a $4 trillion market? How well do operators understand this and what are they doing about it? Sue Tabbitt investigates.

5G’s success is tied to the speed, reliability and capacity of the other networks it will complement and augment, including 4G, but most especially fibre. Almost half of the respondents who work for operators said sufficient fibre is the top critical factor for 5G’s success.

The complementary technologies of network functions virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networks (SDN) have made slower progress than was hoped.