‘Swiss Army knife' approach to 5G won't succeed

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Operators are struggling to turn the ITU's IMT2020 vision of 5G into commercial reality as the technology turns out to be a “much bigger animal than anticipated".

According to a new report from ABI Research, “Deploying a single 5G network that can address all requirements and pain points in several industry verticals is a very difficult mission to achieve.”

It adds, “Building a ‘Swiss Army knife’ 5G network capable of accommodating the needs of multiple markets and industries is a big fantasy of MSPs, which is unlikely to materialise mainly because it is based on a ‘build it and they will come’ approach.” To succeed with 5G, operators are urged to be more realistic and take a bespoke approach.

Beyond connectivity

If they want to go beyond being connectivity providers and tap new verticals, telcos will need to assess the business processes and pain points that 5G could address in each use case and look beyond focusing on higher bandwidth and lower latency capabilities, ABI says.

The paper, which aims to bust common 5G myths, says operators trying to apply the implementations they have initially designed for the consumer market to enterprise verticals is “wishful thinking”. ABI urges operators to build enterprise vertical expertise and partner with external specialists and notes that the telco value chain will need to build expertise for each vertical separately. Further, the enterprise supply chain will need to evolve to include third-party B2B application developers and telco service providers will need to become platform enablers.

The 5G enterprise market is forecast to be worth $31.7 billion by 2026, up from $2.3 billion in 2020.

Back to the drawing board on standards

The report also claims that standardisation and regulatory bodies of 5G need to take a fresh look at the way 5G should be standardised and handled if the industry wants to take advantage of the business opportunities promised by the enterprise market.

“These organisations need to go back to the drawing board and redesign appropriate strategies for industry verticals, rather than relying on progressive extensions to legacy standards. These changes need to factor in the imminent heterogeneity of 5G implementations, combining public and private networks, licensed and unlicensed spectrums, or various slices addressing multiple use-case requirements,” the whitepaper says.

Download The Five Myths of 5G