“Many people think about 5G as just new base station technologies and a new radio technology. That’s a narrow view that shows a very flawed understanding of the technology. I see 5G as a foundational layer for the digital transformation of industries and consumer lifestyles,” explains Peter Jarich, head of mobile operator research firm GSMA Intelligence.
With 5G rolling out globally over the next months and years, this next wave in mobile technology offers greater speed, lower latency, and the ability to connect many more devices at once compared to the current 4G standard. But the promise of 5G for carriers and their enterprise customers goes far beyond incremental performance improvements.
We spoke to Jarich about some of the trends that will be accompanying the rollout of 5G. Here’s what he told us.
Consumers have embraced mobile technology to such a degree that every improvement is eagerly anticipated and followed by a wave of device upgrades. Meanwhile, public and private enterprise has fed the consumer revolution without fully participating on its own behalf. Jarich sees that changing with the rollout of 5G.
“We know consumers understand the benefit of mobile broadband,” he says. “If operators are looking for new revenue sources, a deeper push into the enterprise market would get them there.”
He believes that operators have an opportunity to serve verticals, such as smart cities, manufacturing, fleet management, logistics, and utilities, by leveraging 5G to meet specific performance or bandwidth requirements. “Take the automotive industry,” he says by way of example. “Autonomous vehicles will have to communicate with a 5G network. But what type of network architecture will support low latency for critical applications? You may need an edge computing node on the side of the road or in the car itself.”
With the new opportunities that 5G affords telecommunications providers, they should evaluate their success beyond the traditional metrics of network performance (user base, coverage, etc.) and architecture (virtualization, network slicing, etc.) to include network services.
“The network services metric would encompass what providers are actually doing with this new technology,” Jarich explains. “Are they just rolling out faster speeds, as they did with 4G LTE? Or are they leveraging 5G to tap new markets like the enterprise? Are they leveraging it to enable new industries? Are they leveraging it to develop value-added services, even for consumers, as opposed to just connectivity? If 5G is a rare opportunity to move into the enterprise, are operators executing on that goal?”
Jarich also argues that the move toward 5G will have a profound impact on the parallel development of technologies, such as virtualization, blockchain, and artificial intelligence (AI). “As new markets and opportunities arise with 5G, they will necessarily pull in those other technologies,” he notes.
The rollout of 5G technology has just begun, and Jarich predicts it will be a gradual one, even as 4G tech continues to evolve alongside. By 2025, 5G will represent about 15 percent of all connections globally, according to GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2019 Report.
History and culture will shape the deployment of 5G around the world, he adds. Asia, for example, will likely prioritize enhanced consumer mobile broadband, driven by governmental priorities, particularly in China. In the U.S., Verizon’s and AT&T’s experiments with fixed 5G broadband service appear to be a foreshadowing of the technology’s future there, while the initial focus in Europe is panning out to be industrial IoT.
The advent of 5G technology offers tremendous opportunities for telecom providers to offer new value-added services to the enterprise market. To succeed in this new environment, however, operators need solid infrastructure upon which to build a data-driven, 5G network strategy.
One option is to optimize on-premises infrastructure with Oracle cloud-ready engineered systems, which provide a clear migration path to the cloud. A second option is to build a hybrid cloud infrastructure in which they can lift and shift workloads to the cloud easily between identical on-premises and cloud architectures. For others, the best option will be to bring the public cloud into their data centers and behind their firewalls, with Oracle’s Cloud at Customer.
Learn more about Oracle offerings for the telecommunications industry.
Peter Jarich leads the GSMA Intelligence analyst team, driving its content strategy and agenda. Working across the GSMA membership and broader mobile ecosystem, he is responsible for developing insights into the intelligence products required by the market as well as the best ways in which to deliver them.