5G industry news

Partnering is required for 5G success--and it must be frictionless

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Tim McElligott on 3 Oct 2019
  • Last modified 10 Oct 2019
The digital ecosystem model is clearly the path forward for communications service providers (CSPs) looking to compete in the digital economy. Whether they lead the evolving ecosystems or simply participate in them is a choice they will have to make soon. However, it should not be an either/or choice as CSPs will be active in many different ecosystems playing many roles.

Those were key messages from a panel last week at Digital Transformation North America in Dallas. Panelists included Andres Vasquez del Mercado Benshimol, Chief of Digital Innovation, America Movil; Elaine Haher, Principal Software Executive for Network Automation, Fujitsu Network Communications; and Anne Bowman, Chief Customer Compassion Officer, Team 03.

Ecosystems are not new, and ideally they should not have a dominant player, according to Vasquez del Mercado Benshimol.

Haher agreed that ecosystems are not new to CSPs, but they will be different. Ecosystems are naturally about co-creation and creating value in the digital age, and providing a space where partners can come together and foster innovation quickly and scale, she said.

“Operators have always partnered to deliver solutions to the market.  It is the modernization of that now that has changed. [CSPs] have to put as much focus as [they] did on the customer journey onto the partner journey."

Elaine Haher, Principal Software Executive for Network Automation, Fujitsu Network Communications

To do this CSPs must internalize how to bring on partners quickly. But the challenge in today’s evolving environment is: How do they even know what partners are available for delivering the services people want, or what is the next big thing that a partner needs to be capable of helping to deliver?

Focus on verticals

The experience must be frictionless for an ecosystem to work, Bowman said. It can be hard trying to affect change at companies that are established.

“To be an active participant in a collaborative ecosystem, you have to be open. You can’t have vendor lock-in; you need to leave room for improvement.”

Anne Bowman, Chief Customer Compassion Officer, Team 03

CSPs should focus on knowing the industry verticals very well and knowing what they need for differentiation, Haher said, adding: “What are the sweet spots in those industry verticals where 5G can make a transformational play?”

CSPs must change internally first, Haher said. They need to expose capabilities through open APIs, use microservices and know how to handle subscription management, how to collect revenues and perform settlement. She suggested looking at blockchain technology for smart contracts.

“The basics need to happen within the telco, then they have to decide to be either the producer in an ecosystem or the leader and run the ecosystem.”

Elaine Haher

CSPs do not need to build ecosystems for every vertical, Vasquez del Mercado Benshimol said. But they need to build the foundation for partners to build on.