5G industry news

Targeting the enterprise for 5G success

  • 2 minute read
  • Published by Tim McElligott on 20 Sep 2019
  • Last modified 3 Dec 2019
Figuring out how to tap the enterprise market will be critical to communications service providers’ (CSPs’) 5G success, but they must act fast as large companies in many industry verticals are considering whether to deploy their own private 5G networks. To give customers what they want, CSPs must collaborate with third-party providers to deliver automated, ultra low latency services and customized performance backed by service level guarantees. If they can manage this, mobile operators may find the enterprise market to be a vast multiverse of opportunity with endless demand.

A new report by TM Forum – 5G future: Targeting the enterprise – assesses the relationship between CSPs and enterprises and highlights the verticals operators believe are most promising. It focuses on three important capabilities enabled by 5G networks that CSPs can use to deliver differentiated services to their customers and help them develop innovative applications:

Co-creation of innovative services – although methodologies may differ, co-creation in telecom is formal collaboration between CSPs and a mix of vendors, enterprise customers, leading innovators across industry verticals and academia, third-party developers, and even competitors to create infrastructure, digital services, applications and business agreements for delivering and monetizing them.

Network slicing – CSPs plan to use network slicing to create differentiated, use case-specific logical networks over shared physical infrastructure made elastic and programmable through network functions virtualization and software-defined networking. Each logical network is created in software based on the specified service level requirements of users.

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) – sometimes called mobile edge computing, MEC shifts centralized compute and storage resources and some applications to distributed cloud locations closer to users who require low latency and other high-performance service characteristics. MEC provides better performance while also lowering network congestion by processing traffic at the edge of the network and not sending it across the network.

CSPs surveyed for this report believe these capabilities will be game changers if implemented and managed properly. But they are not pie-eyed about them: They know it will be difficult to meet the needs of vertical markets without partnering. We analyzed data from two surveys for this report – one conducted over the summer about 5G networks and another shorter poll conducted at Digital Transformation World 2019.

Overall, we surveyed 59 CSP and 55 supplier respondents and conducted many follow-up interviews. The CSPs represented are primarily Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators delivering converged services, along with some pure-play wireless providers and managed services providers. CSP respondents included C-level executives and vice presidents with responsibility for product development, along with senior engineers and network architects.

In addition, the report draws on data from a survey about future business models, which was analyzed in-depth in a companion report to this one called 5G future: Business models for monetization, and another survey conducted as part of TM Forum’s annual CXO Summit, which was held in May at Digital Transformation World.