opinion


How the 5G revolution will impact service providers (and how we use their services)

5G magnifying glass

Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Amit Sheps, Product Marketing Manager at Amdocs looks at some of the new things 5G will introduce.

When 4G rollout began, it was referred to as an “evolution” from the capabilities of 3G, ushering in an era of hyper-connectivity that would change our lives. Indeed, it allowed us to stream music and video anywhere, navigate our way around areas unknown, and transformed our shopping experience by allowing us to compare prices locally and across borders.

But clearly, this will pale in comparison with the impending rollout of 5G, and the “revolution” that will accompany it. 5G will take hyper-connectivity to an entirely new level. For example, smart cities will be monitored using thousands of sensors, with wireless HD cameras ensuring citizens’ safety. Meanwhile, autonomous cars will take the stress out of driving. And AR glasses will finally come of age, changing the way we watch sports and do shopping, and providing technicians and other tradesmen with the information they need to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.

There are also predictions about 5G’s influence on medicine. Our health will be monitored remotely, and with the help of AI, illnesses diagnosed even before they occur. In more severe cases, personal health data will be made available to specialists to make diagnoses, recommend treatment – and in some cases – perform medical procedures remotely.

Changing the service paradigm

Naturally, service providers will need to adapt their strategies to support all that 5G has to offer. I believe that as the 5G revolution begins to gather steam, we will start to see the following changes:

Handsets make way for devices: whether you swear by iPhone or Android, most of our connectivity today is tied to a handset, which is responsible for providing connectivity (while some prefer a smart watch or tablet). With 5G, new devices such as AR glasses, wearables, cars and more, will become commonplace, with each requiring its own dedicated connectivity.

Service-embedded connectivity: 5G will accelerate bundling of products or services with embedded connectivity, such as a heart-monitoring wearable, which transmits data to a medical center directly, without the need to be tethered to a handset via Bluetooth, for example.

From volume to value: Most data bundles sold today are based on traffic volume, without regard to network performance. With 5G, some applications will require a minimum level of network performance based on bandwidth and latency, in order to provide an appropriate experience.

Redefining relationships

With the changes above, service providers will need to adapt their approach accordingly. This will mean the establishment of new customer relationships, including:

With subscribers: While on one hand, service providers will have the capability to provide connectivity requirements and content bundling, on the other, monetization opportunities will be limited. For this reason, the focus should shift to monetizing the customer experience by adjusting network performance to subscribers’ needs rather than volumes. An example could be assigning AR consumers high bandwidth and low latency to meet service demands.

With enterprises: The best example of an enterprise 5G use case is Industry 4.0, which enables automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Such deployments will require network performance that is capable of maintaining the enterprise business. As a premium service, this will provide a significant monetization opportunity.

With partners: An important change that will be accelerated by 5G is the capability for an enterprise to launch a product with “tailored” connectivity. A prime example is a heart monitor that sends patient data to the cloud for real-time analysis to detect anomalies. Such services will require network performance that ensures service availability through low latency and ultra-reliability.

The ball is in our court

While such changes will require service providers to make considerable investments, with planning and strategy, it will open numerous opportunities to seize the reins of the 5G revolution – enabling new revenue streams and the ability to create differentiation that will attract more subscribers. But the key is not to wait. The planning has to start now.

 

Learn more by meeting Amdocs at 5G World 2018.

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