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Operators wrestle with the 5G commercialization dilemma at virtual 5G World

We’re not allowed to get together in person these days in case someone catches a cold, so the intrepid 5G World team went ahead and did a virtual event instead.

The first discussion panel was focused on how to make money out of 5G and featured some heavy-hitters of the operator world. Ronan Dunne, CEO of Verizon’s consumer group, insisted 5G is starting to be real, but asked “How do we create new experiences for consumers?” If there is a clear consumer use-case for 5G none of the panellists seemed inclined to share it, with David Lynn, CEO of Viacom International, saying “We’re all going to be experimenting for a few years.”

Michael Wagenhofer, Managing Director of Austrian Broadcasting Services, suggested the future of terrestrial broadcasting will involve a migration to 5G and also wondered about the role content super-aggregators. This chimed with some of Dunne’s thinking on the matter, who said “5G will see a significant move towards B2B2C solutions,” in which operators create the platform for other consumer-facing companies to come up with clever new things like mix-reality live events.

A subsequent panel concerned technologies that will transform telecoms. A lot of the focus was on the move to standalone 5G and what may be holding it back. There seemed to be unanimity among the panel that the industry is caught in a bit of a catch-22 situation in which investment is dependent on business cases, which are hard to develop without the technology to try them out on.

The move to SA 5G involves a lot of hassle and expense, so your average CFO will want to see something close to guaranteed ROI before the sign the cheque. There seemed to be consensus on this panel that the most likely source of that ROI is B2B spend, which in turn put the spotlight onto the elephant in the room.

Business spend has been on hold across the board during the coronavirus pandemic as everyone waits to see when the commercial world will open up again. That in turn seems to be holding back the commercial evolution of 5G. Notwithstanding the kinds of connectivity glitches we have all become accustomed too during the lockdown, virtual events would appear to be one business opportunity the 5G world can confidently explore without delay.

  • 5G Networking Digital Symposium

  • Telecoms.com LIVE

  • 5G Network & Service Strategies

  • 2020 Vision Executive Summit

  • TechXLR8

  • BIG 5G Event

  • 5G World

  • 5G Latin America


One comment

  1. Avatar bernard szederkenyi 05/09/2020 @ 1:47 am

    In certain countries where 4G networks provide superior speeds/latency currently, it is difficult to see realistic mass use cases (b2c) with current technological capabilities. Hollywood is never short on ideas like Iron Man like hologram projectors, however they do remain the domain of the movie industry for a long time.

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