The 5G future is fast approaching. It is far more than a generational evolution, rather, 5G represents a fundamental transformation of the role mobile technology plays in society. Imagine a “network of networks” comprising a new, agile mobile connectedness tailored to the needs of consumers, enterprises and the economy.
Futuristic growth areas are indeed on the horizon, creating compelling new opportunities—but competing in the 5G world will require that you start with “new DNA.” Before you begin developing a 5G playbook, you’ll need to take account of your existing technical assets, the current state of your core network, your execution/deployment/operations capabilities, and internal culture and customer base.
Why does your DNA matter when determining a 5G strategy and use cases?
Consider the perspectives of a ubiquitous connectivity provider, a media company and a typical enterprise: Each one of them has a different 5G strategy and approach to use case creation, business models, spectrum need, device development and analytics-driven deployment. In most cases, businesses will need to relocate their IT investments toward the edge of the network, closer to where their users are consuming services—and doing so necessitates a new conceptualization that puts the network edge at the center of your network design.
Be smart about the present and the future
Creating a process for 5G innovation and developing customized use cases can dramatically increase your business’s potential for success and maximize your CapEx spend. Because 5G’s promised performance improvements will ultimately require that you thoroughly—and expensively—rethink your network architecture into something far denser, it makes sense to start your 5G journey by involving your existing 4G LTE resources.
A good 5G innovation process will consider any customer problems that were not solved in 4G with smartphones, a clear device and ecosystem strategy, the cultural aspects of your customers, 5G technology capabilities, and network serviceability and operations. This 5G innovation process can create custom use cases for your business and creative business models that you can monetize.
In addition, a layered analytics strategy can help you focus on your 5G value chain—as well as deploy and monetize 5G. In your legacy 4G LTE environment, base stations and towers were deployed in the thousands, but in the 5G future, the deployment will be in the millions. The CapEx spend for 5G, with its millions of small cells, will require a more analytics-driven network planning and deployment model based on your DNA.
Devise the right business models
The potential of 5G to transform mobile business models is extremely high. In fact, the most important innovation that 5G brings to the market may be business model innovation. The market is envisioning a myriad of ways to tap new revenue opportunities, transcending consumers and evolving into diverse digital industries. And though this exciting future compels fast action, 5G rollouts require time and care. New models for 5G should complement your traditional broadband business model, prioritizing carefully investigated market opportunities.
What is your device, partnership and ecosystem strategy to support your future 5G use cases? A successful approach to implementing 5G will involve determining your focus areas and goals, analyzing the key use cases that are important to your business, organizing a device strategy, developing a detailed business plan and building a proof of concept. Remember that your 5G business case will be successful only when all the stakeholders in your ecosystem are investing in and supporting it.
Plan your strategy
The 5G reality will fundamentally transform the entire communications value chain creating new and agile business models, reenergizing industries and creating new sources of revenue. You need to make wise decisions today so that you can support your business processes tomorrow.