In brief

In brief

  • In a study commissioned by Telecom Infra Project, Accenture Strategy examined the value of disaggregation in 5G deployments.
  • 5G is here and deployment costs will be expensive, so operators need to be quick and strategic in their approach or risk being left behind.
  • New revenue opportunities from 5G will emerge as operators enter new markets such as fixed wireless, AR/VR, smart cities and enterprises.
  • Cost savings through network disaggregation will be crucial to making the economics of densification feasible and 5G more attractive.

The race to lead 5G is underway

5G is expected to unlock new revenue opportunities—but telecommunications operators face a dilemma over how to solve the 5G business case since previous strategies cannot be adapted to this new generational leap in wireless technology. The deployment of 5G requires significant capital investment and the rate of return is not as straightforward despite the potential of 5G technology. The operators that can plan quickly and invest efficiently in the adoption of new technology will lead the 5G race.

Capturing 5G revenue potential

By 2026, 5G will present an estimated $619 billion incremental revenue opportunity across industries and geographies for operators. These use cases are just the beginning and additional revenue streams will emerge as 5G becomes more prevalent.

Fixed wireless access

Operators can unlock new revenue streams and improve the customer relationship by offering more than traditional mobile subscriptions.


As AR/VR adoption increases, operators can explore potential revenue sharing opportunities and provide more services to their customers.

Cloud gaming

Technology companies are moving the gaming engine to the cloud, and 5G will allow tech companies to further expand these offerings.

Smart cities and enterprises

5G networks will serve as the connectivity backbone for smart cities, and enterprises will be able to capitalize on 5G by driving new efficiencies.

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The economics of disaggregation

Telecom Infra Project is accelerating the pace of innovation in the telecom industry by bringing the industry together to design, build, and deploy telecom technologies. In order to meet data demand and costly densification requirements, operators will be compelled to explore cost-effective strategies. Forty eight percent mobile data demand is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of forty six percent between 2017 and 2022.


By 2026 in the United States alone, it is estimated that network demand will require 800K small sites, which cost between $35,000 and $45,000 per deployment.


A multi-vendor approach would enable operators to take advantage of significant cost savings by leveraging disaggregation—some technology providers estimated up to 49 percent capex savings.

Collectively accelerating the industry

Collaboration can help solve the challenges facing the telecom industry. The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has created an ecosystem for operators to focus on creating end-to-end disaggregated network solutions by leveraging:

Diverse members

The members include operators, technology providers and more who can provide insights across industries, geographies and deployment scenarios.

Accelerated innovation

Members are co-creating and optimizing reference designs that can be deployed at scale. Operators benefit from increased choices and faster innovation.

Interoperability testing

At TIP’s Community Labs, technology providers are testing integrations and validating potential deployment scenarios.

Trial to scale

By collectively partnering, members can share lessons learned from trials to effectively scale production networks and quickly deploy new technology.

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Where do we go?

5G is here and the necessary densification for network infrastructure will require extensive investment. The rate of return is unclear since revenue generation opportunities are at various maturity levels as 5G deployments increase across the world.

Flexibility in deployment scenarios will be fundamental in realizing the value of 5G. Operators must choose the best equipment for their networks to meet densification requirements. Network solutions must rapidly adapt and reduce the time to market in order for operators to effectively capture 5G revenue opportunities. Collaboration in building new network technologies will be crucial for operators to accelerate innovation and lead the 5G race.

Jefferson Wang

Senior Managing Director – Cloud First Networks and 5G Lead

Hillol Roy

Managing Director – Cloud First Networks, Technology and Innovation Lead

Christian Kelly

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Software & Platforms


5G. Think big. Accelerate to get ahead.
How the U.S. wireless industry can drive value

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